Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, March 18, 2023

MVNews this week:  Page A:3


Mountain View News Saturday, March 18, 2023 


by Deanne Davis



George Paul Kistner, beloved father, husband, 
grandfather, and long time Sierra Madre Canyon 
resident, passed away March 9th 2023. 

George was born January 6th 1933 and moved to 
the Sierra Madre Canyon when he was 5 years old. 
As a resident of the canyon for 85 years, George 
was known and liked by all of his neighbors. He 
loved to sit in his garage, talk to people passing 
by, and watch hikers go up and down Mount Wilson 
Trail. He also loved to ride the bus around 
LA county and was always helping friends and 
strangers find their way around the bus system.

George worked as a lead machinist. He married 
Jayne in 1958 and they had two children together, 
George and Suzanne. George and Jayne did a lot 
of traveling throughout the United States. 

George served four years in the navy and often 
spoke of adventurous times aboard ship.

George is survived by his son George daughter Suzanne and two grandchildren Jackson and 

A service will be held for George on Monday, March 20 at 11:00 am at Live Oak Memorial 
Park, 200 E Duarte Rd, Monrovia, CA 91016

“Of Wistaria blooms, I caught sight, today,

And ever since as violet of the deepest hue,

My passion, grows ever more profound!” Ise

“In memory of the spring now passing, I drew the long 
clusters of wistaria that move like waves.”

 Masaoka Shiki

That pretty much says it all. Everywhere you look around 
town, if you look hard enough, you see wistaria peeking 
out here and there. It seems that it always blooms the 
most spectacularly after the Festival but we know that 
with all the rain we’ve had the Vine will be incredible. 
It’s all over town, just keep an eye peeled for those lovely 
purple blossoms, like those here in my picture!

Have been hanging onto the most wonderful article on 
wisteria, which ran in the Star News in 2015. Joshua Siskin, 
who writes The Smarter Gardener for several papers 
gave me permission to use his work and I quote:

“It has been several weeks since wisteria stopped blooming, 
but still I think of it. Its curtains of opulent lavender-
violet flower clusters are hard to forget. All year long, except for a single brief moment in late winter 
and early spring, wisteria is a vine that shows nothing of ornamental interest. It does serve a utilitarian 
purpose in covering an arbor and thus provides shade for those strolling or dining al fresco. But 
without its flowers, wisteria would probably not be planted uch, if at all.

I think that people, too, have this wisteria-like quality. We might go for months living a 
drab,humdrum sort of existence until we suddenly flower brilliantly for a brief, yet memorablemoment. 
Indeed, most of the time we do our jobs well and provide assistance and sustenance 
forothers. Yet, how often do we bloom, giving something that, coming from our best and truest 
self,delights and inspires the world around us? Long ago in Lithuania, there was a rabbi named 
Yisrael Salanter who said that “the greatest distance in the universe is the distance between your 
head and your heart.” When our noblest and most idealistic aspirations, those that we carry around 
in our minds, somehow reach our hearts, that is when we truly blossom.”

Nice! No wonder I keep it in my calendar for March!

This weekend’s activities look to be a lot of fun. The music will be great and there is so much of it 
available on the sidewalk stage at the Playhouse. Shuttles, 100+ crafters and exhibits, food all over 
the place and, of course, the car show.

Here is some information about our famous vine that Sierra Madre’s historian, Phyllis Chapman 
put together some years ago. Phyllis will be observing the vine from heaven but she wrote such a 
wonderful history for us.

Wistaria is commonly spelled either wistaria or wisteria, but since it was named in 1818 for Caspar 
Wistar of the University of Pennsylvania to honor his contributions to science, it probably is 
properly Wistaria. Sierra Madre’s vine was planted by William and Alice Brugman. According to 
a letter from the Brugman’s daughter, Emily Brugman Childs, it was originally purchased from 
the old Wilson Nursery in Monrovia in a gallon can for $ .75 in 1894. The vine is of the Chinese 
lavender variety. It is a member of the pea family, even though its seeds resemble beans (shiny, flat 
and black). The seeds are said to have been brought to Europe by Marco Polo in the 13th century 
as prized treasures from the Orient. 

H.T. Fennel bought the house in 1913, and built extra arbors to support it so it could cover the 
house. Photographs from the 1930s show that it did just that; eventually the roof collapsed and the 
house was torn down in 1931. The arbors were retained, and a new house was built 200 feet away. 

In 1918, 12,000 people attended the first public Wistaria Festival. In the 1930s, a 6-week Wistaria 
event took place, with more than 100,000 people making the trip to see the vine. Extra “Red Cars” 
were put on the Pacific Electric route to Sierra Madre to handle the crowds. In the 1940s and again 
in the 1960s, at considerable expense, the vine required horticultural restoration, dry ice packs, 
three-foot hypodermic needles with Vitamin B, hormone shots and more. 

Through the years the vine has had many nicknames, among them Glorified Bean, Jack’s Beanstalk, 
Queen of the San Gabriels, Lavender Lady, Sierra Madre’s Treasure, and the Monster. The Sierra 
Madre City Council proclaimed 1994 as the Centennial Year of the Wistaria. Here are a few statistics 
you might enjoy knowing:

• 1.5 million luxuriant lavender blossoms

• 250 tons

• More than one acre in size

• 500 foot branches

• 40 blossoms per sq. foot

• Growth rate (per various experts) from 24″ in 24 hours to 26″ in 48 hours • Named 
by the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest blossoming plant in the world

• Named one of the seven horticultural wonders of the world, along with the redwood forest 
in Sequoia National Park, Brazil’s tropical jungle in the Amazon Valley, Mexico’s Xochimilco 
floating gardens, India’s gardens of the Taj Mahal, Japan’s Yokohama rock gardens, and the gardens 
of Buckingham Palace.

The home where the vine grows and grows and grows has been sold but we know the new owners 
are doing their best to make Sierra Madre’s Wistaria available to all. This year’s Festival will be 
awesome and that’s the truth! Don’t miss this!

And to get you in the mood for the Festival, St. Patrick’s Day is this Friday!! I’m going to get out my 
big button that says, “Patrick Was A Saint, I Ain’t!” and wear it shamelessly. Have all the fun possible, 
drink green beer and eat corned beef and cabbage if that appeals to you but be rested up and 
ready for the Wistaria Festival on Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It’s only in Sierra Madre!

In a world where you can be anything you want to be…Be KIND!


My book page: Deanne Davis

Look there for “The Crown,” a paperback book that’s practically free!

This is a beautiful story of what might have happened to that infamous crown of thorns.

With Easter on its way, this little book is the perfect read for yourself or a friend.



Insideout yard sale! March 17th, 18th and 19th. 


189 N Canon Ave. Rain or shine. 

Spring cleaning yard sale. Mid-Century Modern furniture, dishes, china, 
extensive records and collectable record set, vintage book sets, art, 
and so much more! Come do your part and take some!

Cash or Venmo!

Mountain Views News 80 W Sierra Madre Blvd. No. 327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Office: 626.355.2737 Fax: 626.609.3285 Email: Website: