South Pasadena is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States. As of the 2010 census, it had a population of 25,619, up from 24,292 at the 2000 census. It is located in the West San Gabriel Valley. It is 3.42 square miles in area and lies between the much larger City of Pasadena, of which it was once a part, and the metropolis of Los Angeles. South Pasadena is the oldest self-builder of floats in the historic Tournament of Roses Parade.
The original inhabitants of South Pasadena and surrounding areas were members of the Native American Hahamog-na tribe, a branch of the Tongva Nation (part of the Shoshone language group) that occupied the Los Angeles Basin. The Tongva name for the area that covers modern day South Pasadena and much of Alhambra was Vaytsuung'xuilhoor pronounced /ʋaitsyŋ sʐuilχøɛr/. Tongva dwellings lined the Arroyo Seco (Los Angeles County) in South Pasadena and south to where it joins the Los Angeles River and along other natural waterways in the city. They lived in thatched, dome-shape lodges characteristic for their use of carved wood decorations in the Nava style. For food, they lived on a diet of corn meal, seeds and herbs, venison, berries, fruits and other small animals. They traded for ocean fish with the coastal Tongva on a daily basis. They made cooking vessels from steatite soapstone from Catalina Island. South Pasadena also has a strong claim to having the oldest and most historic sites in the San Gabriel Valley. For many centuries, its adjacency to a natural fording place along the Arroyo Seco had served as a gateway to travel and commerce for aboriginal peoples here and along the coast. It was here that Hahamognas greeted Portola and the missionaries who later established the San Gabriel Mission a few miles to the east.
The initial buildings on the Rancho San Pascual were built on the land which eventually became the cities of Pasadena, South Pasadena and Altadena. The first of these adobe structures became headquarters for General Flores and his staff in 1847 where they agreed to surrender to American forces, ending Mexican Colonial rule in California. In 1875 the landowners of the area encompassing present-day Pasadena and South Pasadena voted to rename their association, Pasadena.
South Pasadena's first mayor was Donald McIntyre Graham. In February 1888, members of the southern portion of Pasadena attempted to gain more control over their own property and a vote for incorporation was made. In 1888, South Pasadena incorporated the southern portion of the Indiana Colony and land south and eastward to the Los Angeles border. Few Tongva had received any land. On 2 March 1888, the city of South Pasadena was incorporated with a population slightly over 500 residents, becoming the sixth municipality in Los Angeles County. It was chartered with roughly the same area as the current South Pasadena, about 3.42 square miles (8.91 square kilometers). With completion of the Pacific Electric Short Line, putting the entire city within easy walking distance of the “red car” stations, South Pasadena also became a one of the first suburbs of Los Angeles.
South Pasadena's history is associated with that of the Cawston Ostrich Farm and the Fair Oaks Pharmacy and Soda Fountain, which played vital roles in the history of the city.