Pasadena’s history is essential for how the city got nicknamed the “Crown City.” From the Tournament of Roses to the Pasadena San Gabriel Mission, “Starting Anew: Transforming Pasadena, 1890-1930” is a landmark exhibition that not only explores the life of Eva Scott Fenyes, but also the enriched history of how Pasadena grew to a population of 76,000 in just over four decades.

“Beautiful, healthful, prosperous — there you have the city of Pasadena in three words… It is this combination that has spread the fame of Pasadena throughout the world as one of the fairest of American cities — as an abode of the blest,” according to the LA Times.

 The tour, led by Brad Macneil, director of education and public programming, started off with a glimpse of Pasadena in a postcard. The postcard accurately presented a view of how the intersection of Fair Oaks and Colorado Blvd. was circa 1910.

Before entering the exhibit there was a quick pit-stop at the front of the Fenyes Mansion. The variety of plants, flowers and let’s not forget about the palm trees accent the Mansion’s architectural beauty. Similar architectural structures can be seen all throughout Pasadena, it is where Pasadena City College and City Hall drew their inspiration from.

The exhibit was captivating and easy to follow along – taking our eyes chronologically from one piece of history to another. 

One of many artifacts the exhibit featured was of the evolution of bicycles. From big front wheels, as tall as an average person in the early days, to modern bicycles with gears that we have today.

“Bicycles in Pasadena had the highest per capita,” said Macneil.  

The tour explored Eva Fenyes. Eva was a New York artist that traveled the world. After a first unsuccessful marriage, she met her second husband, Adalbert Fenyes, in Egypt before settling down in Pasadena. Eva’s memories and experiences from another life contributed to the cultural and artistic development of Pasadena.

“Eva did not know her house was going to become a museum… but this is all because of her,” said Venetia Large, a docent at the museum. 

There is a general admission fee of $9 and students with ID can receive free admission. The tour is approximately an hour-long as visitors are able to dive into the vibrant decades of Pasadena’s history.

“I call this the baby Huntington [library],” said Macneil

From historic images, documents, artwork and clothing “Starting Anew: Transforming Pasadena, 1890-1930” is an exhibit illustrating how Pasadena changed rapidly from a small agricultural community with a population of 500 to a bustling city in the early 1900s and how it has shaped what the city has become today.

The exhibit is on view until July 3, 2020.

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