About the CTLA
In 1956 the residents of Altadena had voted on a measure to stop Pasadena annexation of Altadena lands. This ended a half century of Altadena being bit-by-bit turned into Pasadena, and it also ended the City's involvement with Christmas Tree Lane. The Altadena community was left on its own to take care of the annual lighting, and the Christmas Tree Lane Association (CTLA) was founded. The original members were able to enlist the assistance of Local 11 of the Electrical Worker's Union to string the trees each year. Boy Scouts manned the side street blockades which directed traffic to the top of the Lane.
In 1964 the CTLA was able to get Southern California Edison to install a permanent grid along the trees with special throw switches in three intersection locations with no cost attached the installations or use of electricity. In 1966 the Women's Auxiliary was formed to help with fundraising and keeping the Lane ready for the holiday season. During the energy crisis of the 1970s, the Lane went dark one year.
In 1990, Christmas Tree Lane was listed in the National Register of Historic Places and became California State Landmark. Of particular interest to those who were reviewing the application, it was noted that Christmas Tree Lane brought about the singularly significant social convergence of two relatively new commodities: the outdoor electric light and the automobile. Christmas Tree Lane is also recognized as the only botanical landmark on the State Registry.
In the years since 2000, when California electrical utilities were deregulated, CTLA has been struggling to keep the Lane alive. While in the past the power was donated by Southern California Edison, the Association now faces utility bills for the Lane. Several years ago, Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich provided funds for upgrading the electrical grids and systems, but the issue of electricity bills as well as costly liability insurance remain a constant threat to the survival of the Lane. Support of the community, including volunteering on the Lane and contributing through membership, is the only way CTLA can keep the Lane lighted for many holiday seasons to come.