05 August 2008

Neighborhoods of Carbon Canyon, Part Three

I'm going to call it the "Canon Lane" neighborhood, although there is probably an official subdivision name. Maybe someone out there knows it and will share it with me? Above is a view of the homes at the top of the neighborhood taken from the north end of Canon Lane next to Western Hills Country Club.

At any rate, this community on the Chino Hills side of the Canyon, consists of several dozen homes follows the one-lane winding and steep-climbing Canon Lane, south of Carbon Canyon Road, up the hill. Much like Sleepy Hollow, only a half-mile or so to the west, this is a neighborhood that consists of quite a few, small older homes with larger, more recent additions. Some of the older residences have also been greatly expanded, especially those sitting on multiple lots. I'm going to assume that it was also subdivided with an eye for cabins and weekend homes for people fleeing Los Angeles and nearby points for a little bit of "country" thirty-five or forty miles way out.

There are a few side streets, the very appropriately named Low Lane is the first street running parallel with Carbon Canyon Road and there is Chernus Lane, Observation Lane, and a couple of others. Most homes, however, especially as you climb the hill, are off Canon. The oldest home I've been able to track is from 1920, only five years after Sleepy Hollow was subdivided. There are a couple of others from 1925, a few from the 1930s and 1940s, as well.

Not surprisingly, there are many more from the 1970s onward, when the Canyon began to be occupied by a greater percentage of full-time residents. In recent years, there have been several homes built, both at the lower and the higher elevations. At the top of Canon and off of Observation and other small roads, there are some very fine views of the canyon and the San Gabriel Mountains, including Mount San Antonio (better known as "Baldy") and its companions, Cucamonga Peak and Ontario Peak. There are a couple of houses at the very top, just above where my wife and I considered buying before we chose our home in Sleepy Hollow, that even have views into Soquel Canyon and toward Chino Hills State Park to the south.

There's even a geodisic dome house that has a cousin over in our neighborhood. The Canon Lane-area geo was up for sale a few years back and it looked like a fascinating house, with a nice interior and a great lot with lots of trees and plenty of flat, usable ground.

Sure, the streets are narrow, parking is at a premium, and it can be a pretty harrowing drive up the hill for guests unfamiliar with such terrain, but the Canon Lane neighborhood, as with Sleepy Hollow, has considerable charm. Many of the homes are shaded by majestic oaks and there are small seasonal streams that carry water in winter and spring down the hill. I would also assume that, at the top, an occasional deer, maybe even a mountain lion, can be seen.

Given that Sleepy Hollow and Canon Lane go back as far as they do, it seems to me that there ought to be some thought given to designating these areas as historic districts within the very new city of Chino Hills. I don't mean the kind of designation that would make owners of older homes feel shackled by design standards so they couldn't remodel their houses--besides, most of them have probably been significantly altered anyway.

But, the idea that these communities were created for purposes (weekend getaways) very different from their use now, because some of the homes are old, and because of their uniqueness, there seems no reason to not create a historic district designation. Many towns and cities have found it to be valuable for PR purposes and can use CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) funds from the federal government for creating signage, encouraging restoration or maintenance for those homes that do have some of the historic integrity.

In fact, I would suggest that Boys' Republic, which dates back to 1907, and Los Serranos Country Club (1925) would be other candidates for designation. Chino Hills may be a new city, but there are actually portions of it that are historic, and it could only be a benefit to recognize and commemorate that history, especially those aspects that are still, even if altered, with us.

Come to think of it, I'm going to go ahead and de facto hereby designate this area as the "Canon Lane Historic District," until I can track down, or someone supply me with, the actual name of the subdivision. While I'm at it, I have also decreed that there is also the "Sleepy Hollow Historic District." There is a historic Sleepy Hollow "gateway" sign that used to span Carbon Canyon Road that is sitting in storage at the community center there--we could use a campaign to get that sign rehabilitated and remounted (CalTrans willing). I wish it was as easy to just decree that!


Anonymous said...

First off let me start by saying that I love your website. I find my self checking it all the time. You have some great stuff about the Canyon. My parents moved out to the Canyon when I was 2, that would be in 77, I’ve lived there pretty much my entire life and I love it and miss it. My parents still live there and I’m trying to move back in. My wife and I actually came very close to buying a house in Sleepy Hollow, but for some reason that I don’t know the bank went with another offer after already excepting ours, anyway, I believe that the Canon Ln community was or is called Mountain View, I could be wrong. There are actually two dome houses in that area, a good friend of mine lives in one. Hope this helps and thanks for starting the website, now the Canyon has a voice.

Paul said...

Hello Anonymous,
Thanks for your support of the CCC and I hope it will remain of interest.

Wow, you were out here when it was a much different place and it's cool to hear that you're wanting to move back.

I will keep "Mountain View" in mind and see if I can find anything by that name. I should also ask some people who've been around here and see if they know.

Meantime, good luck on trying to come back and hope to hear from you again soon.

Anonymous said...

Very cool blog. I wish someone had something like this for Turnbull Canyon Rd. in Hacienda
Heights. It seems like you know the location of St. joseph's hill of hope. I've ben trying to find out exactly where it is. Do you know if it's still used for religious purposes? Is there any way to hike to it?

Paul said...

Hi anonymous, sorry for the delay in responding, I just haven't been checking the back posts very much. First, St. Joseph's Hill of Hope has a guard-gated entrance on the north side of Carbon Canyon Road right at the county line between Orange (Brea) and San Bernardino (Chino Hills). I know people who've hiked in the vicinity of the complex and been confronted, I'M TOLD, by vehicles with armed security. Again, I haven't experienced that personally, am only relating what others have said. The facility is still a religious one and in operation. As to Turnbull Canyon Road, I happen to know a little about that area. There was a ranch called Turnbull Ranch that included the area where the road extends from Beverly Boulevard at the northeastern edge of Whittier. I came across that in an old Whittier newspaper, but there was no mention of Turnbull's name, when he was in the area, or anything else other than that there was a "Turnbull Ranch" there. I'm pretty sure that there was a dirt road through the canyon built by William Workman, an overland emigrant of 1841, who owned some 25,000 acres on the Rancho La Puente in the Hacienda Heights/Industry/La Puente area. Old maps show that Workman had a road through the hills in that very area that led to "Anaheim Landing," a wharf in what is now the eastern edge of Long Beach and which was built and owned by Germans from Anaheim. He must have used the road to transport crops down to the wharf. Later, and I'm guessing this would be sometime around 1900-15, the road was improved. There is a postcard of it and an old Auto Club "strip map" (which is rectangular and would lay on the dashboard for reference) that was specifically for a little scenic day trip from Los Angeles to Turnbull Canyon and back on a loop. As you may know, every canyon has its myths, legends, and real-life incidents and Turnbull is full of those, running the gamut from devil worshippers, ghosts and other spirit phenomena, to good old fashioned murders. Hope this helps (and that you've come back to check for a long-delayed reply to your comment!)

David said...

Wow, I've been stuck on your blog reading almost every post. This post in particular intrigues me because I have moved here about 4 years ago from Hacienda Heights, where I grew up and very familiar to Turnbull Canyon. I am so into the history of where I live and it fascinates me to know what was here before me and knowing that there were people living here about a century. Thank you for your continuing search and oral history of Carbon Canyon.