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Pasadena History: National Monument notion for San Gabriels an old one





November 9, 2014 - The concept of a national monument for the San Gabriel Mountains has roots in Pasadena history fro more than one hundred years ago.


Sid Galley


Pasadena Star-News


One of the things that most characterizes Pasadena is the backdrop of the San Gabriel Mountains, pictured here in a view from Victory Park. Also known as the Sierra Madres, they have been a home to wildlife, a source of wood and water, recreation, hunting, hiking, camping, mining, and a base for astronomy. John Robinson and others have written books just on the San Gabriels.

The White House release of October 10, 2014, says in part, “Today, President Obama will use his authority under the Antiquities Act to establish 346,177 acres of national forest land in the San Gabriel Mountains in Southern California as a national monument, permanently protecting the popular outdoor recreation destination to increase access and outdoor opportunities for the area’s residents.”

A hundred years ago, in 1914, the Pasadena Star reported a similar intent. The headlines read, “National Park Project is Taken Up — Committee Plans Campaign for Establishing One North of City — Movement is Now Well Under Way — State Legislature Will be Asked to Take Action in This Regard.”

The committee was of the Chamber of Commerce. Chairman Daggett was authorized to appoint an executive committee of five to bring the proposition before members of the state legislature. A message from H. S. Graves, national forester, was read and he gave the project his hearty endorsement.

“While the ultimate object is to have the watershed turned into a national park and game preserve, the first step will be to make it a state game preserve,” wrote the paper. That required state legislature approval.

The water sheds of Monrovia, Azusa, Glendora, Ontario and Pomona would be included in the game preserve. Professor Adams of the Mt. Wilson Observatory was in favor of the park plan to help control fires.

We read through minutes of the committee in the Museum archives to see what happened. It seems that the game preserve for the area went through the legislature and the governor. The national park idea seemed to be lost. The committee turned its attention to planning a road up the Arroyo Seco and over to Antelope Valley

The Chamber of Commerce was distracted by such things as a possible merger with South Pasadena.

Today’s national monument boundaries seem to exclude some nearby areas.

Sid Gally is a Pasadena Museum of History volunteer.




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