On 5 June 1932, under the column "Resort and Hotel Notes," there is a short piece with the subheading "New Management." The description is: Long famous for its hot soda water baths, the La Vida Mineral Springs has been taken over by new management. Every effort will be made to give the public the best possible service. Accomodations at La Vida consist of hotel rooms and completely furnished housekeeping cottages and cabins. There is an excellent cafe and a well-stocked store operated in connection with the establishent. Two bath-houses offer the guest a choice in the type of treatment taken. La Vida is located in Carbon Canyon thirty miles from Los Angeles via Telegraph Road, La Habra, Brea, and Olinda. It is worth noting that Telegraph Road, formerly the Los Angeles and Anaheim Road, was renamed simply because a telegraph line was strung along the historic route in the 1800s. It also was, from the 1920s onward, the historic Highway 101 coming from Los Angeles southward into Orange County (Interstate 5 largely paralleled the same path when it was built in the 1950s.) From there, there would be a turnoff to other roads once La Habra was reached and then drivers rode further east through Brea and Olinda.
Five months later, on 27 November 1932, under the "Resort Notes" column and the "Healing Waters" subhead came this: One of the world's finest mineral waters bursts forth from its subterranean chambers along the hillsides of Carbon Canyon, a scant thirty miles from Los Angeles. La Vida Mineral Springs are noted for the wonderful healing qualities of their natural hot soda water. The soda water as contrasted with the more common iron or sulphur waters is especially recommended in the treatment of rheumatism, stomach trouble, neuritis, sciatica and kindred ailments. There are two bath-houses at the spring with ample facilities for the various types of baths. Guests at La Vida may stay in the hotel or in adjoining cottages and cabins which are equipped for housekeeping.
There was another interesting article that year, from 17 June, that came under the "Vacationland" section with the title "Health-Giving Springs Abound in Southland: White Man's Luxurious Resorts Utilize Healing Waters Discovered by Indians." In this piece, reporter Lee Shippey wrote about the use of many mineral and hot springs by the native peoples of the area and not without utilizing some of the political incorrect (by our standards) viewpoints of the day. For example, Shippey asked "why was it that those untutored savages were taught a knowledge of healing far greater than the white man's and still copied by the white man?" Further on, he states that "winter was very hard on the Indians before the padres [Roman Catholic missionaries] rounded them up in missions and taught them how take care of themselves," as if the natives were unable to "take care of themselves" over the 10,000 or more years that they lived here before the Spanish arrived! Moreover, we learn (!), "they were anything but dietitians. They ate acorns, some roots and herbs and quantities of sundried meat." Still, in another back-handed compliment, Shippey intoned "but they had more sense then some of us who have succeeded them. They saw the gifts nature has provided and made use of them." One of these gifts was the presence of the hot and mineral springs found in the region, among many of which was La Vida, mentioned by name but without any elaboration in the article.
There were more severe floods in 1938, which prompted a major federal government effort to provide flood control throughout southern California. Plans for dams were put aside during World War II but revived again in the 1950s, leading to the completion of the Carbon Canyon Dam by the beginning of the next decade.
Although oral histories from the 1970s included recollections from longtime Olinda oil field residents that La Vida was heavily used by locals and, in the 1930s and after, by Jews from Los Angeles, another interesting tidbit was discovered. The 28 February 1939 issue of the Times pointed out that the Portland Beavers, a professional baseball team in the Pacific Coast League, was conducting its spring (pre-season) training in Amerige Park in Fullerton. This park, opened in 1917 at 300 W. Commonwealth, a few blocks west of Harbor Boulevard (then Spadra Road, after its connection to a small town now part of Pomona), began to serve as a spring training site for Pacific Coast League teams in 1935, continuing to do so for twenty years until just before the demise of the league. Not only, however, did the team train in Fullerton but it also was "traveling daily to near-by La Vida Mineral Springs 'to boil out' aching muscles."
Well, that will do it for now. At a future date, there'll be a post about the more recent history of La Vida, including some interesting uses of the site in the 1980s!