March 5, 2016 was the opening day of the Gold Line Extension which now travels 11.5 miles from Pasadena and stops at stations in Arcadia, Monrovia, Duarte, Irwindale and Azusa. Gold Line passengers can now go from East Los Angeles, via Union Station all the way to our fair town. The next phase of the Gold Line will include stations that stretch from Glendora to Montclair. How about doing some reading with books from the Monrovia Public Library before you venture on your first ride on the new trains?
The Gold Line follows the right-of-way, or land, that the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad traversed. A brand new book, Railroads of Change: The San Gabriel Valley Journey by Kathleen Thorne-Thomsen, shares the history of the area’s development. Beautifully illustrated with vintage photos, drawings and maps the book shows the location of the Tongva Native American village, the San Gabriel Mission and local ranchos and shows how citrus industry and particularly the growth of the Santa Fe and Pacific Electric railroads impacted the cities now on the Gold Line Extension. Railroads of Change is a small treasure that local readers will savor.
Our nostalgia for the Pacific Electric line that traveled through Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties still blossoms as we remember this early mass transit system that was dismantled in the mid-20th century. After all, the Pacific Electric ran from Monrovia to Glendora. Relive the glory days with the following books: Ride the Big Red Cars and Henry Huntington and the Pacific Electric both by Spencer Crump, Red Car Era by Raphael Long.
And, speaking of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad, don’t miss Santa Fe Coast Lines Depots Los Angeles Division by Lee Gustafson, a nicely-illustrated history of the local community stations, including those in Monrovia, Arcadia and Duarte.