Pasadena sits on an alluvial fan, deposited by stream systems, which eroded the bedrock of the San Gabriel Mountains to the north. The primary stream was carved out of a great gorge called the Arroyo Seco. Nature lovers and sports enthusiasts are drawn to the area, which has become a popular recreation area. The Arroyo is home to the famous Rose Bowl, Brookside Golf Course and other recreational facilities.
In Pasadena’s early days the Arroyo Seco was a pleasant village with orchards of walnuts, olives and citrus trees. Because of its magnificent scenery and balmy climate it became a favorite spot for hiking, fishing and hunting. In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt declared his support for the movement to keep the Arroyo Seco a natural park. However, when the necessary bond issue failed to pass, many of Pasadena’s wealthy citizens acquired the remaining land options. Many of these wealthy residents built magnificent mansions that still fill the hills of the Arroyo Seco today.
Before the historic Colorado Street Bridge was built in 1913, crossing the Arroyo Seco was an arduous task. Horses and wagons descended the steep eastern slope, crossed the stream over a smaller bridge, and then climbed up the west bank through Eagle Rock Pass. The graceful curves of the Colorado Street Bridge resulted from difficulties in finding solid footing in the Arroyo bed. Engineer John Drake Mercereau conceived the idea of curving the bridge, thereby creating a work of art. The bridge stands 150 feet high and extends 1,468 feet. The overpass was closed in 1989 after engineers declared it structurally weak. Every inch of its silhouette was retained and the bridge was reopened in 1994 following a $27.4 million renovation.
In 1922 the world-famous Rose Bowl was completed in an area of the Arroyo Seco designated as Brookside Park. Covering 61.1 acres, Brookside is Pasadena’s largest park. In addition to the Rose Bowl, the park also includes Brookside Golf Course and the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center. The Rose Bowl has been the site of major sporting events including five Super Bowls and the 1994 World Cup Soccer Championships. The Rose Bowl hosts the annual Rose Bowl Game and UCLA football home games.
Adjacent to the Rose Bowl lies lush Brookside Golf Course with its two 18-hole championship courses. The Rose Bowl Aquatics Center houses two 50-meter pools and is the host facility for premier local, national and international swimming, diving and water polo events. Lessons for the public are offered. Kidspace Children’s Museum is a one-of-a-kind museum that features 20 interactive exhibits and two acres of gardens, waterways and outdoor learning environments. Moreover, Brookside Park contains picnic accommodations, five lighted tennis courts, four badminton courts, two handball courts, two lighted softball diamonds, six lighted horseshoe courts, archery, casting and lawn bowling facilities. The park’s regulation baseball diamond, the Jackie Robinson Stadium, has grandstand seating for 4,200 people, team rooms, showers and lockers.
ABOUT PASADENA CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU
The Pasadena Convention & Visitors Bureau is a non-profit marketing organization dedicated to promoting Pasadena as a desirable meeting, convention and leisure travel destination. For more information and assistance in planning meetings and special events in Pasadena, contact the Pasadena Convention & Visitors Bureau at (800) 307-7977 or log on to www.VisitPasadena.com.