Sunday, June 9, 2013

Crazy Ostrich People

America has always had it's fair share of crazy dreamers willing to pursue their mad ideas.  Most fail, but occasionally one succeeds.

In 1885, Edwin Cawston of South Pasadena, California chartered a ship and headed off to South Africa in search of the finest ostriches he could find.  He ended up buying fifty birds, and sailed to Galveston, Texas with his flock.  Between the voyage to North America and the cross country train trip, Cawston's dream almost died.  Out of fifty birds, only eighteen survived.  Still, Cawston persevered, and in 1886 he opened his ostrich farm in South Pasadena, just five miles north of downtown Los Angeles.  In time, Cawston expanded his flock to over 100 birds, he sold meat, ostrich hides, and feathered hats, boas, and fans.  He also supplemented his income by turning the farm into a tourist attraction.  One could ride on the back of an ostrich or drive an ostrich pulled cart.  Eventually, changes in fashion and the great depression ended the Cawston Ostrich Farm.  It closed in 1935.

But, the story isn't over.  The factory building where Cawston made the hats survived.  It's at 1010 Sycamore Ave. in South Pas, and has been converted into lofts.  Got $299,000 and you can buy one.  Prefer to rent and it's a lot more affordable.  Only $2200 a month for a small, furnished space.  Unfurnished, $2000.  And if you're willing to live on the second floor in the back, $1500.  Actually, in the L.A. area rental market, that's not all that bad.

This image is printed on postcard stock.

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