Merry Christmas from East Pasadena. Rain delayed our annual tour of the Hastings Ranch neighborhood. But, earlier this week we had a chance to make the normal rounds. This display on Ranch Top Rd. was one of the religious theme winners.
Every year I marvel at the displays in Hastings Ranch. The displays themselves are fun. But, to me the most amazing thing about it is the show of neighborliness. There are 1100 homes in this neighborhood and, driving around, it looks like nearly all of them participate. Remarkable. Really, where else have you seen so many neighbors pulling together to present such a show?
They've done this since the 1950's. More than 50 years of neighbors coming together to put on Christmas displays. What a great tradition.
Upper Hastings Ranch (north of Sierra Madre Blvd.) was largely developed in the early 1950's. Modestly priced homes were offered on favorable terms and young families clamored to get in. According to longtime Ranch resident and current mayor, Kathy Gregg, the neighborhood was known as Rabbit Hill due to the number of children.
The folks of Rabbit Hill were a congenial bunch. With all the kids around, they started coordinating displays at Christmas time. Kathy says the whole thing got started with luminarias (paper bags and votive candles) lined up along parkways.
Turns out some in the neighborhood were Hollywood types and took things to the next level. Last year Pasadena Adjacent (I'm astonished at what they know over there) commented that set designers helped get the displays started. Apparently the designers' creativity combined with lots of community spirit to produce Christmas displays that were set up along the neighborhood's parkways. Wikipedia says the whole tradition was in place by 1957.