Hastings Ranch, Pasadena, California

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Hastings Ranch is a neighborhood of Pasadena, California which lies in northeast Pasadena. It is principally accessed by Sierra Madre Boulevard, Michillinda Avenue, Hastings Ranch Blvd., and Riviera Drive. Hastings Ranch is also identified by large shopping areas at its southernmost end and by a shopping center at the corner of Sierra Madre and Michillinda.

History[edit]

In 1882, Charles Cook Hastings purchased 1,100 acres (450 ha) of land between Pasadena and Sierra Madre for US$7 per acre. He named his ranch "Mesa Alta Rancho" and began planting 300 acres (120 ha) with grape vines and constructed a mansion. Soon after he died, his son, Charles Houston Hastings, assumed responsibility for the land. He imported unusual specimens of plants and trees and populated the ranch with peacocks, pheasants, cats, dogs (32 collies) and champion horses. In 1928, the Hastings mansion caught fire and burned to the ground. The ranch fell into a state of disrepair and its operation was left to managers.

Hastings Ranch was one of several competing sites for the University of California's southern campus, but lost to UCLA.

Following the death of Charles Houston Hastings in 1942, the ranch was sold by the Hastings Foundation to a syndicate for over $1 million. The land was subdivided into luxury housing tracts. Hired by Coronet Construction Co. / Coronet Homes, Inc. in the late 1940s, Edward H. Fickett, FAIA was brought in to design the three subdivided tracts. The construction was completed in three phases, including 600 homes in the Lower Hastings tract completed in 1950, 480 homes in the Middle Hastings tract completed in 1950, along with 800 homes Fickett built in 1951 in the Upper Hastings Ranch area.

With the post war growth of the 1950s, a drive-in theater was established at the lowest point of the neighborhood between Rosemead and Foothill Boulevards by the name of Hastings Drive-In Theater. It fell to heavy commercial development in the 1960s. The drive-in was replaced by the Hastings Theater, one of the first multi-screen cinema theaters to be built in Pasadena. The Hastings Theater was a part of the Pacific Theater chain, until it closed in 2008.

Today Hastings Ranch is defined locally as two independent neighborhoods: Upper Hastings and Lower Hastings.

The Lariat is the bimonthly newsletter published for the residents of Upper Hastings Ranch. The newsletter contains information about the neighborhood, as well as publicizing essays by young residents.

Films made in the Hastings Ranch area include the gas station scenes in Steve Martin's The Jerk. A popular BMX track, used by neighborhood children including the Van Halen brothers (Van Halen went onto play a concert on a flatbed truck in Hamilton Park), was bulldozed when Church of the Nazarene descended upon the ranch style community; its building can be seen from outer space. Naturalist Mike Fey was interviewed about growing up in Hastings Ranch on NPR.

Education[edit]

Hastings Ranch is home to Don Benito Elementary School, Pasadena's magnet elementary school, and Field Elementary School. The neighborhood is also served by Wilson Middle School and Pasadena High School. La Salle High School is a private school in the area.

Government[edit]

Hastings Ranch is part of the Pasadena City Council's Fourth District, represented by Gene Masuda.

Significant Christmas display[edit]

Upper Hastings Ranch has become one of the most popular areas for neighborhood outdoor Christmas displays.[1] The practice began in 1957 whereby each block in the neighborhood would decorate their homes with some type of theme icon placed in the parkway, e.g., snowmen, Christmas trees, Santas and reindeer, Peanuts cartoon characters, etc. The tour which was taken by automobile would consist of miles of lighting and other entertaining Christmas scenarios displayed about the labyrinth of homes.

The Hastings Ranch Christmas display took its place among the popular local venues of Christmas Tree Lane and the Balian Mansion, both in Altadena.

Transportation[edit]

The neighborhood overall is served by Metro Local lines 268 and 487; Pasadena ARTS routes 60 with connection to the Metro Gold Line terminal complex on Sierra Madre Villa Avenue and Foothill Boulevard. Near by City of Sierra Madre offers transportation on a Gateway bus.

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