When I first moved to Los Angeles about eight years ago, one of the very first items on my stalking agenda was to visit the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Headquarters. I wanted to sign up for their annual Rose Court Pageant just like Donna Martin did in the Season 6 episode of 90210 entitled “Everything’s Coming Up Roses”. 🙂 I was absolutely flabbergasted when after asking for an application the receptionist explained to me that in order to apply for the Rose Court I had to currently be in high school or in my first year of college (at the time I had just graduated from college). I calmly told him that that simply wasn’t true as Donna was in her third year of college when she entered the pageant on 90210, to which he replied “Yes, but that was a TV show!” LOL I cannot believe 90210 decieved me like that!! Anyway, even though my attempts at becoming Rose Queen were thwarted even before they began, I still loved being at the Tournament House and seeing where 90210 had filmed. 🙂
The Tournament House was originally built for the Wrigley Family – yes, Wrigley as in the spearmint gum. Construction on the home took over eight years and was finally completed in 1914. At the time Orange Grove Boulevard was known as “Millionaires’ Row” due to the countless opulent mansions lining both sides of the street. Sadly, most of those mansions are now long gone, torn down many years ago to make room for apartment complexes and smaller homes. But the Tournament House remains. When Mrs. Wrigley passed away in 1958, she deeded the home to the City of Pasadena with the specific instruction that it was to be used as the Tournament of Roses Headquarters, which it has remained ever since.
The Tournament House, which sits on over 4 1/2 acres of beautifully manicured rose gardens, is absolutely beautiful in person. The interior of the mansion is supposedly incredibly beautiful, as well, although I have never seen it. Free tours of the House are offered every Thursday between 2pm and 4pm during the months of February through August and I think I am definitely going to have to partake in one soon. 🙂
The Rose Queen tradition began in 1905 and continues to this day. It is so named because the Rose Queen reigns over Pasadena’s Annual Tournament of Roses Parade each New Years, riding on a special float. Each year over 1,000 girls compete for the Rose Queen title, in a process that takes a month to complete. Out of those thousand, one girl will become the Rose Queen and six others will become Rose Princesses in her Royal Court. An interesting side note – actress Sophia Bush (of One Tree Hill fame) won the Rose Queen title in the year 2000. 🙂 You can see a photograph of Sophia with her Court here.
Until next time, Happy Stalking! 🙂
Stalk It: The Tournament of Roses House is located at 391 South Orange Grove Blvd. in Pasadena.