Panel Considers 'Arroyo Conservancy' in Pasadena

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Panel Considers ‘Arroyo Conservancy’ in Pasadena Story on Page 4




By Joe Catalano, AIA

Photograph Courtesy Sierra Madre Library Archives

 The Richardson House, which is adjacent to Lizzie’s Trail Inn, 
originally located around the corner on of what is now Mountain 
Trail Avenue. It was later moved to its present location,, and was 
part of the Inn’s operation for many years. 

 In studying the structure, the question arose about whether the 
shed at the back of the house is actually historic, or whether it is 
a later addition that is historically insignificant. SMHPS Board 
members Debbie Henderson, Gurdon Miller and Joe Catalano have 
been doing this research, aided (invaluably!) by Board member 
Maurice Orme, who grew up in the Richardson House. Maurice’s 
mother, Elsie Orme, worked at Lizzie’s, and then his family, the 
Ormes and McElwains, ran the Inn from the time of Lizzie’s death 
until it closed in 1948.

 The great stories about life and the goings-on there are Maurice’s to 
tell. (And he can be found at Lizzie’s on most Saturday mornings.) 
This article only focuses on what we have discovered about the 
house and its shed addition, and on how it figures into the history 
of Lizzie’s Trail Inn. 

 Lizzie’s and the Richardson House function as “interpretive 
museums.” An interpretive museum is a building or place in which 
something of historic significance happened, that is maintained 
“as it was,” including both the structure and its furnishings (when 
possible), so that people may see and learn from it by being in the 
actual place. (This, of course, differs from a museum building that is 
built as a museum, in which artifacts are put on display.)

Lizzie’s and the Richardson House are what remains of a compound 
that serviced the Mount Wilson Trail and its travelers for many 
years. Not only did folks socialize and have a good meal at Lizzie’s, 
they also had their supplies packed to mountain camps and to the 
Mt. Wilson Hotel. Some rented burros to ride rather than hike the 
steep trail. 

 The compound also included rental cabins, and a barn and stables 
for the pack animals, occupying a good part of the space that is now 
Mount Wilson Trail Park to the east of the Richardson House. Two 
events took place sometime early in the 1900s to change this. First, 
a road was built from Altadena to the top of Mount Wilson that 
allowed gasoline- powered vehicles to make the trip. Second, the City 
of Sierra Madre (incorporated 
in 1907) outlawed pack 
animals and stables within the 
city limits. The days of a “full 
service” facility at the trailhead 
were coming to a close. In 1961 
the barn, stables, and other 
structures were removed.

 The Richardson House is 
actually one of two very 
similar houses built by John 
Richardson, who came here 
to claim a land grant from the 
U.S. Government, in the 1860s. 
More research is needed to find 
the exact the date of moving 
the house across Mira Monte. 
Photographs from the archives 
show it in both locations. 
There are two additions onto 
the original structure. The 
first contains the large back 
room, bathroom, and a kitchen 
that unfortunately has been 
removed. The second one is 
what’s referred to as “The Shed,” 
the present back of the house.

 While precise construction dates have not been established for 
these additions, Maurice Orme clearly recalls that the shed existed 
when he lived there as a child. It was used as a laundry,for tool 
storage, and as the beer storage room for Lizzie’s. This is the key 
piece of information, that the shed existed as part of the Lizzie’s 
Trail Inn operation, it’s within what’s called the period of historic 

 Various people lived at the Richardson House throughout its 
history, who worked either in the pack station operations or at 
Lizzie’s (like Maurice’s family). After the end of the pack station 
operations, Lizzie’s continued to operate as a restaurantand 
importantly, as a speakeasy during Prohibition. There is some 
evidence (but unconfirmed) of a still having been housed in the 

 The shed has been is deteriorating. Our research has validated that 
it should be restored, as historically significant part of the Lizzie’s 
operation. It is important to note, that even in the Federal Register, 
not all historic buildings are fine architecture like Monticello. Many 
are indigenous, like adobes, and many are settlement era buildings, 
built with what was readily available. They are historically important 
for what went on in these places, not for the value of the architectural 
design. This is the case with Lizzie’s and the Richardson House, 
which figure importantly to the Mount Wilson Trail and the early 
development of Sierra Madre.

Lizzie’s has a wonderful collection of photographs, artifacts and 
memorabilia from the 1940 era. You’ll find, much all of the interior 
as it was in 1948. Best of all, you’ll find Maurice Orme there on 
Saturday mornings from 10 to noon. He’s always ready to share 
stories about Lizzie’s and growing up in the historic Richardson 

COVERAGE The Offices of The City Clerk 
and City Treasurer 

 On April 10, 2012, voters in Sierra Madre will go to the polls and select three people 
from a field of seven to sit on the City Council and elect a new City Treasurer and City 
Clerk. They will also vote on a local ballot measure on whether or not to extend the 
User Utility Tax and a related advisory measure.

 The city council race will fill two seats for new four year terms and one seat for the 
unexpired two year term vacated by former Mayor Joe Mosca.

 The Mountain Views News will provide our readers with comprehensive coverage 
of this election. Each week, as we have done in the past, we will profile the candidates 
and give each of the candidates the opportunity to introduce themselves to our readers by answering the following questions: 
(All candidates are being asked to answer the same questions): 1. Why are you running for Office? and 2. What are your 
plans if elected?

NANCY SUE SHOLLENBERGER - Unopposed Candidate for 
City Clerk

 As we approach the very important election on April 10, 2012, I am again 
honored to be running for the position of City Clerk. My duties as your City 
Clerk have always been handled with pride and dignity. It is a process I have 
undertaken with honesty and integrity.

 I take this position seriously and have always gone the extra mile to run this 
office in a way that I am very proud. Expenses in the City Clerk’s department 
are at a minimum. 

 It is my extreme pleasure and privilege to again attend the City Council meetings, 
take and type the Minutes of each meeting, do the paperwork necessary for the 
Form 700’s and make sure the Ordinances are published in a timely manner. 
All of this has been done with the utmost accuracy. I am responsible for the 
complete election process for the City Council, City Treasurer and City Clerk 

 My experience, dedication and devotion to this position, along with the quality of work, have been 
exemplary. My enthusiasm to serve the residents in Sierra Madre has never wavered.

 I can assure you that you will not be disappointed in my performance as your City Clerk, and I respectfully 
ask for your vote on April 10, 2012.

RICHARD MAYS - Unopposed Candidate for City Treasurer

 For me there is nothing more important as giving back to the community in 
which I live and helping to make Sierra Madre a better place whenever I can. 
That is why I have thrown my hat into the ring, asking for your vote as City 
Treasurer once again.

 I served in this office with pleasure from 2004 to 2008. I also served as the 
Deputy City Treasurer from 2008 until the present time.

 My experience, both professionally and through my previous tenure as City 
Treasurer, will enable me to serve the community well.

 I come to you with a deep commitment to Sierra Madre, where I have lived 
since 1961, and a desire to make certain that we continue to conduct the city’s 
business with integrity and according to all Federal, State and County laws.

 Next Week: The User Utility Tax Extension - The Pros and Cons 

 It is our sincere hope that each candidate will submit their answers so that we can share them with our 
readers. A separate letter has been sent to each candidate asking them to participate. 

Our reporting on this election will be as fair and objective as possible. However, please keep in mind that 
our columnists are always free to share their opinions. Their opinions are their opinions and may or may 
not reflect the position of the paper. This is true in all things, not just this election. 

Read The Paper Online At:

Mountain Views News 80 W. Sierra Madre Blvd. #327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Office: 626.355.2737 Fax: 626.604.4548