rose parade

This Miniature Tournament House Is a Little Free Library

Here's rosy news for National Read Across America Day: A petite version of the Rose Parade's Pasadena HQ has popped up, all to provide free books.

Rose Parade

What to Know

  • National Read Across America Day is March 2
  • The small Tournament House can be found north of the original Tournament House on Arbor Street, just off Orange Grove Boulevard in Pasadena
  • Take a book or leave a book (or both)

Oh, the stories that the world-famous Tournament House, the elegant abode found on the former Millionaire's Row on Orange Grove Boulevard in Pasadena, could tell.

But a far more petite and precious version of the Rose Parade landmark is now housing a different array of tales, thanks to the brand-new Little Free Library that was just installed to the north of the 18,500-square-foot Italian Revival mansion.

The small, pole-topping book cabinet, which was constructed to emulate the Tournament House's handsome and easily recognizable windows, roof, and entranceway, formally debuted on National Read Across America Day, which is March 2.

Little Free Library locations can be found across Southern California and far beyond. It's a "... nonprofit that builds community, inspires readers, and expands book access for all through a global network of volunteer-led little libraries."

Often built to pay homage to a house they sit near, the street-adjacent libraries house a small selection of books and sometimes magazines donated by neighbors.

Take one, leave one, enjoy: That's the Little Free Library way, and so it shall be with the newest Little Free Library, which can be found on Arbor Street, just north of the Tournament House.

Kevin Sommerfield, the husband of Terry Madigan, a member of the Rose Parade's executive committee, lovingly crafted the lovely library out of plywood, paint, artistry, and time.

As for the tale of the Little Free Library house's original inspiration, which serves as both a meeting space and museum for all things Rose Parade?

Built in 1906, the colossal casa, with its distinctive port cochere, green tile roof, and lush gardens, once served as a home, first to the Stimson family, then to the Wrigleys (they of the chewing gum empire, yes).

But the Italian Revivial landmark would take on a Tournament transformation when the Wrigley family gifted it to Pasadena in 1958.

Neighbors started visiting the Little Free Library immediately following its March 1 installation.

"Since the 1950s, the Tournament has been here in the Wrigley Mansion, and really been a cornerstone of the neighborhood," said Mr. Madigan in a video about the newest addition to the landmark's lush lawn. "But I don't know if we've ever really felt like a neighbor."

"And having this Little Free Library right here on Tournament Row, I think it really is our chance to reach out to the neighborhood, and provide a chance for them to take a book, leave a book, and really interact with the association in a different way."

For Rose Parade fans, a snapshot standing alongside this sweet and neighborly must-see might be next on their everything-rosy list.

It's free to visit, and if you can bring a book to leave for the neighborhood, you'll be part of the long-standing Tournament tradition of connecting with and celebrating the community.

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