Saturday, June 14, 2008

Busch Gardens, Pasadena

A photo spread of Busch Gardens--in Friday the 13th's Los Angeles Times Business section--shows both the original gardens in Pasadena, and the amusement park Busch Gardens that opened in the 1960s in Van Nuys.

This picture is from the Pasadena Gardens website; not part of the Times display and article.

Adophus Busch was a German immigrant who married the boss's daughter in 1861. (And his brother Ulrich married another daughter at the same double ceremony.) His father-in-law was Eberhard Anheuser, and thus Anheuser-Busch was born. Busch, who made the company a national, modern business, liked to live large. He started with a 4-acre ravine in Pasadena in 1904, along with a mansion on Orange Grove, and kept adding more land. Once his hired gardener Robert Gordon Fraser worked his magic, Busch opened 14-acre upper garden to the public in 1906. Nice guy.

Then he started the lower gardens, which opened in 1909. Free access to everyone, seven days a week. Some of the fountain still work, btw.

Busch then bought "The Annex," an 11-acre parcel with a mansion and deer park, and held his gala 50th wedding anniversary party there. Busch died in 1913, and the Annex was razed in 1928. But the gardens stayed open. Hollywood movies filmed there, including (according to the Times) Citizen Kane.

Busch's family offered the entire thing to the city of Pasadena, which passed (ouch! But the issue was maintenance) So the lovely gardens were broken up and the land sold in parcels.

Bits of it are still around though, like the Old Mill at Stoneridge and Madeline. This old picture is from a website dedicated to the Gardens, with lots of old colored postcards.

Many homeowners in the area have taken great care with the pergolas and paths that were once part of the gardens. A CD of photographs is available from the website in the the previous paragraph--just scroll to the end of the page.

1 comment:

takapitcha said...

Fantastic mini-story! I volunteer at the Gamble House, a mere block or so away from the former Gardens. There are mysterious walls and paths still winding through some of the properties (remnants of the Gardens.) Im fascinated with this former private/public park he created.