For some years during the middle of the last century, there was a springtime tradition in La Cañada: Various denominations of local young Christians — those not sprawled out on the sand at Newport or Balboa, enjoying what was then commonly called “Easter vacation” — would hold an Easter sunrise service on a hillside behind Descanso Gardens. Organizers were part of an inter-denominational council affiliated with the United Christian Youth Movement. La Cañada, La Crescenta and Montrose churches were represented.
We can find photographic evidence of this ritual in fading, springtime issues of the Valley Sun. In advance of the event, a photographer would coax the teens to pose for a publicity shot advertising it. After hiking up the hillside toting their choir robes, the teens would catch their breath, don the robes, gather around a large, white wooden cross, and muster up a respectably pious smile for the camera. The then-burgeoning La Cañada Valley is seen behind them, hugged by the San Gabriel Mountains. It's a very picturesque tableau.