13 September 2008

1925 Los Angeles Times Article on Carbon Canyon Road

Here's another Los Angeles Times article that gives some context to my earlier post of the 1926 article and the connection of Carbon Canyon Road's paving to the new Los Serranos Country Club. (The above photo was taken in early July 2008 and shows the intersection of Carbon Canyon Road and Chino Hills Parkway.)

This 15 November 1925 piece is headlined Propose Beach Short-Cut and was submitted from Redlands the previous day:

[A] Project for a cut-off from all San Bernardino county points to Orange county beaches is under way in the Chino district, where it is proposed to build approximately seven miles of pavement through the hills of Carbon Canyon extending from a point south of Chino to the Orange county line. The new route would enter Orange county at a point about a mile north of Olinda.

The highway will be financed by an improvement district that will include a large section south of Chino city. Supervisor M. P. Cheney represents the county in the preliminary plans and while the road will be of special benefit to the west end of the county it is felt that it will be of great benefit to all sections.

The route specified in the original petition signed by property owners has been shortened a mile and a tenth and the signers are now giving their consent to this change. Either macadam or asphaltic concrete will be used in the construction.

The route would shorten the distance from practically every city in San Bernardino county to the Orange county beaches, the mileage being less than by either the Santa Ana Canyon or Brea Canyon.

It is interesting to note that the project would be paid for by an "improvement district," a new and increasingly common entity in 1920s southern California, used to pay for road improvements, sewers, water connections, gas lines, paved sidewalks, and other community amenities that were uncommon, but more and more desired. In the cases of unincorporated communities (such as Sleepy Hollow and existing areas within the canyon), these districts, also known as "assessment districts" could fall under the Mattoon Act, a state legislation that had a strange and highly controversial provision: if a property owner defaulted on his/her property taxes, the other owners in that district had to assume that burden and pay off that tax! Needless to say, this didn't go over well as the real estate market declined in the late 1920s and then the Great Depression hit after 1930. Today, there are Mello-Roos assessment districts that add to property taxes to pay for road construction and other amenities, not unlike the improvement district mentioned in this article. Fortunately, there is no Mattoon Act parallel today in this deteriorating housing market!

It would also be interesting to know what the requested route was in the original petition by property owners (and who these people were) and why the final routing was shorter by a mile and 1/10. It would seem obvious that cost was a consideration in changing the path of the roadway. At a later date, the path of the road, as built in the 1920s, was again changed to the current roadway. An earlier post on "remnant landscapes" in Carbon Canyon found some of the remnants of that earlier road, so those interested in that can check that out. Incidentally, there is a remaining section of the original approach to Carbon Canyon Road from Valencia Avenue in Brea, so someday I'll get a photo of that and do a little post on that "remnant landscape"at the west end of the canyon.


canyonnative said...

Paul, My comment is not related to this article but to the critical public hearing with the Brea City Council tomorrow at 7 (9/16). It's make or break on Canyon Crest and many of us have worked long and hard to prepare fact-based Power-Point presentations to support denial of this harmful plan for development. We would appreciate any help you can give.

ann summers - canyon native

Paul said...

Hi, thanks for your reminder. I had intended to post a "be there" message sooner, but just didn't get around to it. I'll do one now, anyway, even though it's only 19 1/2 hours away!