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La Cañada History: Work began on creation of Plaza de La Cañada 50 years ago this week

La Cañada History: Work began on creation of Plaza de La Cañada 50 years ago this week
In January 1968 a tall pine tree falls from a bulldozer push, followed by the demolition of an English Tudor-style home at 4525 Oakwood Ave. to make way for the Plaza de La Cañada shopping complex. (File Photo)

Ten Years Ago

Heavy rainfall washed out attendance at the annual Camellia Festival show at Descanso Gardens on a Sunday in late January 2008. Only three people could be found in the exhibition hall on the second day of the festival: two participants and the gardens' chief horticulturist.

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Twenty Years Ago

Brent Noyes, the popular principal of Palm Crest Elementary School for six years, abruptly announced his resignation effective the end of the 1997-98 school year, or sooner, depending on his acceptance of another position. He cited personal reasons for his decision to leave the La Cañada Unified School District.

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Thirty Years Ago

Zzyzx, the much-loved iguana in Robin Williams' sixth-grade classroom at Paradise Canyon Elementary School, died of natural causes at the age of 16. The school's students held an on-campus memorial service for the reptile.

Forty Years Ago

The town mourned the loss of La Cañada High School junior Marianne Porchia, 17, who died 25 hours after sustaining massive internal injuries in a two-vehicle, nearly head-on collision at the foot of the Michigan Hill (along the eastern-most section of Foothill Boulevard, adjacent to St. Francis High School). Community response to requests to replenish blood supplies used to try to save Marianne's life was gratifying to area Red Cross officials, who said 116 donors, including the victim's father, showed up at a Bloodmobile visit to participate.

Fifty Years Ago

Oakmont Avenue property just north of Foothill Boulevard was leveled as work began to develop the Plaza de La Cañada shopping complex. The $1.75 million project of local builder Phil Kirst was expected to be completed by late summer or early fall of 1968.

Sixty Years Ago

California Highway Patrol officers said a runaway truck crash in La Cañada on Jan. 27, 1958, that took the life of the driver might have resulted from an illegal "fly-by-night" trucking operation that used back roads to avoid CHP safety checks. It was a fully loaded lumber truck that hurtled down Angeles Crest Highway, smoke pouring from a burning brake, crossing Foothill through a red light and into a restaurant parking lot, where it crashed into a concrete wall. The truck, which had last stopped in Bakersfield, left highway 99 and traveled back roads, allegedly to avoid a mandatory checkpoint. An investigation showed only one of three brakes was working at the time of the accident.

Compiled from the Valley Sun archives by Carol Cormaci.

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