Lincoln Memorial Shrine, Redlands Bowl & A.K. Smiley Public Library – Redlands

California’s Lincoln Memorial…and more! Lincoln Memorial Shrine, Redlands Bowl & A.K. Smiley Public Library – Redlands No score and three days ago, and dedicated to the proposition that all museums are created equal, I donned my stovepipe hat and traveled out to Redlands to check out the only museum west of the Mississippi River devoted to Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War; The Lincoln Memorial Shrine.  Honestly!  While there, I discovered two additional architectural points of interest located within walking distance of the museum that also piqued my curiosity.  My kind of day! First the Lincoln Memorial Shrine.  Why Redlands?  I’m glad you asked, because it’s a rather fascinating story. Robert Watchorn grew up very poor in England, so poor that … Read more…

San Secondo d’Asti Catholic Church – Ontario & Madonna of the Trail – Upland

Accidental Treasures San Secondo d’Asti Catholic Church – Ontario & Madonna of the Trail – Upland Visited: August 2017 It all started innocently enough a few weeks ago while I was researching our 2018 trip to the Piemente region in Italy.  Specifically, I was looking at the town of Asti and one of its main attractions, the 13th century Saint Secondo Catholic Church, which is the oldest church in Asti. However, when I googled that Italian church, the town of Ontario, California, popped up. Of course, this piqued my curiosity. I immediately decided to delve deeper into this mystery that would eventually take me to a story that included the largest vineyard in California, a deadly train accident, a gorgeous … Read more…

Arlington Garden – Pasadena

Pasadena’s Dedicated Public Garden Arlington Garden – Pasadena Last Visited: April 2017 On a beautiful Sunday morning in Pasadena (and aren’t they all), our corgis were feeling a bit restless. Luckily, we live very near to one of Pasadena’s beautiful hidden secrets, Arlington Garden, a three-acre site that also happens to be Pasadena’s only dedicated public garden. With thoughts of birds, bees and butterflies dancing in their heads, we packed the “kids” in the car and we were off on our Sunday morning corgi adventure. In 2005, Arlington Garden founders Betty and Charles McKenney, along with its designer, Mayita Dinos, received inspiration for this garden after reading Jan Smithen’s book Sun-Drenched Gardens: The Mediterranean Style. The garden is located between … Read more…

The Bunny Museum – Altadena

Hoppy Days Are Here Again! The Bunny Museum – Altadena Thanks to their adoration of everything bunny, Candace Frazee and Steve Lubanski have taken hare raising to a new level. What started as a gesture of love by two people exchanging bunny gifts has turned into the largest collection of bunny paraphernalia in the world. The couple recently re-located from their home in Pasadena and reopened The Bunny Museum on North Lake Avenue in Altadena.  The museum houses 34,000+ bunny items.  Yes, you read that number correctly (well, you know how rabbits multiply).                                                                It all started innocently enough when the two were dating. In 1993, Steve gave Candace a large, stuffed white rabbit for Valentine’s Day. I wondered if … Read more…

Greystone Mansion & Gardens – Beverly Hills

Intrigue, Scandal, Ghosts & Deaths In The Mansion Greystone Mansion & Gardens – Beverly Hills Visited:  April 2017 Lights!  Camera!  Murder!  The historic Greystone Mansion & Gardens, nestled above Beverly Hills, which is now primarily used for private events, weddings and filming, has a history that includes scandals, at least six deaths and is even rumored to be haunted.  In addition, it’s also been the venue for dozens of movies and television shows. My kind of place!  (Two photos below are courtesy of the City of Beverly Hills.)                                        Tracy and I visited on April Fools Day and took the Ranger Tour.  Throughout the years, I have … Read more…

Los Angeles Police Museum – Los Angeles (Highland Park)

An Arresting Museum Los Angeles Police Museum – Los Angeles (Highland Park) This is the city…Los Angeles, California. The story you are about to read is true.  None of the names have been changed to protect the innocent (or guilty).  It was Wednesday, March 1…another warm, winter day in the City of the Angels.  I was working the day watch out of unusual museums.  I found one that was open…the Los Angeles Police Museum.  My name is Mai Tai Tom…I carry a camera (“dum-da-dum dum”). Yes, I was a Dragnet fan.  “Just the facts ma’am.” Tracy and I had paid a quick visit to the Los Angeles Police Museum about six years ago (so a couple of photos like the … Read more…

All Saints Episcopal Church – Pasadena

“Pasadena’s Stained Glass Marvel” All Saints Episcopal Church – Pasadena Last Visited: February 2017 For those who have never read anything I’ve written about (you have lots of company), although not a religious person per se, I am very fascinated with places of worship.  It’s been nearly a year since I visited any of our area’s iconic churches.  In the past, I’ve featured an historic Roman Catholic Church in L.A. (St. Vincent de Paul); a gorgeous Greek Orthodox cathedral on the edge of L.A.’s Koreatown (Saint Sophia Cathedral); and Pasadena’s venerable Catholic church, St. Andrew.  Today, it’s another historic Pasadena church, All Saints Episcopal Church, that I will describe (to the best of my ability). To find the origin of … Read more…

Sports Museum of Los Angeles – Los Angeles

“Cooperstown West” Sports Museum of Los Angeles – Los Angeles Visited:  August 2016 (in October 2016, it was announced that the museum will be closed until they find a new location) Although it is not officially dubbed “Cooperstown West,” the Sports Museum of Los Angeles could, in reality, use that title and have no qualms in doing so (well, other than the fact Cooperstown might sue them).  Simply stated, however, this is a tremendous sports museum, and to me was just as memorable…or maybe even more memorable…than my visit to Cooperstown. The Sports Museum of Los Angeles contains a treasure trove of historical sports memorabilia that is truly one-of-a-kind.  According to former Dodgers’ owner Peter O’Malley, “It’s the best sports … Read more…

Pasadena Museum of History/Fenyes Mansion – Pasadena

“Downsized” Mansion Pasadena Museum of History/Fenyes Mansion – Pasadena It’s not often that when a family plans to downsize, they decide to build a 21-room Beaux Arts mansion, but that’s exactly what Dr. Adalbert and Eva Fenyes did back in 1906 (well, a few rooms were added in 1911).  Recently I took a tour of that historic home; Pasadena’s famed Fenyes Mansion.  Not only is the mansion a cool place to visit, but the history of the house (which at one time also served as the Finnish Consulate) and its occupants are equally as interesting.                     After my tour, I also “horsed” around a bit at the nearby Pasadena Museum Of History (who maintains the century-old estate and provides these … Read more…

St. Andrew Church – Pasadena

An Historic Pasadena Church St. Andrew Church – Pasadena Visited:  July 2016 Thanks in part to a lost necklace and a good deed by yours truly (yes, I’m as shocked as you by this random act of kindness), I was able to glean much more information about an historic Pasadena church that I toured a few days ago (more on that “divine intervention” later). The interior and exterior architecture of St. Andrew Catholic Church (which will celebrate its 90th birthday next year) combines two famed Rome churches.  Constructed in 1927 (the parish has been around since 1886), the 140-foot tall, Romanesque campanile of St. Andrew replicates the one found at the 8th-century Basilica di Santa Maria in Cosmedin.                     … Read more…