Azusa Street Has Ghostly Past

KPCC's Kitty Felde tells the ghostly tale of Dalton Avenue in Azusa as part of a special Halloween version of her "Street Stories" series.

Kitty Felde: Dalton Avenue in Azusa is named for Henry Dalton, an Englishman who made his money shipping goods from Peru to Wilmington. He bought a Mexican rancho, renamed Azusa Rancho de Dalton, planted a vineyard, and built a flour mill.

Michael Kouri: Henry Dalton was the wealthiest man in the San Gabriel Valley until California joined the Union in 1846.

Felde: Michael J. Kouri is the author of "True Hauntings of the San Gabriel Valley." After the Mexican-American war, homesteaders – or as Kouri calls them, "squatters" – started moving in on Dalton's vast holdings. His land covered what's now Azusa, Glendora, La Verne, and Pomona.

Dalton spent the rest of his life – and his fortune – fighting the U.S. government over land and water rights. He died penniless in the Pico House hotel in downtown Los Angeles. Michael J. Kouri says the Dalton family still haunts Pico House.

[Scary music]

Kouri: And you hear a woman saying, "Alisa, Alisa, come, come baby, come." Well, Alisa was their third child. And when she was about four years old, she was running around the Azusa Rancho, and fell into what's called a tanning pit, which is a hole in the ground that's filled with acid.

Felde: The family was so heartbroken, they saved scraps of the child's hair and eyelashes, and pasted them onto a doll that they dressed in Alisa's baptismal dress. That doll joined the Daltons at family gatherings for years, even after they moved to Pico House. Today, that same doll is in the possession of Michael J. Kouri.