San Marino, a small Southern California city with a richly layered past, celebrated its centennial year in 2013. The book San Marino: A Centennial History traces the city’s history from the days of the San Gabriel Mission lands into the twenty-first century. The book follows the town from a scattered rural settlement into early cityhood discussing the Depression and World War II, postwar growth, the arrival and contributions of its Asian citizens, and its dedication to the founders’ vision of a beautiful residential city.
Historical and contemporary photographs and maps are featured in San Marino, many of which have never before been published. Additionally, unusual maps and drawings give readers a surprising view of familiar places. Oral histories are an important part of the research for the book and have been made available for further research and study at the headquarters for the San Marino Historical Society. New oral histories are continuously added to this collection due to community interest in local history as a result of the books publication.
The author hoped San Marino would appeal to the city’s richly diverse population – especially those who insisted that they did not like history as they would be drawn into the story along with the vivid photographs and images. The authors successfully weave together historical narrative with personal stories of San Marino’s past, including tales of gypsy caravans on Huntington Drive and accounts of famous residents such as General George Patton.
San Marino fills an important gap in the understanding of the history of Southern California. Although the greater Los Angeles area is a grouping of many small communities, San Marino is a unique city within that group and has a one of a kind story. San Marino gathers a significant amount of new information and weaves together a wide variety of sources from the San Marino Historical Society’s archives and beyond to make history come alive for the community as a whole.