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Walking into the ‘Prosperous Pasadena’ exhibit at the Pasadena Museum of History, one is taken back to a time when ice cream was 10 cents a scoop, and a dollar and a half would get you 10 gallons of gas and a quart of oil.”All of the conditions for the building of a beautiful and prosperous city were present in Pasadena as a fast growing colony,” according to the Pasadena Board of Trade in 1892. “They did not have to be created.”

From the grape vines and citrus groves of the late 1800s to the Headquarters City redevelopment program of the 1970s, the exhibit “invites viewers to reflect on the diverse and fascinating history of local business,” according to the museums press release.

The collection of receipts alone is worth the price of admission. Each is hand written on its own unique letterhead, usually produced by one of the many local printers, for business. The printers also made personalized stationary and greeting cards for ordinary citizens.

The dining section displays menus from establishments like the Stuffed Shirt, where former president Richard Nixon dined during his 1960 campaign and black and white photos of a plethora of stores and diners including Manako Restaurant, the first Japanese-owned business in Pasadena.

The patent drawing for the hula-hoop was submitted by Pasadena intellectual property law firm Christy, Parker, and Hale. A Pasadena hamburger stand cook invented the cheeseburger. There is a Crown City Hardware cash register the size of a modern day dresser and has as many drawers. All of this and more can be found at the exhibit.

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