Brainchild of the Sierra Madre Civic Club

Our family lived right across the street from Sierra Madre Memorial Park . . . home of:

1905 World War I Howitzer Cannon
Annual Easter Egg Hunt
Horseshoe pit for retired men—I never saw women pitching horseshoes!
“Park House” for social and civic events
Playground for children
Santa arriving every Christmas Eve via fire engine— 
sirens blaring and red lights flashing
Summer evening concerts for the whole family
Tennis courts
and my personal favorite . . . TOY LOAN

Let me take you back with me . . .

Nestled near the playground was a small “house” painted pink. Whether the modest building was constructed as the home of Toy Loan or previously existed to later be converted to Toy Loan is unknown to me. Per Sierra Madre Historical Timeline—

January 20, 1949:
Sierra Madre Civic Club begins Toy Loan program

What an amazing idea! Many details have faded from my memory, but here’s what stuck:


  • Hosted by community women volunteers
  • Open weekly—limited days and hours
  • Participation restricted to Sierra Madre residents
  • Minimum and maximum age limits
  • Requisite respect for all borrowed toys
  • Card file system utilized to record child’s name and toys on loan—including date borrowed and date due back.

So many cool toys for girls and boys! An efficient tracking system enabled the volunteer women to verify toys were returned on time in good condition with “stars” affixed to the cards as rewards. When enough stars were earned . . . DRUMROLL . . . the child was invited to choose a brand new toy from the top shelf—to keep. Such incentive! 

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