08 September 2008

1926 Los Angeles Times Articles on Paving Carbon Canyon Road

In the 16 May 1926 edition of the Los Angeles Times, an interesting short article appeared titled "Paving to Give Short Club Route: Carbon Canyon Road Will Shorten Auto Distance to Los Serranos Six Miles"

Los Serranos Country Club had just opened the previous year and obviously felt that publicity about the completion of the paving of Carbon Canyon Road would not just encourage faster access for those impatient city folks from Los Angeles (in their highfalutin' Packards and Pierce Arrows and their fancy suits and short flapper dresses flaunting their city ways to the poor yokels in Brea and Chino) trying to get out to the country for a round of golf (and probably a drink or two out of the prying eyes of police looking to vainly enforce Prohibition) but to consider buying a lot and building a country retreat at the accompanying Los Serranos subdivision (which included Lake Los Serranos, now within the grounds of the mobile home park of that name.) The article states:

The grading of the new highway through Carbon Canyon from Olinda to a point six miles south of Pomona has been completed and the pouring of the cement surfacing should commence within a few days."The completion of the Carbon Canyon highway will shorten the distance from Los Angeles to the Los Serranos Country Club by more than six miles and will make it possible to make the trip by automobile in about one hour," says H. C. Davidson, president of the Los Serranos Country Club.Carbon Canyon extends from Olinda to a point about six miles south of Pomona and affords practically a direct air line from Los Angeles to the property of the Los Serranos Country Club by way of Whittier Boulevard and the coast line route. It also opens up a long stretch of highway over which there is comparatively little traffic, which will reduce the running time between the club and Los Angeles by more than half an hour.

There are several interesting points here. First, the drive from Los Angeles would have previously meant taking a route through Lincoln Heights to Valley Boulevard and then driving through the southern portion of the San Gabriel Valley and into Pomona. Drivers would then turn south on Garey Avenue, which then ran through the Chino Valley, past what was called the George Junior Republic (now Boys Republic) and to the turnoff (now blocked by the construction of the 71 Freeway) that headed west straight to Los Serranos. Instead, travelers could take Sixth Street out of downtown, cross the Los Angeles River into Boyle Heights and connect to Whittier Boulevard. The "coast line route" probably involved making the transition to what is now Imperial Highway, although that has to be researched a little (more on that in a day or two), before getting to Valencia Avenue. As stated in an earlier post about Olinda, drivers took a curving turnoff just southeast of the present intersection of Valencia and Carbon Canyon Road/Lambert Road (Lambert not then existing, as far as I know) to enter the new paved road as of the spring of 1926.

Naturally, what is laughable 80 years later is the fact that, well before freeways, the drive of some 35 or 4o miles would take one hour in "comparatively little traffic" from Los Angeles to Los Serranos. H. C. Davidson's use of the term "highway" may not concern my last point, but there is no clear understanding that I've been able to find about when Carbon Canyon Road became a state highway.

According to the cahighways.org website, the categorization of the road as a state highway was not defined until 1963 as "Route 42 [redesignated Route 90, that is, Imperial Highway, in 1972] near Brea to Route 71 near Chino" and the familiar green signs with white lettering did not appear on the road until the following year. Yet, the site also says that Carbon Canyon was given an older designation as part of the pre-state highway system, when highways were called "Legislative Route Numbers" or LRNs. In this system, which existed from 1933-1963, Carbon Canyon Road was a link between LRN 176 [later State Route 42 and then 90, that is, Imperial Highway] near Brea to LRN 77 [later State Route 71] near Chino. I would like to confirm this, but it may be possible that the creation of the official state route 142 might have been linked to the connection of Carbon Canyon Road to the Chino Men's Prison, even though the road was recently (in the last few years) redesignated so that 142 now officially ends at the 71 Freeway.

So much to write about, so little time!

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