A Personal Perspective on Monrovia’s Heritage

Monrovia Santa Fe Depot - Photo by Terry Miller / Beacon Media News
Monrovia Santa Fe Depot – Photo by Terry Miller / Beacon Media News

By Susan Motander

Getting a sneak peek at the newly refurbished Monrovia Santa Fe Depot was a treat this week. The cherry on the top of that dish was watching the installation of the memorial to former Monrovia Mayor, Bob Bartlett.

Both made me proud to call this my hometown. I was conceived and raised here. The depot was still operating when I was young. Bob joined the council when I was not yet old enough to vote, but old enough to realize the town was dying.

The railroad stopped using the depot two years before I graduated from high school. It was yet another sign that this town was slipping away. Bob (along with Eric Faith and the also dearly missed Pat Ostrye) was elected the year after I graduated. That was the turnaround point for Monrovia.

That trio turned the city around. It was almost on life support in 1974. By the end of the century, Monrovia was an All-America City. How fitting that the same material used by Nic Fetter to show the lines where walls once stood in the old depot (Core-Ten steel) is the same material the artist, unwittingly, used as the base for the memorial to Bob.

Nic is the son of Blaine Fetter of Samuelson and Fetter, long time developers here in Monrovia. The firm was instrumental in many of the buildings along the East Huntington Drive Hi-Tech corridor. Daylight Ltd. is the company that has refurbished the depot for the city when no one else would do so within the design and budget restrictions of the city and a subsidiary of Samuelson Fetter.

How fitting that Nic, the son of a man who worked to restore Monrovia to new good times, should restore for a new use, that building, that symbol of Monrovia’s old grand days. And at the location of the memorial to the man, Bob Bartlett, who worked so hard to bring new good days to Monrovia.

That is Monrovia. It is keeping its eye on the future, but with its feet firmly rooted on its history.


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