In a late-morning ceremony packed with historical tidbits and abundant civic pride, 95-year-old Montrose on Sunday was officially proclaimed Glendale’s official Old Town.
The Sixth Annual Montrose Founder’s Day, held in conjunction with the popular Harvest Market, was the vehicle for the event attended by more than 100 people, including city dignitaries, Montrose Shopping Park Assn. officials and individuals receiving awards for their efforts on behalf of the community.
Sharing emceeing duties at the podium set up on Market Street were Glendale City Councilman John Drayman, a former president of the MSPA, and Dale Dawson, the organization’s current president.
“Happy 95th birthday, Montrose, you don’t look a day over 90,” quipped Drayman, who went on to extol the accomplishments of the business association, which was marking its 40th birthday in conjunction with the Founder’s Day party.
Although Glendale Mayor Ara Najarian was unable to attend the event, his council colleagues Frank Quintero, Bob Yousefian and Dave Weaver joined Drayman to bestow the Old Town moniker on Montrose.
Yousefian, who remarked on the day’s clear skies and gave kudos to “whoever ordered the weather,” explained to the crowd it had been a unanimous vote of the council to give the honor to the community, which was founded on Feb. 22, 1913 with a land auction and barbecue.
On hand at the event to represent the Crescenta Valley Town Council and give certificates of recognition to all of the day’s awardees was council member Frank Beyt, who said he’s lived in the neighborhood for 35 years and has seen continuous improvements there. “I’m very proud to be a part of this community and the shopping park,” Beyt said.
First award winner of the day was City Hall Coffee Shop, one of four businesses receiving the Montrose Business Achievement Award. Other winners in the category were Vitorio’s Jewelers, Al’s Italian-American Deli and Mountain Rose Gifts, all given the nod for “uplifting the character of the Montrose Shopping Park.”
Longtime Montrose businessman Vito Cannella, in his heavily accented English (he smiled broadly as he told the crowd he speaks “Italish”) introduced the winner of the Montrose Community Vision Award, Rick Dinger of Crescenta Valley Insurance. On accepting the honor, Dinger said, to a very receptive crowd, “Bottom line, if you can’t buy it in Montrose you probably don’t need it.”
Given the Montrose Humanitarian Award was Crescenta Valley Sun City Editor Robin Goldsworthy, who has gained recognition over the years for her involvement with CV High School’s Prom Plus event.
Recipient of the Montrose Community Preservation Award, handed to him by another local historian of note, Mike Lawler, was Michael Morgan, honored for working toward educating the public about the community’s past. Morgan said the preservation work is never easy and sometimes difficult, “but always worth it.” Lawler and Morgan injected a historical sound into the event with the ringing of a vintage trolley bell that once announced the movements of the Glendale and Montrose railway cars.
Garth Gragg, who managed the now closed retail store Dorsey’s and was involved at the inception of the shopping park association, was presented the Montrose Founder’s Award. “I, too, when I got here thought I’d hit the Promised Land,” Gragg said, “and I haven’t changed my mind.”
The Glendale Planning Department’s Hassan Haghani was the recipient of the Montrose Community Service Award for his work on various projects benefiting the local community. Haghani in turn introduced and thanked members of his department for their dedication to the job.
The MSPA’s Dawson led the small crowd in a rendition of the “Happy Birthday” song before all were turned loose to enjoy a piece of the nine-tiered cake created especially for the occasion.