The Rose Parade's Aristocratic Origins

Evicted from City Hall lawns and other public spaces, protestors from across the country plan to "occupy" this Monday's Rose Parade by staging their own procession that will follow the final flower-encrusted float. Though the focus of their ire is wealth inequality across the United States and not necessarily the annual event itself, the Occupy protestors' presence at the Rose Parade serves as a reminder of the parade's origins in Pasadena's exclusive Valley Hunt Club.

The social club, still headquartered today on Orange Grove Avenue in Pasadena, coalesced in 1888 around an elite group of recent arrivals to Pasadena. Its principal founder, the naturalist Charles F. Holder, moved from Massachusetts to seek relief from tuberculosis. Others had also been drawn by the salubrious climate, or by the town's growing national reputation as a Mediterranean-style resort. Most were from the East Coast, and of patrician stock;Pasadena's earliest settlers—middle-class transplants from the Midwest—were conspicuously absent from the club's membership rolls.

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