MOUNTAIN MILEPOSTS #968 March 26, 2020
THE ALPINE MALL IN LAKE GREGORY VILLAGE: The Alpine Mall in Lake Gregory Village started its life in the 1940’s as a motel and was one of the original Lake Drive businesses. This week’s image is taken from a real photo postcard and depicts the smaller half of the Mall as it looked in the 40’s and 50’s, when it housed Hal’s Place. A very popular hot dog stand and cocktail lounge, Hal later added “Hot Dogs – Café Open – Home Cooking” at the bottom of the window. He would also drop the “chamber” slogan and replace it with “Visit The Corral,” the name of his lounge. Russ Keller writes in his book Crestline – The Swingingest Town In America that Hal “was the unofficial mayor of Crestline and also claimed to be a one-man chamber of commerce.” Hence the slogan. To the left of Hal’s stood Dinky Golf, now Ace Garden Center. The first of a dozen or so cabins is visible, and at the other end of the arch, which says Crestline Motel, is a larger building. The arch came down in the 1970’s and the front buildings were completely remodeled, as were some of the cabins. They were converted into various-sized retail stores, some of which would later be rented as offices. Larger businesses could be accommodated in the front buildings. The tall neon sign, which once said “Kelly’s Crestline Motel,” became the iconic new symbol for the ambitious new enterprise, reading “Alpine Mall.” The Mall has been family-owned for some 40 years and has hosted a diverse range of businesses and has served numerous functions. Many successful businesses got their start in the Mall, some going back 30 years. Many expanded into larger, successful enterprises. The Mall has been an anchor business for generations and has kept current. The entire operation got a major remodel and facelift over the past couple years and has been turned into a showplace. Check it out. We always need to support our local businesses. By Ken Brafman, Image from Rhea-Frances Tetley Collection.
MOUNTAIN MILEPOSTS #967 March 19, 2020
This week’s column is based upon an article written in the late 2000’s by noted local historian Jim Huff. Those familiar with The Great Mountain War of 1939 know that Crestline cityhood is not exactly a new idea. In 1939 Crestline citizens had decided it was time to become a city and to elect their own ruling officers. Twenty-one candidates threw their hats in the ring, vying for offices ranging from mayor to councilman to city attorney. The mayoral race was the most hotly contested. Harvey Edwards campaigned for mayor on the promise that he would import an orchestra from San Bernardino upon his victory along with ample cases of beer. Sam Campbell was thrust into the mayor race but eventually threw his support to Lucy Hilbig, wife of the popular Crestline druggist. Lucy’s platform included a plan to charge tourists an additional two percent luxury tax. The owner of The Crash Inn, Chet Beehler, was opposing George Johnson for first district councilman. The top contenders for second district were Lyle Seccombe and Weber, with Iner Jenson and Ralph Hilbig jousting for third. The remainder of the offices included treasurer and city attorney. For the latter, neither candidate had any experience but “they were sure they knew as much about it as anyone else.” In the meantime the Blue Jayites were rattling their sabers and making statements such as, “When the smoke clears we will be the real winners of the campaign,” and, “It’s easier to buy a Crestline mayor after an election, than before.” On election day Crestline voters turned up en masse to find that the ballot contained only the current five propositions and no candidates. Sabotage by the Blue Jayites was suspected. Threats of reprisal were hurled in the town watering holes, including the Town Hall Café, this week’s image. Cooler heads prevailed but the legend lives on, how the Blue Jayites prevented the Crestline Hillbillies from becoming a city. By Ken Brafman, Image from Russ Keller Collection.
MOUNTAIN MILEPOSTS #966 March 12, 2020
THE GREAT MOUNTAIN WAR OF 1939: The Blue Jayites vs. The Crestline Hillbillies: This week’s column is based upon an article written in the late 2000’s by noted local historian Jim Huff. The legendary embattled coexistence of Blue Jay and Crestline was first chronicled in a tabloid published in San Bernardino between 1938 and 1942 called Snoop. It told of Sam Wager, pharmacist at the Blue Jay Drug Store, who led the Blue Jayites. Known as Dapper Sam, God’s Gift to Women, and the Self-Styled Political Boss of the Mountains, Sam and the Blue Jayites had on ongoing feud with the citizens of Crestline whom they referred to as the Crestline Hillbillies. In response, in 1939 Sam was hung in effigy by enraged Crestliners in a wild celebration of dominance over the rival resort. In those days Crestline was known as The Swingingest Town in America, with popular watering holes such as the Crash Inn, Scotties, the Rim of the World Tavern and the Town Hall Café. In contrast Blue Jay only had the Tap Room. Crestline was the popular destination for flatland “furriners,” as they were called. This included many military personnel from the numerous bases, some of whom had their wedding ceremonies in the Crash Inn. A 1939 advertisement is featured as this week’s image. The Blue Jayites did get to brag about their new ice rink and its nine miles of cooling pipes. Name dropping was common, such as, “Oh, it didn’t take Jane Withers long to discover our beautiful rink,” or, “Wasn’t Gene Lockhart handsome gliding around the ice last week.” The Hillbillies knew, however, that most of the rich and famous had to pass through Crestline after their long climb up the hill and would likely stop to pause and refresh before finishing their trip to Blue Jay. In retaliation, the Blue Jayites started advertising that Daley Canyon Road was being widened and paved with better grades and would be the shortest route into Blue Jay and Lake Arrowhead. They further advised motorists to bypass Crestline and take the route we now know as Highway 189. By Ken Brafman, Image from Ken Brafman Collection.
MOUNTAIN MILEPOSTS #966 March 5, 2020
STEEP ROAD TO SUCCESS: In 1851, after early Mormon settlers survived the perilous journey from Salt Lake City, following the Old Spanish Trail, they arrived in the valley and soon established a town. Anxious to build a fort for protection against possible Indian attack they soon realized that a greater source of lumber would need to be secured. The answer, of course, was above: the lush forests of the San Bernardino Mountains. But first a road would need to be built. The Old Mormon Road rose from Waterman Canyon and reached the summit some 12 miles up. An estimated 1,000 man-days of hard labor were involved. With a grade as steep as 40% wagons headed down the hill needed to fasten a log, horizontally, to the back wheels and skid down a good portion of the decline. There were no brakes that could hold the wheels against the grade. The road gave access to Seely and Huston Flats, and the immediate focus was to establish mills and build communities. The Daley Canyon Toll Road was completed in 1870 which was instrumental in the continued growth of the mountain lumber industry. However, neither the toll roads nor the Old Mormon Road would fulfill the needs of the Arrowhead Reservoir Company, formed in 1891, and their goal: water. The company’s plans included building several reservoirs, linked together, and able to irrigate 120,000 acres of valley farmland. Work began in the summer of 1891 to build a new road up Waterman Canyon that would mostly follow the old Mormon Road for the first half and then create new switchbacks up to the final crest. The road was completed March 1892. This week’s image shows a couple of families taking a break from their journey on the new road. Users were excited about the improved route until the company posted the toll: $2. This would be well over $50 in today’s money and there was much ill will until 1905, when it became a county road. By Ken Brafman, Image from John Robinson Collection.
MOUNTAIN MILEPOSTS #964 – February 27, 2020
By Bill Pumford, Image from Russ Keller Collection
VALLEY OF ENCHANTMENT LODGE: This week’s image is a photo of the Valley of Enchantment Lodge located on Waters Drive in VOE. The facility was originally built as a family home in the late 1940’s by Henry and Hannah Krause. Over time the building was converted into a restaurant, bar, and dance floor. It became a very popular place to eat, as well as providing meeting space for local civic groups such as the Crest Forest Women’s Club and the American Legion. Hannah Krause was very active in the local community including the Crest Forest P.T.A. In 1947 the Lodge offered a lounge and a choice of inside or patio dining. The menu featured a choice of charcoal broiled steaks for $2.25 or $2.50 and southern fried chicken for $2.00. In 1949 the newspaper reported that the Lodge had one gaming machine. Of course, in 1949 nearly every commercial venture in Crestline had gaming machines. In August of 1953 the Enchantment Lodge opened a cocktail lounge and in 1954 a permit for dancing was granted. By 1962 the cocktail lounge had become very popular and the guests were entertained with live music. During the summer season the restaurant was open daily whereas the restaurant was only open on weekends during the winter season, and a salad bar had been added. In 1966 Hannah Krause was tragically killed in an automobile accident on Highway 18 when her car went off the road 200 feet down a cliff; she was 61 years old. In 1977 Arleva Linker and John Beavor acquired the Enchantment Lodge. In 1989 the property was sold to William Bohlin. In the early 1990’s the Enchantment Lodge, along with the Crest Forest Firefighters Association, sponsored the Alisa Ruch Burn Foundation Adult Tricycle Races. Recently the building has been the site of a church and a private residence.
MOUNTAIN MILEPOSTS #963 – February 20, 2020
By Ken Brafman, Image from Ken Brafman Collection
MOUNTAIN MOVIES: NOW, VOYAGER: Most readers of this column should be aware of the rich filmmaking history of our San Bernardino Mountains. A visit to our Mountain History Museum is not complete without spending a little time in the Cozad Theater, where you will marvel at the scores of movie titles featured in a PowerPoint-type presentation. Our historian Russ Keller often peppers his popular lectures with behind-the-scenes highlights of films with a mountain connection. This week’s image is a still from “Now, Voyager” which was released in 1942. The three top-billed are Bette Davis, Paul Henreid and Claude Rains; with a large supporting cast which includes many Hollywood greats. Pictured are Bette Davis and Claude Rains acting a scene in front of a Lake Arrowhead backdrop. Davis plays an unhappy, insecure, frumpy character who spends time in a sanitarium following a psychologically abusive childhood. She becomes transformed both physically and mentally, partly with the help of a psychiatrist played by Rains, who is giving her encouragement in the scene. As part of her transformation and her journey of self-discovery she embarks on a cruise. No longer an “ugly duckling” she catches the attention of an unhappily married architect, played by Paul Henreid. The early scenes of Davis and Henreid together on the ship as she takes her first tentative steps toward womanhood are remarkable and touching, without being overly sentimental. This is a tribute to the director, Irving Rapper, as well as to the actors. The writers manage to keep things moving and to maintain a sense of humor throughout the dialog. What comes next was considered a “hot potato” in 1942, namely an adulterous affair. While subdued, and handled in a classy fashion, nonetheless this was seldom seen in films of that generation. The film concludes on a moral high note, and it’s a movie that shouldn’t be missed. Other film locations included Big Bear Lake and other locales, as well as various studio lots.
MOUNTAIN MILEPOSTS #962 – February 13, 2020
By Bill Pumford, Image from Russ Keller Collection
CRESTLINE RACING AT ORANGE SHOW SPEEDWAY: This week’s image is a photo of a vehicle racing at the Orange Show Speedway in April of 1961. The photo is from a negative acquired by Russ Keller on eBay. A rather unique picture. The car pictured was sponsored by Ace & Walt Garage and Marty’s Union Oil Service Station both from Crestline. The Ace & Walt Garage was located on Crest Forest Drive where Davis Auto Body & Paint is now, and Marty’s was located on the corner of Crest Forest Drive and Highway 138 where the Top Town Garage is now. Both places were in Top of the Hill (referred to as “Top Town” today). The Ace & Walt Garage has a famous but a rather sad part in the history of Crestline. Euro Luigi (Ace) Bertolo was shot to death in May of 1962 right outside his garage in Crestline. Robert Choate committed the crime in view of several witnesses, and he was convicted of second-degree murder. In 1970 Robert Choate was released from prison and was granted the right to have a new trial but died in a motor vehicle accident before the trial could begin. His brother, Walt, carried on with operation of the garage until his death in August of 1974. The murder of Ace is covered extensively in Russ Keller’s annual talk entitled “Murders with a Crestline Connection.” Other notable Crestline residents that raced at the Orange Show Speedway’s ¼ mile track were Hal Minyard in Indianapolis-type sprint cars and midgets in the 1950’s and 1960’s, Dan Paulus in the Street Stock class in 1970’s and 1980’s and Jim Arnold running in Super Modified class in the 1980’s.
MOUNTAIN MILEPOSTS #961 – February 6, 2020
By Ken Brafman, Image from Cathleen Ranney Altmeyer
SNOWY MOUNTAIN MEMORIES II: The Snowstorm of the Century: This week we’re going to spotlight a few more of the larger storms, including what many refer to as the “snowstorm of the century.” This week’s image depicts a familiar winter scene, that of a mountain cabin with snow nearly up to the roofline. Cathleen says that a big snowstorm had collapsed a lot of roofs in Crest Park. Their neighbor Mr. Wilson can be seen climbing up the roof using ski poles, from where he would ski down into the driveway. According to Chet, the first two days of 1974 saw eight feet of snow come down in 36 hours. Lori adds that students ended up with a three-week vacation and didn’t have to make up the days later! She remembers that a high school boy who worked for them got their little red truck stuck in 1000 Pines and he put a red rag on the antenna so the plows wouldn’t run it over. The March Miracle of 1991 saw record spring snowfall. The Narrows was closed because there was no space left to dump the snow.
For over ten days in 1969 the mountain experienced an epic barrage of snow, ice, rain and wind. Many roads were closed. In Big Bear a section of Highway 18 in Boulder Bay collapsed into the valley below. Duane recalls Arrowhead Villas getting so much snow that it broke the 2-inch standpipe fire hydrants. Cheryl says her family was living in Cedar Glen and the trucks couldn’t get up the hill, so the grocery store shelves were completely empty. They spent many hours playing Monopoly by candlelight. John has the distinction of having been born in Mountains Community Hospital during the snowstorm of the century. The hospital generator ran out of gas and patients had to be evacuated. The fire department brought he and his mom to their house in Skyforest where his dad had been shoveling a tunnel to the front door.
MOUNTAIN MILEPOSTS #960 – January 29, 2020
By Ken Brafman, Image from Ken Brafman Collection
SNOWY MOUNTAIN MEMORIES: Tourists from around the world come to our mountain for its beauty, recreation and relative tranquility. To “get away from it all.” The rest of us folk are either natives, or transplants. If you’re not a “snowbird” then the common bond that joins us all together is: Snow. This week’s image shows a significant snowfall that occurred circa 1940’s at Weber’s Market in Top Town Crestline. The store is visible only by means of the path shoveled through the snow. Most snowy memories become happy ones. Santa’s Village opened to the public in Skyforest in 1955, providing a winter wonderland of memories for over 40 years. We have world-class ski facilities as well as private resorts that offer snow play, such as Arrowhead Pine Rose in Twin Peaks. Wherever there’s “un-level” snow you may find a kid or ten sporting a brightly colored saucer sled. Mountain folk love to share snow stories. Fondest memories are those that involved missing school. Locals such as Princess Beth said she missed school for two weeks in 1979. No cable so lots of time for snow play! Barbara added that when her family drove through Blue Jay at that time there were berms the height of two stacked trucks. Steve stated that there was no power for two weeks, and he remembers being able to walk onto the roof. Valerie remembers that snow fell through Mother’s Day that year (which is a typical piece of advice we give to mountain newbies). Readers relate seeing only the tips of stop signs peeking out, and accessing their homes via the second story window. John says he remembers, as a kid, shoveling snow taller than he and seeing the wind blow the roof off a house. And Shirley remembers her mom sending her to their next-door neighbor, as they didn’t have a carrot for the snowman.
MOUNTAIN MILEPOSTS #959 – January 22, 2020
By Bill Pumford, Image from Russ Keller Collection
CATTLE IN THE MOUNTAINS: LAST ROUNDUPS: This week’s image is a photo of cowboys working in Little Bear Valley. This story of cattle in the San Bernardino Mountains is a continuation last week’s column. A number of trails were available for the cowboys to drive their cattle to market in September after the summer grazing. There were instances of driving cattle down Waterman Canyon to San Bernardino and down City Creek Road to East Highland. Most cattle, however, were driven down Van Dusen Road to Victorville, or down Cushenbury Canyon to Lucerne Valley. During the latter part of the 1930’s and into the 1940’s the cattle industry in the mountains began to wane. There were various reasons for this but primarily it was the development of homes, resorts, and camps which took away much of the better grazing areas. The Upper I.S. ranch, as an example, sold their ranch and grazing acreage for development which later became Moonridge near Big Bear. At the local golf course cattle would wander over the turf creating great holes, which angered the course owners. This should not have been too surprising since the cattle previously grazed there. Development also occurred in Crestline and Lake Arrowhead which helped to further push the cattle ranchers off the mountain. Building of dams for the creation of Lake Gregory, Green Valley Lake, Lake Arrowhead, and Big Bear Lake removed many acres formerly available to the cattle ranches for grazing. Yet another reason for the decline in cattle ranching were changes in grazing regulations by the Forest Service. To prevent overgrazing, districts were established that regulated the number of cattle and sheep that could be grazed on each area. The ultimate result was the disappearance of cowboys and cattle ranches across the San Bernardino mountains — a fate shared earlier by the logging industry.
MOUNTAIN MILEPOSTS #958 – January 15, 2020
By Bill Pumford, Image from ROWHS Collection
CATTLE IN THE MOUNTAINS — BEGINNINGS: This week’s image is a photo of the Allison Ranch family homestead from the 1890’s. One of the least known or understood major industries in the San Bernardino mountains must be cattle ranching. For nearly a hundred years from the 1860’s until the early 1950’s herds of cattle existed in the mountains. Initially cattle provided food for the loggers and miners. Large herds started coming to the mountains when severe drought conditions in the high desert forced cattle ranchers to drive their herds into the high mountain meadows during the summer for the lush grasses and water. During the latter part of the 1800’s a number of ranches were established in the mountains including: Shay, Heart Bar, I.S., Hitchcock, Wright, Erwin, and Allison ranches which in total may have reached nearly 1000 head of cattle. Over the decades a routine was established where the ranchers would move their cattle off the mountain in September to the high desert for grazing before the harsh winters. This included Whitewater, Yucca Valley, Lucerne Valley, and Victorville. In May cowboys would move the cattle back up the mountain (including potentially hundreds of newborn calves) and, depending on the point of origin, might stop at Coxey Meadow to graze the cattle on the way to Fawnskin. The cowboys who drove the cattle up and down the mountain twice a year were a hardy lot. They worked long hours during the drives, sleeping on the ground and eating poorly. They had to chase cattle that got away from the herds, usually into steep canyons. Relaxation after drives came in the form of friendly competitions between ranches in riding, roping, and branding. Cowboys often participated in Western movies made in the mountains. During the filming of “Nevada” in 1935 the Hitchcock and Shay ranches, cattle, and cowboys were used in some of the scenes. Will Talmadge and Bill Hitchcock had speaking parts.
MOUNTAIN MILEPOSTS #957 – January 9, 2020
By Ken Brafman, Image from Ken Brafman collection
MOUNTAIN SUMMER CAMPS: Much has been written here about the survival skills of our native Serrano Indian tribes which were spread across the mountain range for thousands of years. Summer camps came into vogue between 1860-1880 and provide kids with a unique experience that incorporates many of those skills into a safe, nurturing environment. Classic camp experiences include traditional activities such as archery, swimming, astronomy, arts and crafts, hikes, nature study, and much more, depending on the program. A prime component to the experience is the camaraderie and relationship building that comes with campouts, cooking over a campfire, singing, games, and just sharing. There are dozens of camps across the mountain of all different types. The larger ones, such as Camp Seely in Crestline, are group camps capable of handling as many as 125-270 campers. This week’s image is a real photo postcard from 1965 highlighting a smaller camp, Camp Wintaka. It’s captioned “Corral At Camp Wintaka.” The camp is located between Running Springs and Green Valley Lake. Started in the 1930s near Jackson Lake in Wrightwood it was reestablished as Camp Wintaka in 1958 in its present location. It has two distinct camp areas, one for 2nd to 6th graders and one for 7th to 8th, with age-appropriate activities for each. With the variety of programs and proliferation of camps, finding one that is well-suited to your child’s interests should not be difficult. Each camp has its own unique personality, and information and brochures are readily available online. Many camps are nonprofit and volunteer-based, and some are faith-based, such as historic Pinecrest in Twin Peaks. Some camps, such as Wintaka, have only a one-week summer session. Other camps such as Pali, in Running Springs, have nine sessions available between June and August but fill up by February. So, while we may still have snow on the ground, it is important to plan ahead for your kid’s adventure. He or she will be welcomed and from the experience will gain memories for a lifetime.
MOUNTAIN MILEPOSTS #956 – January 2, 2020
By Russ Keller, reprinted by popular demand Image from Russ Keller Collection
NEW YEARS DAY 1955: This week’s image comes from a real photo courtesy of Gary Jacobs. It depicts Santa and his reindeer in the 1955 New Years Day parade in Pasadena. What makes this entry so special is that it was sponsored by and provided by the soon-to-be-opened Santa’s Village in Skyforest. The January 2, 1955 Los Angeles Times carried the following article. The headline read, “Nine Reindeer, Including Rudolph, Thrill Children.” The article went on to read, “Santa’s eight famous reindeer from the poem ‘The Night Before Christmas,’ plus one more, Rudy the Red-Nosed Reindeer, all real live animals, were one of the major pre-parade attractions, especially with the children. The reindeer were pulling the float “Merry Christmas” entered by the Skyforest home of Santa Claus. From the time they lined up in the parade formation area, for more than two hours before the procession got under way, they were surrounded by youngsters of all ages. Rudy, a baby reindeer less than a year old, led the four pair of Alaskan reindeer which were named, as in the poem, Cupid and Vixen, Comet and Dasher, Donner and Prancer, and Blitzen and Dancer. All of them wore harnesses with name plates identifying them, and to each harness were attached sleigh bells which rang merrily when the animals shook their heads. Four herders in Lapland costumes drove the reindeer and a pair of elves in Chipper costumes greeted the throngs.” The body of the float was made of cedar and fir greens mingled with pink, white, yellow and DuBonnet chrysanthemums. Red and white flowers decorated the Christmas tree which served as background for the float. I hope that everyone has a Happy New Year.
MOUNTAIN MILEPOSTS #955 – December 26, 2019
By Bill Pumford, Image from the Linda and Richard Guill Collection
HIGH MOUNTAIN GUNFIGHTERS: This week’s image is a photo of the High Mountain Gunfighters from the 1990’s. This group of men and women were formed in Crestline in the late 1970’s and performed throughout Southern California. This was a historical organization whose skits and performances were based upon historical events. Outfits used in their shows were authentic from the period 1870s to 1890s and were sometimes reconstructed from old photos including buttons and style. In addition to the costumes, rifles and handguns were either original or reproductions for the same period. A replica of the .45 Colt Peacemaker and an original .44 caliber Smith and Wesson were both used. Maintaining historical perspective during performances was very important and to that end the High Mountain Gunfighters often brought their own western village sets on the road. The mini-town was made up of Silver Kate’s saloon, a jail, and a general store. The general store could also be converted into a bank, a Wells Fargo office, or an undertaker’s parlor. According to Richard and Linda Guill, longtime members, everyone associated with the High Mountain Gunfighters was passionate about what they did and devoted a great deal of time and money to ensure that the performances were of the highest quality. One of the more memorable performances was at the Treehouse in Devore, a nudist colony. Extra concentration was required by performers and judges. The High Mountain Gunfighters performed at fairs such as Crestline Jam Days and Green Valley Lake Mountain Top Country Festival, and in fundraisers for charitable groups such as the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation Benefit. They also performed for the children at Santa’s Village. The Gunfighters competed in the National Gunfight and Stunt Championships where performances were evaluated on safety, historical accuracy, and crowd appreciation. By 2001 the High Mountain Gunfighters had retired although the members remain close friends to this day.
MOUNTAIN MILEPOSTS #954 – December 19, 2019
By Ken Brafman, Image from Wayback Machine
LIFELINE FOR THE MOUNTAIN COMMUNITY: While Facebook™ was first offered for use to the public in late 2006, there was a predecessor which was dedicated to the San Bernardino Mountain residents called rimoftheworld.net. Developed by Scott Straley and Dave Henderson the website was launched by Straley in late summer 2003 as a community information hub and casual social network. When the Old Fire started in late October 2003 rotw.net took on a much more vital role, becoming a main conduit for the dissemination of important information and communication. At the peak of the crisis this local site drew up to 500,000 daily page views, with 25,000 unique visitors. Los Angeles television news agencies tend to lack knowledge of mountain geography and other unique aspects of this area of Southern California. Television news coverage was practically non-stop at the time but often contained incorrect or misleading information. For example, one LA station showed a screen image entirely filled with flames, and a caption reading, “Crestline Burning”; when the actual location was Cedar Glen. Rotw.net was able to give timely reports, obtained first-hand. Intrepid souls who defied evacuation orders created a means by which residents could learn whether their homes, neighborhoods and/or businesses were still standing. Evacuees would post their addresses and one of these holdouts would check the status of the property and reply. In the coming weeks and months, the site would report on rebuilding progress. Users often posted road conditions and various types of hazards. News of the continued fates of the hard-hit communities was shared. The sleepy little website designed for casual use became our most important communication tool in this time of crisis. It fostered friendships, hosted heated debates, announced important events and ultimately brought our mountain people closer together. After a dozen years of service rimoftheworld.net faded away, succumbing to increasing costs and the steady migration of users to Facebook™ and other venues. Many remember it as a lifeline and comfort during desperate times. It made an impact.
MOUNTAIN MILEPOSTS #953 – December 12, 2019
By Bill Pumford, Image from Russ Keller Collection
JOE’S PLACE IN CEDARPINES PARK: In the early 1920s Joe Bertucci and his half brother Frank Nardi came to the San Bernardino Mountains looking for work as bakers. A year later Joe purchased property in Cedarpines Park which at the time had been known as “Winter Wonderland” or “The Mountain Forest Wonderland.” Joe and Frank constructed a building which served as their home, bakery and later a general store, post office, and gas station. Frank Nardi served as the postmaster. The building was constructed utilizing native river rock from Sawpit Canyon by Joe and Don Parmelee, local contractors. The massive walls and chimneys can still be seen. During the 1930s moonshine was one of those items that could be acquired in addition to general supplies. In 1940 part of the building was converted into a restaurant which included a bar and dance hall. The restaurant opening was on Saturday, July 27. The grand opening featured the Bill Graham Orchestra, Italian dinners and a steak dinner for a dollar. It was not uncommon for Akhay Kumar Mozumdar to stop by Joe’s Place for drinks and some philosophical discussions. In 1952 Jane Russell, the famous actress, and her cast of players ate at Joe’s Place after having put on a benefit show at the Mozumdar Amphitheater. Bertucci’s building was a very popular place for civic groups and other organizations to meet such as local real estate associations and the Crest Forest Women’s Club. In June of 1965 Joe’s Place was put up for sale. Easton’s Hayloft restaurant took over the establishment. Joe Bertucci died in December of 1965 and the building last known commercially as Easton’s Hayloft is now a private residence.
MOUNTAIN MILEPOSTS #952 – December 5, 2019
By Russ Keller – Guest Columnist Photo Credit: ROWHS Collection
MURPHY’S DANCING: Some weeks ago I met a nice lady named Bobbe at The Bear House restaurant in Crestline. She wanted to show me this week’s photo of Murphy’s where her father, Joe Lattanzi, had worked as a chef in the 1940’s. This photo was the best photo I had ever seen of Murphy’s and it sent me on a journey to find out more. In the 1930s the building was a garage with two Union gas pumps in front. Mark M. Sinsabaugh was the proprietor. Murphy’s eventually gave way to Dr. Atkinson’s professional offices, the Crestline Pharmacy and lab, and Crest Forest Realty. In April of 1961 a pre-dawn fire completely destroyed these business buildings as well as Cliff’s Trading Post and a small real estate office between Cliff’s and the pharmacy. A firewall between Cliff’s Trading Post and Bassett’s, to the north, kept the blaze from threatening all of Top Town. Shortly after the fire Dr. Atkinson purchased the properties where his office and nearby buildings had been. When the trading post was rebuilt a firewall was built in the rear and additional firewalls where Murphy’s had stood. An early morning fire in April of 1986 broke out at this location again. This fire was arson caused and destroyed the Florist in the Forest, Seventh Day Adventist Thrift Store, Bill Linder’s Auto Parts Store and the office of Doctor Atkinson — again. It seems fire was the bane of Dr. Atkinson’s life. His imposing home on Valley View Drive in Crestline was damaged by the McKinley Fire in 1956 and totally destroyed by a wind-whipped fire in February of 1984. The doctor, alone at home, escaped unharmed with only the clothes on his back. Dr. Atkinson retired in July of 1984 and moved to Brea. The Rim of the World Sports Bar is now at this location. This is the third location for this liquor license. The original location being the Rim O’ World Tavern, destroyed by fire in December of 1947. The next location was the intersection of SH 138 and Crest Forest Drive, the Rim O’ the World Cocktail Lounge. Destroyed by fire on November 17, 2015. Let’s all hope this intersection has seen the last of destructive fires. I’d like to wish Cliff & Robin the best of luck with their new Sports Bar at the earlier location of Murphy’s Dancing.
MOUNTAIN MILEPOSTS #951 – November 28, 2019
By Laura Sharp, Image from Pine View Lodge archives
ARROWHEAD MUSIC CAMP AT PINE VIEW LODGE: Nestled in the trees off Hwy. 189 near Blue Jay, ghostly remnants of our mountain history lie mostly unnoticed. In 1917, Pacific Electric Camp opened as an employee resort to immediate success. Four months each year the camp, complete with Social Hostess, offered a wholesome restful retreat where employees could take their well-earned vacation periods at a cost affordable to all. To this day much of the rockwork from the main recreation building remains including the fireplace and stairs. In 1942, Pacific Electric sold the camp to Leonard “Skipper” and Margery Steimle. At that time the camp consisted of 40 cabins, the main lodge, a swimming pool, and several outbuildings on 20 wooded acres. The new camp, briefly named “Beverly Pines,” was quickly renamed “Pine View Lodge.” Their slogan was “Families with Children Preferred.” Skipper Steimle, previously an instructor at Beverly Hills High School, was a Scoutmaster and had formerly directed another private camp. Pine View Lodge became a music camp for six weeks during the summers of 1948 through 1950. This week’s image is of a 1948 free concert held at “Arrowhead Music Camp.” Serious young musicians selected by Steimle were treated to practicing sections under the direction of noted guest conductors on the beautiful wooded grounds. Accomplished staff assisted Steimle in directing the whirlwind week in preparation for a Sunday concert in the music bowl above the camp. “Symphonies ‘Neath The Pines” featured a distinguished conductor each week, as parents, locals, and tourists were treated to a free concert by the talented musicians.
MOUNTAIN MILEPOSTS #950 – November 21, 2019
By Ken Brafman, Image from Lee Cozad Collection
THE YEARLING: This past year we showcased several films that are part of the long history of moviemaking in the San Bernardino Mountains. Scores of classic and not-so-classic movies have had all or part of their filming take place here. While familiar classics such as Gone With The Wind may have only had a scene shot, other memorable films such as Heidi and Magnificent Obsession had their principal filming done in the mountains. This week’s image is from a studio photo showing a set used in the filming of The Yearling (1946). The story takes place in 1878 and most of the scenes for The Yearling were filmed on location in the Florida swamps. To escape the humidity and the unpredictable, often harsh, climate M-G-M recycled the Point Hamiltair set they had used for a 1938 film titled Of Human Hearts and brought the production to Lake Arrowhead. Formerly known as Movie Point, it became the backdrop for the village scene in which the father (played by Gregory Peck) and young son (played by newcomer Claude Jarman, Jr.) go into town to barter for a new rifle. Jane Wyman co-starred as the mother. Our own June Lockhart had a small role in the film, and she was a Lake Arrowhead resident, along with her family. At a Lake Arrowhead Film Festival some years back she recalled that landscaping companies brought in ferns and potted palms to simulate Florida palmettos. In his book More Magnificent Mountain Movies Lee Cozad further explains, “The Movie Point set needed repair but otherwise was sufficient for the town scenes necessary for the story. Only one thing was lacking – palm trees. Of course, there are no palms at 5,000 feet, nor can they grow or survive, but Hollywood prevailed with potted palms. These were later dug up and returned down the hill after filming.” The film was a great success and earned three Oscars. It’s considered one of the great family classics.
MOUNTAIN MILEPOSTS #949 – November 14, 2019
By Bill Pumford, Image from ROWHS Collection
GREEN VALLEY LAKE: This week’s image is a 1912 photo of the Toll House at Green Valley. In late 1889 the Bear Valley Toll Road was built between Fredalba and Fawnskin, basically following an old burro trail. The toll road went through Little Green Valley later renamed Green Valley. A waystation was operated by Ben Pitts and later the Toll House was built. Toll gate operators bid on contracts issued by San Bernardino County that allowed them to collect tolls in return for maintaining their portion of the toll road and the Toll House. In 1896 August Knight paid $400 for being able to operate the Green Valley toll gate and maintain the road. In 1912, when the photo above was taken, George Tillett operated the toll gate. When completed in 1915 the Rim of the World Drive went through Green Valley bringing many visitors. In 1925 a 70-foot dam was completed in Green Valley which created the lake for which the area is now named. The dam cost $80,000 and was built by the DeWitt-Blair company. The new lake allowed C.F. DeWitt to build a resort in Green Valley Lake for purchasers of property who became members of the Top of the World Club. In July of 1926 advertisements for Green Valley Lake touted the area as the mountain’s newest lake having swimming, boating, fishing, cabins, dancing, a restaurant, and free camping. Lots were being offered at $195 which included part ownership in the lake. Newer roads bypassed part of old Rim of the World Drive that went through Green Valley Lake putting that town a couple of miles off the main road. Over time Green Valley Lake, like other mountain communities, attracted many people that came to enjoy the scenery. A hotel, lodge, trading post, café, ski shop, and market all existed at one time in Green Valley Lake.
MOUNTAIN MILEPOSTS #948 – November 7, 2019
By Ken Brafman, Image from Ken Brafman collection
PINE ROSE: We featured Twin Peaks and its history in a column earlier this year. The area first became known as a strawberry growing region. The abundance of flat terrain coupled with the right climate made for many successful harvests. The lay of the land also encouraged gradual development. Campgrounds sprang up and the U.S. Forest Service built its headquarters as well as housing. In 1916 Strawberry Flats petitioned to get its own post office. There was already a town named Strawberry so Twin Peaks was chosen, celebrating its two distinctive peaks. This week’s image is from a photo postcard and shows an early street scene. In the foreground is Switzer’s Store, circa 1930, along with the post office. As the town grew cabins were built around the storefront. After the store and post office burned down in 1948 Fred and Helen Dowd made a deal with the forest service to lease the existing housing. They named their new resort Arrowhead Road Resort to capitalize on the fact that Highway 189 was the only driving route to Lake Arrowhead. The resort grew in size and amenities and when Fred Dowd passed away in 1989 the couple had run the property for some 40 years. David and Tricia Dufour purchased the resort in 1993 and are the present owners. “Pine Rose” is a sentimental name for the cones produced by a type of cedar which is growing in front of the office and resembles rose petals. For over 20 years the Dufours have lovingly developed Pine Rose. Besides the many well-appointed cabins the expansive grounds include a swimming pool and spa; two different sites for weddings; a recreation area with numerous sports and activities; and trails and ponds for the adventurous. Nearby Strawberry Lodge is a 7-bedroom luxury cabin which can accommodate 19 guests. The resort is pet-friendly and offers a fun, family-oriented atmosphere.
MOUNTAIN MILEPOSTS #947 – October 31, 2019
By Bill Pumford, Image from Russ Keller Collection
This week’s image is a photo of the Alpine Terrace (now known as the Antler’s Inn). The Alpine Terrace was a frequent meeting place for the Worthwhile Club. In 1932 a group of young women in Twin Peaks formed a club primarily to help each other and other families on the mountain. In the 1930s life was challenging on the mountain and made more difficult by the Depression the country was experiencing. The women had the Worthwhile Club and the men had their “Spit and Argue” Club. Both clubs also met occasionally at Frenchy’s Alpine Store. The women had originally named the club the “Diaper” Club but decided that the Worthwhile Club was more appropriate since they wanted to do worthwhile things. Initially the women got together and sewed baby quilts and layettes. The Worthwhile Club formalized its structure with officers, budgets, roll calls, and eventually, an opening prayer and flag salute. Donations of money and quilting materials were solicited. Bazaars were held to earn additional money. Sometimes families were helped out by the Worthwhile Club when the men were injured on the job or in accidents. During the 1930s the members of the Worthwhile Club all came from Twin Peaks. In time women from Lake Arrowhead and Crestline also became members. During World War II the Worthwhile Club members hosted meetings in their homes and did sewing for the Red Cross. In 1941 dues went from 10 cents per meeting to a flat $1 per year. During the next several decades the Club remained active in supporting the community with donations of items such as food, clothing, and money. The Club further expanded its involvement in local community affairs and invited speakers to discuss topics of interest to the mountain community. Much of the information in this Milepost came from notes put together by Pauliena LaFuze and transcribed into a document by Jim Huff a couple of years ago.
MOUNTAIN MILEPOSTS #946 – October 24, 2019
By Ken Brafman, Image from USDA
This week’s image comes from a real photo of the sign which sits in front of the Crestline glider launch. There were some half dozen hang gliding pioneers from the late 1800’s who advanced the technology, but the man most credited with bringing the sport into the modern era is Otto Lilienthal. By 1891 he was achieving flights of close to 100 feet; and five years later he reached the 1000 feet threshold. In the early 1970’s glider enthusiasts were launching from Little Mountain, with the brave using the Camp Paivika parking lot and flying into Devil Canyon. Another spot was Pine Flat. The location allowed for a better flight into the valley; however, the road made it almost inaccessible. The latter part of the 1970’s saw attempts to shut down the sport by the City of San Bernardino, and access to Little Mountain became prohibited. In 1976 the San Bernardino Hang Gliding Association was formed in an effort to organize and apply pressure to officials to keep the sites open. But following this an ordinance was adopted which rendered all hang gliding activities within the city limits illegal. When launching from Camp Paivika became no longer allowed most pilots adopted Teddy Bear as the launch of choice. Teddy Bear became the launch site that is used to this day. The landing zones were changed every few months and included fields and dirt roads. Then in late 1979 a parcel of land was purchased which became a legal landing spot. Wanting to secure Teddy Bear for use into the future a permit was obtained from the United States Forest Service in 1980. A new, state of the art landing zone was opened in 1994 and improvements continue to be made by this dedicated group of glider enthusiasts. The name Crestline Soaring Society was adopted in 1983 and continues to promote foot-launched flight.
MOUNTAIN MILEPOSTS #945 – October 17, 2019
By Bill Pumford, Image from Russ Keller Collection
This week’s image is a photo of one of the Guernsey sawmills. Henry Allen Guernsey was born in 1844 in Pennsylvania and served in the Union Army during the Civil War. While living in Oregon Guernsey gained experience in logging and came to California in the early 1880’s to start a mill. Henry Guernsey was a well-known lumberman in San Bernardino and the local mountains. At various times he owned or leased property from Cajon Pass to Little Bear Valley. During the next four decades Guernsey built or leased mills in Little Bear Valley, Seely Flats, Huston Flats, and Dark Canyon (now known as Dart Canyon). Guernsey gained a reputation for quality work and his wood was used as lumber for construction, fruit boxes and furniture. However, the business of operating sawmills and lumber and box companies was not without occasional challenges. Fires in 1896 and 1900 destroyed or damaged some of Guernsey’s mills. The larger forest fire in 1911 (which damaged the incline railway) destroyed Guernsey’s home in Crestline but his mill in Dark Canyon was saved. In 1903 one of Guernsey’s workers by the name of Hans Pearson was severely injured by a broken chain in one of the mills and was eventually awarded $2000 by the courts. Henry Guernsey himself was badly injured when a load of lumber he was driving down the mountain overturned. Guernsey also went through a couple of insolvency hearings that he managed to survive. Sawmills and tracts of land were sold or leased between fellow lumbermen quite frequently. In 1905 a group of Redlands businessmen, headed by Arthur Gregory, purchased the San Bernardino Lumber & Box Company and some land in the mountains from Henry Guernsey for about $12,000. Henry Guernsey passed away in March of 1924 after what many would consider to be a life fully lived.
MOUNTAIN MILEPOSTS #944 – October 10, 2019
By Ken Brafman, Image from Stan Bellamy Collection
Today’s image is a real photo from 1928 showing the recently christened Green Valley Lake. No cabins had yet been built, and much of the timber around the lake had been cut by Brookings Lumber. The three gentlemen in business suits might be pondering potential investment opportunities. They would need to have vision, as the lake was not yet utilized, and the roads were dirt. A developer and sportsman named Harry McMullen secured financing for $85,000 to build a dam as well as preliminary roads for tourists, a water system and create a subdivision. In 1926 Green Valley Lake was born and the first buildable lots were sold. Soon the nine-acre lake would be stocked with trout and continued improvements to the area would be made. Early speculators realized the potential of this resort location, and in the years since they realized their dreams. GVL is secluded from the other mountain communities, and at 7,200 feet it is the highest mountain town in the San Bernardino National Forest. Known for its collection of artists and retirees, the unincorporated community attracts many who just want to escape the congestion and crime found “down the hill.” However, that solitude can come with a price. Green Valley Lake Road is long and winding. Also being snowed in is not an uncommon occurrence. This can lead to some getting “cabin fever,” which can be a serious illness. On Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving weekends, visitors come for the Artisan Tour, an open house of the studios or homes of the many talented artists and craftspeople. Maps are available at local businesses.Many additional activities take place throughout the season as well as fishing for prize trout. For the hardy Green Valley Lake offers mountain and lake beauty, fresh air, clean water, friendly people and a close-knit community.
MOUNTAIN MILEPOSTS #943 – October 3, 2019
By Ken Brafman, Image from Mountain-News archive
A popular camping guidebook once listed Camp Switzerland and described the area as looking a lot like Switzerland — if you compare it to downtown Los Angeles. Regardless, the picturesque private camp was in business for approximately 50 years until it became a casualty of the Lake Gregory Dam seismic retrofitting. San Bernardino County purchased the 26-acre campground for about $1M in June 2015. The sale served to facilitate the preliminary stages of dam construction, which included building valves and drain pipes; to reserve the property for future use; and to mitigate the impending legal action which had been brought by the owner. Part of the terms of the sale mandated the setting aside of wildlife habitat, running mostly along Huston Creek. Set back from Lake Drive, off Eidelweiss, Camp Switzerland would be easily missed by many just driving by. Yet this facility was very popular with families for decades, with its rustic amenities, the convenient location, as well as easy access to the lake. Tom Stienstra writes in his book California Camping, “This camp is set in a wooded canyon at 4,500 feet, below the dam at little Lake Gregory. It is only a short distance to the lake and the campground is surrounded by the San Bernardino National Forest. A large swimming beach is available on the south shore with a water slide and changing rooms.” He then goes on to list the many features which start with 30 sites with RV hookups, and 10 sites dedicated to tent camping as well as two stand-alone cabins. Of the nine regional parks, Lake Gregory is one of only two parks which does not offer overnight camping. The campground could become part of Lake Gregory Regional Park, offering visitors the opportunity for various types of camping experiences. Plans are underway to assess the condition of the property and to discuss how the land can best serve the public.
MOUNTAIN MILEPOSTS #942 – September 26, 2019
By Bill Pumford, Image from Russ Keller Collection
This week’s image is of a postcard depicting the Village Inn. Of all of the resorts in the Lake Arrowhead Village area the Village Inn was one of the longest lasting. The Village Inn was constructed in 1923 and was closely associated with the Arlington Lodge built in the same year. The cost of the Village Inn property was estimated to be $80,000 which included 40 rooms in the main building and 60 additional rooms in cottages. Both resorts often shared the same manager although the Village Inn was based upon the European Plan whereas the Arrowhead Lodge was based upon the American Plan. I did not realize that the cost for European Plan was room only and American Plan included room and meals. In early 1925 a group of people from the film industry purchased the Village Inn and renamed it the Screen Club Inn. The plan was to keep the new Inn open to the public for a while and then change the name to Screen Club when membership would then be limited to film people. This experiment lasted less than one year and the property became the Village Inn once more. In 1938 fire damaged the Lodge as well as the Village Inn. The Inn was repaired and continued its fine service. For decades the Village Inn provided inexpensive lodging as well as convenient meeting places for the many civic groups on the mountain including the Women’s Club. The Village Inn was open year-round and its winter room rates in 1945 were between $4.00 and $6.00 per night. In April of 1979 the Village Inn had the distinction, if one could call it that, of being the first structure to be set afire during the massive Burn to Learn exercise that burned all of the Lake Arrowhead village except the Pavilion.
MOUNTAIN MILEPOSTS #941 – September 19, 2019
By Bill Pumford, Image from Russ Keller Collection
This week’s image is of a postcard depicting the Rim of the World Bowl. The prominent Crestline developer, Charles S. Mann, conceived, designed, and built the amphitheater in 1930. Part of his inspiration may have come from the Hollywood Bowl which was constructed in the early 1920’s. The Rim of the World Bowl, sometimes referred to as the Crestline Bowl, was located in Crestline. The Bowl was able to serve several purposes including providing quality entertainment and education to the people on the mountain and, perhaps most importantly, to a developer like Charles Mann, draw more people up to the mountains to breathe the clean air and buy more cabins. On July 18, 1930 the cornerstone for the $10,000 structure was laid with completion scheduled for August of that same year. Part of the cornerstone was a box of various newspapers. An association was formed so that upon completion of construction the day-to-day operations of the Bowl including scheduling programs, ticket sales, and even parking could occur efficiently. The association was directed by Clyde Garrett. Dedication of the new Rim of the World Bowl took place on August 8, 1930 and was attended by some 400 people. Charles Mann spoke at the dedication and the audience was treated to a first rate set of performances starting with the Rim-of-the-World Little Symphony. Throughout the early part of the 1930’s the Bowl was used for a variety of events such as performances, pageants, summer school events and Easter sunrise services. In August of 1931 the Bowl hosted a Spanish night where various Spanish artists sang, danced, and performed musical scores – all for 50 cents. The commercial success of the Bowl was limited primarily by the timing. America in the 1930’s experienced the Great Depression. Over time the Bowl fell into disuse and was eventually torn down.
MOUNTAIN MILEPOSTS #940 – September 12, 2019
By Ken Brafman, Image from Ken Brafman collection
When I purchased my 1938 Crestline “forever cabin” in 1994, at the very bottom of the last legal page was the name Charles S. Mann. His name would pop up periodically in the ensuing years and my interest in him grew. As my study of mountain history also grew, I learned that he had been a very successful developer as well as a marketing genius. This week’s image is from an advertising postcard illustrating a typical mountain cabin he built. The card is dated 1935. On the reverse he states that Crestline Village is, “The nearest, most accessible, fastest growing mountain community…over 600 houses built since 1923. Lowest prices. Come to Crestline.” He then lists his name, title and phone number which is Crestline 1. Some housing had already been built in the Skyland area in the early century, and the success of those projects gave Mann the drive to move forward and build a new community. Predating that advertising pitch, Mann purchased 430 acres of delipidated resort property which was located between his Crestline and Skyland holdings, and within five years he had constructed over 500 well-equipped, comfortable cabins. His vision was to provide homes for people “of moderate means,” further stating, “With the convenience of electricity, and the daily delivery of gas for heating and cooking, it is no longer necessary to feel that a few day’s recreation would be spoiled with camp drudgery.” By the late 1920’s Mann was focusing on developing the business district as well as opening hospitality venues, such as the Rim of the World Inn. The Inn also served as accommodations for prospective buyers. Mann was instrumental in building roads and installing utilities. He built the ROTW Bowl, profiled in last week’s column. He was postmaster starting in 1929. Despite the Great Depression, Mann continued his various projects throughout the 1930’s and played a role in the creation of Lake Gregory.
MOUNTAIN MILEPOSTS #939 – September 5, 2019
By Bill Pumford, Image from Russ Keller Collection
This week’s image is a photo of Cedar Lake. This lake may not be well known among people living on this mountain but is well known in the movie industry. Cedar Lake is located just south of Big Bear Lake. In 1922 the Bartlett brothers purchased property and in 1929 built a 30-foot dam which created a three and a half acre lake. The long-term plan for the Bartlett brothers was to create a resort during the 1930’s but things did not work out. Early on the lake was called Bartlett’s Lake but by 1935 it had been renamed Cedar Lake. In 1937 Guy Bartlett bought out his brother X.M. Bartlett and Guy became sole owner. The Bartlett brothers were quite well known in the area as realtors. Guy Marshall Bartlett was born in 1912 in Michigan but early in life moved to California with his parents. Unable to make the property a resort Guy advertised the property as a place to visit and promoted it to Hollywood. Many movies have had scenes filmed at Cedar Lake including To the Last Man, Trail of the Lonesome Pine, Kissin’ Cousins, and the original Parent Trap. Parts of some television shows were also filmed at Cedar Lake including Lassie, FBI Story, Hart to Hart, and Bonanza. The mill that you see in the photo above was constructed for the movie Trail of the Lonesome Pine. In 1950 a Long Beach couple honeymooned at Cedar Lake. In 1955 Guy Bartlett sold the 110 acres of property including the lake to the First Congregational Church of Los Angeles. Since then many civic organizations, churches, and educational groups have enjoyed excursions to Cedar Lake. Guy Bartlett passed away in 1996 in Rancho Mirage. Movie and television companies have had a long and productive relationship with the mountains. It was not uncommon for towns to have full-time liaisons with the entertainment industry for films, fashion ads, commercials, and music videos.
MOUNTAIN MILEPOSTS #938 – August 29, 2019
By Ken Brafman, Image from the Keller William Archive.
The first white man ever to set foot in Little Bear Valley was a fur trader, who was a partner of Jedediah Smith, in 1826. At that time, about 40 Paiute Indians, a warlike tribe, used the mountains for their hunting grounds. At the same time, a more peaceful tribe of Indians, the Serranos, lived in an area now known as Rock Camp, on the north side of the mountain. They did not bother the settlers until one of the white men made advances to an Indian maiden, which caused a skirmish killing both Indians and white men. This week’s image is of the Mormon Road up the mountain which was completed in 1852. By the 1860′s the main attraction at Little Bear Valley was logging, lumber and cattle, and there were several sawmills in and around the valley. The trees were tall and straight and cut lumber could be hauled down to San Bernardino on a road constructed through the west end of the range. In the early 1890′s Little Bear Valley was chosen as a location for a reservoir. The dam would supply water to the lowlands in the San Bernardino Valley. Work on the reservoir started in 1893. By 1912 work was 80% complete. Activity continued for several more years with plans for building some 60 miles of tunnels to carry water to lowland communities. A court order stopped those plans and the tunnels were never finished although they are still in existence. The dam was completed in 1923, and soon the first Lake Arrowhead Village was built in the Norman style. Included were a pavilion, outdoor movie theatre, restaurant and beach. Three hotels were built: the Arlington Lodge, Village Inn and North Shore Tavern as well as a nine-hole golf course. Land was subdivided and homes and secluded estates sprang up occupied by Hollywood movie stars and businessmen. Many films were produced on the Lake Arrowhead shore.
MOUNTAIN MILEPOSTS #937 August 22, 2019
By Ken Brafman, Image from the Mark Landis Collection
One of the frequent history questions we get at the museum is about the Arrowhead Springs Hotel. People are curious about its history, its current status, and plans for its future. The hotel’s history begins in 1864 with the establishment of a sanitarium for treating tuberculosis using the “water cure.” This enterprise grew into a hotel which burned down in an 1886 wildfire. A second hotel was built 1905 promoting the “hottest springs in the world” at 196 degrees. Hollywood found the hotel and in 1938 it was purchased by a consortium of A-list actors, radio personalities and producers for $800,000. That same year the hotel burned to the ground in yet another wildfire. The hotel was rebuilt at a cost of $1.5M and top architects Williams and Kaufmann were brought in to head the project. The resulting main building is six stories high and is flanked by two four story wings. This is the resort we see today. Hollywood glamor came in force in the interior, and real estate stylist Dorothy Draper was tasked with repackaging the hotel. To that end she created the complete look for the resort. As the decade changed the regular visitors included the top talent from Hollywood. This week’s image shows “America’s Mermaid” Esther Williams in 1944, on the left. She is filming “Thrill of a Romance,” one of several films she made at the resort. In the background the “Esther Williams Pool” is visible. The hotel became the Navy’s first convalescent hospital from 1944 to 1946 to care for the wounded of World War II. It had a capacity of 800 patients. After 1946 the hotel changed hands a couple times and it was purchased by Campus Crusade for Christ in 1962. It was put on the market again in 1992 and finally purchased by the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians in 2016, with extensive, long-range plans in place.
MOUNTAIN MILEPOSTS #936 August 15, 2019
By Bill Pumford, Image from ROWHS Collection
This week’s image is a photo of our local Arrowhead Queen. As in years past the Rim of the World Historical Society is sponsoring two special tours on the Arrowhead Queen this summer. The popular tours are scheduled for Saturday August 17th and Saturday September 21st. What makes these tours special is that as the Queen makes the cruise around Lake Arrowhead historical narrations are provided by our mountain experts, Russ Keller and Ralph Wagner. Russ is a noted historian who will point out all the historically significant homes and features around Lake Arrowhead such as the Doheny estate and the homes of Mike Connors and John Hillerman. Ralph is a noted hydrologist who will address the history of Lake Arrowhead from the 1920’s, including the original plans for the reservoir and the tunnel designs which involved the numerous organizations that have owned the Lake and Village. The tour of Lake Arrowhead takes about an hour.
The Arrowhead Queen is some 50 years old, but she underwent an extensive renovation in 1991 and looks pretty good for her age. She seats around 60 people and is a pleasure to ride in.
MOUNTAIN MILEPOSTS #935 August 8, 2019
By Bill Pumford, Image from Russ Keller Collection
This week’s image is a photo of the High Gear Café and Garage from the 1950’s. The High Gear Garage was opened in 1932 a few years after the completion of the new High Gear Road. In the 1930’s the vast majority of automobiles in the United States had manual transmissions. Until the High Gear Road was completed travel to the mountains took place in low gear with the slowness and loudness from the engine making the trip very long. The new road allowed travel to take place in high gear encouraging many more people to travel up the mountain. The High Gear Garage was opened by the Bellengero family: Secundo (locally known as Scotty), his brother Joseph, his wife Louise, and his father Donato. The High Gear Garage was located a mile or so past the Arrowhead Springs Resort at about 2500 feet elevation. The Garage did a brisk business selling gasoline, tire chains, helping motorists on the High Gear Road, contracting with water haulers for local fires, and auto repairs. The High Gear Garage was an authorized dealer of Firestone tires and offered towing 24 hours a day. In the 1940’s the operation started to expand. The High Gear Garage got a license to sell beer in 1944 and in 1949 added gaming machines (including pinball and slot) just like in much of San Bernardino county. In April of 1950 a Café was opened which included fine food and dancing. Louise and Joe operated the Café, Scotty had primary responsibility for the Garage and was assisted by his father Donato. In 1959 the High Gear Café and Garage was put up for sale because the High Gear Road was due to be expanded to four lanes in the early 1960’s. The widening of the road resulted in the demolition of all the buildings in the complex.
MOUNTAIN MILEPOSTS #934 August 1, 2019
By Ken Brafman, Image from the Piper Flyer Association archives
HAPPY 75TH BIRTHDAY SMOKEY BEAR!: On Sunday, August 11 from noon to 3 p.m. a V.I.B. (Very Important Bear) will be returning to our Mountain History Museum for his annual visit. As always Smokey will be posing for photos and delighting kids of all ages; however, this year is even more special as we will be celebrating Smokey Bear’s 75th Birthday with cake and ice cream, refreshments, special handouts as well as commemorative souvenirs to the first 50 kids. For added excitement historic Fire Engine 13 will be on display and with it some special guest firefighters. This week’s image shows the real Smokey as a cub. He is exploring a Piper PA-12 Super Cruiser which Fish and Game kept on hand for firefighting operations. This plane was used to fight a forest fire that had destroyed 17,000 acres of the Lincoln National Forest. During mop-up operations firefighters spotted an abandoned and badly injured bear cub clinging to a tree. Nicknamed ‘Hot Foot Teddy’ the cub was brought back to camp where Game Warden Raymond Bell took charge of his care. Bell soon realized that the cub would not survive without urgent veterinary care. Dr. Edwin F. Smith was expert in treating wild animals but lived 180 miles away. So the newly named ‘Smokey’ was placed in a box and took off on his first plane ride – on the Piper PA-12. The story of Smokey caught the attention of the entire nation. News about this real bear named Smokey spread far and wide, and when he recovered he was given a spacious new home at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. Did you know that besides Smokey only the president has his own zip code? You can address mail simply ‘Smokey Bear 20252.’ Smokey Bear has played a huge role in spreading messages of wildfire prevention and forest conservation. And at our 75th Birthday Celebration you’ll also learn that he’s good to cuddle.
MOUNTAIN MILEPOSTS #930 July 4, 2019
By Bill Pumford, Image from Russ Keller Collection
TITLE: CLARK GRADE: This week’s image is a real photo of Clark Grade. Of all the roads in the San Bernardino Mountains the road in this photo, popularly referred to as Clark Grade, was the most infamous. The road runs basically from Santa Ana Canyon near Seven Oaks to Bear Valley. The purpose of the road was to make a quicker trip to Big Bear for sportsmen and later for vacationers by cutting off two days for wagons. Hiram Clark built the road in 1899 at an initial cost of $10,000 and the road consisted of many hairpin turns and grades as steep as 16%. During the next decade the road gained a reputation as a very difficult road to get up for even lightly loaded autos. In 1910 plans were made to smooth out Clark Grade to a maximum grade of 8% to make travel by auto easier and to attract more vehicles. In August of 1910 an event took place which dramatically increased interest in driving into the mountains. Jack Heyser, from Riverside, took a White steamer automobile with two passengers up Clark Grade and to the Bear Valley Motel. Actual running time was three hours and fifteen minutes although the trip really took more than six hours. Much of the extra time was spent hiking to a creek to get more water for the steamer which had run dry. Heyser, who was no stranger to driving in hill climb contests in Southern California, said that Clark Grade was the roughest he had ever seen. During 1913/14 Hiram Clark and Gus Knight were paid thousands of dollars to work on Clark Grade. Despite all the work, Clark Grade remained a rough road – steep and narrow. It was so narrow and dangerous that vehicle controls had to be set up to ensure that traffic only went one way at a time. The road is still there and, during milder months, is open for travel.
MOUNTAIN MILEPOSTS #931 July 11, 2019
By Cindy Justice, Image from Our Lady of the Lake archives
TITLE: OUR LADY OF FATIMA SHRINE: This week’s image is a real photo showing early worshippers at the Our Lady of Fatima Shrine. Founded in 1938 Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church is home to the Shrine, which is one of Lake Arrowhead’s most significant works of art. When Father Michael O’Duignan was assigned pastor in 1945 he dedicated himself to the planning and construction of the Shrine. Fatima is a tiny village in Portugal where in 1917 the vision of a woman in white appeared six times to three shepherd children, warning the world of upcoming trials and tribulations. Father O’Duignan presented the idea of a shrine to Our Lady of Fatima to the parish and received an overwhelmingly positive response. Mrs. Mary Coony became a valuable fundraiser for the project and soon attracted other wealthy donors. RC Hartwell of Los Angeles said he would donate the adjacent land as well as the finest group of Fatima figures that could be found. He contacted Mr. Jose Ferreira Thedim from Fatima, Portugal. Mr. Thedim, an award winning painter and sculptor, agreed to carve white Estremoz marble, which comes from the actual site of the apparitions in Fatima. In the fall of 1948 Captain William Haller, assigned to the 817th Army Corps of Engineers, visited Our Lady of the Lake Church and learned of the plans to build the Shrine. He organized a group of volunteers from the 817th combat unit and a nearby airmen unit to prepare the site. The completed sculptures were sent by ship through the Panama Canal and eventually transported up the mountain. Mr. Nishan Toor, an Altadena artist and sculptor, erected the sculptures and oversaw the completion of the outdoor altar and pews. The Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima was dedicated on Sunday, August 16, 1953 and continues to serve the faithful. Additional information can be found at https://olllakearrowhead.org/fatima-shrine/. The shrine is open to the public at 27627 Rim of the World Drive.
MOUNTAIN MILEPOSTS #932 July 18, 2019
By Ken Brafman, Image from ROWHS archives
TITLE: SKYLAND: EARLY CRESTLINE: This week’s image is a real photo showing the entrance to Skyland in 1922 which was at the western corner of Skyland Drive and Crest Forest Drive. The site is now fully residential, and no artifacts of the grand structure remain. Just southeast of Top Town Crestline and right below Crest Forest Drive is an original neighborhood known as Skyland. The area became very popular for camping starting in the 1870s into the early 1900s. The mountains were prized by families for the moderate climate and flat areas to facilitate campsites. The beauty of the mountains and the trees was a big draw. Overlooking the narrows of the Rim of the World Highway, as well as being perched on the ridge above Highway 138, with Skyland being situated right at the mountain’s edge the valley was laid out as far as the eye could see. Better yet on clear days the Pacific Ocean came into breathtaking view, including Catalina Island. Water and electricity would soon become available, which led to the Skyland area being further developed as a tourist destination. Beginning in 1905 a three-rail system was devised which would climb 4,500 feet from Waterman Canyon and connect to a large concrete terminus at the edge of Skyland. The primary purpose of the Incline Railroad was to haul many tons of bags of concrete from the valley to the terminus which were then hauled by horse-drawn wagons to the construction site of the Little Bear Dam. This dam project would eventually produce Lake Arrowhead. As a result of numerous accidents and breakdowns, the railway was scrapped after a couple years of operation. The large concrete terminus can still be found atop the ridge, and the surviving railway piers are great sport for hikers. The popular Skyland Inn was built in 1902. The grounds had campsites and many activities were included. In July 1911 a fire swept up from Waterman Canyon which persisted for two weeks. Camps, cabins and commercial buildings were destroyed. Skyland sustained the greatest damage in the Crestline area as a result of the 2003 Old Fire, destroying 35 homes. Skyland remains a great neighborhood to live in and is steeped in mountain history.
MOUNTAIN MILEPOSTS #933 July 25, 2019
By Bill Pumford, Image from Russ Keller Collection
TITLE: LAKE ARROWHEAD TUNNELS: This week’s image is a real photo from the early 1900’s of the Emerald Bay inlet tunnel for Lake Arrowhead. Tunnels have played an important role in the history of Little Bear Valley and subsequently Lake Arrowhead. The original plan for the Lake Arrowhead reservoir called for 60 miles of tunnels and water conveyances which would feed water from many of the creeks in the Little Bear Valley watershed to the reservoir. These creeks included Little Bear, Hook, Fern, Shake, Holcomb and Deep. The water in the reservoir would then be sent to the San Bernardino valley for irrigation purposes. There was a flaw in this plan, however. The creeks in the Little Bear Valley watershed flowed naturally to the north to the Mojave River area and the ranchers in that area were not enthused about the potential loss of their water. After a long and painful litigation process the courts ruled in the favor of the Mojave ranchers. Following this ruling the plans for the tunnels to supply water for irrigation were abandoned. Six and a half miles of tunnels had been completed. There is the tunnel from Grass Valley Lake which feeds water to Lake Arrowhead which is still in existence. Tunnel #1 does not go under Lake Arrowhead to the outlet tower. Instead, a smaller diameter tunnel runs from the outlet tower to an elevator shaft on the shore of the lake and connects to Tunnel #1. This is the tunnel that Huell Howser traveled through for one of his California’s Gold shows. This outlet tunnel provides Lake Arrowhead a way to quickly reduce the lake level by releasing water down Willow Creek. In the mid-1980s the tunnel and the valves in the tower were tested and worked satisfactorily. Most tunnels that were part of the original Arrowhead Reservoir and Power Company have their entrances closed or are now on private property.
MOUNTAIN MILEPOSTS #926 Jun 6, 2019
By Bill Pumford, Image from Nanci Hewitt Atchley Collection
TITLE: CEDAR SPRINGS PART I: This week’s image is a photo of Carl and Ella Hewitt around the year 1915. The Hewitts homesteaded the area known at the time as Cedar Springs. That area is now at the bottom of Silverwood Lake but just how it got there will be explained in Part II. In the Cedar Springs area there were 160 one-acre parcels available for homesteading. At first the Hewitts would ride their motorcycle up Cajon Pass, take Cleghorn Road, park the bike and walk several miles just to get to their property, since no roads existed. Carl Hewitt was a medical student at what is now Loma Linda University but had to leave after contracting tuberculosis. Eventually roads were put in the area and more families began making Cedar Springs their home. The Hewitts raised strawberries which were sold locally as well as to businesses like Knott’s Berry Farm. Other families raised bees for honey or grew other crops such as potatoes and onions. Copeland George had a thriving market and gas station and was considered the unofficial major of Cedar Springs. There was also a school and a Seventh Day Adventist church. In the late 1910’s and early 1920’s Carl Hewitt established the Cedar Springs Health Resort to help people with tuberculosis. It was a small operation with six beds in one of the Hewitt’s cabins. A sawmill in Cedar Springs was built, operated, and maintained by Burton Hewitt, the son of Carl and Ella Hewitt. At one time there were some 100 families living in Cedar Springs. Being isolated in this remote community did have its disadvantages. During the great storm of 1938 Cedar Springs was completely cut off from the rest of the world. A rider on horseback got out with a petition signed by the families requesting help. Over the decades Cedar Springs gained a reputation as a resort where overnight camping and picnic facilities were available.
MOUNTAIN MILEPOSTS #927 Jun 13, 2019
By Bill Pumford, Image from Nanci Hewitt Atchley Collection
TITLE: CEDAR SPRINGS PART II: This week’s image is a 1962 photo of Copeland George’s store in Cedar Springs. During the 1940’s and 1950’s the Cedar Springs area became a popular resort and vacation destination. Many people had part-time cabins and during summer the population sometimes expanded to 150 people. A campground was established at Miller Canyon. During the early 1950’s rumors started circulating about a water project called Feather River designed to bring water from Northern California to water-starved Southern California. Part of the project was to create a reservoir to hold the water. This project would eventually drown the community of Cedar Springs. Most of the local residents doubted whether this would ever happen; but by the early 1960’s it became clear that this project was going to be completed. In 1960 surveys of the Cedar Springs area began and in 1961 meetings took place with residents to let them know what the Feather River project entailed, timeframes, and how property owners would be offered good prices for their properties. During the next several years residents sold their properties, relocated – some within the area – and construction crews started the task of demolishing the homes and cabins. The original name of the future lake was to be Cedar Springs Lake but a bill in the California Legislature proposed that the lake be named Silverwood Lake in honor of Ted Silverwood who was a prominent promotor of the Feather River Project. Silverwood won out for the name of the lake although Cedar Springs was retained for the name of the dam. Carl Hewitt, the original homesteader, petitioned the government to leave his home untouched since it was not going to be in the lake. He lost his bid and his home was demolished with all the others. In 1972 the filling of Silverwood Lake was completed and a new life for the area began as a source of water and recreation.
MOUNTAIN MILEPOSTS #928 Jun 20, 2019
By Cindy Justice, Image from Cindy Justice
TITLE: MARY PUTNAM HENCK EXHIBIT: This week’s image is of the new Mary Putnam Henck exhibit at the Mountain History Museum on Peninsula Drive in Lake Arrowhead. According to “From the Memories of Putnam Henck,” a memoir written by Mary Henck’s son, the family moved to the mountains in 1923 when Putnam was six years old. There was no school in the area, so Mary, who had 20 years of teaching experience in Los Angeles, requested a school from the county. She was told that if she wanted a school then she would have to start one. She rounded up 13 children from Blue Jay and Cedar Glen. JP Van Nuys, a Lake Arrowhead developer, found a building that was only used in the summertime. The school opened on September 22, 1924. Within two weeks 25 students were enrolled. The county furnished desks, books and paper supplies which were mostly secondhand. Putnam remembered the song books had every song by a German composer cut out of them. In the middle of the room was a potbelly stove that Putnam said gave out terrific heat and he recalled one instance when some kids put 22 caliber bullet shells in it. During 1925, the community got together and formed a school board. A bond issue was passed granting $40,000 for a new school. The school, which housed first to eighth grades still stands. It is the Lake Arrowhead Fire Station #91. When it opened on September 11, 1926 there were 43 students and teachers. A school bus built on an REO Speed Wagon chassis was put into service. In the late 1920s Mary was elected to the school board, a position she held for nearly 20 years. She was also a substitute teacher during most of that time. The kids never understood how Mary could be writing on the blackboard and without turning around say, “Johnny, quit blowing spit balls!”
MOUNTAIN MILEPOSTS #929 Jun 27, 2019
By Ken Brafman, Image from ROWHS Archives
TITLE: A NEW DEAL FOR OUR FORESTS: This week’s image is a real photo with a view of the Civilian Conservation Corps tent camp in Miller Canyon, about five miles north of Crestline. The men were assigned bunks while the long building housed the mess hall, forestry quarters, drying room, medical facility and recreation hall. When Franklin Delano Roosevelt took office in 1933 one of his first orders of business was to establish the CCC. The new president stated his vision of creating an agency which would perform complex work devoted to forestry, the prevention of soil erosion, flood control, firefighting, building of parks and similar projects. From its inception in 1933 until 1942, some 2 million young men flocked to join and were put to work on the nation’s infrastructure. Pay was $30 per month, of which $25 was mandated to be sent home to assist the families. Benefits included increased employability as well as gaining a sense of dignity. They were doing important work for their country and they knew it. Nationwide crime statistics saw a 55% reduction for the same age group. Our nation’s forests saw 97,000 miles of fire roads and 3,500 fire towers built. Over 3 billion trees were planted. At least 4 million man days were expended on firefighting. Millions of acres of wildlife habitat were protected and many thousands of fully-equipped campgrounds were developed. By 1935 there were 500,000 men living in 2,600 camps in all states. California had over 150 camps. The CCC program was very popular among the general population. One result was in fostering an appreciation of the outdoors and of the nation’s natural resources. The San Bernardino Mountains was the home to some half dozen camps; from Miller Canyon, Lake Arrowhead and City Creek out to Fawnskin. While it was acknowledged that there was still much work to be done, the events at Pearl Harbor caused a shift in priorities and the camps permanently closed by 1942.
MOUNTAIN MILEPOSTS #921 May 2, 2019
By Cindy Justice, Image from ROWHS Archive
TITLE: MOUNTAIN MOVIES: TRUE CONFESSION (1937): This week’s image is of Fred MacMurray and Carole Lombard between takes while filming the 1937 film True Confession on the shores of Lake Arrowhead. The photo is from the Mountain History Museum archives. Much to the delight of local residents Paramount Studios sent three of its most popular stars, Carole Lombard, Fred MacMurray and John Barrymore, to Lake Arrowhead to film True Confession, an aptly named “screwball” comedy about a wife who can’t seem to ever tell the truth. But what the locals did not know was that Clark Gable, who was secretly dating Lombard, told others that he needed a vacation and rented a cabin in Lake Arrowhead during the shoot. Although the movie was shot in August, the lake was very cold. In one scene Lombard was directed to run into the lake and swim to a float. She was to pretend to drown so that MacMurray would rescue her. However, the water was so cold that Lombard developed hypothermia and MacMurray ultimately did have to save her. Lombard would eventually become the third Mrs. Gable. They were inseparable until Lombard, who participated in a war bond drive during early WWII, died in a plane crash at the end of the tour. She was 34. MacMurray was a popular star in the Thirties and was known primarily for light comedies. MacMurray had the lead in another movie filmed at Lake Arrowhead in 1936, The Trail of the Lonesome Pine. MacMurray’s prolific acting career spanned half a century. Once considered one of Hollywood’s biggest stars, Barrymore’s years of drinking and carousing were catching up to him by 1937. His character role as a drink-mooching scoundrel in this movie seemed to mirror his life. Considered one of the greatest tragedies in Hollywood, Barrymore died six years later of acute alcoholism. Watch True Confession on YouTube or Amazon Prime.
MOUNTAIN MILEPOSTS #922 May 9, 2019
By Ken Brafman, Image from Pine Rose archive
TITLE: TWIN PEAKS – A BERRY GOOD PAST: This week’s image depicts the general store and post office near what is now the Arrowhead Pine Rose Cabins. Twin Peaks made its mark as a strawberry growing mecca dating back to 1865. The area had an abundance of flat terrain which was perfect for growing berries. The topography also suited the U.S. Forest Service which built its headquarters as well as housing for rangers and summer staff. By the early 1900’s Strawberry, as it was called, was starting to take root. Renamed Strawberry Flats, by 1916 the population had grown large enough to warrant its own post office. But there was already a community called Strawberry. Strawberry Flats was rejected as well. So Twin Peaks became the accepted name for the town, celebrating its two distinctive peaks. But the name Strawberry Flats has lived on. Built in 1924 the original fire lookout tower bears the name and is the most visited tower in our mountains. Already a prized camping area, in 1914 forest ranger O.A. Chandler offered 25 lots for lease to build summer homes. The cost of each lease was $25 per year and by the early 1920’s there were 62 cabins, a business center and tennis courts. More and more lots were sold, and homes built. In time several inns sprang up. Dr. John Baylis, a pioneer and champion in our early mountain history, purchased 160 acres of land in 1887. In 1892 the Squirrel Inn was built. It was opened to the public in 1896 and was touted as an upscale resort for mountain visitors, with luxury accommodations as well as amenities including tennis courts and a swimming pool. It was eventually repurposed and stands today. Pine Rose has continued to thrive since the late 1940’s. Pinecrest has grown into an expansive Christian Conference Center and the Antlers Inn remains a very popular restaurant with cabins. The strawberries have disappeared but Twin Peaks remains a welcoming, charming mountain town.
MOUNTAIN MILEPOSTS #923 May 16, 2019
By Bill Pumford, Image from Bill Pumford
TITLE: MOUNTAIN HISTORY MUSEUM OPENING: This week’s image is a real photo of the Mary Putnam Henck schoolroom display. That’s just a peek of one of the museum’s new exhibits for our 2019 season. Your Rim of the World Historical Society’s museum will be opening on Memorial Day Weekend Saturday May 25th with many new exhibits and themes. One of the new exhibits showcases Robert Carlton, costume designer to the stars and local Twin Peaks resident; a historic display of Pinecrest; and a 1900’s replica of a classroom for the revolving Mary Putnam Henck display. While some of our popular exhibits have remained the same, such as Arrowhead Springs and lumbering, others have gotten an update and expansion.Other popular exhibits which have remained unchanged include Santa’s Village, the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, and more. The Lee Cozad Theater will continue to host movie days and other special events. Local historian Russ Keller will be presenting his always-popular PowerPoint talks which will be available to all.
This year the museum will again be host to the Ice Cream Social in July; special film events; the Yard Sale in August; and Smokey Bear’s 75th Birthday extravaganza, also in August.
ROWHS will be conducting a variety of Members Only events and outings this season which include a tour of Mozumdar Temple; the very popular Tunnel Tours; an intimate tour of Pinecrest; and the Arrowhead Queen Tours. ROWHS also sponsors the annual Wooden Boat Show which will be held on Saturday June 8th in Lake Arrowhead at the docks near McDonalds.
Our museum is operated and maintained by volunteers. Anyone interested in giving back to the community by volunteering at the museum is encouraged to contact Cindy Burnett at email@example.com or 909-273-4291.
MOUNTAIN MILEPOSTS #924 May 24, 2019
By Ken Brafman, Image from USDA Archive
TITLE: FIREFIGHTING AND OUR FOREST: This week’s image is a real photo showing an example of firefighting communications from the 1930s; part of the evolution of the Fire Service through the decades. In this photo the fire boss is taking notes while listening to the radio transmission. The antenna is affixed up the tree. The boss is wearing a tie, and it was normal for personnel to wear full uniforms in the field. The tie denoted governmental authority and was an easy way to show who was in charge. The wildlands of the San Bernardino and San Jacinto mountain ranges were designated a national forest well over 100 years ago but leading up to that title gold was discovered in 1855. Over the second half of the 19th century mining, timber and grazing grew quickly, taking a heavy toll on the land. By the end of the century significant sectors of the forest had been felled and overgrazed. Streams and rivers were silting in and water quality was declining. Meanwhile a growing population and thriving citrus industry made increasing demands for clean drinking and irrigation water. The pioneers who had conquered a seemingly endless frontier began to realize that the time had come to manage the land more thoughtfully. A couple federal acts led to the formation of the San Bernardino National Forest in 1907. Our forest continues to be one of the most wildfire prone forests in the country. The Forest Service works year-round to reduce the risks severe wildfires pose to people, communities, firefighter safety and the environment through programs aimed at prevention, preparedness and fuels reduction. The world of fire suppression is changing. Fire seasons are longer and fire behavior is often more extreme. The Fire Service attributes this to climate change, an abundance of fuel and the modern practice of having communities adjacent to or within forest boundaries. All are encouraged to better understand our precious natural environment and how to protect it and keep our communities safe.
MOUNTAIN MILEPOSTS #925 May 30, 2019
By Cindy Justice, Photo from Russ Keller Collection
This week’s image is a real photo which was featured in the original 1920s real estate brochure advertising ‘Club Arrowhead of the Pines’ which is now known as the Tudor House. Opening in 1926, Club Arrowhead was part of an upscale real estate development owned by Atkins Realty called Arrowhead Villas. During the 1920s building boomed in the area. The North Shore Tavern as well as the Arlington Lodge (Lake Arrowhead Lodge) opened. Contrary to a popular legend, Bugsy Siegel had no connection to gambling, bootlegging or prostitution at the Tudor House. Bugsy didn’t move to California until the late 1930s, long after Prohibition had ended. However, there is ample evidence that all three illegal activities were prevalent during the 20s. A complete still with a 500-gallon tank was uncovered in the northeast corner of the Tudor House by previous owners. The ‘Club’ had one of the purest water sources on the mountain which was essential for making high quality whiskey. John Adams’ fine apple brandy was brewed in Crestline’s Dart Canyon area and shipped in the bodies of some ‘very high-priced chickens.’ William ‘Squint’ Worthington, owner of Squint’s Ranch along Deep Creek, augmented his ranch activities by supplying bootleg liquor to local residents as well as mountain nightspots that catered to tourists. Mirror signals flashed up the hill by a sheriff’s station informer warned of imminent raids. Children on the Rim watching for signals and relaying warnings were rewarded with treats. Dummy slot machines were set up that could be smashed to make the raid look authentic. The Bracken Fern Inn across from the Tudor house was originally a general store, but local legend says that there was a brothel upstairs over the store. For more information about the Roaring Twenties and many other moments in mountain history please stop by the Mountain History Museum open now through October.
MOUNTAIN MILEPOSTS #917 April 4, 2019
By Cindy Justice, Photo from ROWHS Collection
TITLE: MOUNTAIN MOVIES: SUNRISE (1927): This week’s image is a studio promotional photo from the Mountain History Museum archives. The picture is of the stylized European village built for the movie Sunrise on Lake Arrowhead at Movie Point, now known as Hamiltair. Mantrap (1926), Of Human Hearts (1938) and The Yearling (1946) were all filmed on sets built at this location. Lee Cozad states in his book Those Magnificent Mountain Movies that F. W. Murnau’s Sunrise is “without a doubt the most important film ever shot at Lake Arrowhead.” It has also been called one of the most influential films of the 20th century. German born F.W. Murnau was already an internationally recognized director when William Fox asked him to direct Sunrise. Starring George O’Brien and Janet Gaynor, Sunrise was advertised as a “timeless story of two hearts.” O’Brien as “The Man” is carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. “The Wife” (Gaynor) is trying to make it meekly through life with her child. Thrown into the mix is Margaret Livingston, known only as “The Woman From the City.” She vamps her way into The Man’s heart and suggests he “accidentally” drown his wife and join her for a more exciting life in the city. In addition to the Lake Arrowhead set, Marnau created a huge city and a marshland in the Los Angeles studio. O’Brien wore weighted boots so his movements would be slow and plodding. Innovations like chiaroscuro lighting and an “unchained” camera created an illusion of depth and limitless space. Sunrise was credited with being the first talkie because of the sound of bells pealing, cars honking and a distinct voice yelling during a traffic jam. The film was nominated for Academy Awards in four categories and in the first ever awards ceremony won three Oscars. Best Actress: Janet Gaynor; Unique and Artistic Production (only year this was awarded) and Best Cinematography. Watch Sunrise on YouTube.
MOUNTAIN MILEPOSTS #918 April 11, 2019
By Ken Brafman, Image from ROWHS Collection
TITLE: GREEN VALLEY LAKE: Today’s image shows the entrance to Green Valley in 1919. On the left is a trading post, on the right a tollhouse and gas station. Timber claims for the Green Valley area were made in 1880 by Highland Lumber Company (later acquired by Brookings). Highland built City Creek Toll Road in 1891 to haul timber from Fredalba down the hill to a company that made orange crates. A year later the Bear Valley Wagon Road Company began work widening a horse trail to Big Bear. After the toll wagon road was built the entrance to the campground was created along with the new name, and the 11-room tollhouse seen in the image was built, along with the other amenities. While one-way tolls for vehicles and most animals were considered reasonable, sheep were charged at 25 cents to discourage having them invade the territory. When the county purchased the toll road in 1911 it became a free public route to Bear Valley, which put the toll booth out of business. The Green Valley area was mostly clear cut by 1912. When Brookings sold their shares in 1913 and moved to Oregon the region became home to cattle grazing. Deep Creek Cutoff (Highway 18) to Big Bear was completed in 1923. Also known as the Arctic Circle it essentially cut off Green Valley. A developer and sportsman named Harry McMullen secured financing for $85,000 to build a dam as well as roads for tourists, a water system and create a subdivision. In 1926 Green Valley Lake was born and the first buildable lots were sold. Soon the nine-acre lake would be stocked with trout and continued improvements to the area would be made. In 1939 Les Salm began operating an early ski run uphill from the Trading Post. A 300-foot rope was pulled by a 7HP Stratton engine. The run became known as Suicide Hill. Green Valley Lake continues to have a vibrant community and be a popular tourist destination.
MOUNTAIN MILEPOSTS #918 April 18, 2019
By Ken Brafman, Image from ERHA Archive
TITLE: PACIFIC ELECTRIC COMPANY CAMP: This week’s image is the motor coach which once transported employees from Los Angeles to the Pacific Electric Camp near Lake Arrowhead. The social hall with dining room and kitchen is in the background. In 1901 the Pacific Electric Railway went in business. Railroad executive Henry Huntington and banker Isaias Hellman had plans to link the far reaches of the southland and carry forward the former company’s motto of “from the mountains to the sea.” The Railway was capitalized in 1903 at$10, 000,000. Known as red cars there were four lines, or districts planned, the first two completed in 1905. The fourth was the eastern line which connected isolated San Bernardino and Riverside to the foothill communities. There was a spur line that brought passengers to Arrowhead Springs Hotel to enjoy the lush accommodations and therapeutic hot springs. The Great Depression and the resulting reduction in ridership hurt the company. World War II brought a surge but the advent of freeways and automobile ownership in the early 1950’s led to the last red car trip in 1961. In 1915 at the height of success the company bought 20 acres of land in Agua Fria to provide a summer vacation resort for its employees. Open in spring 1917 most fees were subsidized, and the camp was a huge success. Never open to the public, it featured a large dining hall and club room, a swimming pool, and cozy cottages. A power boat, the Lady Louise, was docked less than a mile from camp on Lake Arrowhead. The Camp was fully booked every weekend, summer after summer and was enlarged steadily over the years eventually boasting 40 cottages. The company ran special motor coach service (pictured) from downtown Los Angeles to the camp. The property was sold in 1942 to Beverly Pines which became the Pine View Lodge in 1944, in business until 1974. The pool still exists as well as much original architecture and artifacts.
MOUNTAIN MILEPOSTS #919, April 25, 2019
By Bill Pumford, Image from ROWHS Collection
TITLE: CAMP FLEMING: This week’s image is a photo of Camp Fleming from the early 1920’s. In March of 1922 Ray S. Turner contracted to have a lodge and 100 cottages built for an estimated cost of $50,000. The cottages were to be a mixture of one, two and three rooms. The initial camp also offered auto camping where vehicles were charged $1 per night per machine and free for day use. Camping parties enjoyed free light, water, tables, firewood, cook stoves and ovens. In 1923 Ray Turner had 75 more cottages and a large dining hall built to expand operations at Camp Fleming. The camp was named after James Fleming who operated a saw mill and lumber company during the late 1890’s and early 1900’s in what was then Little Bear Valley. Over the next several years Camp Fleming expanded their operation to include 200 cottages and a grocery store. The grocery store allowed people the option to cook for themselves. Ray Turner was a member of the Lake Arrowhead Chamber of Commerce and heavily advertised Camp Fleming. In the late 1920’s the camp, located in Fleming Grove, advertised a capacity of 500 people with sewerage, hot and cold water, boats, dancing and stores. The lodge dining offered club breakfasts, special luncheons and table d’hote dinners (multi-course meals at a fixed price with only a few selections). Ray Turner himself was a business man who lived in Beverly Hills, California. By the early 1950’s he had retired from the resort business. He died in 1957. Camp Fleming was located near where Fleming Creek enters Lake Arrowhead near the intersection of 173 and Kuffel Canyon Road. Today nothing remains of the camp, having been replaced over the years by homes and condominiums.
MOUNTAIN MILEPOSTS #913, March 7, 2019
By Cindy Justice, Image from the Lee Cozad Collection
MOUNTAIN MOVIES: HEIDI (1937): This week’s image is a promotional photo from the movie Heidi (1937) starring Shirley Temple, Jean Hersholt, Sidney Blackmer and directed by Allan Dwan. Hersholt, who played Heidi’s grandfather, is shown sitting with Temple in a “Swiss Alps” location scene filmed at Switzer Park on Hwy. 18 between Lake Arrowhead and Running Springs. While on location the cast and crew were housed at the Arrowhead Springs Hotel which was co-owned by several movie producers including Darryl F. Zanuck, head of 20th Century Fox, who produced the movie. Temple, who was nine at the time, lived in a trailer parked on the hillside and only left it when it was time for her scenes; which was after her stand-in had finished with lights and sound. She was always accompanied by at least eight bodyguards. Marcia Mae Jones, who played Klara the little crippled girl, said that even when they went to Lake Arrowhead Village to play miniature golf they were surrounded by bodyguards. Not only was Heidi a box office success but a merchandising one as well. Heidi dolls, Heidi coloring books as well as a Heidi clothing line added to the bottom line. Temple appeared in several movies filmed in the San Bernardino Mountains including To The Last Man (1933), Now and Forever (1934) and The Blue Bird (1940). Temple loved the mountains and later vacationed in a house in Crestline on Playground Road. She was once Grand Marshall in a local parade in the 50s. Jean Hersholt was born in Denmark. By the 1920s he was a leading man in silent films such as Erich von Stroheim’s Greed (1925) but when the talkies arrived he slipped into character roles. Allan Dwan became one of the true legends of Hollywood. Spanning five decades he directed over 200 films, wrote more than 40 screenplays and produced 34 pictures. Heidi can be seen on YouTube, Amazon, iTunes and other online venues.
MOUNTAIN MILEPOSTS #914, March 14, 2019
By Dani Rosenthal, Image from Richard Fish
TITLE: NORTH SHORE MID-CENTURY MODERN: This week’s image is of an architecturally notable home of the mid-century modern style. This home, which still sits proudly on the North Shore of Lake Arrowhead, was featured in the Los Angeles Times Home magazine on July 17, 1966. It was designed by famous Claremont, CA architect Fred McDowell of the Criley & McDowell architectural firm and was built by John Ashton in 1965. McDowell designed the house based on the principles of designing a boat and he took complete advantage of the outdoor environment that the house would be situated in. The home embodies spaciousness and uses extensive natural light, a style that was uncommon to mountain homes at the time. McDowell achieved this by creating a unique roofline of three diamonds intersecting one another. McDowell said, “I want to do something like a boat, with a prow opening up to the view. So, I started with that element and worked backward into the house.” Seeing the house from the lake today, it is noticeable how well of a job he did in achieving this. The featured photo also highlights this, showing the main living room and how its focal point is an almost unobstructed view of the water. The outdoor decks span a total of 700 square feet, equaling about half of the home’s indoor living space. Instead of using typical materials of the time, McDowell opted for materials that would blend in with and highlight the home’s natural surroundings. Rather than using traditional wood sheathing on the ceilings, he used white acoustical plaster to act as a canvas for the surrounding pine trees and tree-filled vistas of the shoreline. The home and dock space gave the family of five that the home was built for their own piece of the lake and its desirable lifestyle. The property last changed owners in 2013.
MOUNTAIN MILEPOSTS #915, March 21, 2019
By Ken Brafman, Image from ROWHS Collection
TITLE: EARLY MOUNTAIN TRANSPORTATION: This week’s image features one of two horse-drawn stagecoach lines which started operating in 1905 and transported passengers to one of several mountain resorts such as Pinecrest and the Squirrel Inn. Fares were $2.00 up, $1.00 down with parcels delivered at a penny per pound. The stage was a significant improvement over earlier methods of mountain travel. Native Americans walked trails for countless centuries leading up to the time of Franciscan missionary Father Garces’ exploration circa 1776. Significant improvements wouldn’t come until 1852 with the construction of the Mormon Road, wide enough to handle teams of oxen. Its original purpose was in facilitating logging operations at Seeley Flat and would later play an important role in forming a toll road and eventually becoming part of the Rim of the World Drive. The late 1800’s saw numerous trails and toll roads completed. The Santa Ana Trail served the east end with its developing mining industry. The Daley Toll Road was steep and dangerous, but it was a quick route to the lumber mills in Little Bear Valley. The turn of the century brought forth the dawn of the horseless carriage, but not without controversy. The steep and narrow roads were considered unsafe for the sharing of automobiles and stages. It took a couple ‘daredevils’ to prove that autos could safely navigate. In 1908 W.C. Vaughan, to prove highway safety, and with police in hot pursuit, drove up Waterman Canyon to Lake Arrowhead. A similar stunt was performed in 1910 using an auto to traverse the Crestline roads. Within a year cars largely replaced horse-drawn carts as the primary means of transport.
MOUNTAIN MILEPOSTS #916, March 28, 2019
By Bill Pumford, Image from Bill Bronstrup Collection
TITLE: CRESTLINE FOOD MARKET: This week’s image is a photo of the Crestline Food Market from the early 1950’s. Built in the late 1930’s it was located in Top Town on Crest Forest Drive where Hilltop Liquor Market stands today. The owner and co-operator of the market was John N. Colwell. The other operator was Carl W. Jensen. Mr. Jensen’s younger brother, Einer, started Jensen’s Market in Blue Jay in 1940. In the 1940’s Crestline Food Market advertised six complete departments: Groceries, Meats, Delicatessen, Bakery, Vegetables and Notions. The market was one of the largest on the mountain. John Colwell was President of the local Crestline Trail Riders Club and Carl Jensen was first vice-president of the Crestline Lions Club. In July of 1951 Mr. Colwell offered the Crestline Food Market for sale. The advertisement in the Los Angeles Times boasted annual sales of $140,000 with inventory of $12,000. The store was sold to Clarence Bishop Applegate. After the sale John Colwell left California and Carl Jensen went on to establish and manage a string of markets in the Inland Empire including one in Palm Desert. Bishop Applegate continued the fine tradition of the Crestline Food Market in serving the locals and out-of-town visitors. The advertisements for the market featured one change – substituting Beer and Wine for Notions. In early 1960 the Crestline Food Market was acquired by a man named Smithfield who renamed the market Smithfield Market. In 1968 the Penny Arcade located next to the market was destroyed in a fire. The next year Mr. Smithfield built an addition to his market where the Penny Arcade had once stood. That building stands empty today although in recent years it housed a very popular donut shop.
MOUNTAIN MILEPOSTS #912 February 21, 2019
By Bill Pumford, Image from Bill Pumford
TITLE: Father Garces Expedition: This week’s image is a photo of a tablet dedicated in 1931 to the travels of Father Francisco Garces and Jedediah Smith. The plaque, placed by the San Bernardino County Historical Society, is located on Monument Peak. Garces was born Francisco Tomas Hermenegildo Garces on 12 April 1738 in Spain. He was a Spanish priest and Franciscan friar who became a missionary at an early age. Garces traveled extensively in Sonora, Arizona and California as those areas are now known in the New World. Father Graces went on five expeditions from 1768 through 1776. His last expedition, 1775-1776, took him through the San Bernardino Mountains. During the month of March 1776 Father Garces, accompanied by several Mojave Indians, traveled from the Colorado River to the mission at San Gabriel.
Based upon distances traveled, landmarks and stopping points it appears that Father Garces traveled up Sawpit Canyon on 21/22 March 1776 with his diary entries of “entering a canyon of much wood, grass and water; I saw many cottonwoods, alders, oaks, very tall firs and beautiful junipers.” After reaching the summit Father Garces was able to see the ocean and named the valley below – Valle de San Joseph. He is considered to be the first white man to visit the San Bernardino Mountains.
After continuing down the western side of the mountains near Devils Canyon Father Garces connected with the well-known Anza trail which took the Father and his party to Mission San Gabriel. One might wonder why Father Garces and the Mojave Indians did not use Cajon Pass instead of Sawpit Canyon. In the 1700’s there were no wagons, horses or automobiles. Travel by the Mojave Indians was by foot using the most direct route.
In July of 1781 there was an Indian uprising along the Colorado River. During this period Father Garces was slain along with several other clerics. His remains are buried in Tubutama, Sonora, Mexico.
MOUNTAIN MILEPOSTS #911 February 14, 2019
By Ken Brafman, Image from Camp Paivika Archives
There’s a camp in Crestline that has been providing lots of year-round fun to kids with special needs for over 70 years. The name is from the Cahuilla and means “dawn.” Nestled on some 11 acres out on the Rim, Camp Paivika has a history which has been focused on opportunity. Crippled Children’s Society was founded in 1926 by Lawrence L. Frank, a Rotarian. The name AbilityFirst was adopted in 1999. In the 1940’s and 50’s polio as well as birth defects were robbing children of their childhood and causing much suffering. Lucia Laufeld was a special education teacher in Los Angeles who approached Mr. Frank. He shared in the vision of a camp where disabled or special needs kids could go and get to just be kids. A special use permit was obtained in order to develop the site on Playground Drive. Growth has been steady and by the time the camp celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1997 there were a swimming pool and gazebo built as well as dormitories, crafts center, dining hall, fully-equipped cabins and more. A popular spot is the recreation room which contains a large screen TV along with other technology as well as game tables and entertainment. There are horseback riding lessons and many more activities. Kelly Kunsek joined the camp in 1995 and is the current director. Ms. Kunsek notes, “We have been doing the same thing for over 70 years and we’ve never missed a summer.” Due to the camp’s location the Old Fire of 2003 was a major threat but thanks to the high presence and hard work of the various agencies, the camp was saved. “It was very scary, watching the fire skirting the Rim,” adds Ms. Kunsek. “We had to evacuate the horses and other animals via Hwy. 173.” Camp Paivika continues to grow. A new, updated swimming pool was completed in 2014. For more information call (909) 338-1102.
MOUNTAIN MILEPOSTS #910 February 7, 2019
By Cindy Justice, Image from the ROWIA Archives
TITLE: HEAPS PEAK ARBORETUM: This week’s image shows Mary Putnam Henck (L) and Grace Williams (R) as they officiate at the Reforestation Project Dedication on June 17, 1931 (at the future site of Heaps Peak Arboretum). The sign reads: “Heaps Peak Reforestation Project Planted By The Lake Arrowhead Woman’s Club In Cooperation With The U.S. Forest Service.” The picture is from the Rim of the World Interpretive Association (ROWIA) archives. In the background one can see the devastation from the fire that totally destroyed the area in 1922. The Arboretum site is located just above where Fred Heaps established a ranch in the late 1800s. From 1928 through the mid-fifties the Lake Arrowhead Women’s Club undertook reforestation of the area. Its purpose was “to serve as a microcosm of the forest.” But after another destructive fire in 1956 the reforestation project was abandoned by the Forest Service, with the area becoming an illegal dumping ground. In 1982 George Hesemann, local teacher and naturalist, obtained permission from the Forest Service to redevelop the Arboretum. Volunteers began cleaning up the old dump and created trails. Only 4 trees had to be removed to create the trails and 175 were planted. In 1984 Hesemann formed the Rim of the World Interpretive Association to support and care for the Arboretum. When he retired in 1985 he dedicated the rest of his life to nurturing the Arboretum and its Botanical Gardens. The Arboretum was and is now maintained solely by volunteers. One of Hesemann’s goals was to make sure the area was available to everyone. The upgraded wheelchair accessible trail was dedicated over Labor Day weekend in 1998. Sadly Hesemann, who was lovingly called “the guardian of the forest,” suffered a heart attack and died just days before the dedication. Located between Lake Arrowhead and Running Springs on Hwy. 18, the Arboretum is open all year. Visit: www.heapspeakarboretum.com for more information.
MOUNTAIN MILEPOSTS #909 January 31, 2019
By Bill Pumford, Image from Mark Landis
TITLE: Camp Cajon MONUMENT Project: This week’s image is a composite of markers representing the Camp Cajon Monument Project. On July 4, 1919, Camp Cajon was opened as a rest stop for motorists traveling through the Cajon Pass. Camp Cajon consisted of several unique buildings, picnic tables and a large stone monument. In addition, several organizations such as the Elks Club, the Mission Inn and Santa Fe Railroad built and maintained buildings at the camp to support their specific groups. The buildings were constructed along old Route 66 which is the present-day Wagon Train Road. The site is just south of the McDonald’s at the intersection of I-15 and Hwy 138. During the great flood of 1938 Camp Cajon was decimated and was never rebuilt. The goal of the Camp Cajon Monument Project is to rebuild the monument and hold a rededication ceremony on July 4 of this year to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the camp’s original opening.
Participating organizations include Rim of the World Historical Society, E Clampus Vitus, the Highland Historical Society, the San Bernardino Pioneer & Historical Society, the Wrightwood Historical Society, Mojave Historical Society and the California Historic Route 66 Association.
MOUNTAIN MILEPOSTS #908 January 24, 2019
By Ken Brafman, Photo from the Rothman Collection
TITLE: SQUINT’S ‘MOONSHINE’ RANCH: This week’s image comes from a real 1920’s photo and represents a colorful period in our mountain’s past. A few miles north of Lake Arrowhead is 80-acre Squint’s Ranch. William ‘Squint’ Worthington (the tall man on the right) was only in his late teens when he started working for the Talmadge Sawmill clearing timber and brush from the bottom of Little Bear Valley, where a dam was being constructed. Some 20 years later the project would become known as Lake Arrowhead. ‘Squint’ worked in prospecting, logging and he was an expert trapper. At the sawmill he discovered that he could supplement his income considerably by supplying his fellow workers with moonshine. In establishing his homestead around 1899, which would later become known as Squint’s Ranch, he realized that the remoteness of his location was the perfect formula for increasing his moonshine operation and output. His stills became legendary in their ability to allude detection by the authorities. Forest Ranger Bert Switzer, for whom Switzer Park in Skyforest is named, may have come closest to finding the stills. For the rest of his life Switzer proudly wore his ranger cap which had earned a bullet hole in it…from his getting a little too close. His operation grew steadily so that when Prohibition hit in 1920 ‘Squint’ was in the position to make a fortune. His customers for ‘White Mule’ whiskey included the Tudor Inn, North Shore Tavern, Chef’s Inn, Saddleback Inn among other hotels and resorts. Worthington died in 1930, willing the ranch to his great grand-nephew who was his only surviving relative. Subsequent owners have included pilots who have made use of the airstrip, which was completed in 1960, as well as the ranch. A couple movies and videos have been filmed at the location over the years. With its proximity to Deep Creek various types of recreation remain popular including hiking, camping, horseback riding and prospecting.
MOUNTAIN MILEPOSTS #907 January 17, 2019
By Cindy Justice, Photo from ROWHS Collection
TITLE: SNOW VALLEY SKI RESORT: This week’s image is of the first steel-towered single chair lift in Southern California which was built in 1949 at Snow Valley Ski Resort. The picture, taken in the early 50s, is on display at the Mountain History Museum. Snow Valley, formerly called Fish Camp, was a primitive campsite at the headwaters of Deep Creek. From the turn of the century until the 1930s Fish Camp was a popular cross-country ski destination. In 1923 an 11-mile extension of the Rim of the World Highway, aptly named the Arctic Circle, made Fish Camp easily accessible to the influx of skiing enthusiasts from around the world such as Norwegian ski jumping champions the Engen brothers and Johnny Elvrum. Sverre Engen bought the food concession building at Fish Camp in 1937; that same year the Lake Arrowhead Corporation was granted a permit to build a 1,300-foot motorized rope tow lift. The ski lift, combined with an existing ski jump, increased business immensely. Engen decided that Fish Camp was no name for a ski resort so it was changed to Snow Valley. In 1939 the Arrowhead Springs Corporation bought the Snow Valley facilities from Engen. But before any improvements could be made the corporation went bankrupt. Johnny Elvrum bought the resort at auction in 1941. Elvrum began constructing new facilities and by 1949 he had completed the mile-long 144 chair ski lift pictured above. The Lodge at Snow Valley burned in 1949 and a new one was built in its place which is still open today. Elvrum operated Snow Valley until 1971, when he sold his interest to The Nordic Group, the company that still owns it today. Elvrum died in 2006 at age 97. Snow Valley, the oldest ski resort in Southern California, continues to be a huge tourist draw and asset to our mountain economy.
MOUNTAIN MILEPOSTS #906 January 10, 2019
By Bill Pumford, Photo from ROWHS Collection
TITLE: ALPINE TERRACE RESORT: This week’s image is taken from a photo showing the Lodge of the Alpine Terrace Resort located in Twin Peaks. As some of you may recognize, this is the current Antlers Inn. In 1923 Gregory Dexter decided to purchase lots in the Twin Peaks area and build cabins to rent. The land development business was booming on the mountain and the Dexters wanted to take advantage of the boom. Three cabins were initially constructed and were quickly rented. In order to attract visitors a dance floor was built outside and was, for a time, quite the attraction. The Alpine Terrace Resort was built by Gregory Dexter in the 1920’s and consisted initially of the Lodge (completed in 1925), 18 rental cabins and a dance floor. Lumber for the construction of the lodge came from a recently burned out area in Running Springs. Greg’s wife, Julia, ran the resort. The Dexter family lived in Cabin #6 shortly after completion of its construction. In 1925 a school was needed to support the children in the area. After finding the minimum requirement of 11 children the state approved the school which was housed in one of the Alpine Terrace Resort cabins. The Dexters received $10 per month for compensation which was well worth it to the Dexters to have schooling so close. An advertisement in 1947 in the Los Angeles Times offered a Labor Day Weekend special at the Alpine Terrace Resort where one could get transportation and a cabin for $17.50. Quite the bargain. By this time 24 cabins were available for rent. A 1951 advertisement offered these cabins for $30 per week. The promotions most often cited dining, dancing and cabins in a scenic mountain setting. In 1968 the Alpine Terrace Resort was renamed Antlers Inn. Twenty cabins are still available to rent.
MOUNTAIN MILEPOSTS #905 January 3, 2019
by Ken Brafman Photo Credit: Ken Brafman
TITLE: METATE TRAIL: This week’s image comes from a real 8 x 10 black & white photo. The Metate Trail is just north of the community of Lake Arrowhead and offers a small taste of the over 500 miles of hiking opportunities in the San Bernardino National Forest. This easy, family-friendly trail will bring you to some impressive relics from our state’s Native American past. Metates were used by the Serrano Indians who lived a nomadic existence in these mountains for over 2,500 years. The grinding holes pictured were carved into large slabs of bedrock and are called “mortars.” Serrano women used “manos” (or “pestles”) to grind acorns, pinon nuts and other grain. The Serrano came to this area every spring because of the plentiful acorn crop and mild climate. To make acorn flour was a multi-step process which involved first soaking the acorns to remove their skin, then grinding them into a flour. This was then made into a meal and leached with boiling water to remove the bitterness. The resulting mush was further processed into “Wiiwish” which could then be served. Wiiwish is still consumed today by some California tribes and is prepared traditionally or by using more modern methods. The Serrano are a Native American tribe of Southern California. They call themselves the Yuhaviatam which means “people of the pines.” After a century of brutal hardships culminating in the massacre of 1866, which saw militia forces kill men, women and children, tribal leader Santos Manuel led the remaining Yuhaviatam down the mountain to safety. The reservation bearing his name was established in 1891.
MOUNTAIN MILEPOSTS #904 December 26, 2018
by Bill Pumford PHOTO CREDIT: Russ Keller Collection
TITLE: Mozumdar, Pillars of God: This week’s image is taken from a real mailed photo postcard from 1947. The Pillars of God are located at what is now known as Camp Mozumdar. In the 1920’s A.K. Mozumdar, a religious mystic from India, purchased property in the San Bernardino mountains and created an environment for teaching and community involvement. The Pillars of God was designed by William Lodge, a prominent architect from San Diego and ardent follower of Mozumdar, and constructed in the early 1930’s. There are twelve pillars representing, it is believed, the twelve apostles. The Pillars of God, also known as the amphitheater, was dedicated to Alvin Splane who died in an aviation training accident in 1918. Alvin’s mother, Minnie Splane, was one of A.K. Mozumdar’s most significant benefactors. Through the decades the amphitheater has been used for a number and variety of community events such as weddings, lectures, religious seminars, and concerts. In 1952 Jane Russell, along with several other acts, provided a benefit concert to support the Cedarpines Park Children’s Public Playground. As can be dimly seen from the photo, there are lighting fixtures on each of the twelve pillars. Over the years all but two of these two foot tall light fixtures have been shot out by vandals. In addition, the wooden benches used by the attendees of events have been destroyed by the numerous fires the area has experienced. Since 1930 the property was occupied by A.K. Mozumdar until 1950 when the YMCA purchased the property. In 1977 the YMCA sold the property to the Unification Movement started by the Reverend Moon from South Korea.