Sunday, November 8, 2009

New Road Under the Freeway - Part 2: The Last Remnant of Titleyville

Titley Ave. is a stub of a street that starts at Foothill Blvd. and runs south a few hundred yards where it dead ends into the 210 freeway. When Kinneloa Ave. is extended northward under the 210, it will connect up with Titley Ave. In turn, Titley Ave. will be renamed Kinneloa Ave. Little Titley Ave. will be no more.

When Titley Ave. goes, so too will any physical reference to an old place named "Titleyville."

Not that Titleyville was ever an official city or town. There were no "entering" or "leaving" signs, city councils or chambers of commerce. But, for half a century, the name marked a place where hundreds of people made their homes, did business, and raised families.

Depending upon the source, Titleyville spanned the years 1900 - 1950. The village center was the site of the present day Target store (previously Fedco) on East Colorado Blvd. The unofficial boundaries seem to be east of Eaton Wash, south of Foothill Blvd. and north of Colorado Blvd.

I have not found the origin of the village's name. I assume there was a Titley family in the area around the turn of the century, but haven't seen any reference to them. Spanish speakers had another name for Titleyville -- "Chihuahuita" or Little Chihuahua. The later name was possibly given in recognition that some early residents immigrated from Chihuahua.

Whatever the name, by the 1920's there were 350 residents, primarily Latino, in an established village. Many residents worked in area vineyards, orchards or packing houses. As historian and civic leader Roberta Martinez points out, this was a vibrant little village.

Martinez writes about Chihuahuita in her excellent book, Latinos in Pasadena. Because it was a distance from Pasadena proper, there was a self-sufficiency and definition about the place. Chihuahuita had two stores with shopkeepers who lived in the village. It supported two churches -- a Roman Catholic Church and a Methodist Church. And there was a school, which opened in 1915 as Titleyville School and was later renamed Chihuahuita School.


So what happened to Titleyville/Chihuahuita?

The combination of time and growth gradually overcame the little village. Bit by bit the distance and distinction between the urban City of Pasadena and rural lands to the east were diminished. The old communities of Lamanda Park and Titleyville gradually melded into East Pasadena. And the old names lost their currency until one day the only physical reminder of Titleyville's existance was a stub of a street dead-ending into the freeway.

Soon, even that last sign of Titleyville will be gone.

Check out Pasadena Adjacent for more on Roberta Martinez and her book.

Also, a brief but nice discussion of Titleyville/Chihuahuita is in the East Colorado Specific Plan.


Bellis said...

This is sooo interesting. I'd heard of Lamanda Park, but never Titleyville. Now you've got me feeling sorry for little Titley Avenue.

Michael Coppess said...

Thank you Bellis! I don't think too many folks know of Titleyville. I'm trying to find out more and hope to have a follow up this weekend.

Paula L. Johnson said...

What an interesting post! I just added your blog to my links list:

Cafe Pasadena said...

Ditto de above, MC!
Yes, continue your archaeological digs on this.

Anonymous said...

Why must they change the name of the street? Maybe we should start a petition. I bet Roberta would be on board for this. It just seems wrong.

You brought up an interesting point that now makes sense to me. The name "Chihuahuita"...Mr V who grew up in the Titleyville area and played with the locals at the Boys Club, likes to take the words to the chorus of a old song "Cement Mixer Putty Putty" and change them to (phonetically) "Chee Wah Wheat-uh Wagon...bumpity bump". Now I think I know where the source comes from. I'll have to share this with him.

Thal Armathura said...

I may be mistaken, but the remnants of Titleyville/Chihuahuita we have always associated with the neighborhood behind the DMV on Rosemead, with the very small houses and very small lots, typical of what you and Roberta and the newspaper article describe, stretching from the westside of Rosemead south a few blocks and south of Colorado west a few blocks. If you've ever driven through this neighborhood you can imagine the description from the newspaper story, and also this fits the description between Lamanda Park and Arcadia.