Located just 10 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles
, Pasadena was first inhabited by the Hahanog-na Indian
tribe, who lived in villages scattered along the Arroyo Seco and the canyons from the mountains down to the South Pasadena area. But, like the rest of California
, the Spanish moved in the late 1700’s and in 1771 established the San Gabriel Mission and began to convert the Indians to Christianity. The mission was prosperous, surrounded by orchards, vineyards and livestock.
When the land passed from Spain to Mexico in 1833, the vast lands of California were granted to Mexican citizens and divided into ranchos. The area that would later become Pasadena was named the Rancho del Rincon de San Pascual. The last owner of the 14,000 acre land grant was Manuel Garfias who was allowed to keep the property after California became a state in 1850. However, over the next two decades, portions of the Rancho were sold off to new white settlers. In 1873, Dr. John S. Griffin and Benjamin Wilson owned more than 5,000 acres of the original land grant.