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Frank E. Brown Rarity

Rare bird's-eye view of Pasadena, published by one of California's best regarded early 20th Century view artist's, Frank E. Brown.

The map is unusual in its focus on the downtown business district, with numerous buildings located by name and only the Pacific Electric Mt. Lowe Railway and Altadena Country Club Park shown by name in the distance.

The bi-plane appears to be flying more or less above the area of the current Pasadena Convention Center.  Interestingly, Vroman's Book Store is one of the few commercial locations on the map which is still in the location shown.

The view includes hand written annotations in the margins by an early owner, including a note that "Jim's Store 1 Block West on Union," and "Los Robles Ave. we are 7 blocks South."


We find no record of this view, other than the presentation of the view to the copyright office in 1921.  A similar view of Long Beach, California "down town, from mid-air," was presented by Frank E. Brown for copyright, also in 1921.

Brown also illustrated a rare promotional view of Avalon Bay (Catalina) in 1925.

Condition Description
Fold split, expertly repaired on verso, with some minor loss (to the right of So. Fair Oaks).
Frank E. Brown Biography

Frank E. Brown was born in Chicago, IL in 1880. Brown dropped out of school when a young boy and went to work in a design company.

Brown's panoramic views began to receive recognition in the late 1890s. On his second return from Europe in 1909 he opted to specialize in "bird's eyes." He came to Pasadena in 1915 and worked for a few years as a staff artist for the Star News. Working from a studio-home in Pasadena at 1377 Palm Terrace, he was in demand for his bird's eye views.

In 1927 he was commissioned to do a panoramic view of the Pasadena City Hall and was active locally until 1935. He died in Los Angeles on Dec. 18, 1946.