Her Chosen Path
The Story of Mary Lowther Ranney
The life of Mary Lowther Ranney from the late 19th century into the 20th, from her birthplace in Chicago to Pasadena, California; from teacher to architect to founding headmistress, is remarkable.
From the particular perspective of the school she founded, shaped, and led with an intelligent and graceful sensibility for 25 years, her life and work were pivotal.
Born in 1871, she attended an all-girls boarding school in Wisconsin, and following her graduation, she taught in an all girls school in Chicago while she took courses in English at The University of Chicago. In 1904, she chose a different path and accepted an apprenticeship with the Greene & Greene architectural firm. While there, in addition to producing drawings for the firm, she designed a house for herself and her parents.
Her path diverged again in 1912 when she agreed to become the founding head of Westridge School for Girls where classes were first held in a small bungalow she purchased on State Street, just south of Orange Grove.
For Westridge, the "rest is history." Much of what defines the essence of Westridge School in its Centennial Year can be found in the values held by Mary Lowther Ranney as a teacher, an educational thinker, and as a person. Westridge and all who have passed through its doors, are in her debt. Her hidden hand as nurtured the dreams of generations and created a lasting legacy.
Artist, architect, teacher, dedicated student, woman of principle and vision; in so many ways, Mary Ranney, in choosing her own path, was choosing ours.