Pasadena was incorporated as a municipality of Southern California in 1886 and officially became a city in 1901. The earliest reference to an Armenian in the city dates to a newspaper article from November 27, 1895 when a Dr. A.J. Milchonians was a guest speaker at the First Congregational Church (Carson 57). However, there is no evidence that the doctor actually lived in Pasadena. It was not until the early 1900s when the first Armenian families, the Pashgians and Khazoyans, arrived in Pasadena for settlement. Brothers John and Moses Pashgian, and Haigag H. Khazoyan were all in the rug business, and the 1903-1904 city directory contains a listing for "Pashgian Brothers, rugs and draperies", which was the first Armenian owned business of the city.
Khazoyan originally had his business in Los Angeles and later opened a second location in Pasadena (Kooshian 3). The Armenian population of Pasadena was only a handful in the early 1900s. One of the possible factors in the move of further Armenians into the city may have been the settlement of Reverend John B. Haygouni, retired pastor of the Armenian Presbyterian Church of Fresno, who settled in the city in 1913 after his retirement. Reverend Haygouni was described as being "one of the most widely-known men of his nationality in America" (Anderson 59).
By the mid-1920s Pasadena's Armenian population was beginning to flourish: the Varoujan Club, organized in 1924, was a group of young 20 somethings who organized social and cultural events for Armenians, the AGBU (Armenian General Benevolent Union) opened its Pasadena chapter in the 1920s, and the Los Angeles-Pasadena branch of the Compatriotic Reconstruction Union of Hadjin, a group of Armenians from the Hadjin province of Turkey, to name just a few. According to the Harout Armenian Directory of 1933, there were 120 Armenian families in Pasadena by this time (Kooshian 28). Of these, nearly all were immigrants from Turkey, with the exception of a few Russian Armenians.