Montrose blooms at 95

Thousands gathered Sunday to celebrate the 95th birthday of Montrose during the annual Founder’s Day event at the Montrose Shopping Park.

More than 10,000 visitors, including city officials and staff, convened to help kick off the celebration.

The Glendale City Council presented a proclamation to the Montrose Shopping Park Assn. declaring Montrose as “Glendale’s Official Old Town.” The council recently voted unanimously to confer the title on the 11 1/2 -block commercial retail shopping district.

“There has been a lot of [media] coverage on Montrose,” Councilman John Drayman said. “What started as a retail venue is becoming a tourist destination.”

On Sunday, dozens of people came to cheer for Montrose’s designation as an old town and stayed to sing happy birthday and have a piece of the nine-tier chocolate and vanilla cake. The nine tiers of the cake represented nine decades of Montrose.

Ten-year Montrose resident Karen Corriveau attended the event with her husband, Jeff, and 4-month-old daughter Amelie.

“We love the town, and we are big supporters of it,” Corriveau said. “The history of the town means a lot, and we attend the celebration every year.”

Sharon and Robert Thompson of La Crescenta also came to take part in the outdoor birthday party.

The couple, both Glendale natives, have been around Montrose for more than 40 years, Sharon Thompson said.

“I used to walk my kids down here when they were in strollers,” she said. “We’ve enjoyed Montrose for years.”

The Montrose Shopping Park Assn. presented several awards to Montrose business owners and philanthropists for their achievements and contributions to the area.

Dale Dawson, owner of Mountain Rose Gifts and president of the Montrose Shopping Park Assn., was one of four recipients of the Montrose Business Achievement Award.

“I think there is a recognition that places like the Montrose Shopping Park are growing and are an endangered species,” Dawson said. “People start to get that this place is a gem, but also that mom and pop districts are endangered.”

Young residents also gathered to partake in the festivities.

Eleven-year-old Kelly Arnett and her friend, 12-year-old Marissa Gould, attended the event, which included food booths, games, rides, and the Sunday harvest market.

“I like all the stores, and sometimes I meet people down here,” Kelly said as she ate Hawaiian chicken with rice.

The 95th birthday anniversary of Montrose was also a big hit for history buffs who came to see the old-time photo exhibit.

The Historical Society of Crescenta Valley displayed a series of black-and-white photographs of Montrose in a booth. Passersby stopped to take a look at what Montrose looked like in decades past.

Glendale native Rob McGregor studied the photographs carefully. McGregor looked at a photograph of the Crescenta Valley when it was surrounded by just a few homes and orchards.

“I’m interested in the history of the area,” he said, adding that he was looking to see if he could find his mother’s home in the photograph.

The home was built in 1926 and was nestled amid orange groves, McGregor said.

Irena Valentin of Glendale was surprised to learn that there were olive trees in Montrose, and at one time it snowed in the area.

“It’s just a beautiful place,” Valentin said.


 ANI AMIRKHANIAN is a news assistant. She may be reached at (818) 637-3230 or by e-mail at ani.amirkhanian@latimes.com.

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