09 August 2017

18 September Talk on Antonio Maria Lugo and Rancho Santa Ana del Chino

Chino Hills Historical Society Presents:
“A Look Back at Antonio María Lugo and the 
Early Years of the Rancho Santa Ana del Chino”
Monday, September 18th 

The Chino Hills Historical Society will host a presentation by Chino Hills resident and historian Paul R. Spitzzeri at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, September 18th at the Chino Hills Community Center, 14259 Peyton Drive.  Spitzzeri will share the history of Antonio María Lugo and the early years of the Rancho Santa Ana del Chino.

According to Spitzzeri, Antonio María Lugo (1775-1860), born near Monterey, Mexico just six years after the Spanish first settled California, was one of the most prominent and remarkable persons in greater Los Angeles during his lifetime.  A soldier in the Spanish Army during his younger years, Lugo was granted the Rancho San Antonio, encompassing nearly 30,000 acres southeast of Los Angeles.  Later, he and his family acquired the Rancho San Bernardino and Rancho Santa Ana del Chino, the latter including today’s cities of Chino and Chino Hills.

“Lugo was torn by the loss of California to the Americans during a war that included the Battle of Chino, which was fought on what is now Boys Republic,” said Mr. Spitzzeri, “He was known for his forthright personality, hospitality, and strength of character.”

Mr. Spitzzeri has lived in Chino Hills for 20 years.  He is the Museum Director at the Workman and Temple Family Homestead Museum in the City of Industry, where he has worked since 1988. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree and Master of Arts degree in history from California State University, Fullerton and has published on local, regional and state history in many journals and anthologies.  His book, The Workman and Temple Families of Southern California, won a 2009 Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History.  Since 2008, Paul has maintained the blog www.carboncanyonchronicle.blogspot.com.

“Paul really captivates the audience as he paints a picture of the history of the area,” said Chino Hills Historical Society President Denise Cattern.  “We are so happy that he has returned to share the story of Antonio María Lugo!”

The Chino Hills Historical Society is a non-profit organization funded through memberships and donations.  For additional information, please call (909) 597-6449 or send an email to chhistory@aol.com.

07 August 2017

Tres Hermanos Ranch Updates

In recent days, a pair of news items have come out in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune regarding the City of Industry's attempt to reacquire the Tres Hermanos Ranch, which the city's redevelopment agency purchased in 1978 and which then went to a successor agency when RDAs were eliminated.

Industry's city manager Paul Phillips wrote an open letter advertisement a few weeks ago stating the city's intention, if able to buy the ranch, to use it for public purposes, including open space and recreation.

That was followed by this article by the Tribune on the 3rd in which Phillips confirmed in a meeting with State Senator Josh Newman and officials from Brea, Chino Hills, Diamond Bar and Walnut that Industry is looking to establish a solar farm on the ranch.

The Tribune then followed yesterday with this article on Industry's expenditures so far in its early work on the proposed solar array.

13 July 2017

Carbon Canyon Historical Artifact #56: Camp Kinder Ring Plunge, 1942

As has been covered in this blog before, the Workmen's Circle, now SoCal Arbeter Ring/Workmen's Circle, an association devoted to the Jewish community, Yiddish culture and social justice (for more here is the organization's website), operated Camp Kinder Ring, which began as a youth camp in 1928 and then served all ages until it closed thirty years later, in 1958, presumably because of a lack of reliable water.  That fall, a massive wildfire swept through Carbon Canyon destroying part of the site and sections of nearby Sleepy Hollow, which lies just to the west.

The facility included a community hall, buildings for lodging, a swimming pool, and much more. Some of these structures survive as part of a horse and cattle facility on the east side of Canyon Hills Road north of Carbon Canyon Road on the Chino Hills side of the canyon.

Incidentally, the elderly owner of the site recently passed away and there are rumors that the property may be sold.  If that happens, expect developers to hungrily eye the property for more homes and for the camp buildings to be destroyed without documentation of their historical value or importance.

That happened not long ago with the ruins and remains of other structures and elements of the camp, wihch were razed a couple of years ago without so much as a report or survey about their existenc as the construction of the Hillcrest housing development, now in its third phase, went underway.

The swimming pool, or plunge, at Camp Kinder Ring, owned and operated by the Workmen's Circle for Jewish youth and others between 1928 and 1958 on the site of today's Hillcrest housing development and a horse and cattle ranch near Sleepy Hollow in the Chino Hills portion of Carbon Canyon.
After the camp closed, the site was used as a country club, as "Ski Villa" utilizing a plastic needle covered run for outdoor, all-year skiing (an idea that, not surprisingly, lasted all of a year in 1966-67), and as the "Purple Haze" counter-culture bar, among others.

Today's entry is a postcard titled "A View of the Workmen's Circle Camp Plunge," the swimming facility for the camp.  It shows the large cement pool, what were likely changing rooms, and nine persons in swimsuits on the pool deck. In the background are a portion of the Chino Hills, where the Oak Tree Downs and Oak Tree Estates developments are today.

On the reverse of the card is the camp's name, mailing address and city (of course, Chino Hills was some fifty years away from incorporation!).  A date stamp from a Los Angeles post office shows the date of 28 July 1942 and there is a stamp encouraging the purchase of defense savings bonds and stamps and a 1-cent mailing stamp "for defense."  The United States had entered World War II, just seven months before after the Japanese military attacked Pearl Harbor.

A note from "Herbie" to Mrs. Tillie Katz of Glendale mentions that he was swimming and hiking as part of his stay at the camp.
A message written in pencil from "Herbie" to Mrs. Tillie Katz of Glendale notes that "I go swimming 2 times a day" and "I went hiking last Wednesday and am going again today," giving two of the main activities for youth campers like "Herbie," while spending part of their summers at Camp Kinder Ring.

It's extremely rare to find anything about Camp Kinder Ring, so this is a very welcome addition to the documentation about an important element of Carbon Canyon history.

04 June 2017

The Gaines and Brown Families of Carbon Canyon, Part 5: Olinda School, 1910s

Because it was located in a district that had extraordinary tax revenues from a booming oil field, Olinda School may have been the best-funded elementary through junior high school in the region.

For the Gaines and Brown families, whose descendant Joyce Harrington has shared many of the family photos, this meant a quality education outside of the established cities in northern Orange County like Fullerton and Anaheim.

When it came to going to high school, Olinda students would make the long bus ride to Fullerton Union High School, which gave a good education, just not with the tax revenues of Olinda!

It seemed particularly appropriate at this point, as our schools have completed their year and students are headed for their summer vacations, including some who have graduated, to post a couple of the images provided by Joyce of the Olinda School.

The facility was located near the banks of Carbon [Canyon] Creek after it flowed out of Carbon Canyon, past the confluence with Soquel Canyon and its creek and headed into what is now Carbon Canyon Regional Park.

The Olinda School, located in what is now the eastern end of Carbon Canyon Regional Park, from a circa 1910s photograph provided courtesy of Joyce Harrington.
Those familiar with the old park entrance, near which is a state historic landmark plaque for the Olinda community, will recognize in one of the photos the steep hill behind the school, which is above the park's eastern edge and where housing tracts in Yorba Linda overlook the park just to the west of today's Diemer water treatment plant operated by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

At the left of the image, behind a small tree is the covered projecting entrance of the school, situated under a bell tower with arched openings.  Again, this is pretty fancy school for such a rural area.

The other photo shows the graduating 8th grade class of 1917, exactly a century ago, posed on the front steps of the Olinda School.  As with almost all school photos, it is fun to see the varied dress and expressions of the students, some with broad smiles and others are serious, while a few students look away from the camera.  At the bottom left is the mark of Hartsook, a major photography studio with offices in Los Angeles and Oakland.

The 8th grade graduating class of 1917 at the Olinda School.  Courtesy of Joyce Harrington.
The Olinda School operated well after the post-World War II period, even as the residential population of the oil fields diminished significantly from the late 1920s onward, with the rise of the automobile allowing oil field workers to live further from their job site.  When the Carbon Canyon Dam project was completed in the late 1950s, the school was razed.

The name of Olinda School, however, was revived when the Olinda Village subdivision was built further east where the Gaines' Flying Cow Ranch was located.  Olinda Elementary School opened in the mid-1960s and operated until recent years, when new housing at Olinda Ranch and projecting subdivisions in the shuttered oil fields north of Lambert and west of Valencia prompted the move of the school to its current location on Birch Street.

Thanks to photos like the ones provided by Joyce, we can document the existence and usage of the original Olinda School.

03 June 2017

On the Skids in Carbon Canyon #s26262/26389 + Bonuses

Two recent accidents on Carbon Canyon Road indicate more reckless driving.  On Wednesday, 24 May at 10:30 p.m. that familiar sound of screeching tires and skidding followed by a metallic crunch echoed through Sleepy Hollow.

By the time a neighbor and I got over to the accident scene at the old Party House liquor store where Carbon Creek crosses under Carbon Canyon Road, the vehicle was gone, but left behind a twisted, bent section of guardrail there along the north side of the state highway.  A neighbor who lives directly across the street went out upon hearing the wreck and found a young woman hightailing it from the scene.


Yesterday about 4:15 p.m. while heading westbound from Chino Hills Parkway on Carbon Canyon Road, another accident scene was encountered, in which an older SUV was on its side and glass scattered across the westbound lane.

A Summit Ranch resident just narrowly missed being hit by the SUV, which apparently drifted off the eastbound lane, went up a dirt embankment and then skidded across the road on its side acros the opposing lane of traffic.  It has been said, but not verified, that alcohol was smelled on the breath of the driver.

Meanwhile, Chino Hills councilmember Ed Graham, as part of his regular updates to residents, which is a great service that he provides, had this to offer in his most recent edition:
Chino Hills Police conducted a Carbon Canyon Joint Enforcement Action on April 25th. The Cities of Chino and Brea participated as well. A total of 80 citations were issued by the three agencies with Chino Hills writing 50 of those tickets. Twenty of the 80 citations were for excessive speed. Several of those were in excess of 65 mph. Thirty-six citations were issued to Chino Hills’ residents. The balance were spread over a wide range of Orange County and Inland Empire cities. Interestingly, 16 citations were issued for use of cell phone/texting. As expected, a number of citations were issued to trucks, mostly for crossing the double yellow line. All of those were residents outside of Chino Hills. 
It is always a good situation when our local law enforcement personnel are out on Carbon Canyon Road, because, if they write that many citations on one day, just think how many instances of dangerous driving there are every day.

It should be added that the action took place on a Tuesday and, though not stated by councilmember Graham, was almost certainly during daylight hours.  However, those of us who live in or drive the canyon regularly know that more reckless driving takes place weekend evenings than during weekday mornings or afternoons.

As the City of Chino Hills moves to phase two of a Carbon Canyon Road traffic study, the obvious conclusions in phase one's basic engineering analysis were presented last month to the planning commission.  That is, traffic volumes are in the D or F ranch for Level of Service (LOS); that volume will be increasing as more housing is built in the Inland Empire; and that there are some improvements that can be suggested to Carbon Canyon Road with the goal being to increase efficiency of movement on the state highway.

However, of the dozen or so speakers who addressed the commission, many asked for traffic lights at Canon Lane or Canyon Hills Drive so that residents seeking to turn (especially left) onto Carbon Canyon Road can do so more easily.  As a canyon resident who has to turn left all the time, but won't even have the opportunity to have traffic signals to assist because of the sight line issue in Sleepy Hollow, I really do empathize with those residents.


But, adding more traffic signals, while it may benefit a few, will actually slow traffic down and impede movement through the canyon for the larger numbers of commuters on the road.  As a state highway, Carbon Canyon Road has to be looked at in terms of the broader, rather than the more localized, impacts.

Again, I experience the same issues and frustrations of trying to access the road as do those speakers, but more traffic signals will be counterproductive and lead to more stoppages, less access, and slower commute times.

Here, though, is the bottom line in the big picture.  There are too many of us, me included, driving ourselves solo.  There is no way to improve existing freeways, highways and arterial roadways to address the real problem of inefficient volume.  The huge amounts of money and time spent on the 91 Freeway widening and the improvements of the 57/60 interchange, two of the worst traffic areas anywhere in the United States are the proverbial "finger in the dike," and won't address long-term traffic problems.

More carpooling, trains, subways, and, especially, buses are the only way to deal with volume.  For those who love to drive or want the convenience (compromised as those may be by lengthening commute times) of controlling our time by driving ourselves solo, we have to decide how much more we can put up with.

The Carbon Canyon Road traffic study is needed and it is good to see the city taking this project on, but the reality is that solutions will be temporary and minor.  What our elected officials and citizens need to do is embrace getting away from solo vehicle occupancy to mass transit in its varied forms.  Otherwise, it is more time wasted, more pollution generated, and our quality of life diminishes further.

31 May 2017

Tres Hermanos Ranch and Tonner Canyon Plan Reported

This came out several days ago in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune concerning the City of Industry's plans for Tres Hermanos Ranch and other land in Tonner Canyon directly north and adjacent to Carbon Canyon.

Here is the link to the article discussing those plans for a large solar farm in the area and quoting from nearby officials, including Rad Bartlam, city manager of Chino Hills.

14 May 2017

Carbon Canyon Historical Artifact #55: La Vida Mineral Water Company Stock Certificate, 1930

With many thanks to Dorothy Infantado, who sent this item a few days ago so that it could be posted on this blog, this entry highlights a stock certificate from La Vida Mineral Water Company, which used the water from the resort here on the Brea side of Carbon Canyon and bottled it with a variety of added flavors as a healthful beverage.

A stock certificate for 20 shares of preferred stock in La Vida Mineral Water Company, issued to Charles and Lulu Rose of Long Beach, 2 September 1930.  Donated by Dorothy Infantado.

Previous posts here have given some of the history of the La Vida Mineral Water Company, but this is the first time that a stock certificate has surfaced.  The seal of the firm shows an incorporation date of 27 February 1928, with posts on this blog stating the company started producing water in 1927 and then, evidently, decided to sell stock in the company to raise capital for expansion.  This definitely happened as La Vida water was marketed heavily throughout the West Coast in following years, peaking in 1931.

The president of the firm was C. [Charleston] A. Kleinman, whose signature is on the certificate, along with the company's secretary, whose name, however, is largely faded and indecipherable.  Information about Kleinman was included in earlier posts here from 2012.  This is certificate number 500, dated 2 September 1930, and 20 shares were issued to Charles E. and Lulu Rose.  It is not known what the par value of the stock was

The front panel of the stock certificate--likely the Roses did not receive much in the way of dividends and equity from their shares.

The stock purchased by the couple was preferred stock, which means that any dividends or any payments made on dissolution of the firm would go to holders to this type of stock before those who held common stock in the firm. La Vida Mineral Water issued a quarter million shares of capital stock, with half being preferred and the other half common.

As to these stockholders, they were not wealthy investors.  Charles E. Rose was a native of Illinois and was about 47 years old when he bought the stock.  He worked as a streetcar motorman, probably for the Pacific Electric system.  His wife Lulu Evans, who hailed from Michigan was a few years younger, and the couple resided in a modest bungalow north of downtown Long Beach.

An ad for the firm in the San Bernardino County Sun, 19 June 1931.
Even though the Great Depression began a little under a year prior to the Rosses buying their shares of stock in La Vida Mineral Water, the company's rapid growth and breathless promotion of the many health benefits of its product obviously convinced them that it was worth the expenditure.  But, it is unlikely they ever got much out of their investment in terms of dividends or equity.

What happened to this certificate is uncertain--Lulu Ross, who was previously married, had two children and it is likely the document passed to them.   However, items like this can wind up in other hands in any number of ways.  For example, perhaps a later owner of one of the homes the Rosses lived in found it.

A testimonial to the myriad health benefits of La Vida Mineral Water from another Sun ad, 26 March 1931.
In any case, many thanks to Dorothy for passing this along so that it can be shared with readers of this blog.