Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, March 16, 2019

MVNews this week:  Page B:1


The Vine

Sierra Madre’s 125-Year Old Wistaria* Vine By Phyllis Chapman

NETS $230,000 - 1100 ATTEND 

By Joan Schmidt

 1100 attended Mardi 
Gras Food Fest 2019, raising 
$230,000! The fun-filled 
celebration included 36 food 
vendors, wine from San 
Antonio Winery, D’Aquinos, 
and LA County Fair 
Association; Golden Road, 
Miller Coors and Mt. Lowe 
beer; an exciting auction; 
mysterious raffle boxes; 
awesome “80’z All Stars”; 
Arcadia HS Band Members, 
King Dino and Queen Hope 
Clarizio leading the festive 

 2019 Mardi Gras 
Food Fest benefits Cancer 
Care at Methodist Hospital. 
Past Mardi Gras contributed 
to the Cath Lab, stroke 
services, new Acute Rehab 
Department, Digital Mammography, and the Joint and Spine Pavilion. 

 Dr. Dino Clarizio and wife Hope were “Kind and Queen”. For 30+ years, Arcadia native 
Dr. Dino Clarizio and wife Hope have served the San Gabriel Valley community. He is an internal 
medicine specialist at Methodist, treating thousands of patients over the years, and she has managed 
his medical practice office. Their volunteer work includes hosting Gifts from the Heart, at their 
home for a scholarship program at La Salle H.S. Hope volunteers with animal rescue organizations; 
Dino volunteers at community health and wellness events and has served as a player, manager, 
referee and team sponsor with numerous soccer organizations throughout his life.

 The Mardi Gras Food Fest happens because MANY HARDWORKING SELFLESS people 
spend HOURS of planning and organization. This year’s Co-Chairs were Sophia Chan, Mark 
Hafeman, and Patty Soldo, as well as their committee creating such an outstanding fun event.

Sponsors are an integral part of all great events. The “Title” Grand Sponsor was Arcadia Gardens 
Retirement Hotel/ Arcadia Healthcare Center. The ten “Carnivale” sponsors were Arcadia Hospital 
Medical Group; Christopher and Jenna Clarizio; Congress Orthopedics”, Sukhpal Gil M.D. & 
Rupdev Khosa M.D; Healthcare Partners; La Salle High School; Santillanes Family; Roger and Lilah 
Strangeland Foundation; and SunMar. There were nine “Racin Cajun” sponsors: Baldwin Gardens 
Nursing Center; Emergency Medical Management; Foothill Infectious Disease Medical Group; Dr. 
Durdana Gilani; Dr. Hafeez Khan and Afnahn Khan; Dean Sloan; and GOGREENLIGHTING.
COM,INC.; and Shone and Sherry Wong. In addition there were many Purple, Gold and Green 
sponsors. A “Thank You” is extended to establishments providing exceptional food and libations. 
The Mardi Gras Fest 2019 Committee truly is commended. What a wonderful evening that raised 
funds to bring the continued outstanding care and services at Methodist Hospital of Arcadia.

In 1894, William and Alice Brugman 
purchased a home on what was then 
called Piedmont, which is now called 
W. Carter Ave. The house had been built 
one year before by builder Amos Trussell 
for his daughter Winona and son-in-law 
Edward B. Jones when they married. It 
was the first wedding celebrated in early 
Sierra Madre.

 The Trussells and the Jones had a 
change of plans, sold to the Brugmans 
and moved away. To enhance her 
new home, Alice Brugman and her 
neighbor Mrs. W. B. Crisp, drove by 
horse and buggy to the R. H. Wilson 
Pioneer Nursery in Monrovia and for 
$.75 purchased a gallon can of wistaria. 
It was the Chinese Wistaria variety 
(Wisteria sinensis). She planted it in a 
corner of her front porch remarking to 
her neighbor: “They say Wistaria grows fast.” And 
grow it did.

 Mr. Brugman, a mining engineer, was in 
Mexico when the vine was planted. He died 
in 1899 and Mrs. Brugman sold the home in 
1906. The property changed hands until it was 
purchased in 1913 by Henry T. and Estelle Fennel. 
Mr. Fennel, who was a bit of a horticulturist, loved 
the vine, and gave it devoted care, even building 
support trellises.

 Although the Wistaria is a vigorous grower, 
the added support of the trellises may have 
contributed to this vine’s phenomenal growth. The 
arbors prevented the end tendrils from hanging 
down and causing the tender terminal buds to die 
from the added weight. Wistaria requires good 
drainage, certainly provided by this hilly, terraced 
location. There may also be an underground 
spring providing water to the tap root. 

 The vine eventually destroyed the original 
home, growing into the walls and fireplace and 
causing the roof to collapse. Mr. Fennel built 
a new home 200 feet to the north (the present 
upper home) and trained the vine to grow up to, 
but not covering the new residence. A portion of 
the foundation of that original home was saved 
to continue to provide support for the vine as its 
branches extended such a distance.

 When the vine was in bloom, the Fennels would 
invite friends to come and enjoy the blossoming 
plant. Visitors also came from Pasadena’s main 
hotels: The Green, The Huntington, and The 
Raymond. In 1918, the Fennels opened the vine 
to the Sierra Madre Chapter of the American 
Red Cross, which sponsored a very successful 
fundraiser to help the war effort. 12,000 people 
attended the event. This was the beginning of 
many Wistaria festivals that took place year after 
year. Sierra Madre became known as the Wistaria 
City. Many local organizations, including the 
Board of Trade (now the Chamber of Commerce), 
the Woman’s Club, the Masons and Eastern Star, 
the Sierra Madre Volunteer Fire Dept., etc. were 

 Many homemade items, fancy work, ceramics, 
artwork, gift books, and Wistaria fragranced 
perfume, hand lotion and bath salts were sold 
at booths under the vine. Luncheons and teas 
were served, often with young Japanese women 
wearing their kimonos.

 The hard work and money earned at the vine 
by the Woman’s Club paid off the mortgage of 
their first clubhouse. One year the Fire Dept. 
parked 30,000 cars on the parking lot that existed 
in Floral Canyon. (This is now Sierra Meadow 
Dr.). Easter sunrise services were among vine 
activities. People came from all over the world and 
extra street cars were added to handle the crowds. 
Among the famous were Fritz Kreisler, Janet 
Leigh, Mary Pickford, and Norman Rockwell. 
These two helped select the festival’s Wistaria 
Queen. Packard Automobile Co. used the vine as 
a backdrop to advertise its automobile.

On December 5, 1936, Carrie Ida Lawless 
purchases the vine property (Continued on B2)

from Mrs. Fennel, who was now a widow, for 
$17,000.00. December 5th was Mrs. Lawless’ 
birthday, and according to one account, she 
was making a present to herself of the world’s 
largest bouquet. Also a widow, her husband 

(continued on page 3)

700 West Huntington Drive 
Monrovia, CA 91016 
Cold Seafood Station 
Poached Atlantic King Crab Legs and Claws 
Pacific Smoked Salmon Display 
Peel and Eat Shrimp 
Carving Station 
Prime Rib with Au-jus and Horseradish Cream 
Easter Ham with Bourbon Brown Sugar Glaze 
Breakfast Station with Made to Order Omlettes 
Eggs Benedict Cinnamon French Toast 
Salad Station Entree Station Dessert Station 
Adult $ 36.95 Senior $ 31.95 
Children 4 years ~ 12 years $19.95 
3 years & younger ~ free 
For Reservation call 626-531-8025 
Limited Walk Ins, please call and confirm ahead 
Join Us 
Easter Brunch 
Sunday, April 21, 2019 
10:00 AM - 2:00PM 
Thrift Shop 
Breath of Spring Gifts, Toys, Jewelry & Surprises 
Books, DVDs, CD's, Stationary, Pictures, 
Clothes, Shoes & Accessories; Kitchen, Linens & Housewares 
Toys & Stationary, Easter & Mother’s Day Decorations 
Thursday - Saturday 
April 4, 5 & 6 
9 am – 2 pm 
550 W. Sierra Madre Blvd. 
626 355-7739 
Proceeds Benefit our 
Community Charities & Scholarships 
~ STOP BY, BROWSE & Buy ~ 
Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays + 1st & 3rd Saturdays 10 - 3 thru May ‘19 
Clean Usable Donations Accepted 10 am-2 pm Weekdays 
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