When you hear Rose Bowl, you think UCLA, USC or even Washington.
However, Washington State’s initial Rose Bowl appearance predates each of the aforementioned universities’ New Year’s Day contests.
It even predates the current stadium.
The first Rose Bowl, which was played in 1916 in Pasadena’s Tournament Park, featured Washington State College, which blanked Brown 14-0. It was the first of four Rose Bowl games for the Cougars.
With the Pac-12 crumbling after this season, WSU embarks on its final trip to face UCLA as conference foes on Saturday at the venerable venue, which was modeled after New Haven’s Yale Bowl and opened in 1923. UCLA’s home stadium has a capacity of 91,136.
The history of that first Rose Bowl trip for the Cougars is rich. Prior to departing for the game in 1916, the team enjoyed an extravagant team dinner at the Davenport hotel. The team boarded the Spokane-Portland flyer on Dec. 21 and arrived in Los Angeles on Christmas morning.
The victory was substantial not just for WSU football but for West Coast teams since East Coast squads dominated the gridiron during the early days of the 20th century. Pullman gave Washington State a hero’s welcome upon returning from California.
Cougars fans who will fly to Pasadena to experience Saturday’s game against UCLA should experience as much of “The Granddaddy of Them All” – the phrase coined by broadcaster and WSU alum Keith Jackson – as possible and Pasadena as well.
Sign on for a tour of the Rose Bowl, (rosebowlstadium.com/tours) which allows visitors to check out the 1922 locker room, a walk along the iconic field. Even if you don’t elect to take the tour, the history is all over the Rose Bowl walls. Highlights are detailed and photos are ubiquitous. Football fans will enjoy reading about some of the greatest games and performances ever at the Rose Bowl, such as the 1999 Rose Bowl with underdog Wisconsin surprising UCLA and USC’s game-winning drive over Ohio State in the 1980 classic.
It’s surprising how tranquil Pasadena is considering how raucous the Rose Bowl is on game day and how close the idyllic town is from downtown Los Angeles. While in town, the Gamble House (gamblehouse.org) is well worth visiting.
It was constructed in 1908 as a home for David Gamble, son of the Procter & Gamble Co. founder, James Gamble. The fresh air of Southern California inspired the Gamble family to leave Ohio. The striking three-story Arts & Crafts masterpiece, which is on a level with Frank Lloyd Wright’s ballyhooed structures, is stunning. The garden with a large curvilinear pond is a sanctuary. The attention to detail, the rounded wood, the aesthetics and craftsmanship was created by a pair of visionaries, Charles Sumner Greene and Henry Mather Greene.
The exterior of the house was featured in “Back to the Future” and “Back to the Future 3” as Doc Brown’s house. The shocker of the tour is how the general public had no interest in a deal on the Gamble house. The Gamble family tried to sell their home for a mere $29,000 in 1959, which is the equivalent of $283,000 but found no takers since their abode was regarded as a white elephant. The Gambles donated the home to Pasadena in a joint agreement with the University of Southern California.
The Gamble home is a charmer but so is Pasadena which has an array of cool shops and a range of culinary destinations. Who knew that the cheeseburger was born in Pasadena at Pie ’N Burger? That’s the claim. Pie ’N Burger (pienburger.com) is an old school joint with a no-nonsense staff, which serves up a quarter pound of fresh beef, which is griddle cooked with lettuce, onion, pickles, Thousand Island dressing and of course, American cheese. The well -constructed burger and fries makes it difficult to order one of the myriad of pie choices.
Expectations weren’t high while visiting Chef Tony (cheftonydimsum.com) for dim sum since it doesn’t sound like a Cantonese experience. But Chef Tony is Cantonese and the fare is on a level with the best of Richmond, British Columbia, which is top tier when it comes to dim sum. Chef Tony also owns a restaurant in Richmond. The steamed BBQ pork bun, shrimp and pork dumplings with truffle, and sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaf are delicious.
Pasadena is a hotbed for Asian food since San Gabriel Valley, Pasadena is the valley’s largest city, has a huge Asian-American population. There are more Asian-Americans in San Gabriel Valley than in 42 states.
Head to Raymond 1866 (theraymond.com) for happy hour to treat yourself to bargain sliders, pork tacos and a summer sangria.
If you have the time sign on for the Melting Pot Food Tour (meltingpottours.com/melting-pot-tours/old-pasadena-tour) . It’s just over a mile of a walking tour through Old Pasadena. It’s worth it for a taste of Mexican, Asian-fusion, chocolate and Indian, among other cuisine.
There’s entertainment in Old Pasadena courtesy of the Ice House Comedy Club, (icehousecomedy.com) which features veteran headliners, such as Orny Adams and Pablo Francisco.
The game at the Rose Bowl is a great excuse to visit Pasadena, but there’s no reason to rush out of town once the game ends.