Huntington Hotel and Mr. H. E. Huntington and NYE

by Nancy Armitage

Huntington Hotel, Pasadena California; now called the Langham Huntington Hotel, Pasadena. With the San Gabriel Mountains & Mount Wilson in the background. The green lawn in front called “the Horseshoe Lawn”. In the early 1900’s, they had many activities for their hotel guests: a 9 hole golf course, tea houses in the hotel and the Japanese tearoom,, swimming pool, & amazing gardens (created by Wm. Hertrich) to wander thru.

In 1912, Mr. Henry E. Huntington bought the Hotel Wentworth from General Wentworth in Pasadena, CA. Actually. per H. E. Huntington’s Biography book by James Thorpe, he bought the hotel in September of 1912. Mr. Huntington renamed the hotel after himself. : ” Hotel Huntington”. It has changed ownership several times in the 1900’s. It was first owned by Mr. H. E. Huntington & his company: Huntington Land & Improvement Co. Then, in the 1960’s: it became a Sheraton Hotel, 1990’s it became the grand Ritz Carlton Huntington Hotel, & 2000’s: the Langham Huntington hotel.

Hotel Huntington, Pasadena, CA: formerly called the “Hotel Wentworth”; In 1912, H. E. Huntington bought the Hotel Wentworth per HEH a biography by Thorpe. Huntington bought the hotel from General Wentworth (bankrupt) with Huntington Land & Improvement Co. & renovated it. 

In January of 1914, it was Mr. H. E. Huntington’s “Grand Opening” for his new Hotel Huntington in Pasadena, CA. The Guests attended 3 events, a tea, luncheon, & a grand ball for 1,000 guests.  The Hotel Huntington was a luxury 1st class hotel only opening part of the year.

Since the beginning of the hotel, the Hotel Huntington had had big event during the New Year especially in January. Opened during the winter time (6 months), so people living in snow country could come for a winter vacation in the California sun. The Hotel Huntington, a world class resort hotel with several hundred rooms, a golf course, a Florist, Tea room, Lath house, Rose Garden, Horse Stable, a Tea House was built for the hotel guest enjoyment, Ballroom Room, The Large Balcony, The Ship Room, The Moonlight Bridge, Large Horseshoe Garden, Japanese Teahouse, the Grand Balcony to enjoy the view of the whole San Gabriel Valley, & Croquet on the “horseshoe lawn”. 

In 1918, Mr. H. E. Huntington & the Huntington Land & Improvement Co. (H.L & I. Co.) sold the Hotel Huntington in Pasadena, CA. It was during WWI, the military actually used the Hotel Huntington during some of these difficult war years. Also in 1918, Mrs. Arabella Huntington bought the Old Mill, “El Molino Viejo” from H.L &I. Co. In 2020, the hotel is now the Langham Huntington Hotel in Pasadena, CA. Information from the Pasadena Historical Society folder & Pasadena Star News newspapers; Photos: Southern Cal. Water & Power Assoc. website 

Hotel Huntington Gardens: Mr. Hertrich was also the landscape architect of the amazing gardens at the luxury Hotel Huntington in Pasadena, CA. 100’s of 1000 of plants ordered and planted, herbs, flowers (Wisterias, Azaleas, & Roses) & trees were purchased by Hertrich & Huntington to make the Hotel Huntington a world-class resort hotel. Document: HEH Coll. HEH 8/9 (SMR papers) at Huntington Library San Marino, CA

Hotel Huntington Lath House: 100 ft. long x 30 ft. wide Greenhouses: 50 ft. long x 30 ft. wide, used to house & propagate plants to beautify the Hotel Huntington. These greenhouses were located east of the Hotel Huntington & north of the Old Mill, San Marino. Document: SMR Map 1921/ demolition SMR map 1927 no call number at Huntington Library San Marino, CA

Mr. H.E. Huntington & his Huntington Land & Improvement Co. also owned the Hotel Maryland in Pasadena, too.

When Mr. Henry E. Huntington owned the Hotel Huntington that location was all open land as far as the eye could see. Try to imagine no houses from the “Old Mill” in San Marino all the way to the Huntington Library property. It was all ranch land, oak trees, orange groves , avocado trees, & roses for miles & miles.

New Years was always a big celebration at the Hotel Huntington, later Sheraton Huntington Hotel. Then The Ritz Carlton Huntingtin and now its the Langham Huntington Hotel.

January & the Huntington Hotel, Pasadena

At the beginning the Huntington Hotel was only opens 6 months out of the year. January was the month guest would come and enjoy the sunshine of Southern California. Especially people from the east coast & the snowy winter weather. So the Grand Opening to the hotel every year was January.

New Years Day, there was the Rose Parade running down Colorado Blvd. and the Rose Bowl football game. In the 1890’s it started out as Chariot races at Tournament Park on the campus of Cal Tech. They had New Years Day football games there until they built the Rose Bowl Stadium in 1922.

The Rose Bowl Football game , a Pasadena tradition for over 100 yrs.

The Huntington Golf Course” 9-Hole & Club House at the Hotel Huntington, Pasadena, CA

In 1914, as part of the draw of the luxury Huntington Hotel in Pasadena. They had a 9-hole called the “Huntington Golf Course”. The golf course was located southeast of the Hotel Huntington & it ran east between Euston Rd. & Huntington Drive (in San Marino) up to Mr. Patton’s “Lake Vineyard Ranch” property (Lacey Park area). “Lake Vineyard Ranch” was just west of the H. E. Huntington’s property called the “San Marino Ranch”.

They even had a clubhouse, at the “Huntington Golf Course”, which was the Old Mill in San Marino, California. On beautiful days in sunny Southern California, they could enjoy the winter sunshine. Often, after their golf game, golfers wanted to sit out on the Spanish-tiled patio. They have lovely eucalyptus trees & the California Pepper trees; have a sandwich & drink a beer on their vacation.

Mr. & Mrs. H. E. Huntington (Arabella & Edwards) often enjoyed taking rides in their automobiles (limousines). They might have had tea at the Huntington Hotel (Formal English tea or Japanese Tea in the Japanese Tea house). Or have lunch at the Clubhouse (Old Mill) with the golfers. I found evidence the Huntingtons were both golfers, too, & Mr. Huntington’s social secretary, Mr. George Hapgood often played golf on Fridays. The Hotel Huntington guests also had access to 4 other golf courses: Annandale Country Club in Pasadena, San Gabriel Country Club in San Gabriel, Midwick Country Club in Alhambra or Altadena, & Pasadena Country Club (could be Brookside golf course).

In Mr. Hertrich’s 1914 book, Early San Marino, he informed us more about the Huntington Hotel’s 9-hole golf course: “Mr. Huntington acquired the unfinished Wentworth Hotel (now known as “the Huntington”) at this time. It was desirable to combine a nearby golf course with the hotel for the accommodations for the elite guests. The land between Old Mill Road & Virginia Road, from Huntington Drive to Wilson Lake (now Lacy Park) was selected for the 9- course course.”

10th Anniversary Party Menu & Formal Opening Huntington Hotel: January 10, 1924

Thurs. January 10, 1924 10th Anniversary Party & Formal Opening of the Huntington Hotel, Pasadena, CA Season 1923-24 hosted by D.M. Linnards Menu: Hors d’oeuvres varies, Essence de Volaille Madeleine, Celery Mignonette, Olives, Amandes Salles, Ris de Veau a la Creme with Toast Melba, Dinde aux Champignons Huntington [Turkey with Mushrooms], Spiced Satsuma Plums, Punch Mont-Blanc, Salade Oak Knoll, Petit Sandwiches, Meringues Glaces Bellevue, Gateaux a l’Orange [French orange cake], Mocha, & Mints Document: Ephemera folder Special Collections Pasadena Museum of History, Pasadena, CA Historical Note: Mr. & Mrs. H. E. Huntington were probably in attendance. Punch Mont-Blanc is made by vanilla ice cream vodka, heavy cream or half & half, & Chambord raspberry liqueur.

A perfect red velvety rose in my garden, this one is called “Veteran’s Honor” by Jackson and Perkins. Photo Credit: Nancy Armitage

New Year’s Eve in the Gilded Age (1880-1920’s):

A wonderful appetizer called “Oysters Rockefeller” actually invented in 1899, by a man name Jules Alciatore at the famous Antoine’s restaurant in New Orleans, Louisiana. The original recipe for Oysters Rockefeller has bacon, spinach, parsley, green onions, garlic, red pepper ground, Absinthe liqueur, oyster liquor & a roux of butter & flour to thick the sauce & baked with fresh shucked oysters. I like a similar Oyster Rockefeller that has a hollandaise sauce in it with parmesan cheese & bread crumbs on top and baked. Delmonicos in NYC and private clubs like the Union Club NYC & Metropolitan Club (NYC) provided 8-course dinner menus with dinner & dancing & champagne toasts at midnight.

New Year’s Eve “Reveillon” in Paris:

We know that in 1903, Arabella, her son, Archer and his 1st wife Helen Huntington were in Paris for New Years Eve & New Years Day. What did they eat in the Gilded Age on New Years Eve “Reveillon”in Paris? Here’s a list: French Champagne & Oysters on the half Shell, Escargot Stuffed mushrooms with Garlic butter, Pate or traditional “Foie Gras” spread on small sliced of toasted French bread, Gascon-style rich Beef Stew with armagnac- chocolate- & Madiran wine, Lobster, Turkey or Roasted Chicken, Veloute de Chataignes (Creamy Chestnut Soup), “Apple Croustade” (French Brandy apple tart made with phyllo dough),

Pasadena City Hall Pasadena, CA

New Year’s Day in Pasadena, CA

New Years Day is a very exciting grand time in Pasadena, California & has been for way over 100 years. There is the New Years Day parade (down Colorado Blvd.) & a football game called the Rose Bowl located at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena that day, too. Many locals have family & friends come spend the night just to see the Rose Parade in person instead of seeing it on television. The Pasadena Rose Parade was started in 1890 by the Valley Hunt Club in Pasadena CA. Many New Years foods are made like beverages/libations: Ramos Gin Fizz, Bloody Marys, or Sherry Tea. Sherry Tea is traditional in Pasadena to warm you up on a cold day like New Year’s Day. It used to be served at the Huntington Hotel in Pasadena. Hot Mushroom Soup, Pork Chile or hot soup like Tortilla Soup, or Albondigas (Mexican meatball soup) or Pozole Soup (chicken soup eaten on New Years Eve).

Hot Apple Cider or Sherry Tea to keep you warm on a cold day or night in January.

Sherry Tea (Junior League of Pasadena)

1 heaping T. orange pekoe tea

1 pt. cold water

1 stick cinnamon

1 qt. Boiling water

6 large lemons

1 c. sugar

2-3 c. Sherry

Let tea Steep in boiling water for 15 minutes. Extract juices from lemons. Place juice, lemon shells, cold water, and cinnamon stick in pan, & let simmer until lemon shells are tender. Strain & add sugar. Strain tea and combine mixtures. Add sherry just before serving. Serve hot. Serves 10-12 Book: Pasadena Prefers Junior League of Pasadena, Inc. Huntington Sheraton Hotel, Pasadena, California 91109; Revised Edition 1970 p. 42 This recipe was submitted by Mrs. C. Ackert Banks [Delicious warmed up & poured into a thermos, to keep you nice & warm throughout the day].

A lovely rose arrangement made of Hot pink roses, light pink/white rose & bright yellow. A very French look. Photo Credit: Nancy Armitage

Best Rose Petal Tea Blend (in honor of the Pasadena Rose Parade)

A Victorian tradition is blending your own tea especially with roses. The rose blossom is the Queen of the garden party. Just the smell of this tea mixed with roses and lavender will bring one back to their garden. If you are going to dry your own rose petals, use the most fragrant roses you have, like Mr. Lincoln or Double delight. Use unfertilized rose petals.

1 c. Orange Pekoe black tea

1 c. rose petals, dried

1 lb. jasmine tea with jasmine blossoms

1/4 c. lavender blossoms

1-2 t. rose essential oil

Put dry ingredients in a large bowl. Drop the rose oil drop by drop slowly over the tea and roses and blossoms. Mix well with a spoon. Place in tea tins or glass jars. For a cup of Rose Petal tea: add 1 t. tea to 1 c. boiling water. Recipe: Nancy Armitage

Brandied Peaches (Spiced)

Mrs. Arabella Huntington loved brandied peaches. A hostess can use them in a variety of different ways: on ice cream, on pound cake or French crepes, on waffles or pancakes, oron fruit in the morning breakfast. All the Huntington mansions were well stocked with Brandied Peaches.

3 c. sugar

1 1/2 c. water

10 whole cloves

10 allspice berries

2 cinnamon sticks

3 lb. peaches, (dip in boiling water & peel them)

1/2 c. brandy

Add sugar & water to large pot and boil. Add spices. Simmer 5 mins. Add peaches. Simmer another 5 minutes until they are tender. Remove peaches into several pint size mason jars (sterilized) with a lid. Pour in the cooking syrup & top with brandy. When cool place the lid on tight, label, & store in refrigerator. Make about 5-6 pints mason jars.

Mrs. Collis Huntington (Arabella) abt 1905, original photo Hispanic Society NYC

Bringing Southern Good Luck in the New Year

Mrs. Arabella D. Huntington was a southern belle. It is highly likely she brought in the New Year with some of these Southern foods; whereever she was located. These Southern foods eaten on New Years Day was to bring luck & good fortune. Like Black Eyed Peas, Collard Greens, Cornbread, Sweet Potatoes, Pork (Roasted Pork ) or Chile with Pork in it, Ham or sausage, grapes or cabbage, Lentils beans or peas, Sausage & cheese bread, pickled corn, Deviled Eggs, Spinach & Artichoke Dip

Two ways of incorporating Black Eyed peas is Hoppin’ John or Southern Caviar. “Hoppin John”: cooked rice, bacon or ham, cayenne, blackeyed peas, green or red pepper, celery, onions, oregano & green onions. Southern Caviar Dip is a combination of black eyed peas, corn, tomatoes, green chiles, onion,s parsley chives & cilantro, lemon juice & Italian dressing.

Canapes with caviar-hard boiled egg-red onion-chives & creme friache, shrimp or thin piece of smoked salmon with creme fraiche, or cucumber on top herb compound butter on a small pancake or cracker.

There were many Southern vegetables grown on the San Marino Ranch like, sweet potatoes, okra, & beets. Here is a list of Ranch vegetables during 1914-1915.

Mr. & Mrs. H. E. Huntington’s San Marino Ranch – 1914-1915   (A-Z Vegetable List): Avocado (Herman, Dickinson, Fuente, Guatemalan Varieties, Knight, Linda, Lyon, Queen, Rey, Sharpless, Sprinks), Alfalfa (SMR crop), Artichoke (French), Asparagus Roots (Large), Asparagus Sprengerli, Barley (SMR crop) Beets (Egyptian), Beans (SMR crop), Beans (Black beans, bush beans, Canadian Wonder, French Green Beans, Green pods, Green Dwarf, Horse Beans, Jumbo Dusty, Kentucky Wonder, Lima, Musk Meono, Round Bush Beans, Green Stringless, Ventura Wax, White Navy Beans), Bell Peppers, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage (Cannon Ball, & Winning Stadt), Carrots (Oxheart & White Belgium),  Cauliflower (Winning-Stadt), Celery, Celeriac plants, Chicory, Chile Peppers, Chives, Corn (Kaffir, Milo Maze, Golden Bantam), Corn (King Phillip – SMR crop), Cucumber (Klondyke), Eggplant (New York), Endive (White curled), Green Onions, Leeks, Lettuce (Iceberg & Romaine), Kohl rabe, Mushrooms (Button, French, & Paris Mushrooms), Okra (Green & White Velvet Okra), Onion (Bunch, Bermuda sets, & Crystal Wax onions), Bunch Onions (Green scallions), Oyster Plant (Salsify), Parsley (Moss-Curled), Parsnips (Turrooted) Peas (French Petit & Wilfong), Peas (Yorkshire Heros), Peppers (Chinese Giant & Pimento), Potatoes (Early Rose & Early Triumph “Spuds” & New Potatoes), Sweet Potatoes, Pumpkin & Pumpkin Seeds (SMR crop), Radish (Early Scarlet, Long Scarlet, & White Tip), Rhubarb, Salsify [Oyster Plant], Spinach, Squash (at June Harvest & Summer Squash) Swiss Chard (Green), Tomato (Stowe), Turnip (Snowball), Watercress Document: HEH Coll. MS 8/9 uncat (SMR papers); Book 6/3 of HEH Coll. MS 6/2-14 uncat (SMR papers at Huntington Library San Marino, CA) Charge to Los Robles Ranch [actually SMR] Dates 1914-1915); Annual Report, Calif. Avocado Association 1922, Report by Avocados by Wm. Hertrich, Director, (San Marino Ranch Report)  at the Huntington Library, SM, Calif.

The Huntington Family & New Years Eve/Day – Locations:

Jan. 1, 1890 San Francisco, a “At-Home” written invitation for tea: “Mr. & Mrs. H. E. Huntington (Edwards & Mary Alice) with Miss Marian Huntington “At Home” on Friday, the 1st of January from 4-7 pm 2840 Jackson Street [SF CA] at the bottom of card: 1st & 2nd Fridays in February. Document HEH Coll. HEH Box 199 ( HEH personal papers)

1902 Los Angeles, CA H. E. Huntington transfers his office headquarters from San Francisco, CA to Los Angeles. He is living at the Fancy Hotel Van Nuys in Downtown Los Angeles, CA.

January 12, 1902 Los Angeles Herald Number 103 announces ” Henry E. Huntington is given an informal dinner”- 40 leading citizens of Los Angeles give a most elegant banquet dinner from 6:30-9:30 pm at the Angelus Hotel in downtown Los Angeles, CA. Dinner Menu: Canape d’ Anchois[ Anchovy Canapes], Blue Points [Oysters on the half shell], Celery, Bouillon de Volaille, En tasse Paupiette of Salmon Marguery [poached salmon with a sauce], Pommes Bendictine, Lamb chops braised Bouquetiere, New Peas, Punch Imperial, Roast Canvas Back Duck au cresson, Asparagus Hollandaise, Combination Salad [possibly New York Waldorf Salad & California Crab Salad], Fantasie Ice Cream, Gateau Assortis [Fancy Assorted Cakes], Fruits. Fromage de Roquefort with Toasted Crackers, Cafe Noire, Manhattan, Amontillado [Sherry with oysters]Chateau Yquem, D. & F. Potet Canet, Egyptian Deities, Mumm’s Extra Dry [Champagne],Cognac & Carolina Perfectos[cigars].

Punch Imperial Royale is a champagne punch with pineapple, brandy, sugar, oranges, lime juice, tawny port, maraschino liqueur, champagne or prosecco, & sparkling water like Appollaris.

The Huntington Family Location at New Years

Jan. 19, 1902 San Francisco Call newspaper announced “Matinee teas occupy time of the smart set”: Miss Elizabeth Huntington [H. E. Huntington & Maryalice’s daughter] entertained over 200 guests yesterday afternoon at her home 2840 Jackson Street [SF, CA]. The large drawing-rooms were decorated simply with cut flowers, chiefly red. Mrs. H. E. Huntington and her daughters were all gowned in white & looking especially charming. The “hours” were 5-6 but some guests were induced to remain far into the evening.”

In the years, 1901, 1902, & 1903 & several other years, Mrs. Arabella D. Huntington is in Paris, France. For sure we know Arabella Huntington was in Paris on New Years Eve. On January 13, 1904 she is on the “S. S. Kaiser Wilhelm” headed back to NYC.

January 2, 1903 Mr. H. E. Huntington buys the San Marino Ranch (501 acres) for $239,732.74 in Southern California. He also bought the Winston Ranch of 162 acres to the south. Book : H.E. Huntington by Jas. Thorpe

Sunday, Jan. 3, 1904 abt San Francisco, CA Miss Marion Huntington’s Debutante Ball: “The function at the Huntington’s Home [Jackson] was the most formal of the day, over 700 invitations having been issued. ..The Drawing rooms, halls, and stairways were graced with fragrant firs while between the apartments huge bells wrought in Christmas berries were suspended by bands of ruby ribbon.

Jan. 1, 1907 New Year’s Day Jonathan Club, Downtown Los Angeles, CA Banquet in honor of H.E. Huntington.

Jan. 23, 1908 Oak Knoll, Pasadena. Margaret Huntington is born (HEH’s granddaughter) to Howard and Leslie Huntington.

Jan. 12, 1909 LA Herald newspaper announces: Valley Hunt club, Pasadena CA. “Reception to republic founder: Pas Jan 11, 1909 The Valley Hunt Club will tender a reception to Wm. R. George founder of the Geo. Junior Republics in the clubhouse Wed. Afternoon. Mrs. C. H. Alden, Mrs. Tod Ford, Mrs. Howard E. Huntington [Leslie], Mrs. S. Hazard Halstead, Mrs. Walter Wotkys.”

January 2, 1910 LA Herald Newspaper announcement: “Gala Night for Jolly Party at Reopening of Hotel Redondo, Redondo Beach, CA: …”The banquet, which was a n elaborate affair, was served at 6 o’clock The menu: Bisque of Lobster, Mission Olives, Celery en Branch, Fried Fillet of Sole with tartar sauce, Sweetbreads patties, Mushrooms, Green Peas, Roast Redondo Turkey, Cranberry Sauce, Mashed Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Alligator Pear Salad [Avocado], Mince Pie, Roquefort Cheese, Ice Cream, Cake, Fruit & Coffee. LA Herald January 2, 1910 Volume 37, Number 93

January 7, 1914 Huge celebration at the newly opened Hotel Huntington with a ball and fancy dinner and large tea. LA Herald announces $250,000,000 Ball open Hotel [the opening of the Hotel Huntington in Pasadena] Dinner (2 seatings:) 600 guests 7:30-9:30 then 600 guests 10;00 to midnight.” Never before in the history of California has so tomorrow night with an “open house” & dance that will set a new standard for society.

abt. Dec. 7-8, 1914 Christmas and New Years Eve in New York Huntington Mansion No. 2 57th St NYC “Howard & Leslie Huntington with 6 children took train from Pasadena to NYC for a Family Reunion at Oneonta, NY” about Dec. 7 or 8th, 1914 Document: LA Herald Dec. 17,1914

Jan. 23, 1921 Oak Knoll, Pasadena, CA Baby Henry Edwards Huntington II is born to Leslie & Howard E. Huntington (HEH’s grand child)

Jan. 1, 1922 Mr. & Mrs. H. E. Huntington (Arabella) arrive in Los Angeles, CA via New Orleans from NYC New Years Day Huntington Mansion San Marino Ranch: “Rained all day long. 4:30 pm went to the home of Dr. & Mrs. Wills & had Egg Nog & Cake. Edwards & Belle [Huntington] arrive home at about 9pm. Having come from NY via New Orleans accompanied by Dr. Coley & Mrs. Leakey & Mr. Hapgood. Carrie, Collis & I went over to the house [San Marino Ranch] & awaited their arrival – Edwards [HEH] has been quite ill in NY & looked very tired & while (sic) on his arrival – Belle was tired also.” Document: HEH Coll HEH MS 10968 (E. Burke Holladay Journal -HEH’s brother in law)

Thurs. Jan. 4, 1923 Huntington Mansion SMR 4-6 dinner guests – “Eve. Carrie & I dined with Belle and Edwards” Document: HEH Coll HEH MS 10968 (E. Burke Holladay Journal -HEH’s brother in law)

January 5-6, 1924 Los Angeles, CA “Col D. [Denis] breakfast at the California Club [downtown LA], “Carrie, Miss Magt. Foster, & I dined at Vista del Arroyo [Hotel]. Aft. Called on B & E. [Belle & Edwards Huntington] Document: HEH Coll HEH MS 10968 (E. Burke Holladay Journal -HEH’s brother in law)


HEH Coll. California Technology CalTech Map of San Marino (1921) Engineering students (no call number) Huntington Library, San Marino, CA

Huntington Hotel Menu 1924 – Ephemera folder Special Collections Pasadena Museum of History, Pasadena, CA

Book: H. E. Huntington a Biography by James Thorpe

Book: Early San Marino by William Hertrich

Book Pasadena Perfers by Junior League of Pasadena, CA

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