The Rose Garden: Scene of Many Pleasant Gatherings

The Rose Garden on South Orange Grove and Arbor Street is a beautiful complement to the Tournament House, the former home of Mr. and Mrs. William Wrigley, Jr. from 1914 to 1958. Although it now appears to be an original feature of the design by G. Lawrence Stimson, it was once a significant site in the history of early Pasadena in its own right.


It was here in early March, 1874, that Colonel Jabez Banbury finished building the third house in the settlement that later became Pasadena, shortly after the division of land on January 27, 1874.


A Pasadena Star-News article in 1924 reported that “the Banbury house was the center of a great deal of the social life of the early colony … Colonel and Mrs. Banbury were noted for their hospitality, and the old house was the scene of many pleasant gatherings of friends and neighbors.”


The Banburys sold the home in 1882 to Mr. and Mrs. I.M. Hill, who opened up Arbor Street, naming it after the cypress arbor planted by Colonel Banbury. In January 1895, Henry C. Durand of Chicago purchased the Hill home place, and soon began constructing a “handsome residence” that the Pasadena Daily Evening Star predicted “will be one of the ornaments of the avenue.”


large home with long driveway
A view of the Durand home from Waverly Drive in 1897. In 1906 the Los Angeles Examiner claimed that “one of the richest residents of the avenue is Mrs. E.T. Barnum. …She has an excellent representation of an old English castle for a home. It is ivy grown and massive.”


The home was later sold to Mr. and Mrs. Edward T. Barnum. Mrs. Barnum’s first husband was J.W. Robinson, founder of the department store.


After purchasing the Stimson home in 1914, William Wrigley acquired the Barnum estate in September, 1915. Wrigley was now one of the largest landholders on the avenue, controlling all of the approximate 41/2 acres between Lockhaven and Arbor. The Durand-Barnum home was demolished, and replaced with the current gardens. As part of the headquarters of the Tournament of Roses, it is still “the scene of many pleasant gatherings.”

Kirk Myers

This article was originally published in the Winter 2011 issue of West Pasadena Residents' Association's The News.