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Classic Cars at The Raymond Resort Hotel Pasadena, California

“The Raymond,” a resort hotel located on Bacon Hill in South Pasadena, California, opened for the first time in June of 1886. The opulent and palatial facility soon became the destination for wealthy and famous tourists visiting the area. After an ember from a chimney landed on the wooden-shingled roof, the structure caught fire and burned to the ground nine years later in 1895.

A new, more lavish, and larger structure with four-hundred guest rooms which replaced the original opened in 1901. Once again it became a landing-place for well-heeled visitors in the area until the Huntington Hotel, another luxury resort also located in Pasadena began receiving visitors in 1914. Later due to the Great Depression, competition, and resulting loss of patrons the resort was no longer a viable business and the bank holding the mortgage foreclosed on the property in 1931, following that the structure was demolished in 1934.

The lead image and the enlargeable sectional images of it below contain sixteen automobiles, which with the exception of a Dodge touring car and an early Model “A” Ford sedan are for the most part luxury sedans and limousines of visitors at “The Raymond.”

Let us know what you find of interest in the photograph courtesy of the Huntington Library.

14 responses to “Classic Cars at The Raymond Resort Hotel Pasadena, California

  1. Today, Bacon Hill or Raymond Hill is covered with unattractive apartment buildings. In Pasadena, the Green Hotel is still standing & doing well. There is also the Vista DE Arroyo hotel that now serves as the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The bungalows are still standing as well. The Wentworth Hotel which became the Huntington, was torn down & a new hotel in it’s likeness replaced it. I believe it is now the Ritz Carlton Huntington. My parents used to stay in the original Huntington, with it’s huge lobby, picture bridge which was saved, and the small hotel rooms with transom windows for ventilation.

    • My maternal grandfather, struggling with lung disorders, stayed at the Green Hotel in the winter of 1896-1897 along with his wife and infant daughter ( my mother ). The supposedly salubrious climate couldn’t save him and they returned to New Jersey where he died the following summer.

  2. The cars in the second picture are not readily identifiable but in the first picture most are.

    On the left looks like a 1928 Cadillac Town Sedan. Partially hidden next to it is a 1928 Studebaker Dictator cabriolet, identifiable by the Atalanta hood ornament. Next, the big sedan, with the battery box on the running board, is a 1926 Cadillac and the far sedan is a 1927 Cadillac. In between those two is a much lower price car, but with an unusual body style that I don’t recognise.

      • I think the far sedan is a Lincoln, no battery box, in the first photo the bumper is a clue?… and in the second photo the car this side of the Packard has I think (maybe) the same bumper… a Lincoln again?

        • I see at least 3 “Bi-Flex” front bumpers (with the big center loop) which were distinctively used by most early Lincolns. I believe at least two here are early 1920’s era Lincoln sedans/limos with their large eyebrows and straight windshields.

          Is the Model A Ford Tudor (with it’s back showing to us on extreme right front) a Victoria model? It really looks sharp with spare tire cover,etc. I think I see the Model A Ford Phaeton further down the right side near the huge palm tree.

          We get to see many of these fabulous machines each year at the long running So.-Cal. Horseless Carriage Club’s “Holiday Motor Excursion” which encourages all pre-1933 vehicles to participate in a grand early morning assembly and a day long “Motor Excursion” through the fine neighborhoods of San Marino, South Pasadena, Sierra Madre, Arcadia, and Pasadena stopping at a park for coffee/donuts, lunch, a private garage visit and old time ice cream social. Every neighborhood loves the event and many watch from their front porches with coffee for the fabulous motor cars travelling through. This is one of the most interesting nostalgia events one can attend (especially for the very young to see these relics actually up close and running) even if it is just for the early morning assembly which lasts about 3 hours before the old motor cars go out under their (steam, gasoline, or electric) motivation. Most serious enthusiasts drive their vintage rides to the generous spectator parking area which allows cars clear up through the1950s. No judging, but lots of owner interaction and sharing. This is definitely a must see on every gear-head’s bucket list, every year last Saturday or Sunday of just before day of Tournament of Roses Parade. No cost except for $10 parking fee at Santa Anita Park.

  3. Looks as if Don Lee Cadillac was selling lots of limousines then. It appears to be a Packard with the chauffeurs standing by, the third car from the end in the right-hand view. Interesting to know if The Raymond had preferred make courtesy cars.

    • What is amazing to me is the Landscape Architecture of the time… the detailing of the groundskeepers- note the grade between the Hotel entrance and the promenade to the landing below, those perfectly trimmed columnar cypresses flanking the 25-30 foot wide walkway, all absolutely level with the roof fascia/eaves of the first story of the hotel, is this where the guests /patrons would arrive and begin their ascent to the flight of stairs to the ginormous veranda, how did the guests get up there, did the Hotel have sedan chairs with strong shouldered uniformed litter bearers for each guest to ferry them? The exotic palms of the time would have to be worth??? It just boggles the mind!

  4. While Don Lee , (Mount Lee named after him), where the “HOLLYWOOD(LAND)” sign was /is, now, was selling Cadillacs, Earle C. Anthony Distributors was selling Packard Motor Cars. These two “outfits” are well represented in this parking lot.

  5. Correct me if I’m wrong but wasn’t this the Hotel Green in Pasadena, that still existed as a retirement home in the 1990s – and may still exist? Perhaps it was originally the Raymond. Either way, it was pictured in several hardboiled detective movies in the 1970s/80s…it’s a little creepy to see in person…

    • Ahem,
      David gives the history of this hotel at the start. He states it was demolished in 1934 after bank had foreclosed in 1931. See Bob Ricewasser’s details regarding the Green Hotel over in Pasadena. The Raymond was in South Pasadena. They are a dinstinct separate adjoining city, (with a beautiful Arte Moderne high school replete with a restored WurliTzer pipe organ) that has successfully fought CalTrans to allow any above grade freeway (CA 710) extension that would certainly bisect the city’s beautiful primarily residential community. The state CalTrans had actually bought up several luxury homes decades ago thinking they would condemn the land for the new 710 extension they would surely be building. The homes sat vacant all these years and some were eventually resold and occupied since CalTrans could no longer justify owning them!

      South Pasadena doesn’t necessarily oppose tunneling underneath in some very expensive alternative proposals in more recent years as long as South Pasadena is not taxed to build on such a plan. The area has seismic history of course, so tunneling would be extremely costly to make it safe. There is a definite lack of continuity of freeways in Pasadena that create a severe set of bottlenecks (110, 134, 210 with no junction to 710). It can be a real pain to get to or out of just about any part of the Pasadena area quickly and efficiently. The 110 (north from downtwon L.A. into Pasadena) is L.A.’s first “freeway” and is a winding passage running alongside the Aroyo Seco (flood channel). It is pretty dangerous with several surface street on-ramps with Drag Race accelerations from STOP signs for 50-100ft into right lane traffic merges! No shoulders. Suitable for high performance cars of course.

      • Ahem, ahem… The Hotel Green was a resort comprised of various buildings – ours, the 1898 West Annex was converted to the Castle Green co-op apartments, is still very thriving today and hardly creepy. You are thinking of the older, original part acorss the street where Stats now dwells. Only original part left is the corner of Green and Raymond. The other part which continued to operate as a hotel into the 1970s is along Green to Fair Oaks – it was converted to low income housing when G&K bought it way back when.

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