In 1885 Edwin Cawston chartered a ship to take fifty of some of the best obtainable ostriches in the world from South Africa to Galveston, Texas. From there, the ostriches endured a treacherous train journey to South Pasadena, California. Out of the original fifty, only eighteen survived. Cawston bounced back from the loss of over half of his stock and the Ostrich Farm eventually boasted over 100 ostriches from the original batch.
The Cawston Ostrich Farm became a premier tourist attraction for many years. Its proximity to the Pasadena and Los Angeles Electric Railway's trolley line that came through from downtown Los Angeles brought many tourists to visit the farm through the earlier part of the 20th century. Guests were able to ride on the backs of ostriches, be taken for ostrich drawn carriage rides and buy ostrich feathered hats, boas, capes and fans at the Ostrich Farm store that was connected to the factory. The ostrich farm feather products were shipped and sold throughout the world.
Most of the original brick structure of the factory and store remains today and is South Pasadena Cultural Landmark #18.