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March 10, 2021 58 mins

Michael Patris has always had an interest in history. Whether collecting antiques, collecting and working on antique cars, or restoring a 1923 California bungalow in Alhambra, pieces of the past always seemed too important to brush aside. After several years working in the news industry, and film industry, Michael speaks publicly about Southern California transportation, collecting antiques and, of course, Mount Lowe.

Michael is the President and founder of the Mount Lowe Preservation Society, Inc., President of the Pacific Electric Railway Historical Society, and past Sheriff of the Los Angeles Corral of Westerners (2010). Michael is also President and owner of Golden West Books, a publishing company focusing on the history of trains, trolleys, railroads and locomotive material.

One of Michael’s most well known projects is a Mount Lowe trilogy, beginning with Mount Lowe Railway, part of the History of Rail series for Arcadia Publishing. This came out in June of 2007 and already is in its ninth printing. The Barnes and Noble book signing was sold out in an hour and a half, a record for their chain. October 2010 another book for Arcadia Publishing Mount Lowe, which is part of their Postcard Series came out and more recently two more books for Arcadia Publishing have just come out, both co-authored by Michael Patris and Steve Crise, which are Pacific Electric Railway, Then and Now (December 2011) and Mount Lowe, Then and Now. (February 2012) Michael’s current projects include (sometime in the near future) another collaboration with Steve Crise on the Los Angeles Railway, Then and Now, and perhaps a book on Los Angeles Union Station featuring photos and collectibles rarely seen from this local landmark.

After wanting to share his passion for the Mount Lowe Incline Railway and Thaddeus Lowe, the man who was the leading force behind its creation, it was a natural progression to set up the non-profit Mount Lowe Preservation Society educational foundation back in 2000 which has fueled the renovation of a 14,000 square foot building in Pasadena to permanently house our collections and archives. This has led to the archives of the Pacific Electric Railway Historical Society being donated to the Mount Lowe Preservation Society as well as the gift of the publishing company, Golden West Books, donated by the late founder, Donald Duke.

Preserving the past for future generations is his way of giving something back to the community that seemed lost in history books and old photos.  His drive and passion for collecting and displaying pieces related to local transportation history has been acknowledged by the Pasadena Museum of History where he has guest curated numerous displays for them and also loaned several items to the Huntington Library for the 300th Anniversary of the birth of Father Serra.


Office number: (626) 458-8148



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