Sunday, February 18, 2007

Armenians in Pasadena

After studying for over 6 months, I finally took the lsats last Saturday. This test had consumed my life and now that I'm done I suddently have a lot of free time on my hands, which I will need as I'm writing my senior thesis on the Armenian American community in Pasadena.

Much of my sources include oral history of old timers who have been active in the community for quite a while. Last week I sat down with a man who was in Pasadena when the current church was being built. He was a carpenter and actually helped build the church. It was a great chance to learn about our community, and I suppose it's safe to say that the community in Pasadena can serve as a microcosm of Armenian communities elsewhere. When the church was being built, all Armenians (protestants, apostolic, etc) coalesced to build this church and its adjacent school.

What is interesting is the trend in Pasadena in Armenian immigration. The first Armenian settlers in Pasadena were from Turkey and subsequently lived in Pasadena for generations (Amerigahyes). Yet there have been two recent influxes of Armenians from other locations. The first main one was those that came from Lebanon and the Middle East due to the civil war (my parents) and the most recent one is the influx of Hayastantsis. There is definitely some sort of network here. The more recent immigrant may have had contacts or were drawn to Pasadena due to the current Armenian community at the time of their arrival. Whatever the case, Armenians attract other Armenians. First Amerigahayes, then Beirutsis, then Hayastantsis, but all Armenian.

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