La Casita del Arroyo
La Casita del Arroyo, a community meeting house, a water demonstration garden and butterfly sanctuary, has been the major community project for the Pasadena Garden Club since it was conceived, designed and built as a public works project during the Great Depression. It was a joint project between the Pasadena Garden Club, who supplied the funds and the architectural design by Myron Hunt and the City of Pasadena, who supplied the materials and manpower. The building’s walls include boulders from the Arroyo, and the original roof shakes were cut from fallen trees in the upper canyon. Virtualy all the lumber came from the bicycle track built inside the Rose Bowl for the 1932 Olympics.
After a devastating fire in 1985, La Casita was repaired and restored by the city, and the Pasadena Garden Club assumed the responsibility for the design and installation of the Isabelle Green/Yosh Befu garden. In 1988, the garden was formally dedicated. It demonstrates the use of California native and non-native plants to produce a garden of beauty and horticultural interest. The garden is separated into a rain water only section, a low water use garden and a moderate water use garden. Additionally, there is a charming Butterfly Garden re-designed and installed in 2010. This sanctuary brings visitors from the Arroyo trails up the the main garden.
Maintained by the Pasadena Garden Club until 1994, the La Casita Foundation has maintained the garden with substantial funds, labor and love given by the Pasadena Garden Club, its members and community donors. The Foundation today is dedicated to returning the use of La Casita to the neighborhood and the non-profit community organizations, for which it was intended. In 1976, La Casita was declared a Pasadena Cultural Heritage Landmark. The building was completely renovated in the summer of 2014 through a joint venture between the Foundation and the City of Pasadena. The Lower Arroyo Seco, including La Casita, has now been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Each member of the Pasadena Garden Club volunteers throughout the year as a requirement of membership. Not only do our members work in the garden, the Club also supports the garden financially each year with profits from our benefits. Additionally, the neighbors and members of the community support La Casita financially through their very generous donations. The garden at La Casita is considered one of the treasures of Pasadena.
For more information on the garden at La Casita, please go to their web site. lacasitadelarroyo.org