La Casita del Arroyo, a community meeting house, water demonstration garden and butterfly sanctuary, has been the major community project for the Pasadena Garden Club since it was conceived, designed and built as a public works project during the great depression. It was a joint project between the Pasadena Garden Club, who supplied the funds and the architectural design by Myron Hunt and the City of Pasadena who supplied the materials and the manpower. The building’s walls include boulders from the Arroyo, and the original roof shakes were cut from fallen trees in the upper canyon. Virtually all the lumber came from the bicycle track built inside the Rose Bowl for the 1932 Olympics.
After a devastating fire in 1985, La Casita was repaired and restored by the City and the Pasadena Garden Club assumed responsibility for the design and installation of the Isabelle Greene/Yosh Befu garden. In 1988, the garden was formally dedicated and demonstrates the use of native and non-native Mediterranean climate plants to produce a garden of beauty and horticultural interest. The garden is separated into a rain water only section, a low water use garden and a moderate water use garden. Additionally, there is a charming Butterfly garden re-designed and installed in 2010. This sanctuary ,named after Veva McKee, a past President of both the Garden Club and La Casita Foundation brings the visitor from the Arroyo trails up into the main garden.
Maintained by the Pasadena Garden Club until 1994, the La Casita Foundation was established with substantial funds, labor and love given by the Pasadena Garden Club, its members and community donors. The Foundation today is dedicated to returning the use of La Casita to the neighborhood and the non-profit community organizations for which it was intended. In 1976, La Casita was declared a Pasadena Cultural Heritage Landmark. The Lower Arroyo Seco, including La Casita, has now been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
In addition to the financial support of the Garden Club, the neighbors and members of the community support La Casita financially through their very generous donations. The garden at La Casita is considered one of the treasures of Pasadena.