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The Top of the Arroyo Seco: Switzer’s Trail Above JPL

Acknowledgements This project would not exist without the work of Dean George A. Damon. His writings have served as a civic timecapsule and a message from a forgotten generation. His enthusiasm and great imagination have served as a guiding light. The efforts of his grandchildren, Gerry Damon, Janice Mesrobian and Sue Phelan is greatly appreciated. The project was also created as a result of conversations with Pasadena’s planning community in meetings and informal gatherings and a recurring “toast to ideals” that took place from 2010 to 2016. Thank you to Gazelle Wichner, Sylvia Holmes and the self-appointed ambassadors who contributed to making these gatherings so special. To my mother and father who still live in the house I grew up in on the Arroyo Seco. My father the problem solver and my mother the art docent at local museums for the last 35 years, thank you for teaching me the value of appreciation.

Marsha Rood, Mic Hansen, Morey Wolfson, Nora Wright, Nina Hiken, Qrys Cunningham, Richard McDonald, Scott Haugaard, Spencer Dunbar, Sylvia Holmes, Stephanie Sandston, Stephanos Polyzoides, Mayor Terry Tornek, and Vicrim Chima, Planner for the City of Pasadena. Generous historic, archival, and research assistance was contributed by John Fode and the Pasadena History Museum, the Caltech Archives and the Digital Pasadena website. Inspiration and the original link to Dean Damon and “My City” was supplied by Margaret Schermerhorn of The Espresso Bar, who also helped guide this project. Thank you Margaret. Thank you Don Kirby for being there and involved through the decade of working on this project. A big thanks to Ted Soqui for his great photos of the Espresso Bar. Thank you to everyone who helped with photos and images. Photo credits and details can be found on page 193.

A very big thank you to the teachers and advisors who gave encouragement along the way: Gil Young, Gary Sterling, Robert Novarro, James Pepper, David Greenberg, Richard Bender and Kevin Starr.

Great gratitude goes out especially to Dennis Campbell who helped edit “My City,” including suggestions and advice along the way, what to keep and what to change. Your friendship, generosity of spirit and enthusiasm for the project kept it going and on track.

In the process of creating this document, many, people have given feedback, support, advice, corrections and editing assistance.

Also, to the City of Pasadena, and its Commissions, and Department of Planning, thank you for your help and assistance.

To everyone who helped with advice, editing and feedback: Blair Miller, Bruce Litz, Danny Bayer, Erica Schatten, Greg Gunther, Janet Stone, Jonathan Edewards, Kirsten Korot, Kyla Imburg, Lin Griffith, Liz Schiller, Leora Saul, Leah Kohlenberg, Lori Pond, Margaret Schermerhorn,

I am very grateful to all of you. A warm and hearty thank you to each of you for your help and encouragement along the way.

About the Author David Robert Wolf was raised on the edge of Pasadena’s Arroyo Seco, close to the landmark Colorado Street Bridge. A graduate of John Muir High School, he was in the first class to be educated under the first court-ordered desegregation of public schools in the West. He attended the University of California, Berkeley, graduating with a Masters Degree in Architecture. During the course of his career, he has worked across a spectrum of design disciplines, from planning and architecture to sculpture and architectural history. He has also taught a broad range of architects, artists and planners from around the world, developing a unique approach to simplifying the process of design in the emerging digital age. “My City” and The Passages Project were developed between 2010 and 2016 as a gift of gratitude to the much appreciated hometown of a proud and grateful native son.

David Robert Wolf

The Top of the Arroyo Seco: Switzer’s Trail Above JPL

The Arroyo Seco Behind JPL