The Meaning of Hahamongna

The original settlers of the region were sometimes called the Hahamongna Indians. The word means "Flowing Waters, Fruitful Valley" in the native Tongva language.

Hahamongna News


The beauty of the Arroyo Seco





Emanuel Parker


Pasadena Star News


The Arroyo Seco, a now-dry giant gorge carved by raging rivers and torrents at the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains, is a pocket of Southern California where people come to enjoy nature, activity and, especially on New Year's Day, football.

The Arroyo Seco is Pasadena's version of New York's Central Park.

The 11.5-mile-long, semi-wilderness area attracts thousands of walkers, joggers, bicyclists, roller skaters, soccer players, baseball fans, hikers, swimmers, tennis players, kite fliers, remote-control car and plane operators. You'll also find horseback riders, float decorators, swap meets, exhibitions, concerts, outdoor fund-raisers, people learning to drive, picnickers and nature lovers.

It is home to the Rose Bowl, a golf course, a historic bridge and a children's museum.

"Well, I like the Rose Bowl, I think it's really beautiful," said jogger Nathan Maffin of Pasadena. "With all the trees, it's just nice for running, has nice scenery and it's clean and makes you feel safe and comfortable."

The 1,000-acre Arroyo Seco runs through west Pasadena from north of Hahamongna Watershed Park to the South Pasadena border, but the area that gets the most use is the 61.1-acre Brookside Park, which includes the Rose Bowl, Brookside Golf Course, the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center, Kidspace Children's Museum and the Rosemont Pavilion, where Rose Parade floats are decorated.

Marie Casas of Pasadena was playing on the grass south of the Rose Bowl with her husband, child and dog and said she would be "devastated" without the areas for her family to play.

"This is where they have youth soccer. A lot of people come to jog around the Rose Bowl," she said.

Strolling around the Bowl on a rainy day, Nena Perez of Glendale agreed. "I can exercise at any time," she said. "There's always people out here. ... I know it's safe. It's a nice area and I can come here and relax and unwind."

The Arroyo Seco was once held a village dotted with walnut, olive and citrus orchards and was a popular area for hiking, fishing and hunting, according to the Pasadena Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Early in the last century, nature lovers built cabins along the upper elevations of the Arroyo. When the Pasadena Water Department purchased 1,000 acres of this valuable watershed in the early 1940s, the cabins were removed.

In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt threw his support behind a plan to keep the Arroyo a natural park. But a bond measure to raise money to buy the land failed. Wealthy residents then purchased the land and built mansions on both sides of the Arroyo, many of which still stand.

In 1913 the Colorado Street Bridge was built, and Devil's Gate Dam was completed in 1920.

In 1922 the Rose Bowl was constructed, and it has since hosted five Super Bowls, the 1994 World Cup Soccer Championship, UCLA football and is the site of the annual Rose Bowl Game.

Still, the Arroyo continues to evolve. Two years ago the city developed the Arroyo Seco Master Plan that calls for upgraded playing fields, overnight camping areas, more parking, better access to remote parts of the Arroyo and more Rose Bowl events.

Drawing the most attention to the Arroyo Seco in recent years have been proposals to make the Rose Bowl home to a new National Football League team.

Two years ago, the company that operates the Rose Bowl said attracting an NFL team would be the best way to keep the 82-year-old stadium viable.

City officials began courting the NFL, which behaved like a flighty girl dallying with several suitors. Pasadena was briefly the front-runner in the race to land a team, then watched jealously as the NFL flirted with Carson, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and Anaheim.

Meanwhile, opposition to a Rose Bowl-based team surfaced as Pasadena Heritage officials rejected plans to renovate the venerable stadium and local residents questioned the wisdom of trying to lure the NFL to Pasadena.

"I'm a football fan, so it's exciting to think about a team coming here," Maffin said. "But I guess there's sacrifices involved. It would be a little bit of a bummer, I think, because it's really nice to see the green grass and stuff. But I don't know the trade-offs involved, and the benefits of having a team here might be kind of fun, too."