The South Pasadena Historical Museum holds a collection of weird artifacts from a city whose first claim to fame was having the nation's biggest ostrich farm — not for eating but for the fashionable feathers. You'll be hard-pressed to find any information about its offerings on the web, which makes a visit to the Meridian Iron Works building, one of the town's first structures, a pleasant surprise. Packed with old photos in adorably ramshackle display cases, the museum is run by a group of volunteers, including Bill, who's there every Saturday to answer any question you may have about the first Raymond Hotel, the creepy black-and-white photos of which easily rival the Overlook in terms of “harbingers of doom” (it definitely went up in flames). Matchbooks, stationery, maps and, of course, pictures of children riding ostriches line every inch of this quaintly cluttered space. If you're lucky, Bill will take out an ostrich egg and let you hold it with all the trust in the world. The museum is undergoing renovations now to get a turn-of-the-century replica kitchen, fix up the outside and make the upstairs area suitable for a larger collection. If you don't think small-town charm exists in L.A., step into this museum and wait to be dazzled.
Credit: April Wolfe