Monday, July 20, 2009

"Glendale: The City Beautiful" Historic Postcards

Over the next few weeks I'll be posting scans from a scenic folder I've acquired which contains numerous vintage Glendale postcards. I believe the scenic folder was produced by the Glendale chamber of commerce in the mid to late teens. If you have any interesting historical info about the contents of any of the postcards, please comment!

Here is the accompanying text, which gives an idealized overview of life in Glendale in the early twentieth century:


The words "glen" and "dale" are synonymous, each meaning a valley surrounded by hills. By combining the two words into one, the meaning is intensified - a charming valley encircled by inspiring mountains - a definition that seems particularly apt to those who have seen the city of Glendale, California.
A more beautiful setting for a modern city could hardly be imagined.
Situated in the eastern part of the level and fertile San Fernando Valley, encircled by rugged and towering hills, the azure sky above, semi-tropical fruits and perennial flowers on every hand - such is a picture of Glendale, the Beautiful.


The location of Glendale is ideal. The gentle slope to the southwest gives it perfect drainage. The mountains to the north and east protect it from winds, and yet aid in precipitating and conserving the moisture needed for vineyards, fields and citrus groves that enrich the community.
An altitude of about 600 feet above the level of the sea removes the lassitude so often felt in tropical climes. The healthfulness of this section has brought to our midst several sanitariums, notably a thriving branch of the famous Battle Creek institution.
Pure mountain water in abundance is conserved in the natural gravel beds of Verdugo canon and in artificial reservoirs for domestic and other use.


Eight miles by rapid transit over a scenic route, occupying 25 minutes, takes one to the heart of Los Angeles. The business men of Los Angeles can thus have their homes in this charming suburb, and bring up their families under ideal conditions.


Besides enjoying every benefit of the great city that lies at its very threshold, Glendale has-
Three strong, well managed banks.
Fine retail establishments representing all lines of business.
Two railroads - the Southern Pacific and the Salt Lake
Two interurban street car systems
One daily and two weekly newspapers
Fifty-five miles of paved and improved streets
A municipal lighting plant furnishing current at one third the usual rate.
A gas rate of 70c per thousand, soon to be further reduced by the piping of natural gas.
A Merchants' Association that commands results.
An active Chamber of Commerce with 450 members, whose Secretary will be glad to answer further inquiries.


The leading religious denominations are each represented by one or more thriving churches, with able pastors.
No saloons or other contaminating influences are countenanced in the community.
The musical and literary tastes of our people are well satisfied by clubs and societies, some of which are soon to erect their own exclusive homes.
Fraternal organizations are numerous and prosperous. The Masons and Odd Fellows have imposing buildings of their own. Others are in contemplations, the Elks having bought lots on which they soon will erect a modern clubhouse.
An atmosphere of home and home loving surrounds the community. Nearly every family owns its own home. You meet here delightful people from every corner of the globe. Newcomers receive a hearty welcome.


Glendale is justly proud of its schools. The best talent is employed in its teaching force. Imposing buildings are being erected to meet the rapidly growing demands. The capacity of the High School is being trebled. New Grammar Schools are being provided for. Pupils have every modern facility.

A commodius Public Library has just been completed.
Occidental College is only a few minutes ride by trolley from the heart of Glendale. Numerous colleges and universities, including the new State Normal School, are of easy access by trolley.


The San Rafael ranch was an immense tract of land which remained in the hands of the Spanish Verdugo family when California was ceded to the Union. These old Spanish dons gave their time to horse racing, cock fighting and gambling, with the inevitable result that their lands gradually passed out of their hands. Out of the wreck of this vast estate was carved the San Fernando Valley, a beautiful stretch of fertile land adjoining Los Angeles on the north.
The Patterson, Byram and Phelon families settled in this valley in 1883 and laid the foundation for the community which later grew into the city of Glendale.
In 1886 the town was laid out and the next year a narrow gauge railroad was built from the new town to Los Angeles. In 1906 the village, having grown to about 700 souls, was incorporated. The subsequent rapid growth is best told in the pictures herewith presented. The Glendale directory compiled in June, 1913, shows 8,000 inhabitants.


Boris said...

Fascinating information. Two railroad and two streetcar systems, sounds more developed than modern Glendale.

Vanessa Weber said...

I'm interested in the City Beautiful postcards. Beginning in 1890, the City Beautiful campaign worked hard to maintain that at least some of the beautiful and old architecture be spared by America's rush toward development. Makes me wish we had another such movement today...
I'm starting a blog with similar sentiments. Feel free to check it out at:

Mike said...

Funny, we moved to Glendale precisely because it offered "perfect drainage."

Scott said...

I thought you moved here because was the lack of saloons and morally contaminating influences.

If you had "imperfect drainage", I guess you'd know it.