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MAIN ST

Last Main Street Before L.A. In the mythology of the family of nations, America is portrayed as the prodigal child, where the restless and yearning would pick up and move, advancing the frontier of democracy and pointing the way to the future for the rest of the world. Viewed through this lens, California can be seen as America’s America, where relentless reinvention defines the rhythm of change; that California and the West would point the way for the rest.

The Civic Center Envisioned in the 1910s, Pasadena’s Civic Center was built in the 1920s.

Route 66, in turn, stands in as the nation’s Main Street and the driving rhythm of a better life west. As cities whizz by to the beat

Route 66 Signage for US 66 in Pasadena was put up by the Southern California Automobile Association in 1928 using Colorado Boulevard (and Foothill Boulevard as late as 1974 when the Foothill Freeway (210) was completed).

Colorado Street of the tune, the road is a link between rural America and emerging cities, between the private realm and the public sphere, between roadside enterprise and the village green. Through the lens of film and myth, literature and song, Los Angeles stands in as the final cliche in this ongoing fable, a caricature of a “nineteen suburbs in search of a metropolis,” of “boosters and b debunkers, of sunshine and noir.”

Tale of Two Malls Plaza Pasadena (1980) and Paseo Colorado (2001).

Colo r

ado

However, if you flip a U-turn at Los Angeles and instead drive east, Pasadena comes up first on Route 66, the trip up the parkway adding just enough distance for a sharper reflection to come into view. It is Pasadena’s Colorado Boulevard, the final Main Street before the terminus of this westward migration, that tells the true tale of old 66 and the rise the modern city, of the shifting of main street and the highway that passed it by.

Colorado Street, 1923 The view below shows the north side of Colorado Street between Marengo and what is now Garfield Avenue, appearing here much as it does today. The widening of Colorado to boulevard status in 1930 occurred off to the left in the oldest parts of the downtown. By 1923, the 1913 Post Office below was used to align the new Civic Center along its side street of Garfield Avenue.

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OVERVIEW

PROJECTS

EVENTS

PLANITORIUM

NEXT STEPS

CONCLUSIONS

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"My City"  

"My City" tells the story of Pasadena’s City Beautiful Movement and the century that followed, exploring how this proven approach can be rev...

"My City"  

"My City" tells the story of Pasadena’s City Beautiful Movement and the century that followed, exploring how this proven approach can be rev...

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