22 July 2016

On the Skids in Carbon Canyon #19090

Looks like someone recently heading eastbound on Carbon Canyon Road through the S-curve on the Chino Hills side got a little extra momentum after the main curve halfway through and rode high on the shoulder after crossing lanes.

One of the directional signs requesting drivers to stay in their designated lane was taken out and deep ruts in the hillside remain to show the errant pathway.

CalTrans recently replaced several sections of guardrail further east and the one-legged 15mph sign up above still stands uncertainly, so we'll see how much more damage is done on this particularly vulnerable part of the highway.

19 July 2016

Carbon Canyon Historic Artifact #53: Los Serranos Country Club Scorecard

As noted here before, even though Los Serranos Country Club is outside of Carbon Canyon, their histories are intertwined.

Though created in the mid-1910s as a shortcut from the Inland Empire to coastal regions, Carbon Canyon Road was unpaved and not well-built when it opened to the public.

In 1924, Long Beach investors purchased a portion of Rancho Santa Ana del Chino, known as the "Home Ranch" where Joseph Bridger's 1870s adobe still stood, for a subdivision, lake, and golf course, all given the name of Los Serranos.

Almost immediately, the country club's promoters worked to have Carbon Canyon Road substantially improved so that there would be a time-saving alternate route to their facility from Los Angeles.  At the time, the main route was to come out on Valley Boulevard through the San Gabriel Valley, then on Pomona Boulevard into Pomona and down the route of the old Butterfield Stage road to the club.

A vastly improved and fully paved Carbon Canyon Road, however, would significantly shave distance and time to get to Los Serranos.  By the end of the 1920s that work was done and by 1934, the road had been added to the newly created state highway system, though the assignment of a commonly used number (142) didn't take place for some thirty years.

So, with the fates of the two tied together, here is a score card from Los Serranos Country Club that appears to date from the 1960s, not long after the facility was purchased by tennis legend Jack Kramer, whose family still owns and operates it.

The rear cover has a map of what was then a single course, it now has two, as well as four rules for water hazards, lost balls, fences and holes and mounds.  Inside the card has the back and medium tee distances for each hole by gender, the par for men and women, including handicaps, and the total par for the course, which was rated at 70, and listed at 72 for men and 73 for women.

The front cover, which lists a 714 area code in those days when there were enough numbers for wide areas, is most notable for its unfortunate use of a Latino figure taking a siesta next to images of crossed clubs and a ball and a flag.

For the club to mention that the 300-acre facility was on a remnant of the Rancho Santa Ana del Chino granted in the Mexican era (1841) to Antonio María Lugo is one thing, but the napping figure in the big sombrero?  Whoa.

14 July 2016

Meet the Night Sky at Chino Hills State Park

On Saturday, 13 August @ 7:30 p.m., the Chino Hills State Park Interpretive Association is hosting "Meet the Night Sky" in which participants will "learn about the scale of the universe and our place in it."

Jeff Schroeder, a founding member of the Pomona Valley Amateur Astronomers group some forty-five years ago and who retired not long ago after thirty-five years as an optical engineer and flight technician at JPL (the Jet Propulsion Laboratory run by NASA) in Pasadena, is the special guest speaker.

Schroeder, whose work involved such projects as the Galileo and Cassini space missions, the Infrared Astronomy Satellite, the Orbiting Carbon Observatory and more, has also, for thrity-six years, been a lecturer and show producer at the Mount San Antonio College planetariu,  Finally, he is a part-time operator of the massive 60" and 100" telescopes at the Mount Wilson Observatory.

Attendance to this event is limited to the first 250 people who register for the event here.  The program will end about Midnight and will be held at the Rolling M Ranch, which is accessible from 4721 Sapphire Road in Chino Hills and then, after paying the $5 park use fee at the entrance, driving along the Upper Bane Canyon Road to the ranch.

The adjacent campground is also available for participants who want to enjoy the park overnight, with sites available with additional fees on a first-come, first-served basis.

For more park information, click here.

07 July 2016

Carbon Canyon Commuting Crisis Context Carefully Considered (?)

It's been a hot topic on Next Door (click here) for a few months now--what should be done about all of those frustrated, short-cut seeking afternoon and evening commuters who, instead of enjoying the long wait to turn on to Carbon Canyon Road from Valencia Avenue or to continue as the road transitions from Lambert, are wending their way through the Olinda Ranch subdivision to turn left onto the state highway from Santa Fe Road, even though this is expressly prohibited by signage?

There have been a lot of ideas advanced, some sensible, others not so much, and the City of Brea has been conducting a study to determine what to do.  As reported in today's Orange County Register (click here), one suggestion is to turn the intersection of Santa Fe and Carbon Canyon into a right-turn only from Santa Fe to Carbon Canyon, using what, evidently, is called a "porkchop" island that forces vehicles into a right turn lane.  As for folks who live in the distinctly separate little "pocket" residential area further east at Brea Hills Road, there is talk of creating a very long left turn lane to allow those who live there to more easily access their part of Olinda Ranch.

Regular drivers through the canyon have certainly noticed a demonstrable uptick in volume since 2013.  As the Register piece states, more housing built in the Inland Empire, from which more and more commuters head to and from work in Orange County and Los Angeles County, means far more volume on Carbon Canyon Road as an alternative to the 91, 57, and 60 freeways.

There has been a noticeable increase in traffic on Carbon Canyon Road since 2013.  This is an example of the morning commute in May westbound at the La Vida Mineral Springs property east of Olinda Village.
Readers of this blog might recall a reference to a newspaper article in 1969 (almost a half century ago) about how congested Carbon Canyon Road was then--it was a mere pittance compared to what it is now.  Maybe in ten or twenty of thirty years, when commute times through the canyon are two hours or whatever, future residents will laugh at our complaining!

Extending this line of discussion beyond the scope of the article, however, when cities like Brea and Chino Hills continue to approve housing projects in the Carbon Canyon area, the thinking tends to gravitate towards the idea that, because more people are commuting through the canyon from points east than within the canyon, that means building more homes in the canyon becomes more justifiable.

This is not including the equally concerning issues of water supply, pollution generation, fire risk and the fact that housing developments are, in the long term, net drains on a city's finances, despite claims to the contrary.

Finally, as is usual, most of the discussion about traffic woes like those in Carbon Canyon don't look much beyond the immediate and narrowed focus on the place and the time.

In an era of accelerating climate change and a strain on resources, including, of course, water, general talk of moving ourselves away from not just the outmoded internal combustion engine using fossil fuels for power, but from the idea of single-passenger commuting is usually bypassed.

Also outdated is our overall planning method for development that, while some small examples of change have occurred, still utilized methods and philosophies that have not adequately accounted for and adjusted to the transformations that have taken place in recent years.

A little further west and a couple of minutes later on the climb up the hill towards Olinda Village.
The growing reality is that our society has to fundamentally change how we live (and drive) if we're going to make any reasonable progress towards addressing the issues that become more intractable and harder to address with each passing year.

It is totally understandable that Olinda Ranch residents and others who live in Carbon Canyon are frustrated by worsening volume on Carbon Canyon Road.  Those who have approached their city staff and electeds are to be congratulated for taking the time to try to do something.

There is, however, a larger context that local, regional and state officials seem to continue to underappreciate and under-recognize concerning applying outdated standards of development to rapidly changing circumstances.  These big-picture issues require large-scale fixes and adaptations and we're just not hearing enough about these.

30 June 2016

Carbon Canyon Historical Artifact #52: La Vida Mineral Springs Matchbook

It's a simple little artifact, but as a promotional piece it represents a part in the history of the La Vida Mineral Springs resort on the Brea side of Carbon Canyon.

This matchbook appears to date from the 1950s, based on the font used in the printing and the exchange phone number of LAkeview 8-2828 (Lakeview probably connected to that area of Placentia/Yorba Linda where the exchange tied in to Carbon Canyon.)

The motto "Always a Friendly Welcome" heads the main flap, followed by the resort name and the listing of the hotel, cottages (these once lined the western part of the site along the edge of Carbon Creek) and the cafe.

The back of the book notes that "For General Health / TRY OUR NATURAL HOT SODA MINERAL BATHS" including the opportunities for massages and, yes, colonics.

The striking (sorry, couldn't help it) dark blue background with silver lettering certainly stands out.  Notably, this book was never used being a production item that remained unfolded and didn't have matches attached to it.  Perhaps it was a sample by the manufacturer, Monarch Match of San Jose?

25 June 2016

The Battle of Chino as told by José del Carmen Lugo

One of the sons of Antonio María Lugo, the original grantee of Rancho Santa Ana del Chino in 1841, José del Carmen Lugo was a co-owner of the Rancho San Bernardino, where the present county seat is located.  José del Carmen was born in Los Angeles in 1813 and was raised there, remaining in the pueblo until about 1839 when he moved to San Bernardino.

José del Carmen, in fall 1877, conducted an interview with Thomas Savage, who with a few others, traveled throughout California on behalf of historian Hubert Howe Bancroft, collecting material from Spanish-speaking Californios and Americans and Europeans with the express purpose of recording the history of California before and up through the American conquest of 1846-47.  Many of these interviews, which were recast in narrative form by Bancroft's associates, were published.  Lugo's was not, however, until the San Bernardino County Museum Association reprinted it in 1961.

Rancho San Bernardino was formally transferred on 21 June 1842 by Governor Juan Bautista Alvarado to his granduncle, Antonio María Lugo, who acquired the 35,000-acre property for his three sons, José María, Vicente and José del Carmen, and for his nephew, Diego Sepulveda.  All built or remodeled adobe houses on the property--José del María in what is now Redlands, Vicente in today's San Bernardino, and Sepulveda in Yucaipa, where his home still stands as a state historic landmark.

As for José del Carmen, he took possession of structures built by the Mission San Gabriel as its furthest eastern outpost, or estancia, for cattle grazing, but which had been abandoned when the missions were secularized in the mid-1830s.  Remodeling the buildings, he established his home at what has been erroneously called the "Asistencia".   A 1930s re-creation of the property was built about a mile from the originals and is located in Redlands.

In 1846, when American forces invaded and seized Los Angeles, a garrison of troops were left behind and its young commander, Archibald Gillespie, imposed curfews, ordered arrests and otherwise alienated many Spanish-speaking Californios, though, notably, José del Carmen indicated that Gillespie "was a good friend of my father."

In any case, a revolt was instigated by Californios chafing at Gillespie's ham-fisted control and, though Lugo stated that "in truth, thee were only a few youths, practically unarmed", the word of the uprising was brought to him at San Bernardino.  Similarly, Benjamin D. Wilson, a prominent American who came to Los Angeles in late 1841 with a group often known as the Rowland-Workman Expedition, was summoned from the San Bernardino Mountains, where he was on a trip, to assist in the defense of the newly-conquered area.

Lugo recalled that Wilson sent a messenger to "advise me to enlist what force I could, because he was coming to my home to take me prisoner," which came as a surprise, Lugo said, because"I had done no harm to anyone, directly or indirectly."  He also said that one of his brothers told him "he was uneasy over the threat Señor Wilson had made toward me."  In his reply to Wilson, Lugo stated "it would be best for him to come alone to take me and not compromise others" and that he would not be "calling anyone to my assistance."

Wilson replied that he and others were on their way to Lugo's house, to which Lugo began gathering some twenty one men and weaponry to meet Wilson at his ranch at Jurupa near modern Riverside.  When arriving, however, Lugo found that Wilson had gone to the home of Isaac Williams at Chino, this being on what is now the grounds of Boys Republic here in Chino Hills, and he followed.

A scouting party of sorts sent ahead and approaching the Williams home at Chino met a man named Evan Callahan, who tried to fire upon them, but his pistol jammed, and Diego Sepulveda, Lugo's cousin and owner of the Yucaipa adobe mentioned above, knocked Callahan down with a blow to the head, but the American managed to make it to the house.  Two Latinos with Callahan were seized and both swore to assist Lugo.

Lugo then said that "an officer came to me ordering me to the Commanding General, Don José María Flores, in Los Angeles to join him with the force I had."  With this, Lugo sent a request to Flores for aid, being told that Wilson was joined by some fifty men at the Chino adobe, though he and his men surrounded the house and were positioned "on the road to Los Angeles," which was almost certainly what is now the 71 Freeway now runs north to south just east of Boys Republic.

When one of his young sons went to retrieve a hat blown towards the house by a strong wind, gunfire erupted, but Lugo stated that he waited overnight for help from Flores, which came in the form of thirty men led by Serbulo Varela and Ramon Carrillo.   A mixup over how to deal with a messenger who hurried from the house led to a movement of Lugo's men towards the structure, which had some kind of moat around it.  As a group of men attempted to breach the moat, one, Carlos Ballesteros, fell from his hourse and, upon climbing back on his horse, "was struck in the right temple by a bullet and fell dead."

At this, as some of his men gathered some grass in the area, Lugo "ordered the grass thrown on the roof of the house and set on fire."  Notably, his men went to "an Indian village near at hand, and they had a fire outside it."  He went on to say that
I went at full speed amid the bullets that were coming from all directions.  I rode hugging the sides of the hourse and crouching low to keep a bullet from hitting me.  During this onrush of the horse, stretched alongside as I was, I reached down and seized a blazing stick with which I returned at full speed to the house.  I set fire to a corner of it and ordered that the same be done to the others.  I then went at full gallop to make the circuit of the house and enter it by the main door.
While this was transpiring, Lugo reported that he heard the cries of three of his nieces and nephews, children of his deceased sister and Williams, crying for him, so he had his men rescue them and two female servants.  Diego Sepulveda entered the home from a back entranc and the Americans and Europeans surrendered, including Williams, Wilson, John Rowland of Rancho La Puente, and many others.

Lugo stated that he had his men extinguish the flames, searched the home and found some men hiding, and then had the three children delivered over to Williams, telling his brother-in-law, "he should thanks me for saving his children, but neither he nor they gave any sign of thanks afterward."
Interestingly, while the boy died shortly after, "the girls are still living and care nothing about their uncle."  These were Francisca, who later married Robert Carlisle and owned Chino, and Merced, who was the wife of John Rains and owned Rancho Cucamonga.  Carlisle and Rains were Southerners who had grisly ends, as has been discussed here before.

After the fire was put out and the home's contents, which had been removed, returned, Lugo started for Los Angeles, but stopped at La Puente to allow the prisoners to rest at the adobe home of William Workman, which still stands at the Workman and Temple Family Homestead Museum in the City of Industry.   There Lugo was loaned a horse by Workman, who said "that Ramon Carrillo and Serbulo Varela were not willing that John Rowland should be permitted to talk there with his wife."  So,
Don Julian and I betook ourselves to where the prisoners were and called Mr. Rowland out so that he could talk with his wife.  He conversed as long as he wished, and we then continued the journey to Los Angeles.
At a place called Paredon Blanco (White Bluffs), where Flores maintained a camp--this now the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles, where the bluffs overlook the Los Angeles River.  Lugo stated that "in the affair at Chino we took forty or fifty prisoners and a great many firearms with ammunition."

Later, after providing services to Flores in Indian areas from Temecula to San Diego, Lugo stated that he was ordered to "take charge of the foreign prisoners who had been left under guard and take them to the Rancho Chino, guarding them until further orders,"  These included Williams, Rowland and a few others, though, apparently, not Wilson.  Lugo then said that "my father, shortly afterward, asumed responsibility for a part of them and these were given their liberty on their word of honor to engage in no acts unfavorable to the country while the war was in progress."

Lugo then observed that "I continued in charge of the prisoners until January 8, 1847, when I was ordered to set them free and remain there with all the men of the country I could enlist, since Flores and his forces would come to Chino within a few days."  Lugo then had about forty men under his command.  According to Wilson, Workman and Ygnacio Palomares of Rancho San José, now the Pomona area, secured the freedom of the prisoners.  The following day, an American force, which had marched from San Diego, engaged the Californios in a battle along the San Gabriel River and, taking the field, went into Los Angeles.

When Flores, who had retreated east to Rancho Cucamonga and then headed to Chino on his way to Mexico, suggested Lugo join him, this was rejected.  Lugo disbanded his small force as the war was essentially over.  He assisted John C. Fremont, who commanded a volunteer force of Americans and then assumed a contested role as military governor in California, by recovering some of the horses left behind by Flores in his hurried flight.  In 1849, Lugo served as the alcalde (basically, mayor) of Los Angeles, as well as justice of the peace.

Two years later, Rancho San Bernardino was sold to Mormon colonists sent by Brigham Young to establish a community in the region.  The Mormons came very near to buying the Rancho Santa Ana del Chino from Isaac Williams, but a deal fell through, and the Lugos and Diego Sepulveda were able to complete a sale.

As to Lugo, he ended his 1877 interview by stating "up to the year 1853 I was in good circumstances . . . [but] I had the misfortune to loan my signature as bondsman for other persons in whom I had confidence . . . and I had to sacrifice my property and even the house in which I lived to meet these obligations."  His days as a prosperous member of Californio society were over.

Although some sources list his death as 1868, 1870, or after 1880, Lugo was still residing in Los Angeles in the 1880 census and his property in "Sonoratown" between the Plaza and the Elysian Hills was referred to in newspaper ads in 1882.  His wife, Rafaela Castro died in 1883, but Lugo's death date has not been established.

10 June 2016

Two Carbon Canyon Road Closures in One Day

This isn't from either of today's incidents, but was from May when this sign, frequently mangled, was partially amputated below its "right knee" when a car crashed into it at the S-curve along Carbon Canyon Road on the Chino Hills side of the canyon.
There were two separate complete closures of Carbon Canyon Road this morning, which even for the long history of serious crashes and shutdowns of the state highway is unusual.

The first incident was this morning in a familiar location for accidents on the Brea side between Olinda Village and Carbon Canyon Regional Park.  The driver and passenger in a pickup were taken to a hospital for evaluation, while the driver and passenger of a sedan were examined by paramedics on scene, but not transported to a hospital.

More on this incident can be viewed here.

Then, in the late morning, a wreck near the intersection of Carbon Canyon Road and Chino Hills Parkway took place, shutting down the highway for about fifteen minutes, until the scene was cleared and the road reopened.  There were no details about the accident on the City of Chino Hills website's Major Road Closure notification system.