Pre-Colonization: 5,000 BCE – 1771

The land upon which South Pasadena is now situated was once the home of a flourishing Tongva nation. Archaeological sites have verified the presence of the Tongva people in the Los Angeles basin for at least 7,000 years.1 The Tongva were part of the Uzo-Aztecan language group, meaning their language came from the same root as the widely spoken Nahuatl in modern day Mexico.2 They, along with the Chumash, dominated much of Southern California including the modern Los Angeles metropolitan area. They are often known today as the Gabrielinos which was the name that Spanish colonizers gave them attributed to their forced participation in the building of the San Gabriel mission.1 

The Hahamogna tribe lived within today’s South Pasadena borders and extended into Pasadena and Altadena.3 In modern day South Pasadena, they inhabited the Arroyo Seco valley and extended north. Upon the arrival of Spanish colonizers, the Hahamogna tribe was sometimes referred to as Pascual after the Spanish Roman Catholic saint. This name was codified in the Mexican land grant establishing Rancho San Pascual which included parts of modern South Pasadena. Today’s San Pascual stables still garnish that name.4 In Pasadena, the Hahamongna Watershed Park yields the name of the indigenous tribe due to the archaeological discoveries that have occurred there.5 

There remain no monuments to the Tongva nation nor the Hahamogna tribe in South Pasadena yielding their indigenous names, instead opting for the Spanish colonial impositions.


1. Gabrielino – Tongva Tribe, “Tribal History.” Gabrielino Tribe.

2. Wikipedia contributors, “Tongva.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.

3. Tongva People, “Villages.” Tongva People: A dynamic study of the Villages and Locations of the Gabrielino-Tongva Indians.

4. San Pascual Stables Homepage, “San Pascual Stables.” San Pascual Stables.

5. Wikipedia contributors, “Hahamog’na.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.