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Photos: Montrose Historical Bike Ride

Montrose Patch partnered with Walk Bike Glendale, Glendale Historical Society, City of Glendale's Public Works and Community Services and Parks Department in a community bike ride through historic foothills sites.

More than 50 of us pedaled our way through historic Montrose Saturday, stopping at Rockhaven Sanitarium, Hindenburg Park and the Red Car barn at Anawalt Lumber. 

We started out at at 2501 Honolulu Avenue and wheeled west to , where local historian Mike Morgan described how the home was founded in 1923 by nurse Agnes Richards who was disturbed by the treatment of women with mental illness. 

Richards thought she could do better and opened Rockhaven. The sanitarium had well-known residents including Frances Farmer and Billie Burke, who played Glinda the Good Witch in the classic 1939 film, The Wizard of Oz. 

The women's home was also where Gladys Baker, Marilyn Monroe's mother, lived. Baker made headlines when she tried to escape from Rockhaven in 1963, one year after Monroe's death. 

In 2010, GTV6 was awarded its seventh Los Angeles Area Emmy Award in 2011 for the documentary Rockhaven: A Sactuary From Glendale's Past

We rode west on Honolulu Avenue, and made a right, north onto La Crescenta Avenue. We stopped at , which dates back to 1911 and began discussing the significance of the building as a community gathering place built back in 1925. 

Across from the women's club stands the American Legion Hall, which originally sat on Fairway and Rosemont avenues. At midnight on New Year's Day 1934 a wall of water, mud and debris crashed through Pickens Canyon and filled the building killing 12 local people. 

The tragedy struck during the Great Depression and because building materials were hard to come by the locals repaired and moved the American Legion Hall. Today it's located at the corner of Manhattan and La Crescenta avenues. 

Next we walked our bikes north on La Crescenta Avenue and turned left onto Montrose Avenue toward  where we discussed Hindenberg Park. 

Hindenburg Park was originally owned by the German-American League, a group that promoted German-American culture and hosted community celebrations. 

Here's an excerpt of a Los Angeles Times article about the location: 

Then there's the former Hindenburg Park in La Crescenta, site of Nazi rallies in the 1930s and '40s. The largest took place April 30, 1939, when a brigade of 2,000 German American Bund members came to hear West Coast Bund leader Herman Max Schwinn and "American Fuehrer" Fritz Kuhn.

Clad in a gray-and-black storm trooper uniform and flanked by a dozen uniformed guards, Kuhn spoke from a stage draped in red swastika banners. The crowd cheered Kuhn, The Times reported, and booed as a low-flying plane bombarded the park with thousands of anti-Hitler leaflets.

At the park we lounged and relaxed in the grass, walked around and imagined where the former 5-foot bust of Paul von Hindenburg--president of the Weimar Republic during Hitler's rise to power in Germany--stood below the Oak trees. 

We rode along Mills Avenue to Pennsylvania, where we curved single-filed down Honolulu Avenue and stopped to re-group at .

Glendale City Councilmember Laura Friedman discussed how the proposed road diet has met both support and opposition. She encouraged riders to voice their concerns and interests with Glendale City Council. 

The final stop sent us along Honolulu Avenue, where we made a right on Market Street to the view and discuss the Anawalt Lumber Barn, which is the last remnant of a short-lived street car line that connected the Crescenta Valley with Glendale and Los Angeles. 

Trolleys once ran up the median of Verdugo Road, curving along Montrose Avenue and ending at Pennsylvania from 1914 to 1930. The barn once stored the trolleys.

By the end of the ride, a tired and hungry pack of us headed to .

Thank you to Walk Bike Glendale, Glendale Historical Society, City of Glendale's Public Works and Community Services and Parks Department for helping coordinate the successful, fun event around town.   

Check out photos by Scott Lowe of Tropico Station on Flickr

George L. May 14, 2012 at 05:32 PM
I had no idea a rail went up Verdugo. Its so sad how the rail system was torn out of greater LA so abruptly to make way for buses. You really could go from the desert to the sea on the rails. Electric rails no less!
Nicole Charky May 14, 2012 at 06:07 PM
Thank you, Kristen. I appreciate you coming with us and also for adding the link!
Nicole Charky May 15, 2012 at 03:23 PM
It's very bittersweet to learn about the electric cars that used to pass through the foothills. I wish they were still available to us today!
Tomer G May 17, 2012 at 05:39 PM
I'm so sorry I had to miss this (prior obligations, unfortunately). Any plans for a repeat or similar style event in the future? I think this type of thing is great from the perspective of giving people a comfortable way to ride and see the city, and fosters some good old city pride and knowledge!
Fred Zohrehvnad May 19, 2012 at 02:37 PM
Hi Nicole: I tried to upload the pics. I couldn't. Any suggestion! BTW: Thanks for being so much supporter of bike activities. I wish we had started 10 years ago. FYI I uploaded Final BTP on City website. Check it out! Fred

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