Pasadena is a city in northern Los Angeles County, California. Home to about 138,699 people as of 2020, Pasadena has been the site of many films and television programs due to its central California location and the number of locations used for filming.
Pasadena was founded in 1874 and is famous for hosting the annual Rose Bowl football game. The first college bowl game was held here in 1902 – now called the “Granddaddy of All Bowl games.” Pasadena is also home to many natural ice skating rinks (though they are technically indoors). The Rose Bowl concourses have been equipped with ice rink coolant lines.
The land that is now Pasadena, California, was once inhabited by the Tongva Native Americans for a thousand years or more until their contact with the Spanish missionaries over 300 years ago. The first Europeans to see the area were the members of a Spanish expedition led by Gaspar de Portolà, who camped near an indigenous settlement on the banks of a stream, which they called “Arroyo de Los Faetos” (or Stream of the Smokes).
The next recorded visit by Europeans was in November 1769 when Sgt. Jose Francisco Ortega, José Joaquin Moraga, and their company returning from rounding up insurgents whom they drove into the high sierra west of Fresno stopped to collect pine nuts at “El Jorge,” on the slopes of nearby San Gabriel Mountain.
This was part of an ill-fated expedition led by Don Gaspar de Portolà (1716–1786) by land and sea from northern California in 1769, attempting to reach Monterey Bay. The expedition encountered many difficulties due to torrential rains, an earthquake that caused the loss of two lives, and hunger. Unable to find Monterey or other missions in California, they returned by way of Los Angeles.
Fray Juan Crespi kept a journal of the Portolà expedition, which records not only the topography of the land they passed through but also the Native Americans of the area. Fray Crespi named the Arroyo Seco River after Saint Philip of Jesus because they crossed it on the day before his feast day. They camped near where San Gabriel Boulevard now crosses the river.
This area has landmarks like the historic Artcraft Theatre sign, the well-maintained grounds of the Mission San Gabriel Arcángel (built 1771), and Mariachi Plaza in Downtown Pasadena. The natural features of the area are marked by rolling hills that tend to run north/south far inland with little or no space between them due to ridges left behind by the Raymond Fault. The canyons cut by the Arroyo Seco are typical of these hills. For a liberal city in Los Angeles, check out West Hollywood.