Featured Historical Pictures

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Arcadia History Room Featured Historical Pictures

If you’re interested in Arcadia’s rich history, visit either the Arcadia History Room at the Arcadia Public Library or The Gilb Museum of Arcadia Heritage.

The Arcadia History Room is shown by appointment only. Call (626) 821-5569 for an appointment, or (626) 574-5440 for more information about the Museum’s collection.


Photograph courtesy of the Arcadia History Collection, Arcadia Public Library, Arcadia CA. ID#1276

U.S. Army Balloon School Ross Field Arcadia calisthenics

During World War I, the U.S. Army sent soldiers into the air in sausage-shaped, hydrogen-filled balloons, 95 feet in length. Their job was to observe enemy positions and report back to the artillery post. Long before the Los Angeles County golf course was built, the United States Army Balloon School (later known as Ross Field) was located on that site in Arcadia. The soldiers were trained to observe from a wicker basket attached to the balloon and to operate the balloon, which involved a 60-man crew on the ground tasked with hoisting, gas-bagging, rigging, and electrical duties. Over 300 men received training here, including the officers pictured above in calisthenics class, circa 1918.

Look for the anchor (and plaque) at Arcadia County Park that was originally used by the balloon school trainees to hold the enormous balloons in place.



 Anita Baldwin

Photograph courtesy of the Arcadia History Collection, Arcadia Public Library. ID#957 

Renaissance Woman 

Anita Baldwin, the only daughter born to Arcadia’s founding father Elias J. Baldwin and his third wife Jane Virginia Dexter, possessed many talents and wore many different hats. As a composer, she wrote more than 50 published songs including music for Richard Walton Tully’s “Blossom Bride” and “Omar the Tentmaker.” During her travels to China, Japan, India, and Spain, she would study the local music and then write songs that maintained the native motifs of those lands, though she would never sell her compositions. As a philanthropist, she founded the Anita M. Baldwin Hospital for Babies in 1920. That hospital has evolved into the Eisner Pediatric and Family Medical Center and is currently located at 1530 S. Olive St. in Los Angeles. She was well known for her kindness to animals, having presided over the Los Angeles Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Lastly, as a patriot she wore an actual hat, that of honorary colonel of the 160th Infantry, 7th Regiment of the California National Guard. She was also a talented horsewoman, mother, seamstress, poet, and an excellent cook. She truly was a Renaissance woman.

Anita Baldwin died on October 25, 1939 at the age of 65.

In this photograph, Anita Baldwin is seated on a camel in front of the Great Sphinx and a pyramid in Giza near Cairo, Egypt, circa 1920-1926. She is wearing a very elegant black dress, hat and veil. Her business manager Ray Knisley accompanied her on the other camel. Three local camel handlers dressed in native garb assisted them. The Great Sphinx was built by Egyptians about 4,500 years ago. Later sand removal would reveal that Anita Baldwin was sitting above the extended paws of the Great Sphinx.  


 Arcadia float 1967 Tournament of Roses Parade

El Camino Real, 1967

 "El Camino Real" was the theme of Arcadia's float entry in the 1967 Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade. Father Junípero Serra, founder of the historic California missions, is shown traveling the famed thoroughfare. Arcadia's Queen, Christine Ramos, and her royal court, grace this colorful throne. The scroll is covered with yellow chrysanthemums, gladioli, orchids and roses.

Photograph courtesy of the Arcadia Public Library. ID#1326. Dec2017-Jan2018







Carl Kophamer’s Cornucopia

Carl Kophamer bought ten acres of land in Arcadia to grow corn in 1935 during the Depression Era. His wife Estella painted the sign and these former Illinois farmers set up shop right in front of their home on South Santa Anita Avenue. The sweet corn business grew and the Kophamers moved their green and white roadside stand to Las Tunas Drive and Santa Anita Avenue in 1941. The local Arcadia High School students that worked summer jobs at the stand were known as Corn Girls and Boys. Carl’s Sweet Corn was a thriving business in Arcadia from 1935 to 1958. In this 1951 picture, many people wait in line to buy fresh corn at Carl’s Sweet Corn, the roadside stand at 75 Las Tunas (northwest corner of Las Tunas and Santa Anita Avenue). Cornfields flourished behind the stand.

Photograph courtesy of the Arcadia Public Library. ID# 886 Oct-Nov2017