Wistaria (sometimes spelled "wisteria") was named for Henry Wistar of the University of Pennsylvania in 1818 to honor his contributions to science. Alice Brugman purchased the wistaria plant in a 1-gallon container for 75 cents in 1894 at the R. H. Wilson Pioneer Nursery in Monrovia, California and planted it in front of her home located at 201 West Carter Avenue in Sierra Madre. Henry Fennel added the arbor and in 1918 the Fennels held the first public Wistaria Festival (also known as a Fete), which benefited the American Red Cross. The roof of the original house collapsed due to the weight of the plant in 1931, and Henry Fennel built a second house 200 feet away. The next owner, Mrs. Ida Lawless landscaped the garden and added $100,000 of rare plants. In 1961 the land was subdivided, the wisteria plant cut back, the 1931 house demolished and two new houses were built. Today the vine covers approximately an acre of land at 505 and 535 North Hermosa Avenue. A 1994 Centennial Celebration completely planned, promoted, and implemented by volunteers, won an award from the State of California. The Sierra Madre wistaria vine is listed in the Guiness Book of World Records as the world's largest blossoming plant. A house completely covered by the Wistaria Vine in Sierra Madre.
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