19 February 2018

Carbon Canyon Crier, January 1965

Among items recently loaned by a neighbor here in Sleepy Hollow are some issues of a community newsletter called the Carbon Canyon Crier.  This post includes scans of the January 1965 issue and it's a fascinating look back over a half-century ago and what was going on in the Canyon.

The issue was the first of the third volume, meaning that the publication began two years before that, in January 1963 by Sleepy Hollow residents Harry and Nita Shedrick.  Three other local residents contributed to the newsletter, including Dorothea Wilson, Rick Harrison and Hazel Corcoran.

Click on any image to see all of them enlarged in a separate window.
The front page had two main features, including the recognition of Sleepy Hollow resident Vern Wundrow as realtor of the year in La Habra.  Wundrow, a three-year resident of the area, was active in Canyon activities, including the water district, town hall [a community council of sorts], and other committees.

The other main article concerned the foreclosure sale on 3 December 1964 at Ontario City Hall of a 225-acre property, described as "east of the summit" and formerly the ranch of Adolph Dittrich.  The owner who lost the property was a company called Equestrian Ranchos, which bought the ranch from Dittrich and his wife Anna in 1963 for $500,000.  It appears, by the firm's name, that the intention for buying the ranch was to develop it as an equestrian tract.  This property may well be what was later developed as Summit Ranch.


Earl W. Lumley, a resident of Tustin and secretary of the company, stated that the biggest obstacle for the firm was getting a commitment for water from the Southwest Chino Mutual Water Company.  He was quoted as saying that he saw opportunity in Carbon Canyon and hoped to buy land there later.

It is worth pointing out that, after the development of Sleepy Hollow in 1923 and Mountain View Park (Canon Lane south of Carbon Canyon Road) a couple of years later, development to Carbon Canyon did not occur until Olinda Village was opened on the Brea side in 1964.  But, with the sale of the Shelly Stoody ranch west of the summit to investors who opened Western Hills Country Club at that time and the impending tract across the road at Western Hills Oaks, there was a lot of movement for Canyon development in the mid-1960s.


A little history of past owners was provided in the article, going back to when the Rancho Santa Ana del Chino was largely intact and extended all the way in the Canyon to about where the Circle K convenience store is located between Sleepy Hollow and Mountain View Park.  Before Dittich, the ranch was owned for twenty years (1930-1951) by Archibald Strong.

Sadly, Lumley not only did not invest in other real estate in the canyon, but his financial situation must have worsened considerably.  The independent contractor committed suicide in August 1968, a sad end which sometimes comes to people who take risks in large-scale speculative real estate.


Other reported news in the Crier included a project to install new, updated telephone cables along Carbon Canyon Road.  Carried out by a conractor for Pacific Telephone Company, the work extended "from Placentia to the end of the district boundary just below the summit."  The $125,000 project was designed to extend service for up to 2,000 customers.  Again, this was a direct reflection of the influx of development mentioned above.  To this day, everyone living west of the summit maintains a 714 area code and the prefixes that are aligned with those in Placentia and Yorba Linda as part of that district.


There was also coverage of a fire that broke out at the top of the Mountain View Park tract in mid-December.  Because the area was under the operation of a volunteer fire department, a nearby resident drove down to the fire department quarters at the Sleepy Hollow Community Building, pulled an alarm and got the fire truck over to the scene.  He was joined by other volunteers and residents and the fire put out before it spread.  It turned out the blaze was started by a typical cause: kids playing with matches.


A "Women's Only" column by Hazel Corcoran and Nita Shedrick covered everything from the stresses of the holiday season to better household organization to New Year's Resolutions promoting better "peace of mind."  A little joke at the end reminded women that the difference between a dress and a gown (remember most women didn't wear slacks or pants regularly yet!) was $50.

An update was provided about improvements at the Canyon Hills Swim and Saddle Club, located where the Workmen's Circle Camp Kinder Ring operated from 1928 to 1958, followed by social clubs including the Canyon Hills one.  The article noted there was a new paved driveway from Carbon Canyon Road (this is basically the current Canyon Hills Road), new roads and trails through the property, and new management for activities.  These included a new equestrian manager, a new lessee for club grounds, and a new operator of the restaurant, lounge and bar.  A New Year's Eve party, horse show, western/country music performances and other activities were mentioned.


Within a year, however, the Club closed and the property was turned into the strange and short-lived Ski Villa, which included an outdoor, all-weather ski slope made of plastic bristle tiles.  Although featured in a 1966 issue of Sports Illustrated, Ski Villa soon ceased operation and a variety of clubs and other uses ensued until the property became a horse ranch.  Some of it was then subdivided and sold and the current Hillcrest development is on the west side of the property.


Reference was also made to the recent elections, including the news that Republican presidential candidate Arizona senator Barry Goldwater garnered 66 votes to President Lyndon Johnson's 62 among Canyon voters.  As for the local justice court, the Canyon was the only district to turn thumbs-down to incumbent Henry Ferncase.  The Crier claimed it was because "Canyonites are planning to avoid traffic citations for the next 6 years" in electing Ben Burrell to the bench.  There was also a humorous poem said to be from a "disenchanted Democrat" that sounded like it was more from a Goldwater supporter!


A lengthy feature discussed Eleanor Felton, the county's registrar of voters; a "Freedom Forum" reprint on the fate of five signers of the Declaration of Independence was included; minutes of the local Town Hall and water companies were provided; and other local bits of local news were provided.  Among the issues raised at the Town Hall meeting, held 24 November, was about the assigning of house numbers in the Canyon, when previously people's mail came to them with the simple designation of a rural route number.  This is another example of the coming of further development and changing times!


Also was discussed was a recurring problem of a recurring problem of parking, including the abandonment of vehicles and "people parking on property other than their own."  With the narrow streets of Sleepy Hollow and Mountain View Park, this issue has hardly changed much in 53 years!

There was a very lengthy discussion of a proposed Community Services District, a concept designed to bring improvements as well as consolidation of water services, this latter being a critical issue in the often water-scarce Canyon.  Other conversation was held about individuals opting out of the district and its tax and consulting with the county attorney, local supervisor and those in Adelanto in the high desert who'd recently enacted their own district.


In the Mountain View Park Water District minutes was reference to the plans for updating local water supply through the Metropolitan Water District's massive project of bringing in Colorado River water through Tonner Canyon and Carbon Canyon to the Diemer treatment plant, which opened in 1963 on the hills near today's Carbon Canyon Regional Park.

There was a bit of news about the theft of signs that sported the phrase "Welcome to Sleepy Hollow" and had a Carbon Canyon logo on them.  One, on the east edge of Sleepy Hollow was taken about Labor Day and the other, on the west end by the county line, was seized in mid-November.  A $25 reward was offered for tips leading to the arrest and conviction of the thieves.  An image of the sign was also provided.


Finally, the last page of the twelve-page newsletter constituted "The Sheriff's Blotter," including all the calls logged in by the West End station of the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department during the month of November.  A cartoon and another bit of humor about eyewitnesses are also on the page.

There are other issues of the Carbon Canyon Crier that will be shared, so look for those in future posts!

03 February 2018

Oak Tree Downs Trail in Carbon Canyon

One of the many great aspects about living in Chino Hills is that there are many miles of trails, some of which range across the upper elevations of our hills and provide great views and some good exercise.

This view looks from the upper elevations of the Oak Tree Downs Trail and looks southwest towards Sleepy Hollow and the Brea portion of Carbon Canyon.
Earlier today, a fine little ramble off the north end of the canyon was enjoyed on the Oak Tree Downs Trail, which runs between the community of that name and the Elements at Pine Valley up the hills and ends just south of the end of Eucalyptus Avenue.  It is notable that this is the only official city-administered trail in Carbon Canyon.

The trail winds up from its southern trailhead towards the top with portions of Carriage Hills, Western Hills Oaks and Mountain View Estates in Carbon Canyon in view.
It's not a particularly long trail, though there is a decent, if short, elevation gain up from the trailhead to the ridges of the hills.  Because we're having unprecedented record temperatures this winter, it felt like summer and the sun was pretty intense, but it's an easy way to get to spots where views of the canyon, the Inland Empire and the San Gabriel and San Bernardino mountain ranges are pretty impressive.

This view to the southeast takes in the summit and Western Hills Mobile Home Park at the left, Carriage Hills at the center and Western Hills Oaks to the right.  Way off in the distance are parts of the San Jacinto (left) and Santa Ana (right) mountain chains.
Even though we've only had just a little over an inch of rain this winter (which raises the likelihood of another return to drought), there is still a bit of green carpeting of grasses on the hills, though if we don't get some decent rainfall soon, it will turn brown quick and be a concern for later in the year with respect to wildfire risk.

To the northeast are housing tracts off Eucalyptus Avenue and in the distance the San Gabriel Mountains with Mount San Antonio (Baldy), Ontario Peak and Cucamonga Peak as standouts.
As the accompanying photos show there are some very nice views from the upper elevations, including areas of the canyon ranging from the summit near the Summit Ranch and Carriage Hills subdivisions and westward towards Sleepy Hollow and the Brea portion of the canyon.

At the left is a portion of a ranch, with a home at the top of the hill at the upper left, that was later largely sold off to create the Oak Tree Downs and Oak Tree Estates communities, with much of the former in this view, which looks northwest.
To the northwest is a remnant of the old ranch that was subdivided into the Oak Tree Downs and Oak Tree Estates communities, while moving to the east looks over those neighborhoods north of Eucalyptus and out towards the mountains.

This is the large transfer site where the above-ground towers and lines of the Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project moves underground through a portion of Chino Hills before reemerging to above ground along Pipeline Avenue and the 71 Freeway.  This view looks northwest.
Not that it's an attractive view, but the scale and scope of the transfer yard of the Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project (TRTP) that was the subject of a remarkable decision by the state's Public Utilities Commission requiring that sections of the line be moved underground through a portion of Chino Hills is quite a sight, as well.

Standing at the higher elevations of the route and looking across the canyon, the thought came that it would be nice to see more trails in the area.  This might be easier (but certainly wouldn't be easy) on the south side, especially along the open space that runs from the southwestern corner of Carbon Canyon Road and Chino Hills Parkway and then behind Carriage Hills and the several neighborhoods (including the proposed 107-unit Hidden Oaks, which is to come before the planning commission and city council this year) through to Sleepy Hollow and the county line.  The north side, because of existing development reaching deep beyond the canyon towards the north and the topography, would pose significantly more challenges.

Here was an interesting site of pinecones (the pine trees are all down at lower elevations in surrounding areas) piled against a trail sign near the top of the route.
As this post started off noting, there are many advantages to living in the city and the trail system is one of them.  Today's walk was a reminder of just how unusual this is, as most cities in our area do not have the range and scope of this recreational amenity.

02 February 2018

Carbon Canyon Road Electronic Message Board Up in Brea

Earlier this week, an electronic message board appeared on the westbound side of Carbon Canyon Road just past Santa Fe Avenue in Olinda Village area on the Brea side..

It cheerily starts off with "Welcome to Brea!" and then requests drivers to slow down, posting speeds.

Wednesday when I drove by it for the first time at about Noon, as I passed the sign in the first lane, a handsome blue Audi coupe flew by in lane #2 doing at least 60 to 65 mph.

The speed limit is 45, but it is routinely honored in the breech.

Carbon Canyon Road Crash This Afternoon

An accident has taken place on Carbon Canyon Road between Canyon Hills Drive and Canon Lane and both sides of the highway are backed up for quite a distance.

Here is the City of Chino Hills alert:

3:00 pm Fri., Feb. 2–Traffic accident on Carbon Canyon Road at Canon Lane. Both directions of travel being directed through accident scene one direction at a time. Expect delays. Road will return to normal once tow truck arrives to clear the road.

Here is an update as of a couple of minutes ago:

3:55 pm Fri., Feb. 2-Traffic accident has been cleared. Both lanes are open. Emergency vehicles off the roadway but still on scene for approx.15 minutes. 

01 February 2018

Carbon Canyon History Presentation on Monday the 5th

There will be a presentation on the history of Carbon Canyon given this coming Monday the 5th at 6 p.m. at the Placentia Library.

The PowerPoint-illustrated talk will discuss parts of the canyon's history like the Olinda Ranch and oil field; other ranches like the Gaines family's Flying Cow Ranch where Olinda Village is; La Vida Mineral Springs; early communities like Sleepy Hollow; the Camp Kinder Ring facility which morphed into the short-lived Ski Villa resort; and many others.

This well-received talk has been given to the Orange County Historical Society, Chino Hills Historical Society (where 250 people were in attendance) and at Carbon Canyon Regional Park, so, if you're free for about an hour Monday evening, come down to hear some of the history of the Canyon.

The Placentia Public Library is at 411 E. Chapman Avenue at the northeast corner of the intersection with Kraemer Boulevard.

31 January 2018

S-Curve Stands for Stuck Curve

A big rig trying to negotiate the S-curve at the summit on Carbon Canyon Road near Summit Ranch and Carriage Hills on the Chino Hills side of the canyon got stuck and caused the road to be partially
closed for a half hour.

The closure was a half-hour ago, at 8:30, and a message has just come in that the road is now clear at 9:00.

As has been mentioned here before and elsewhere, there are too many large trucks ignoring the many advisory signs warning against vehicles longer than 50 feet negotiating that curve.

Some that do try it wind up swinging into opposing lanes to make the curve, risking accidents.  Others, like this one, get stuck, causing more inconvenience.

There is a traffic study in phase two underway and there has been an occasional police presence in the form of writing tickets for crossing the double yellow centerline.  We'll see what the study and future discussion yield.

25 January 2018

More Smashes on the Carbon Canyon Road Hit Parade

A post earlier this month highlighted a Chino Hills Champion article reporting on a rash of accidents on Carbon Canyon Road in just the first two weeks of the new year.

The trend has continued with another spate of incidents in the last several days.  This includes further damage to signs and other objects on the S-curve on the Chino Hills side, this being one of the most commonly affected areas, along with some of the stretch of highway near the old La Vida Mineral Springs resort site on the Brea portion.

There is, in particular, a sign advising motorists to take the tightest of the several curves between the Carriage Hills and Summit Ranch subdivisions which has been mowed down many times over the years.


It happened again, probably late last Friday night, with the accompanying photo showing not just the remnants of the sign, but also the continued repositioning of the yellow metal bollards that used to be vertical and placed in front of the power pole for its protection.  Not only has one of the bollards been horizontal for many months now, but they keep getting hit and pushed further back around the pole and towards the fence behind it.  At this rate, the pole is going to get more damaged.

The sign, though conspicuously bent and dented, is back up with two small reflectors placed on the post--evidently as a warning of sorts to drivers, who may not otherwise see the 10-foot tall yellow sign as illuminated by their headlights.

A little to the west of that location at the summit curve is the wreckage left from a recent accident in which a vehicle went over the side, plowing down a sign and part of an old barbed wire fence.  This apparently is where the recent DUI incident took place.


On the Brea side, CalTrans District 12 was out this week repairing a chain link fence that was flattened in an accident that took place some months ago.

Meantime, there have been some other crashes that didn't leave that kind of obvious visual evidence, including one yesterday afternoon that involved an overturned car here in Sleepy Hollow.

The Champion article reported on the continuing study being conducted on the state highway, as well as discussions between Chino Hills and Brea and with the California Highway Patrol.  Ultimately, while more signage, different or enhanced striping, reflectors, and other elements will be suggested, there is only one way to mitigate speeding, large trucks swinging into opposing lanes or chewing up the shoulder, chemically impaired driving and other forms of wayward navigation of Carbon Canyon Road.  That would be somewhat consistent patrolling.