Thursday, January 18, 2018

Learn about Caltech's JPL rocketry progreams during the 1930's and '40s


A vintage photo of the JPL rocketry team taking a break from motor-testing in the Arroyo Seco. Yes, those are sandbags.  Photo credit: NASA/JPL
The little-known stories of California Institute of Technology’s rocket-development programs in the 1930s and ‘40s at its Jet Propulsion Laboratory will be told by historian Erik M. Conway at the next quarterly meeting of the Altadena Historical Society.

The program will be at 7:30 p.m. Monday Jan. 22 at the Altadena Community Center, 730 E. Altadena Drive, and is free and open to the public.

The Historical Society’s current exhibit, “Five Men Inspired by the San Gabriels,” will be open prior to and after the program.

“Caltech’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory at Altadena’s northwest corner is often known as a center of planetary exploration, but it was originally founded to develop rocket technology in the 1930s,” said Conway, a JPL staff historian.

“Far less known is that Caltech had a second rocket project during World War II that ultimately spun off what is now the China Lake Naval Air Weapons Center.  In my talk, I’ll tell the story of these two rocket projects and suggest why they took such very different paths.”

Conway, of Pasadena, is employed by Caltech and studies and documents the history of space exploration.  He received the 2009 NASA History Award for “pathbreaking contributions to space history…”.

Altadena Historical Society is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays, and by appointment at (626) 797-8016.  Visit the website or email AHS.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Inspired by the San Gabriels: Five Men and the Mountains

The Altadena Historical Society continues its series of public educational exhibits on people and events from Altadena's fascintating past.  

"Inspired by the San Gabriels: Five Men and the Mountains" presents the unique personalities and accomplishments of Theodore Lukens, Will Thrall, Don McLain, L.T. Gotchy and George Wharton James. The exhibit includes  their words, maps, photos and memorabilia from the 1890s through the 1950s, 

These men dedicated their lives to charting, conserving and promoting the San Gabriel Mountains they loved. This exhibit kicks off a a free reception from 2 to 4 pm on Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017 and continues through October 2018. 

The public is invited to discover the stories of these five men during the regular AHS hours from 9 am to 1 pm on Monday, Tuesday and Friday. 

Altadena Historical Society
Altadena Community Center
730 E. Altadena Dr. 
Altadena, CA 91001-2351

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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Oct. 26: Raise a glass for AHS at the Mt. Lowe Brewing Company

On Thursday, October 26, The Mt. Lowe Brewing Company will donate 10% of the day’s profits to the Altadena Historical Society.  Buy yourself a craft beer between 6 and 9 pm and help AHS.(Check out the food trucks, too!)

Oct. 23: Noted biographer to discuss the life of Will Thrall, hiker, writer, conservationist, explorer

Sometimes called “Southern California’s John Muir,” Will Thrall dedicated his life to the preservation of the San Gabriel Mountains.

Thrall’s acclaimed biographer, Ronald C. Woolsey, will present a program on his life story at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 23 at the Community Center, 730 E. Altadena Drive, sponsored by the Altadena Historical Society.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Altadena's Eldorado Inn Destroyed in 1969 Flood


We've updated this post because we now have a photograph of the Eldorado Inn before it washed away in the 1969  flood.  The photo, courtesy of Mark Molander, was taken in December, 1957, the day of his parent's marriage. 

Don't mistake the little run-off channel in the bottom of the photo for Eaton Canyon wash. That's just drainage for the parking lots. You can see the Eaton Canyon arroyo behind the restaurant sign.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

July 24: Learn about the Altadena Mountain Rescue Team at a free program

Dramatic rescues of  lost and injured hikers in the San Gabriel Mountains by Altadena’s renowned Mountain Rescue Team will be featured in a 7:30 p.m. Monday, July 24 program sponsored by the Altadena Historical Society.