Your Research Hub
Visit our archives to explore these resources in person:
Maps: Cartography dating from 1849
The Altadena Historical Society’s cartography collection includes more than 50 maps that chart Altadena’s history, progress, and dreams for the future. In addition, we have maps covering Pasadena, the San Gabriel Valley, and the Los Angeles area.
Many are practical representations depicting the distance between places, demarcation of travel routes, and the location of boundaries. Others are whimsical graphic representations publicizing community sites, like businesses and parks.
Maps tell darker stories as well, of racism, poverty, and economic downturn. Government tract maps show sub-divided pieces of land. Realtor’s maps boast plans for future subdivisions. Community booster maps, like those issued by the Chamber of Commerce, persuade businesses and homebuyers to put down roots in Altadena.
Our maps date from 1849 to the present, and cover a wide range of topics, including public works, political maps, the Angeles National Forest and area mountain ranges, charts and schematics for the Mt. Lowe railroad, aerial photo maps dating from as far back as the 1920s, and U.S. Geological Survey maps.
Newspapers: Go back in time and read the front page news
Visit the Altadena Historical Society to access newspapers in the Archives. Photocopies can be made for a minimal cost.
AHS has bound newspapers for the following dates:
• The Altadenan (1958-1977)
• The Altadena-Pasadena Chronicle (1978-1983)
• The Altadena Press (1928-1944)
Microfiche and Microfilm
These newspapers are on microfiche or microfilm. Call or visit to confirm the availability of the issue you want.
• The Altadena Weekly (1936-1954)
• The Altadenan (1944-1976)
• The Altadena Chronicle (1977-1983)
• The Pasadena Weekly (1984, 1989-2001)
• The Weekly (1984-1989)
AHS has thousands of clippings dating to the late 1800s. Topics include annexation, artists, business and industry, the Census, Christmas Tree Lane, churches, development and redevelopment, Eaton Canyon, filming, the Los Angeles County Fire Department, houses, the Sheriff’s Department, town hall meetings, and bylaws, and more.
Oral Histories: Listen to the eyewitnesses of Altadena history
The Altadena Historical Society began collecting oral histories back in the days of audio tapes to record the personal recollections of longtime Altadenans for future generations.
Our collection includes first-hand accounts of Altadena life from its residents. This includes interviews with Pasadena’s first Black taxi driver, Jesse Gilton, documentary filmmaker Pablo Miralles, Scripps gardening family member Fumiko Yuge, artist Jirayr Zorthian and more. We have put many of these online. Visit our Oral Histories page for links and more information.
Photographs and Postcards: More than 1,000 items!
Our collection of photographs cover a range of topics, including Altadenans, views of the city, Christmas Tree Lane, churches, Eaton Canyon, historic homes, hotels, Mt. Lowe, Mt. Wilson, Pacific Electric Railway, organizations, schools, disasters (storms, floods, fires, etc.) and many other people, places, and events.
Photos are filed in the Archives by topic. Volunteers are digitizing all the photos, but the process is not complete. Prints of the photos in our collection may be purchased for limited use. Prices depend on usage.
Wish you were here
AHS also has a collection of postcards dating back to 1908. Subjects include Mt. Lowe, the Alpine Tavern, the Altadena Country Club, Mt. Wilson, Christmas Tree Lane, iconic houses, Devils Gate Dam, and the Pacific Electric Railway, and more.
Reference: Local authors, local topics, and local focus
The Altadena Historical Society has something for everyone from the resident in search of a few facts to the serious scholar. Some items may be photocopied.
The AHS library houses about 400 books, including many by Altadena authors such as Zane Grey and Jean Burden, and has been enhanced with additional volumes of local interest donated by the Altadena Library District.
Topics include Altadena, Altadenans, Mt. Lowe, the San Gabriel Mountains, Pasadena, the Los Angeles area, and Southern California. We also have a collection of local cookbooks.
Who lived in your house? Thanks to our collection of over 75 historical and current phone directories for the Altadena area, you can trace inhabitants back to 1911. Some directories in this rare collection include not only the names of residents but occupations as well.
AHS has a collection of pamphlets dating back to the early 1900s that cover topics such as community planning, business and industry, houses, churches, Dawn Mine, Mt. Lowe, Mt. Wilson, Christmas Tree Lane, organizations throughout the foothill communities, and numerous others.
Special Collections: See the collections of notable people and organizations
The Altadena Historical Society maintains special collections of major individuals and organizations. This includes the photographs of L.T. Gotchy, Kellogg/Scripps family correspondence, legal papers about the La Viña housing development, and Theatre Americana. Learn more.