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“Remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency.” Daniel Burnham

“KNOW YOUR CITY BETTER”

REVITALIZING “MY CITY”

Though often associated with its landmark Civic Center of the 1920s, Pasadena’s City Beautiful Movement actually took place before US involvement in World War I, from 1913-1917.* This popular movement brought 5000 people together for its “My City” exhibit, building the essential momentum that was essential for Pasadena’s landmark Civic Center and its Golden Age of Development that followed.

In Dean Damon’s article “How to Get Started in City Planning: the Pasadena Way,” he describes the core principles of how the City Beautiful Movement worked to create ongoing momentum. The potential of revitalizing this approach is explored in the documents below, updating the simple approach to creating ongoing dialogue that is largely missing from today’s planning process. For details, download “My City” at mycity.is.

* After WWI, the phrase “City Beautiful” fell into disuse in Pasadena and during the Movement itself, “Beaux Arts” and style were rarely discussed.

In addition to George Damon’s April 28th, 1917 article that appears on the pages that follow, Dean Damon authored a number of other articles and plans between 1914 and 1917. See pasadenapassages.org for more articles about “My City” and Pasadena’s City Beautiful Movement and the new “My City” book about the planning of Pasadena.

“How to Get Started in City Planning: the Pasadena Way” Inscribed outside today’s Planning Bldg, Dean Damon describes “The Pasadena Way” in 1916. mycity.is/pasadenaway.pdf

PASADENAPASSAGES.ORG

“My City” tells the story of Pasadena’s City Beautiful Movement and the century that followed. Written by native son David Wolf and named after the 1916 exhibit of the same name, “My City” can be found online at mycity.is Printed copies are available at Pasadena’s Central Library.

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“A ‘HOME MADE’ CITY PLANNING EXHIBIT” Both “The City Planning Movement in Pasadena” article that begins on the previous page (Southwest Contractor) and the“Home-Made”article of 1916 (Courtesy of the Caltech Archives) present Dean Damon’s address that year to the National Conference on City Planning and include the exact same text. This reprint includes photos and scans from the “Home-Made” article mycity.is/homemade.pdf

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“The City Planning Movement in Pasadena” and “A Home-Made City Planning Exhibit and its Results”

THE ORIGINS OF THE PASADENA HISTORY MUSEUM ARCHIVE As this section seems to support, the origins of what is now the Pasadena History Museum archive began with the Pioneer Exhibit at “My City” in 1916. This unattributed framed photo found in the History Museum today also appears to be a contribution from“My City.”

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“The City Planning Movement in Pasadena” and “A Home-Made City Planning Exhibit and its Results”

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“The City Planning Movement in Pasadena” and “A Home-Made City Planning Exhibit and its Results”

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“The City Planning Movement in Pasadena” and “A Home-Made City Planning Exhibit and its Results”

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“The City Planning Movement in Pasadena” and “A Home-Made City Planning Exhibit and its Results”

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“The City Planning Movement in Pasadena” and “A Home-Made City Planning Exhibit and its Results”

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“The City Planning Movement in Pasadena” and “A Home-Made City Planning Exhibit and its Results”

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“The City Planning Movement in Pasadena” and “A Home-Made City Planning Exhibit and its Results”

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“The City Planning Movement in Pasadena” and “A Home-Made City Planning Exhibit and its Results”

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“The City Planning Movement in Pasadena” and “A Home-Made City Planning Exhibit and its Results”

A VISION OF THE CITY PLAN

“MY CITY”

Dean Damon also included this poem from “My City” in his 1916 article published in the Throop Bulletin. Download a pdf at mycity.is/homemade.pdf Today, poetry and the word “beautiful” have fallen into disuse in city planning. The history of “My City” and the potenial of a revitalized process can be found in the free “My City” document online at Pasadena Passages.

The “My City” document has two parts: the first describing the City Beautiful Movement in Pasadena and the century of development that followed. The second half explores how that process might be updated for any city today.

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Batchelder Fountain at Vandevort Alley’s Horticultural Court

Ernest Batchelder crafted tile of extraordinary elegance, helping transform an ordinary alley into a much beloved space. In 1916 (below left), the Horticultural Court at the “My City” Exhibit featured his fountain. By the 1970s, the fountain lay in anonymous ruin (below middle).

The Batchelder Fountain at the “My City” Horticultural Court

The Batchelder Fountain, c1917

Located at the Board of Trade offices, the “My City” Horticultural Court’s Batchelder Fountain was a point of pride. The Board of Trade’s 1917 brochure included this image of the fountain as it appeared at “My City.”

The Broken Batchelder Fountain, 1978

Long after the Horticultural Court and “My City” were forgotten, the old Batchelder Fountain behind 34 South Raymond lay in anonymous ruin, its base and bowl broken, a forgotten relic of the “My City” exhibit.

“My City” Provides the Missing Link

Batchelder historian and artist Cha-rie Tang was searching for an image of the unbroken fountain, the missing piece to restoring the Batchelder Fountain. The “My City” Project is proud to have provided that missing piece.

Vandevort Alley at 34 South Raymond, the location of “My City” and the Horticultural Court, become the famed back-alley Espresso Bar in 1979.

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The Planning Movement in Pasadena  

April 28th, 1917. Dean George A. Damon describes how Pasadena's City Beautiful Movement created a bottom-up approach to planning the city's...

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