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  • San Rafael Branch and Neighborhood History

    In 1784, a land permit was given by the Mexican government to Corporal Jose Maria Verdugo for Rancho San Rafael. This permit included the present-day Linda Vista and San Rafael areas of Pasadena. Two thousand acres were sold in 1882 to the Campbell-Johnson family and the property was named the San Rafael Ranch. The three sons of Alex Campbell-Johnson operated the Ranch for agricultural purposes. The Ranch was not prominent in the development of Pasadena due to the geographical and geological site and its location on the west side of the arroyo. The opening of the Colorado Street Bridge in 1913 provided little impetus to develop the San Rafael Area but did lead to the annexation in 1914 of the San Rafael area to the City of Pasadena.

    By the 1940s, the housing shortage in Pasadena led to the development of the San Rafael area and new residences were built that reflected the upper middle class and very wealthy families. In 1951, construction of three new Branch Libraries, including San Rafael Branch, was authorized by the City Board of Directors at a special August meeting. However, residents living on the side street, Rosita Lane, next to the site selected for the library, objected violently to the location choice. The idea of a library in the San Rafael area was well received but the location was in great dispute. A costly and lengthy legal battle followed with the residents purchasing the property the City selected for the Library, only to have the final decision decided by the Pasadena Superior Court. The Court ruled in favor of the City and the City purchased the property from the property owners who had tried to prevent the selection of the location.

    On July 31, 1957, the San Rafael Branch Library opened and ten years later a meeting room was added. Currently, the Branch participates in Pasadena's School Library Cooperative Project with the San Rafael School. As in the 1940s when developed, the San Rafael neighborhood consists of single family homes, architecturally designed with manicured landscapes. The library is currently used by the area residents and hosts weekly story hours for the preschool age group and knitting classes for the adults.

    Neighborhood Characteristics and Population

    Source: 2000 Census. San Rafael's service area is represented by tract 4638 and 80% of tract 4637. This area includes 5,201 people, of whom approximately 17% are age 17 and under.

    Political Districts

    City Council  6th District
    Steve Madison 
    County District  5th District
    Michael Antonovich 
    State Assembly  44th District
    Anthony Portantino 
    State Senate  District 21
    Carol Liu 
    U.S Congress  Congressional District 29
    Adam Schiff

    U.S. Senate
    Barbara Boxer
    Dianne Feinstein 

    Local Schools

    Public Schools
    San Rafael Elementary

    Private Schools
    Hillsides Home for Children
    Pacific Oaks Elementary/Preschool
    Sequoyah Elementary
    Westridge School for Girls

    Neighborhood Associations

    Neighborhood Watch
    San Rafael Elementary School PTA
    San Rafael Glen Summer Street Association 
    San Rafael Knitters
    West Pasadena Residents Association