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Mount Lowe: Souvenirs from the Incline Railway
April 12 - July 27, 2008


mountloweMount Lowe: Souvenirs from the Incline Railway illustrates how “Earth’s Grandest Mountain Ride” captivated the imagination of visitors from near and far during its 43-years in operation, and how latter-day adventurers continue to treasure remnants of the legendary incline railway.  The displays feature souvenirs created during the life of the railway, from photographs taken by Pacific Electric Railway photographer Charles Lawrence to pieces purchased at the gift store at Alpine Tavern -- souvenir cups, spoons, post cards, cabinet photos, china, paper weights and match safes. The exhibition also spotlights some of the souvenirs that people have gathered in the years following the destruction of the railway. These treasures, found in the ruins of the buildings, include railroad spikes, pieces of pottery, and other objects people saw fit to drag down the mountain to remember their trip to the once famed railway in the clouds.

Exhibition visitors will likely be surprised at the obvious ethnic diversity of the Incline passengers.  It was commonly thought that this early California tourist attraction was patronized only by rich, white visitors from the East who wintered here.  The official souvenir photographs belie this assumption and are evidence of the widespread appeal of the Mount Lowe Incline Railway.

Curator Michael A. Patris, a third-generation native of Los Angeles, is the founder of the Mount Lowe Preservation Society, Inc. and author of the illustrated book, Mount Lowe Railway, by Arcadia Publishing. For additional information about Mount Lowe, please visit


                                            Special Programs


In conjunction with the exhibition Mount Lowe: Souvenirs from the Incline Railway, Pasadena Museum of History is offering the following companion programs. 

Please note: Reservations are recommended for all Museum programs, whether or not a fee is charged.  For reservations, please call 626.577.1660, ext. 10.


  • Illustrated Lecture by Michael Patris: A Tourist’s View of the Mount Lowe Railway, Tuesday, May 27, at 7:30 pm (doors open at 6:30 pm for exhibition viewing).  Tickets: $15 Members; $20 Non-Members 


  • Mount Lowe Excursion - History Hike, Saturday, June 21, 8:30 am.   Join Museum staff, along with curator and historian Michael Patris, for a special morning hike to view parts of the historic Mount Lowe Railway route. Pack a picnic lunch, put on your hiking garb, and get ready to experience some of the wonders that attracted visitors to our local mountains over one hundred years ago.  The hike will be approximately three miles long on moderate terrain.  We will meet at the Pasadena Museum of History parking lot at 8:30 am sharp, and then we will caravan to our destination.  Car-pooling is encouraged.  The Museum will provide beverages. Hats and sunscreen are recommended.  For extra fun bring along a portable musical instrument and help us celebrate Make Music PasadenaTickets: $12 Members; $15 Non-Members 


  • Thrills and Chills of Summer - Free Family Day, Thursday July 17, 5:00-8:00 pm.  The whole family can have fun at this late afternoon program which includes old time music, games and a special craft workshop to make Pasadena souvenirs.  Bring a blanket and a picnic and enjoy the sunset in the beautiful Mansion gardens.  Special activities celebrating the history of the Mt. Lowe Railway include a photo opportunity in the Incline Excursion Car and a visit to the Alpine Tavern for a free ice cream desert. View the current exhibitions Mount Lowe: Souvenirs from the Incline Railway and Curators' Choice: Objects Selected from the Museum's Collections. Tickets: Free




470 West Walnut Street ~ Pasadena, CA 91103 ~ Ph 626.577.1660 ~ Fax 626.577.1662 ~