Vroman's Bookstore – Pasadena, California - Atlas Obscura

Vroman's Bookstore

Colorado Boulevard’s historic bookstore, operating since the bustling city of Pasadena was merely some orange groves and a few ostrich farms. 


118 years ago, when Pasadena was a resort town surrounded by fruit orchards and ostrich farms, and one of the city’s selling points was its “malaria free” climate, Andrew Clark Vroman opened a combination book shop and photographic supply store on Colorado Boulevard. Over the years, Vroman’s would expand operations as far south as San Diego, and eventually become the largest book dealer west of the Mississippi.

Along the way, the store instituted its popular author series, which launched in 1939 with an appearance by the author of “The Robe”, and continues today, with authors like Joan Didion, Salman Rushdie, and Neil Gaiman holding readings and book signings over the years.

Now one of the leading independent bookstores in the country, Vroman’s is still on Colorado Boulevard, just a few blocks west from where it was founded, and Pasadenans of the past would still be able to find their way to the bookstore which has been a cornerstone of the city since the 19th century.


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