In 1896, The Cawston Ostrich Farm opened and quickly became a world-famous tourist attraction. In retrospect, it seems a little weird that people would travel from the far reaches of the globe in order to walk around a garden with 100 ostriches. Although, to be fair, the adult birds were over seven feet tall and the baby chicks were really, really cute.
Advertisements at the time boasted a bucolic setting "free from any boisterous element and strictly first-class." It only only cost a quarter to visit the farm, but the chic ostrich feather boas, capes, muffs and parasols at the gift shop could set you back more than a few dollars.
One of the highlights of a visit to the farm was the opportunity to feed an ostrich an orange picked from one of South Pasadena's many orchards. Imagine what happens when a large citrus fruit goes down a slender ostrich neck. Can you see it? It's a less-violent version of a snake eating a rodent. The fruit could take quite a while to make its way down and, apparently, watching it was considered great fun for the Victorian set.
Who am I to judge? Our generation made curling an Olympic sport!
Given the Ostrich Farm's famous past as well as its artistic present, I have to say: these gates need some serious improvement.
For a fantastic history of Cawston Ostrich Farm, check out our pal Petrea Burchard's article here. For some great historical shots and vintage postcards, click here.
This week, I take a look at some of South Pasadena's gates.