Pasadena Tournament of Roses

Each New Year's Day, the world focuses its attention on Pasadena, California, USA, home of the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Game. It's a celebration more than a century old – a festival of flowers, music and sports unequaled anywhere else in the world. It's America's New Year Celebration, a greeting to the world on the first day of the year, and a salute to the community spirit and love of pageantry that have thrived in Pasadena for more than 100 years.

An event as large as the Tournament of Roses requires about 80,000 hours of combined manpower each year. That manpower is supplied by 935 members of the non-profit Tournament of Roses Association, a volunteer organization dedicated to presenting an internationally-recognized New Year’s celebration. Each volunteer is assigned to one of 31 committees, with responsibilities ranging from selecting parade participants to directing visitors on New Year's Day, to hosting the press headquarters for media coverage of the Rose Bowl Game, to giving presentations about the Tournament to community groups.

Nicknamed "White Suiters" because of the distinctive white uniform every volunteer wears, these enthusiastic men and women give up their evenings, weekends and holidays to ensure the success of the parade and game. A small full-time staff provides support and continuity to the volunteer organization.

 

History of Tournament House

Tournament House is the official headquarters of the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association, its staff and the 935 volunteers who work year-round to organize the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Game.

The house was designed and built in 1906 by architect G. Lawrence Stimson and his father, prominent builder George w. Stimson, as the family’s residence. Constructed of concrete and steel, the home took eight years to complete and by then, most of the Stimson children had grown and moved away. Mr. and Mrs. Stimson found the house too large for their needs and in 1914 sold the home to chewing gum magnate William Wrigley Jr. for $170,000. A year later, Wrigley paid $25,000 for the adjoining property, clearing the way for an arbor and breathtaking gardens.

In its time, the Wrigley’s residence was considered among the more modest homes on “Millionaire’s Row.” But of their six homes across the country, the Pasadena getaway was Mrs. Wrigley’s favorite. She delighted in watching the parade from her own front yard.

Within the structure’s three stories are 21 rooms and 18,500 square feet of artistry – richly paneled rooms, inlaid marble floors and ornate molded plaster ceilings.  Adding to the grandeur are extraordinary objects displayed throughout the first and second floors. These include are a one-of-a-kind Waterford crystal bowl commissioned for the centennial of the Tournament of Roses, the formal portrait of the reigning Rose Queen, crowns and tiaras worn by former Rose Queens and Princesses, and Rose Bowl Game-related trophies and memorabilia.

Surrounding Tournament House are the 4.5-acre Wrigley Gardens, featuring more than 1,500 varieties of roses, camellias and annuals. The Centennial Rose Garden features the All-America Rose Selections (AARS) award-winning Tournament of Roses rose developed especially for the Tournament of Roses Centennial.

The elegant Italian Renaissance-style mansion and surrounding grounds were presented to the city of Pasadena in 1958 by the Wrigley family for the exclusive use of the Tournament of Roses Association. New offices attached to the rear of the main house were added in 1960 and the home was restored to its full grandeur in a renovation project completed in 2002.

 

Tours of Tournament House

 

Free public tours of Tournament House are offered every Thursday, from February through August, at 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Reservations are not required except for groups of 15 or more. For additional information, please call (626) 449-4100.

 

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