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An Enchanted Park: Celebrating the
Centennial of Busch Gardens

Pasadena Museum of History Main Gallery
Through June 26, 2005
 
The Pasadena Museum of History is hosting an exhibition to celebrate the 100 Year Anniversary of the Opening of Busch Gardens, Pasadena. Created by Adolphus Busch (1839 - 1913), the flamboyant industrialist co-founder of Anheuser-Busch Companies, this magnificent 30-acre public pleasure garden was one of the major tourist attractions in Southern California for much of the first half of the 20th century. Featuring garden sculpture, souvenirs, maps, photographs, and family memorabilia, the exhibition presents both Garden and Busch family material never before assembled. See related programs and events...

Referred to as "the eighth wonder of the world," Busch Gardens included 14 miles of pathways, 100,000 plants and shrubs, rare birds, and 100 vividly painted sculptures imported from Germany including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel and the Gingerbread House. Construction and maintenance required the services of 30 expert gardeners as well as additional laborers with an annual cost estimated at $60,000.

Over the course of its history, Busch Gardens was visited by more than 1,000,000 people. The Pacific Electric Railway added a Busch Gardens stop on its nearest line. The site hosted entertainments, benefits, dog shows and Easter egg parties. Hollywood used the Gardens as a film location throughout the 1920s and 1930s. Among the many movies filmed there were "Adventures of Robin Hood," Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," and "Gone With the Wind."

Busch Gardens was open to the public for the majority of years 1905 to 1937. Adolphus' wife Lily, who lived in their home in Pasadena until her death in 1928, maintained the Gardens after Adolphus died. On two separate occasions, they were offered to Pasadena as a city public park.

Busch Gardenswas the brainchild of Adolphus Busch, who emigrated from Germany just before the Civil War, married a brewer's daughter, and by 1875 was co-partner in what would become the great brewing empire of Anheuser-Busch. Adolphus was a super-salesman and entrepreneur who used new ideas like pasteurizing beer, refrigerating railcars and innovative marketing techniques to become the King of Beer.



Busch was a grand figure with the ostentatious habits typical of wealthy 19th century industrialists. He owned lavish estates in St. Louis; Cooperstown, New York; Pasadena and Germany, all with extensive grounds often decorated with statuary of characters from Grimm's Fairy Tales. Pasadena was the winter home of the Busch family. "I selected Pasadena…because I consider it a veritable paradise. It has no equal in the world regarding healthful climate, scenery, vegetation, flowers, shrubberies, fruit and general comfort of living…" -Adolphus Busch, 1911.

The Busch Gardens exhibition is co-curated by Michael Logan and Gary Cowles, independent researchers who for the last 2 years have been piecing together the history of the Gardens. Because of their investigations and personal contacts, this exhibition is an opportunity for visitors to explore the little-known history of the Pasadena Busch Gardens and its importance as an early family entertainment park.
 
 
Hours & Admission
Wed - Sun
Noon - 5pm
Through June 26
Admission: $5
children under 12 free
student & senior discounts

Group tours Group tours by appointment
Call 626.577.1660, ext 10
Free parking available in the Museum lot Free parking available in the museum lot
Wheelchair accessible Wheelchair accessible
For more information:
Pasadena Museum of History
626.577.1660

Busch Gardens exhibit featured in article
Read the feature article about the Busch Gardens exhibit on the Pasadena Living Magazine website.
     

 
 
470 West Walnut Street ~ Pasadena, CA 91103 ~ Ph 626.577.1660 ~ Fax 626.577.1662 ~ info@pasadenahistory.org