Now, thanks to the donations and, above all, partnership of those caretakers, the custodians of arguably the United States’ greatest stadium, those treasured memories are showcased for old and new fans of the Pasadena landmark. The original locker room, used only from 1922 to 1928 before it saw a variety of ancillary uses, now houses what is essentially a small museum highlighting some of the greatest milestones in the Rose Bowl Stadium’s history.
Asked what word came to mind when walking through the room, CEO and General Manager Darryl Dunn had an immediate answer.
“Pride,” he said. “This room brings history to life. It starts at the beginning and goes all the way to today.”
The 1922 Locker Room begins with a timeline related to the Tournament of Roses and the Rose Bowl Game and stadium, including a plethora of photographs, memorabilia and newspaper clippings related to its history as a college football venue. Other sections do the same for the Super Bowls the venue has hosted, the variety of other sporting tournaments there and its more recent reputation as a legendary music venue.
“One thing about the Rose Bowl is that the future is very bright, but we’re really proud of our history,” Dunn told the crowd amassed for the locker room’s ribbon-cutting last week.
The project was made possible through numerous donors, with Mickey Segal, president of the Rose Bowl Legacy Board, and his wife, Lee, being the lead donors with a $250,000 check. Mickey Segal, born in Pasadena and a graduate of Pasadena High School, has deep roots in the stadium: He competed in three Turkey Tussles as an offensive guard for the PHS Bulldogs against rival John Muir High.
“I don’t think anybody had a clue what it would look like when it was done, but it is absolutely incredible,” said Mickey Segal, who saw the locker room for the first time at the ribbon-cutting. “This is really going to change donors’ opinions of what could be here and show the history of football and the history of Pasadena. We’re going to be able to say, ‘This is what your project will look like when it’s done,’ to potential donors.”
Pasadena-based Community Bank also was a prominent supporter, donating $50,000 to the project.
“It’s terrific,” said Alan Buckle, president and chief banking officer of Community Bank. “We’re thrilled with it. A lot of what we do is geared with charitable contributions and this is obviously geared well because we’re headquartered here.”
Stefan Lehner, regional vice president of Community Bank, grew up in Pasadena and recalled attending a UCLA game with his father when he was 8 as his earliest Rose Bowl Stadium memory. (The stadium became home field for UCLA in 1982).
“To be a part of the memorial and legacy here is just fantastic,” he said.
Pasadena Mayor Terry Tornek spoke of the donors’ generosity at the ribbon-cutting, noting that Pasadena led the world in nonprofits per capita with 1,100 registered entities.
“That is a more subtle tradition in Pasadena, but, to me, one of the more important ones, frankly,” he said.
On that note, the tradition seems as though it will continue. Mickey Segal, who declared “raising money” as his lifelong hobby, declared a goal of fundraising $40 million for Rose Bowl Stadium-related projects by the venue’s centennial in 2022. This locker room museum, he said, would help encourage those donors.
“This is money well spent. Well spent,” he emphasized. “This will lead to millions of dollars in gifts, no question.”