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Early History of Linda Vista Neighborhood Anything But Cut and Dried

Early settlers of Linda Vista, their business acumen and the area’s social evolution to be discussed Saturday at Pasadena Public Library event

Published on Friday, July 19, 2019 | 4:48 am
Linda Vista area with bridge over the Arroyo Seco in undated photo, likely taken around 1900. Pasadena Museum of History

The early settlers of the Linda Vista neighborhood of Pasadena were decades ahead of their time in some ways, notably for creating one of the earliest and most successful fruit drying and shipping businesses in the United States.

There were other innovations and firsts that emerged from the historic Linda Vista area of Pasadena.

The history of the area’s wealthy and interesting will be discussed at a “History of the Linda Vista Neighborhood” presentation Saturday at the Pasadena Public Library’s Linda Vista Branch.

The discussion and display of early photographs will be led by Young Phong, who oversees the local history archives of the Pasadena Public Library.

Settled by a mostly Quaker group from the midwest, Linda Vista was renowned for its prime agricultural lands. The early settlers took advantage of the lush yield of the rich California soil in the form of a new agriculture sales model.

“It was a simpler life,” Phong said. “The settlers were from the midwest and they came from a farming life. They saw Linda Vista as fertile farming land waiting to be developed.”

“There were many ranchers there and a lot of orchards there and that spawned a fruit drying business,” Phong said. “They dried apricots, peaches, and citrus. There was also beekeeping, too, because you had open land with a lot of orchards and you have wildflowers, so that spawned industry.”

Dried fruit had been considered a delicacy since early Mesopotamia, and the people of Linda Vista knew its value. The settlers knew that people throughout California and beyond would buy the dried fruit.

While Florida is often considered an early adopter of the fruit shipping business, Linda Vista settlers started decades before the Sunshine State sent its citrus throughout the country.

Phong said he will be discussing a range of historic events that shaped Linda Vista into the present-day.

“It was very rustic, it was an agriculture place,” he said. “There were a lot of orchards, and a lot of farming. You had people not only cultivating the land but also there were fruit drying places.”

“They would hire people from the surrounding neighborhood or from Pasadena proper and the Native Americans would help with the drying process,” he said. “Once their fruits were dry, they packed them in a barrel and then shipped out to various places in California. And that spawned the beekeeping that would produce honey.”

Phong said he thinks there are lessons which can be learned today from the early inhabitants of the Linda Vista neighborhood.

“Hard work pays off, being industrious,” Phong said. ” I think that might be a message that we can get from their history. They put in hard work and they had this vision and over time that paid off. If you work hard for something, it pays off.”

The “History of the Linda Vista Neighborhood” event will start at 11 a.m. on Saturday at the Pasadena Public Library’s Linda Vista Branch 1281 Bryant Street in West Pasadena. The event is free. For more information call (626) 744-7278.


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