South Pasadena's business district boomed between 1906 and 1908. At the time, the South Pasadena Record reported, "Rapidly and surely the march of progress is wending its way from Fair Oaks west and from Meridian east."
The first man to build on Mission Street was Alexander R. Graham, who razed a grove of eucalyptus trees at Mission and Meridian and built this concrete building. (Graham named the building the Alexander Building. Lest we forget who he was, two years later he erected another building right next door and called it the A. R. Graham Building. Now, what was his name again?)
I've raved about it before, and I'll rave again: for the ultimate South Pasadena history, you can't beat Jane Apostol's comprehensive South Pasadena, 1888-1988, A Centennial History, Second Edition with Chronology, 1988-2008. Check it out at the South Pas Public Library. Or better yet, purchase your own copy at the library bookstore.
You can read my former interview with Jane right here.