30 December 2011

On the Skids in Carbon Canyon #8563

UPDATE, 31 December:  The Chino Hills Champion reports in today's edition that a stolen minivan containing stolen property and methamphetamine crashed late Monday evening in the 2000 block of Carbon Canyon Road, with the vehicle rolling over into the front yard of a home. Three La Mirada residents in their early to mid 20s then got out of the vehicle and ran, one of them stealing a bicycle, but were captured by Sheriff's Department deputies about midnight Tuesday after a perimeter was cordoned off and then searched. Obviously, Carbon Canyon is about the worst kind of location to escape on foot (or even bike), so it must have been easy pickings for deputies to capture their quarry, who were taken to the county jail in Rancho Cucamonga

This latest manifestation of motor vehicular mayhem seems to have occurred within the last week or so.

This is just beyond the summit on the S-curve on the Chino Hills side of the canyon and is the property of a long-time resident.

An eastbound driver took the curve too quickly (naturally) and crossed lanes, plowing through the chain link fence, mailbox and property owner's identification sign before plunging down the short embankment.

As a year-end bonus: another front fender is lying under some weeds on the old La Vida Mineral Springs property on the Brea side, representing another recent deposit of derelict driving debris.  Presumably, someone miscalculated the curvature of the road relative to what was on the speedometer (as if such a thing mattered anyway.)

29 December 2011

1924 Map of Olinda Oil Field and Surrounding Areas, Part Seven

In the area directly north of the Olinda Oil Field's thick concentration of oil wells on this 1924 map, are sections 4 and 5 up in the hills and into the lower part of Tonner Canyon.  Research into the several owners of these areas has yielded little information, so far, except for, naturally, Shell Oil Company, which is well enough known.  For example, nothing has been located yet on the California Crude Oil Company and the surname Packovich in the rest of section 5.  And, in section 4, the larger share assigned to "C. Sheerer" has also drawn a blank.  At least with the remainder of that latter section, something is known, although there is also some speculation to be made, too.

There are four persons, other than Sheerer, listed as owners of land within section 4.  For at least two of these, there appears to be a solid link.  These are Waddy Johnson and his father-in-law, John Ward.  Johnson, whose birth name was, indeed Waddy (often used as a nickname for Walter), was born in March 1861 at Knight's Landing, a river ferry crossing community in Yolo County, just west of Sacramento.  His father, John, was a native of North Carolina and his mother, Mary, was from Tennessee.  By 1870, the family had relocated to the Ventura area and, in the ensuing decade, John Johnson passed away.  At the time of the 1880 census, Mary Johnson, Waddy and a daughter, Clara, were living in Santa Ana, where Waddy worked as a farm hand.

Perhaps he was employed on the farm of John Ward, a native of Arkansas, who later resided and married Texas.  He and his wife Rosana had a daughter in the Lone Star State before coming to California in the late 1860s.  By 1880, the Wards settled in Tustin, living a few households from the community's namesake founder, Columbus Tustin.  The Wards established a farm at the intersection of what is now Newport Boulevard and Walnut Avenue, just east of the 55 Freeway and south of Interstate 5. 

However they may have met (you've heard the one about the guy who met the farmer's daughter), Waddy Johnson married Rosana Ward, the third Ward child, in 1887.  The couple, who had three daughters, resided for a time in the Orange area, before settling in Santa Ana, on the west side of the river, where Waddy was an apiarist, or bee-keeper, for a time.  Later, he seems to have worked for the Irvine Company, before retiring in the 1920s to a home in downtown Santa Ana.  Waddy died in Santa Ana in 1938 and his wife passed away four years later.  It would appear that Johnson and Ward went in together to acquire the property in the hills north of Olinda believing there would be the potential for oil there, though the map clearly shows that this was not the case, at least in 1924.

As to the other two men listed in the same section as Johnson and Ward, there looks to have been a possible connection geographically.  There was a John W. Rogers, born in July 1882, who lived in Santa Ana, where his father, Frank, owned a feed mill.  John later resided on Cambridge Street, west of the town of Orange, where he worked in ranching and his wife, Martha, was a nurse.  By 1930, the couple lived in Tustin, where John operated a farm.  Perhaps further research will validate whether this was the "John Rogers" listed on the map.

The case is a little stronger for Fred Kelly.  It is tempting to want to believe that this is the same Fred Kelly, for whom the athletic stadium at El Modena High School in Orange is named.  This Fred Kelly, born in 1891, was a 1911 graduate of Orange High and, while a freshman at the University of Southern California, qualified to represent the United States in track and field events at the summer Olympics of 1912 in Stockholm, Sweden, where he took the gold medal in the 110 meter hurdles.  Kelly competed in American Athletic Union (AAU) events and was a two-time hurdles champion later in the 1910s.  While working on a ranch in the Riverside County desert town of Mecca, near Palm Springs, he enlisted in the aviation corps for World War I and began a career as a pilot.  In 1930, for example, he delivered mail by airplane and lived in San Gabriel.  Whether he would have amassed the money or had the interest in buying land near Olinda before his mid-30s, when the map was issued, is not clear.

There was, however, another Fred Kelly in the area.  This one was born in May 1870, in Milford, Pennsylvania, at the eastern edge of the state near the borders with New York and New Jersey.  His mother was Jane Robinson and his father James Kelly (the two marrying in March 1869).  James Kelly, a native of Milford, was a farmer before enlisting with a state cavalry unit and serving as a first lieutenant.  He was captured by the Confederates in June 1864 and remained a prisoner of war (even escaping twice before being recaptured) until the conclusion of the war about nine months later.  He returned to farming and also served as county sheriff in his home area before taking his family west to Lawrence, Kansas in 1888.  Fred, meantime, enrolled at the University of Michigan, where he received his degree as a doctor of medicine, though he did not practice.

In 1891, James Kelly and family, including Fred, migrated to California, takling up residence in east Santa Ana, living on a farm on Walnut Street, where he raised apricots, oranges and, naturally, walnuts.  Fred, however, by 1896 found a government job as postmaster, though this was in Needles, the eastern California desert town on the Arizona border.  He continued in that position for at least twenty-five years, but obviously spent much time in Santa Ana, where he met and married Pearl Glenn, an Iowa native whose widowed mother moved to Santa Ana in the late 1890s.  After their 1899 nuptials, Fred and Pearl Kelly raised two sons, though Pearl and the boys often lived with her mother in Orange County, while Fred tended to his job in Needles.

Sometime in the 1920s, though, Fred changed professions and became an engineer for a mining company.  While there was plenty of that being done in Needles, Fred had relocated permanently to Santa Ana.  Perhaps he purchased the property near Olinda because of his experience in the mining industry?  Perhaps further research will better establish the connection of the property discussed here with Kelly, Rogers, Sheerer, Packovich and California Crude Oil. 

Notably, the land covered in this post is west of the boundary line (being Valencia Avenue, seen at left) between the Rancho Cajon de Santa Ana and public land and going up to the border between Los Angeles and Orange counties.  Some of this area is now the Olinda Alpha Landfill.  It is also worth pointing out that, just west of this, and also covered by the map is the Brea Canyon property developed by more Santa Ana residents, including Albert Otis Birch, whose strange story was covered in an early post on this blog back in 2008.

This, however, concludes the series of posts on this fascinating map.

20 December 2011

A 1924 Map of the Olinda Oil Field and Surrounding Areas, Part Six

This detail shows the heart of the Olinda Oil Field as it was in 1924.  At the upper right is the area covered in the last post, concerning parcels in and to the west of today's Olinda Village subdivision.  To the lower right and bottom of this detail, meanwhile, are sections of land held by the Olinda Land Company, the descendant of the original Olinda Ranch, founded by William Hervey Bailey in the late 1880s.  Bailey's son, William, Jr., still had a controlling interest in the land company and held some of his own area parcels, as noted in the last entry. 

While the Olinda Land Company also had some oil wells, these numbered sites marked by black dots, the big players in the Olinda field were major firms like Shell, General Petroleum, and CCMO (Chanslor-Canfield Midway Oil).  The latter, co-founded by Charles Canfield, who was a partner of Olinda's first oil producer, Edward Doheny, when the two struck oil at Los Angeles in the early 1890s, operated on land leased from the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad.  This area is now mainly within the Olinda Ranch subdivision and up Santa Fe Drive is the Olinda Oil Museum, which features the still-pumping 1896-97 well drilled by Doheny.  Other oil companies featured in this section included Fullerton and West Coast.

Speaking of the railroad, commonly called the ATSF or Santa Fe, the line coming up from the bottom left and ending in two strands at the bottom of the CCMO parcel is the spur rail line built by that company from its main line between Los Angeles and points east from a station stop in Atwood, a neighborhood in today's Placentia.  The spur was used, naturally, to haul crude oil from the Olinda field to the main railroad line for shipment, although pipelines were also added to directly carry the crude to refineries situated in and around the harbors at San Pedro and Long Beach. 

The dual lines with white space in between them, found at the bottom and bottom left of the image, are plotted roadways for subdivisions.  Those to the lower left of the place name "Olinda" and through which the railroad spur lines pass are likely for the 1880s townsite of Carlton, created out of Olinda Ranch property, but succumbing to the bust that followed the real estate boom of 1886-88.

Finally, the dashed line at the left marks the boundary between the Rancho San Juan Cajon de Santa Ana to its left (or west) and public lands to the right (or east), which latter were used by ranchers in the Spanish and Mexican eras for common grazing. 

The San Juan Cajon de Santa Ana was granted in 1837 by Governor Juan Bautista Alvarado to Juan Pacifico Ontiveros and spanned nearly 36,000 acres in present Anaheim, Brea, Fullerton and Placentia.  Ontiveros (1795-1877) was a corporal in the Mexican Army, stationed at Mission San Gabriel and was later majordomo or foreman at Mission San Juan Capistrano.  In 1853, Ontiveros sold about two-thirds of the ranch to prominent American merchant and land owner Abel Stearns and then moved to Santa Barbara County, where he had a ranch north of Buellton and south of Santa Maria.  In 1857, Ontiveros sold off some more land to a syndicate of German colonists called the Los Angeles Vineyard Society seeking to establish a winemaking community, which they named Anaheim (Ana from Santa Ana, and heim being "home" in German.)  Ontiveros' sons, Juan Nicolas and Patricio, received shares of land on the ranch, but promptly sold them to their sister's husband, August Langenberger, one of the German founders of Anaheim.  Another German, Daniel Kraemer, acquired the remainder of the ranch at the same time, in the mid-1860s, and this became the foundation of the city of Placentia.

The northern boundary of the rancho extends to Tonner Canyon Road and then to Brea Boulevard before it enters the City of Brea and on out to a short distance east of Harbor Boulevard, before moving southwestward through a small section of La Habra and then southward just to the east of Euclid Street through Fullerton and Anaheim.  At about the intersection of Euclid and Ball Road, the boundary takes a southeasterly angle, passing through the extreme southwest corner of a Disneyland parking area, slicing through the Anaheim Convention Center, and then through a corner of The Block at Orange before turning north and east, passing roughly up near State College Boulevard and the western extremity of Angel Stadium before taking in the west bank of the Santa Ana River until west of Tustin Avenue.  From there, the boundary heads north west of Tustin, which turns into Rose Avenue within Placentia and appears to form the boundary between Placentia and Yorba Linda from north of Yorba Linda Boulevard to Golden Avenue before entering Brea and bisecting Rose Drive until it follows the path of Valencia Avenue until the road turns into the Olinda Alpha Landfill.

Click here to see the September 1855 survey of the Rancho San Juan Cajon de Santa Ana, conducted for the California Land Claims case pertaining to the rancho by George Hansen, who was responsible for selecting the land that became the Anaheim colony shortly after.

More from this map soon.

18 December 2011

Carbon Canyon Historical Artifact #26

This is another 10 ounce bottle from the La Vida Mineral Springs.  It is the same type in terms of design and layout and era as the one featured last month and may be from about the same era: 1940s or perhaps not long afterward.

But, the reverse list of available flavors offered by the La Vida Bottling Company, Inc. is slightly different than the other bottle.  For example, the one shown in November offered some flavors not found here or named differently.  Such as, what is here shown as "Tropical Punch" is probably "La Vida Punch" on the other.  Or, that one had "Lime Rickey" and this one shows "Lime Soda."  Then, there was "Cheri Cola" on the first one and "Black Cherry Cola" on this.  And, there are some, like "Tom Collins Mix" or "Grapefruit" from the other that aren't found here.

Finally, this bottle has a flavor that is in a larger font size, seemingly indicating the one that was found in this bottle, and, it's a pretty cool name: "Charley's Chocolate."  Makes one wonder (maybe) who "Charley" and whether the attempt at alliteration made for a better flavor rather than just a catchier name!

16 December 2011

The La Vida Landfill, East Annex

The trash unceremoniously dumped some weeks back at the historic La Vida Mineral Springs property, where a bridge once crossed Carbon [Canyon] Creek and led to the old motel, remains, only more widespread, perhaps into the creek, and further dampened with the recent rain.

Now, a second pile of trash has appeared just a short distance east in a large open area off the south side of Carbon Canyon Road--an annex of sorts to the first.

Let's see how long both accumulations of garbage are left to beautify the Canyon . . . and how many more might appear.

15 December 2011

On the Skids in Carbon Canyon #8412

While there have been no major accidents (at least known to this blogger) since the tragic death of a bicyclist several weeks ago, there have been some recent errant driving incidents on the Chino Hills side of Carbon Canyon, including the dismembering of a stop sign at Carbon Canyon Road and Ginseng Lane, the nudging or flattening of a sign or two on the S-curve near Summit Ranch, and the entire front bumper of a yellow car left by the side of the road in the same vicinity. 

All reminders that, whether there are so-called "major" incidents or not, unsafe driving is a daily occurrence and those who drive safely should comtinue to exercise caution when driving through the Canyon, especially on weekend evenings (when, evidently, the bumper was deposited along the highway) and during the upcoming holiday season. 

As has been noted before, the most horrific accident yours truly has seen in the Canyon occurred New Year's Eve/New Year's Day, at about 1 a.m., when several cars were strewn across Carbon Canyon Road on the downslope east of Olinda Village.  There were persons lying in the road and fronzen in shock behind shattered windshields.  It's a scene that will not be forgotten and, unfortunately, will be repeated.

05 December 2011

1924 Map of Olinda Oil Field and Surrounding Areas, Part Five

Our series based on this nearly 90-year old map continues with the ownership (in 1924 or well before) of parcels in and around Olinda Village.  A large section, in fact, between there and the La Vida Mineral Springs property to the east is attributed to a "J.T. Raddick," but nothing has been discovered about this person thus far.  There are, however, three others, who owned property in the mid-1920s or earlier, who can be discussed.

One, actually, has been covered previously--this being William Hervey Bailey, Jr., the namesake son of the founder of Olinda Ranch.  Bailey, Jr. succeeded to the ownership and management of the ranch after his father's death in 1910, and his land in this section appears to have been near the Hollydale Mobile Home Estates tract and the confluence of Carbon and Soquel canyons.  His story has been amply detailed in earlier posts about the Baileys and the history of Olinda Ranch.  We will also see that Bailey, Jr. controlled other parcels on this map lying further south and west in the Olinda oil field.

To the north and west of Olinda Village, in what is today both privately-held land and portions of Chino Hills State Park, there was a notable character in the history of American oil development, John Martin Clapp.  Clapp's holdings extended to the Orange/Los Angeles counties border and, to the east, near the existing water tanks above the east side of Olinda Village, while, to the west, his land seems to have gone close to what is now the Olinda Alpha Landfill.  Given his history, there seems no question that Clapp bought his property, as did many others within the Canyon from about 1900 onward, for potential oil development, though little, if any, was found in his section.

Clapp was born in May 1835 in Mercer, Pennsylvania, in the far western part of the state, not far east of Youngstown, Ohio.  His mother was Sally Hubbard and his father, Ralph, was an iron master (an owner of an iron foundry--steel and ironworking being a primary Pennsylvania occupation for much of its history) before switching gears (!) completely and becoming a Methodist Episcopal clergyman.  The Clapps later moved to a new town established by Ralph called President, in Venango County, to the northeast of Mercer.  It was in nearby Titusville, in 1859, that the American oil industry began.

Meantime, John Clapp worked in the iron industry, perhaps taking over his father's foundry, as his occupation in the 1860 census was that of a "furnace manager."  Two years later, as the Civil War was in full swing, Clapp enlisted in the 121st Pennsylvania Infantry and was captain of its F Company.  Later in life, he was very active in veterans' affairs and was a major figure in the state's Grand Army of the Republic organization.  At the conclusion of the war, Clapp married Anna Pearson from nearby New Castle.  In the 1870 census, the young couple resided with her parents and John worked as a merchant in a flour mill.

His career in that line soon ended, however, as he moved to Tidioute, a booming oil town, in 1871 and engaged in petroleum prospecting with a brother.  Within a decade, he rose rapidly to become one of the state's oil barons and controlled tens of thousands of acres of oil-bearing lands and drilled, along with his brother and other partners, some 250 wells.  By 1881, he moved his family, including three children, to Washington, D. C., while he continued his oil business, supplemented with activities in banking, timber and real estate.  He remained a full time resident of America's capital and had a summer home at Lakewood, New York on Lake Chautauqua, not far from the Pennsylvania border, where Clapp died in October 1906 at age 71.  Interestingly, he was one of America's first major numismatics or coin collectors and his collection, left to his namesake son, was well-known and highly valued.

How Clapp came to acquire property in and around Carbon Canyon takes us back to Burdette Chandler, who was from the same area of Pennsylvania as Clapp and who entered the oil business there in 1860 at the start of the industry, discussed in the last post.  Chandler and Clapp certainly were acquaintances or friends back East and the former, it will be recalled, acquired considerable holdings within the Canyon in the later part of the 1800s, but wound up selling much of it, probably as the Boom of the 1880s petered out and Chandler needed cash.  In a 1906 Los Angeles newspaper article he wrote about the oil industry, Chandler noted that, "Victor Hall [Charles Victor Hall, another Olinda notable earlier profiled in this blog], J. M. Clapp of Pennsylvania and others also bought land.  J. M. Clapp came to my rescue when the Los Angeles business men hesitated and I sold him land at from $2.50 to $3 an acre."  Clapp appears to have owned at least a full section, or 640 acres, of land, at least by the reckoning of this map.

The other individual listed in the map as a property holder in the Olinda Village area was E. F. Gaines, who had the distinction of being one of the few, maybe the only, such landholder who actually lived in the Canyon and, also, utilized his property for something other than oil investments. 

Edward F. Gaines was a California native, born in January 1868 in Gilroy, south of San Jose, and long considered (at least, self-proclaimed) to be the garlic capital of the world.  His father, John, a native of Kentucky, was a carpenter and his mother Mary Margaret Clamp was from New York.  In the 1870s, however, the Gaines family migrated south and lived in the Wilmington area near today's Long Beach, where the family took up farming.  On Christmas Eve 1889, Edward married Frances Atwater, a native of Illinois, and the two settled in the Clearwater community of the Downey Township--now the City of Paramount--where Edward farmed, while the family grew to include three daughters, two of whom lived into adulthood.  As of 1910, the Gaines family still lived in this area, but sometime in the following decade moved out to Carbon Canyon, when Edward acquired property there.

In the 1920 and 1930 censuses, Edward and his wife Fannie lived alone on a ranch with his occupation listed as "farmer" and "dry farmer," respectively.  Oral histories of former residents of the Olinda oil fields (this covered in early posts to this blog) remembered Gaines as running cattle in the hills and it does seem unlikely that there could have been any tillable land in the Olinda Village area.  By 1947, Mrs. Gaines had passed away and nine years later, Edward died in Canyon City, an unincorporated area near Chula Vista close to San Diego.  Still to be discovered is when he sold his land, which was developed into the Olinda Village tract in the early to mid-1960s.

In the same Section 10 as the Gaines and Bailey, Jr. tracts were those of three companies: Olinda Land Company, owned by Bailey; Soquel Canyon Oil Company (previously discussed in this blog), which existed for a few years from 1900; and Continental Oil Company of Los Angeles, founded in 1899, and which was headed by William West, also president of the Carbon Canyon Oil Company, which operated on 160 acres near where Soquel and Carbon canyons meet.  Charles E. Price, owner of land near the La Vida Mineral Springs area, was a partner with West in the Carbon Canyon and Continental firms.  In 1900, Continental had 40 acres in the Olinda field, but its later history needs to be researched, especially as to whether it became part of the Continental Oil Company that is now the massive conglomerate, Conoco (get it?) Phillips.

29 November 2011

1924 Map of Olinda Oil Field and Surrounding Areas, Part Four

This post, continuing the highlighting of a 1924 map of the Olinda Oil Field and nearby locales, moves to the west and south of the area discussed in the last and takes us into the Orange County and Brea portion of Carbon Canyon.

In this case, there are four individually-listed owners of parcels ranging from the county line out to the La Vida Mineral Springs property.  As stated before, although the map is of a certain date, the reference to property owners is, in many cases, to ownership in prior years.  In other words, the persons here likely were not owners of the holdings shown as of 1924, but, instead, earlier.

Closest to the county line is land shown as owned by Annie Edwardson.  Edwardson and her husband Lars were natives of Norway, she born in March 1846 and he six years earlier, and married about 1868.  The two then migrated to the United States in 1885.  By 1900, the two were living in what later became part of the City of Placentia, but which was denoted in the census of that year and a decade later as Fullerton township.  Lars was a farmer and the couple, who had eight children with six living to adulthood, were residing with three sons and a daughter.  Today, there is an Edwardson Circle near the northeast corner of Kraemer Avenue and Bastanchury Road, where there is a townhouse complex today, which commemorates this family's ranch which was on the site.  In fact, they Edwardsons were virtually neighbors of Charles C. Wagner, who, as noted in the last post, owned a stretch of Carbon Canyon just north of Sleepy Hollow over the county line.  It could well be that Wagner and the Edwardsons purchased their Canyon property at around the same time and for similar reasons: the possibility of oil production looming after the 1897 strike of crude at Olinda.  It is hard to imagine why they and others would buy hilly, rocky Canyon land otherwise.

There were three other owners listed to the west and slightly south of Edwardson and in the general vicinity of what became the La Vida Mineral Springs.  One of these is J. S. Carver and, while there was a New York-born furniture salesman of that name who lived in Orange in the 1900 census and died in that city five years later, it is not known if this is one and the same person.  This Carver might plausibly be seen as  a local who may have saved enough money to buy a small plot of land in the Canyon for potential petroleum prospecting.

Another owner was Charles E. Price, who, as noted in an April 2010 post on this blog, was secretary of the Carbon Canyon Oil Company, a firm formed in 1900 and which owned 160 acres at the junction of Carbon and Soquel canyons near the Hollydale Mobile Home Estates in Olinda Village.  Born in Canada about 1868 and a migrant to the U. S. at age 20, Price resided in the West Adams neighborhood of Los Angeles in 1900, a few doors down from Carbon Canyon Oil Company president William West.  While Carbon Canyon eventually went out of business, Price continued to work with oil companies with West and others and lived until 1951.

Finally, there is Burdette Chandler, whose tenure in the Carbon Canyon and wider area was much earlier than the others noted so far in this series.   Chandler was born in April 1836 in Union, New York, a small town southwest of Syracuse and where his father was a merchant.  Chandler, who married in the late 1850s, went into the dry goods business and lived for a time in a small community called Pomfret, near Lake Erie about halfway between Buffalo and Erie, Pennsylvania.   Meantime, the first oil boom in the U.S. erupted in 1859 in Pennsylvania and Chandler went to Venango County, the center of all the attention and worked as an operator there.  He then migrated to Toronto, Canada by 1871 and was involved in oil speculation there before trying his hand in similar endeavors in West Virginia.

In 1877, Chandler and his wife Albertine came to Los Angeles and resided on Aliso Street near the Los Angeles River, where, in 1880, Chandler was listed in the census as a farmer.  In an article in the Los Angeles Herald from 1906, Chandler tried to take credit for introducing the oil industry to the city.  While there were attempts as early as 1865 and then during the first half of the 1870s to develop wells to the north in present-day Santa Clarita, with some small successes, it is true that Chandler was one of, if not the first, to drill a crude (!) well within the city limits of Los Angeles.  He did have some success and, by his account, "later I bought up thousands of acres of land near Whittier, Puente and Fullerton," including an instance in which, "at a sale of the old Temple estate, I bought 1200 acres of land north of Brea Canyon for $800."  This refers to the former Rancho Cañada de la Brea in Brea Canyon, which had passed to the ownership of rancher and banker, F. P. F. Temple.  The Los Angeles bank owned by Temple and his father-in-law, William Workman, half-owner of the massive Rancho La Puente in the eastern San Gabriel Valley, collapsed in 1876 and Chandler was able to buy up some considerable acreage from the ruined men's estates.

In a depressed economy that lasted for a decade or so, Chandler claimed that he "lost" 1000 acres to Standard Oil Company and sold 200 more to a man named Daniel Murphy and his Brea Cañon Oil Company in Fall 1899.  Chandler also noted that he sold other oil-rich lands, before they were developed, for small amounts, including a section of property in the Puente Hills that he got $1300 for, but stated were worth $2 million in 1906.  In another instance, Chandler sold Whittier property to a Michigan native named Simon Murphy for $11,000, which was said to be worth $1,500,000 at the time the article was written.  This area is now the Murphy Ranch areas of east Whittier.

As to the Olinda area, Chandler had acquired quite a holding, as well, but noted that "Scott and Loftus bought some land and they now [again, 1906] have an output of from 1000-2000 barrels per day."  Chandler refers here to William Loftus of the Graham-Loftus Oil Company, an early entrant at the Olinda field during the late 1890s and to William Benjamin Scott, connected to the Stewart brothers [also veterans of the Pennsylvania oil fields] who founded Union Oil Company, and whose Columbia Oil Company came into Olinda at about the same time as Loftus.  Scott was also one of the tres hermanos, along with Los Angeles Times publisher Harry Chandler [no known relation to Burdette] and former Los Angeles County Sheriff and Puente Oil Company president William R. Rowland in the ranch of that name in upper Tonner Canyon north of Carbon Canyon.  In fact, in Fall 1881, Rowland brought Chandler out to his holdings in the Puente Hills to drill an oil well.  Within four years, the two developed enough successful oil production to create the Puente Oil Company, though Chandler soon sold his interest to Los Angeles businessman William Lacy.  Puente Oil also had land and oil wells in the general Olinda and Brea Canyon area.

Chandler, who also had oil interests at Huasna in San Luis Obispo County in 1899 in conjunction with Puente Oil, was quite involved in the Los Angeles city politics and, within only a couple of years of arriving in town, secured election to the city council as a representative of the Fourth Ward,  He served three terms between 1880 and 1888, the latter being the peak of the massive real estate boom known as the "Boom of the Eighties."   After leaving the council (and overcoming a grand jury indictment on a charge of blackmail in 1889, perhaps connected to his political connections), Chandler moved to the newly-fashionable suburb of Boyle Heights.  After the death of his wife, he remarried in 1902 and remained involved in the oil industry (in 1909, he was again arrested on a charge of embezzlement brought against him by two brothers who owned an oil company of which Chandler was a director--this case was dismissed) until his death at age 76 in February 1914, a decade before the publication of this updated map.  Chandler was buried at Rosedale Cemetery west of downtown Los Angeles.

Next, we move a little further west and south towards Olinda.

28 November 2011

1924 Map of Olinda Oil Field and Surrounding Areas, Part Three

Two months later  . . . this detail shown here of this map focuses on the area in and around Sleepy Hollow, although the listing of property owners does not necessarily mean that they had possession of those parcels in 1924 and, in fact, most of the land involved had passed on to others.

This post concerns the three privately-held properties, setting aside the corporate Chino Land and Water Company and Chino Real Estate Company, which controlled lots 1 and 35 that straddled the county boundaries of Los Angeles (above the horizontal dotted line moving from center to left and to the left of the angled line moving from the number 35 and to the lower right corner) and San Bernardino and Orange, which are divided by this angled line.  Incidentally, those familiar with the religious compound, St. Joseph's Hill of Hope will know that it sits on the lot 35 property.  Lot 1, meantime, is the area south of Sleepy Hollow heading out into Soquel Canyon in both modern Brea and Chino Hills.

Unfortunately, the property probably most likely to have embraced the area that became Sleepy Hollow was listed as owned by a Charles A. Hall and nothing has been found on this individual.  As to the others, however, there are some interesting north Orange County connections.

First is Charles C. Wagner.  Wagner was born in November 1873 in Elizabeth Lake, a remote area of northern Los Angeles County west of the Palmdale/Lancaster area.  His mother was Josefina Andrada, daughter of 1859 migrants to California from Monterrey, Mexico and there is a place name there today called "Andrade Corners."  Wagner's father was Charles C. Wagner, Senior, born in Wüertemberg, Germany and who lived for many years in Grand Rapids, Michigan before migrating to California during the Gold Rush of 1849.  He may have been the Charles Wagner who briefly held half of the title to a ranch in Sonoma County known as the German Ranch and on which is the noted coastal planned community of Sea Ranch (whose chief developer died within the last few weeks.)

In any case, Charles, Sr. migrated to Los Angeles County, became a sheep rancher and had several children with Josefina Andrada, the eldest of which was Charles, Jr.  Before 1880, the Wagners relocated to what became Placentia and Charles, Sr. maintained his occupation as a sheep rancher and wool grower, owning 150 acres of land near Valencia Avenue and Yorba Linda Boulevard and grazing his animals in Brea Canyon.  Not long after the federal census of 1880 was taken, the 35-year old Charles, Sr. was carrying bricks in a wagon from the Anaheim Landing wharf in what is now Seal Beach, when he evidently feel asleep and fell off the wagon and was killed.

The widow soon married her brother-in-law, John Wagner, shortly afterward and the marriage lasted fifteen years until Josefina's death about 1898.   Meantime, the Wagner family, led by Charles, Jr. moved from sheep raising to agriculture, trying grapes before moving into walnuts and, more importantly, oranges.  In fact, in 1883, the Wagners planted the third orange grove to be developed in what later became Orange County.  Charles spearheaded these efforts and was a founder of the Placential Mutual Orange Association and the Placentia Orange Growers Exchange.  In 1899, Charles married Maud Taylor, a native of Missouri and the two had one son, Merwin, born in 1903.  With all of his success in orange and walnut growing, Charles was able to build a substantial Colonial Revival home in 1920 on the ranch.  He and his wife lived in the house until their deaths in the 1960s, after which their son owned the home for about a decade.  The building passed through a series of owners, including the Calvary Chapel religious organization, but is now the "Wagner House Wedding Center" (see here for the Web site.)  Meantime, the Wagner name also lives on with Charles Wagner Elementary School and Wagner Park, near the house and on the old family ranch.

Why Charles, Jr. acquired the land on the San Bernardino County side of Carbon Canyon is not known, though it is likely that, because the oil boom at Olinda fueled (!) speculation throughout the area, Wagner hoped an investment in the Canyon might yield success in that industry, though no oil of any significance has been found that far north and east of the Olinda field.

This was undoubtedly true for the second property owner covered in this post, Joseph Hiltscher.  That name will be familiar to those who know about Fullerton's Hiltscher Park, a great resource for horse riders and walkers as the park winds through neighborhoods between Euclid Street and Harbor Boulevard south of Bastanchury Road.

Hiltscher was born in Sternburg, Austria in February 1874 to weaver August Hiltscher and Frederika Bochisen.  When he was thirteen, the family migrated to the United States and made their way to Fullerton, where 20 acres was purchased along Orangethorpe Avenue in west Fullerton.  The ranch was planted to apricots, peaches and walnuts under the management of August Hiltscher until his death in 1891.

Meantime, Joseph and a brother went into the meat market business in Fullerton and ran a successful operation for many years.  This enabled Joseph to acquire thirty acres along Romneya Avenue in Anaheim, not far from his family's Fullerton ranch, a little below today's 91 Freeway between Harbor Boulevard and Euclid Street and on which an orange grove was developed.

While the Hiltscher name has long been known in Fullerton, not just for the bucolic park named for them, but also for political activity and a longtime family photography business that was shuttered (!) not long ago, a recent posting by Gustavo Arrellano in the Orange County Weekly's blog (see here) revealed a more controversial side to the family.  In the 1920s, when the Ku Klux Klan experienced a resurgence throughout the United States in a time of growing political conservatism, ethnic antagonism, fears of Jewish and Roman Catholic influence and other related issues, the local scene featured its own KKK revival.  For example, in 1924-25, four Klansman, without revealing so publicly, secured election to the Anaheim Board of Trustees [City Council].  A recall election in early 1925 led to the removal of the four (see here for some information on this ignoble part of OC history.)  Meanwhile, Herman Hiltscher, Joseph's brother, was a Fullerton planning commissioner (it was he who secured the naming of the park after his family) and city engineer and Arrellano's post identifies records (though noted as vague) that showed Herman to be a KKK member.

Back to Carbon Canyon  . . . it would appear that Hiltscher's land is actually just north of Sleepy Hollow, embracing oart of the area that is slated for an approved housing development off to the west of Canyon Hills Road and north of Carbon Canyon Road, just above the old Ski Villa site.  Wagner, meantime, looks to have owned only a small part of the Sleepy Hollow community at the end of Francis Drive and much of Grandview Drive at the eastern and southern extremities of the neighborhood with his holdings continuing out to about where Red Apple Lane and the top of the Mountain View Estates tract (subdivided in 1925 along and around Canon Lane south of Carbon Canyon Road) are located.

As to the bulk of Sleepy Hollow, this, evidently excepting the small segment along East Lane (ironically, at the far west end of the neighborhood) which was owned by the Chino Land and Water Company, falls within the land once owned by Charles A. Hall, of whom, as noted above, nothing has been found so far.  It is possible that the name was misslabeled and this could be Charles V. Hall, the Olinda oilman who has been profiled elsewhere in this blog.  This makes some sense, again considering the likelihood that much Carbon Canyon land acquired from the mid-1890s until the mid-1920s would almost certainly have been for speculation in the light of the oil boom at Olinda.  This, however, needs to be confirmed, if possible, by further digging.

27 November 2011

Towers of Terror Three: Tangled, Twisted, To Be Continued

A new piece in the Los Angeles Times (see here) has just been posted online (following an 18 November treatment in the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, of which see here, summarizing the latest developments (as discussed here recently) on the Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project (TRTP) project to run renewable energy power through lines strung on massive 198-foot tall towers through a portion of Chino Hills roughly along Eucalyptus Avenue on an east-west trajectory to Ontario.

Notably, the article, by Phil Willon, observes that the growing protest over the sequoia-sized [his well-chosen words] towers has been such that it has been "sending the simmering local opposition into a full boil and drawing more heat from politically attuned congressmen." 

Also of significance is the attention paid to the question of these towers being in a "fall zone" so that, outside of the 150-foot easement in which they've been placed, an earthquake could possibly send these behemoths crashing into surrounding neighborhoods.  As one Chino Hills resident, Cris Garcia, was quoted: "We live in an earthquake zone. If a disaster strikes, that thing could fall right through my house."  Some sources indicate that the fall distance is equal to the height of the tower, which, in this case, would place that distance almost fifty feet outside of the easement.

Naturally, officials with Southern California Edison claim that the towers are structurally sound and dismiss other concerns about the towers and their powerful lines creating a health hazard.

As to the California Public Utilities Commission, which approved the project in 2009, a quote was obtained from Michael Peevey, who gave a thumbs-up then, but issued the recent decision halting the project pending a 10 January deadline for Edison to submit a report looking at alternatives and then seeking to either defend their current approach or identify a feasible alternative.  Peevey told the Times that, "Everybody has an interest, and everyone's got an ax to grind.  It's a very tough job to balance all of this."  But, why did Peevey vote one way two years ago and now has seemingly moved in a different direction?

Meanwhile, yesterday's mail brought a flyer from Fullerton congressional representative Ed Royce announcing that he is hosting a "meet and greet" with him at the Summit Ranch community clubhouse next Sunday, 4 December at 1:00 p.m. 

On the reverse of the mailer is a copy of a 14 November press release from Royce's office announcing his opposition to the TRTP line through residential neighborhoods AND calling for a hearing in Congress "on the impact on neighborhood home values and the ability of homeowners and buyers to obtain loans."

The main reasons given for such a hearing before the Financial Services Committee are two-fold:  first, that power lines, even of half the voltage, "are not allowed within 900 feet of schools" and, second, that the Federal Housing Administration does not permit the residences of FHA-issued mortgage or refinance holders to be "in what FHA calls the Fall Zone below high voltage transmission lines."

On this last point, there is an apparent variation with what is found in the FHA's "Homeownership Center Reference Guide" and its "Hazards and Nuisances" section's description of "Overhead High Voltage Transmission Towers & Lines."  Specifically, this portion states that:

The appraiser must indicate whether the dwelling or related property improvements is located within the easement serving a high-voltage transmission line, radio/TV transmission tower, cell phone tower, microwave relay dish or tower, or satellite dish (radio, TV cable, etc).  If the dwelling or related property improvements is located within such an easement, the DE Underwriter must obtain a letter from the owner or operator of the tower indicating that the dwelling and its related property improvements are not located within the tower’s (engineered) fall distance in order to waive this requirement.

In other words, it would appear that the question of "fall distance" only applies if the structure is within the utility easement. 

As to the question of distance from schools, it doesn't appear clear what the proximity to schools has to do with the activities of the Financial Services Committee and the matter of home loans.  Interestingly, the California Department of Education has advisory guidelines that request a distance of at least 350 feet from schools for lines of 500-550 kilovolts, which is the capacity of the proposed line.

In any case, the Times article and, to a lesser degree, the Daily Bulletin piece, note the political nature of the involvement of representatives Royce and Miller, mainly because the two, now in separate congressional districts, will be contending against each other in next November's election in a new district, the 39th, created by voter-mandated redistricting that was recently completed in California. 

This seems to explain Miller's characteristically charged commentary in October castigating Democrats and "liberal elitists" for foisting green energy legislation a decade ago that led to the TRTP project being green-lighted (!) by the CPUC and leading to "hillsides scarred and vistas disrupted" [an interesting choice of words, indeed, from a home builder and developer]. 

Royce, meantime, used a more measured tone in his dissent, focusing on what may potentially fall within the purview of Congress and the federal government, with one exception, in which he likened the project as "equivalent to a government taking of private property," usually wording used to fight eminent domain.  Here, however, there is a matter of a private easement, albeit very close in a narrow easement, to private property in response to a government [state] mandated program.  It should also be pointed out that Royce opined, as many have done, that the route of the line should either be underground (which SCE has rejected as cost prohibitive) or through the "uninhabited Chino Hills State Park," though environmentalists and state park officials would likely call attention to the fact that the use of the term "uninhabited" by Royce would be equivalent to demeaning the park's value.

At all events, this involvement of our local representatives is all very interesting, given that these politicians, as Republicans, are usually given to calling for local control of local issues and in reducing the role of the federal government.  Yet, in this case . . .

So, it was not surprising to see that Royce's flyer was "Paid For By The Royce Campaign Committee" and that the 4 December event is advertised as a "meet and greet," a term usually reserved for campaign appearances, rather than say, a "town hall" or "community meeting."  Will we see a similar event soon from Rep. Miller?

And, regardless of the merits of the opposition, which are considerable, is the alliance of local opponents with soon-to-be battling federal representatives, when the TRTP project is one of state, not federal, jurisdiction, a question of the means justifying the ends, even if the ends are reasonable?

20 November 2011

Carbon Canyon Historical Artifact #25

Here is another vintage soda bottle from the La Vida Bottling Company made from water extracted from the firm's mineral springs resort on the Brea side of Carbon Canyon.  While other bottles posted here have either been 32 ounce or 7 ounce examples (though note at the bottom image that there were, evidently, no 7 ounce products made by the company when this bottle was produced), this one is 10 ounces.

Moreover, on the reverse panel are listings of the flavors offered by the company at the time, which would appear to be in the 1940s or 1950s.  It is possible that the flavor of this particular bottle is the first one listed, "La Vida Punch."  Funny how there is the interesting spelling of "Cheri-Cola" for a cherry-flavored soda (maybe someone associated with La Vida was named "Cheri" . . . or was French?!)  At any rate, fourteen flavors is quite a roster for a small company (even as "distinctive" as described) as this was one was.

The La Vida Bottling Company plant was located in downtown Fullerton, just off Harbor Boulevard along the railroad tracks of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad.

15 November 2011

Towers of Terror Two: Temporarily Thwarted

From the folks at Hope for the Hills comes these excerpts of a California Public Utilities Commission "Assigned Commissioner's Ruling," handed down just a few days back, on the 10th,  regarding Segment 8 of the Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project through Chino Hills in response to opposition by the City of Chino Hills and stakeholders, such as Hope for the Hills. 


Once the new transmission towers were placed in Chino Hills, The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) made recommendations to SCE that SCE modify portions of Segment 8, by installing marker balls on certain transmission line spans, installing lighting on certain transmission structures and making certain engineering refinements for Segment 8. In light of these FAA recommendations, on October 17, 2011, SCE filed a Petition for Modification (PFM) of the TRTP decision, D.09-12-044, seeking modification of the findings of fact, conclusions of law, and ordering paragraphs to account for the proposed FAA recommended changes.
Once the new transmission structures were put in place through the residential neighborhood in Chino Hills, the City found them to have a “visual, economic and societal impact . . . far more significant than what the City or the Commission envisioned at the time the CPCN was issued.”1 On October 28, 2011, the City filed a PFM to reopen the record with regard to Segment 8 of the TRTP. In light of the recent events and filings that affect Segment 8 of the TRTP, I direct SCE to prepare testimony on alternatives or solutions to the current approved route for the transmission line. SCE’s testimony should include the feasibility, cost, and timing for each alternative.
1. Alternative 4CM [City’s preferred route through the state park]
2. Alternate 5 [Partial undergrounding]
3. Other alternate routes through the City and/or State Park
4. Utilizing the existing right-of-way with shorter/more frequent towers
5. Mitigation for impact of TRTP line

Many of these alternatives were researched and developed as part of the initial application proceeding. Any alternative reviewed then, that could be considered a viable alternative today, should be presented with refreshed data. In addition, since parties have not yet responded to the recently filed PFMs, my directives here today are not intended to prejudge the PFMs, to be exhaustive, or to foreclose alternatives not yet considered. If parties suggest additional alternate routes or solutions, those may also be considered by the Commission. However, the information and data already gathered was quite extensive, so reviewing known alternatives with up-dated cost, viability, and timing data should prove sufficient.

Southern California Edison has been given until 10 January to provide testimony including the called-for "supporting data" for the alternatives listed above, as well as any potential new ones (though these are clearly not suggestive given the last sentence shown here.)

This is a strange turn of events, if for no other reason that the PUC had every opportunity to learn of the potential impacts of Segment 8 through Chino Hills (or any other impacts on the other segments of the project.) at any time between the initial filing by SCE in late June 2007 until the PUC's approval at the end of December 2009.  The 150-foot right-of-way owned by the utility and the homes impacted by the project were all there then.  Yet, the burgeoning opposition developing within Chino Hills clearly had a major political impact on the Commission (or, at least, its "assigned commissioner," Michael Peevey) and provoked this seemingly contradictory ruling.

Naturally, the City, Hope for the Hills and other opponents are thrilled by the latest news.  The question now becomes: which alternatives will SCE propose and what will be approved by the PUC?  Alternative 4--placing the lines through Chino Hills State Park (which would still have some residential housing impact, though much less than the current route) was vigorously opposed by the State Parks department and environmental groups--for understandable reasons, even as it was championed by the City.  Alternative 5, involving partial underground construction (is undergrounding a real verb?), was opposed by Edison as prohibitive from a cost and feasibility standpoint, though this alternative has gained steam among some project opponents, evidently.  Item 3 seems vague and conflicting with the above-listed alternatives.  Item 4, involving the idea of using the existing right-of-way but replacing the mammoth towers just now installed with shorter ones more closely placed, seems outright impossible for SCE to support.

Which leads to item 5:  mitigation.  This has become a common method for approving controversial projects of all types--finding a way to compensate for the impacts generated by said projects.  It would be interesting to see what SCE proposes on this, while knowing that, in all likelihood, opponents are going to reject any and all such mitigation.  Unless there is no choice, meaning that the PUC believes that mitigation is a reasonable middle ground for compromise and rules accordingly.

So, that's where matters lie for the time being and the events of 10 January will, of course, be interesting to ponder as SCE submits its testimony and supporting data to the PUC.  For now, the installed towers will remain until, someday, a new ruling is rendered.

10 November 2011

Sleepy Hollow Resident is Chino Hills Volunteer of the Quarter

Don Briney, who has lived in Sleepy Hollow since the 1950s, has been selected as the Chino Hills Volunteer for the Quarter.  Don joined the Chino Hills Citizens Patrol (COP) in 1989 after his retirment as an engineer from General Dynamics in Pomona.  Along with his wife Sue, who passed away almost fifteen years ago, Don worked in patrolling the city, assisting in checking homes of residents on vacation, working with traffic control, helping with DUI checkpoints, and other duties.  This August, Don retired from the COP program after twenty-three years and was given a service pin and a plaque that displays his Sheriff's Department badge. 

In addition to his work with COP program, Don, with his wife, was heavily involved in the city incorporation project, is a charter member of the Chino Hills Historical Society, and has been on an advisory committee for the city about needs in Sleepy Hollow.

Congratulations to Don Briney for this recognition.

02 November 2011

Fire Just Outside Carbon Canyon

A little earlier this morning, a 5-acre fire broke out in the vicinity of Valencia Avenue and Rose Drive, a bit west of Carbon Canyon and just outside Carbon Canyon Dam and the regional park.  An Orange County Register article can be found here.

I drove through the Canyon westbound at about 9:30 and the traffic signals were blinking at Olinda Village and completely out at Olinda Ranch.  CHP had Valencia Avenue closed at Lambert Road (Valencia being the continuation of State Highway 142 from Carbon Canyon Road to Imperial Highway) and there were many fire department vehicles on Valencia.  A helicopter was also starting to descend on the scene, possible to do a water drop.  It did appear that power lines were down and that may have been the cause, because of wind conditions.

There are, of course, strong Santa Ana winds blowing through the area and they are directed to the west, so there shouldn't be any issue with the fire moving the other direction towards either the regional park, Chino Hills State Park or the homes on the south face of the hills.  The area in and around the fire appears to be oil fields and, perhaps, where the Christmas tree farm is located.

26 October 2011

The La Vida Landfill

As has been noted here before, the November 2008 fires that ravaged the Brea side of Carbon Canyon had, among its myriad effects, the result of exposing the historic La Vida Mineral Springs property by burning off the dense growth of weeds, trees, and other plant materials that had hidden much of the area for years.  The old water tank, for example, largely invisible from Carbon Canyon Road, was suddenly easy to spot and became a regular target for graffiti.

Similarly, a former access road from the state highway to the old motel, which followed a bridge (now long gone) over Carbon [Canyon] Creek, has proved to be an enticing area for people (term used somewhat loosely) to dump their trash. 

Yet, this activity has not been as pronounced as it is now, demonstrated by the above photo taken this morning.  While dumping garbage in anything but trash receptacles or actual landfills is bad enough, the creek runs right along where this mound of debris has been deposited.  Not that the water is of any great quality, consisting largely of runoff anyway, but the potential of further pollution from refuse like this is not helping.

The property owner is absentee, residing in Japan, and it will have to be left to some other entity, maybe the city, to come in and remove the latest mess left here. 

19 October 2011

Carbon Canyon Resident Brush Drop-Off Day #2 This Saturday

The second installment of the brush drop-off program for residents of Carbon Canyon on the Chino Hills side only, coordinated by the Carbon Canyon Fire Safe Council and paid for by the City of Chino Hills, will take place, once again, next to Fire Station #64 and Western Hills Park on Canon Lane and Carbon Canyon Road.

The hours have been shortened to between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m., because that's when all of the activity took place at the inaugural date in September, which had an additional hour at each end.  As with last month, residents can bring their brush to the drop-off point and members of the Council will be there to assist.

Those bringing brush should bring proof of residency in the Chino Hills side of Carbon Canyon, such as a driver's license, utility bill or Carbon Canyon emergency access pass.

For further information, call (909) 902-5280, x. 409.

18 October 2011

On the Skids in Carbon Canyon #8352

The latest assault on the much-maligned (well, misaligned) sign at the middle of the S-curve along the eastbound side of Carbon Canyon Road in Chino Hills occurred sometime today.

CalTrans will, obviously, soon have our hard-earned tax dollars at work once again to repair this sign and its cousin further down the road that was unceremoniously mangled a couple of weeks or more ago.

Meantime, between these two points, new skid marks, again eastbound, tell another tale of an errant vehicle rubbing shoulders with the guardrail, despite the earnest pleas of three separate signs requesting a 20-mph passage as the curve turns right.  Alas, said vehicle did not comply . . .

12 October 2011

Circle K Opens in Carbon Kanyon

After almost a year-and-a-half of construction, the Circle K market at the corner of Carbon Canyon Road and Canyon Hills Road on the Chino Hills side of Carbon Canyon has opened, as of yesterday.  Previous entries and comments to them have expressed views pro and con and these don't need to be rehashed here necessarily, though they can be accessed in the links below.

The Circle K mini-market at the corner of Carbon Canyon Road and Canyon Hills Road in Chino Hills opened as of 11 October.
It will, of course, be interesting to see how well this mini-mart does and what effect its operations will have on the Canyon Market down the road to the west a half-mile or so in Sleepy Hollow.

Now, to see how well the Circle K does and whether the Canyon Market in Sleepy Hollow will survive the competition.
The building also has rented office space, though it is not known here if there are any tenants as of yet.  For the previous blog posts about this project from spring 2010, please see here and here.

11 October 2011

Chino Hills State Park Camp Out (and a little tangential history)

Last weekend, the Chino Hills State Park Interpretive Association, which works to assist the state parks system in developing interpretive and preservation programs for our great local park held a program about owls on Saturday night at the Rolling M Ranch complex and a Camp Out for those who wanted to stay overnight at the nearby group camp.

This blogger and his two kids signed up for the Camp Out and went out late Saturday afternoon.  After setting up camp and making a quick dinner on the camp stove, we joined the others for the walk to Rolling M for the owl program, conducted by a representative from the Starr Ranch, an Audubon Society facility in Trabuco Canyon near Rancho Santa Margarita and Coto de Caza.  The Ranch does an impressive amount of research, preservation, and education work, of which more can be learned here.  The PowerPoint illustrated program might have been a little over the heads of some of the younger children, but, overall, was quite interesting and had great photos of the types of owls encountered in this area (including quite a few out here in Sleepy Hollow.)  The presenter also told some good stories about his thirty-plus years of studying and observing owls, both in his native Connecticut and here at Starr Ranch.

Unfortunately, about 5:30 a.m., a little health issue arose with one of my kids, so we gradually packed up early and left before being able to take a hike in Bane Canyon, which was really going to be a highlight of the visit.  I've had the good fortune to be able to hike most of the park, mainly before the kids came along, and have only been in the park once or twice since the 2008 fires.  With a 9-year old dying to get out and do some hiking, this was an opportunity to get some quality time in at the park, but that will have to wait for some other time.

Meantime, this blog's numerous posts about the history of Rancho Santa Ana del Chino were supposed to include some reference to the history of land within the park that was once owned by the Chino Land and Water Company, proprietors of the ranch from the 1890s.  So, here's an opportunity to cover some of that background.  First, some research was gleaned from the February 1999 Chino Hills State Park General Plan, as well as some good content from a blog called Los Angeles Revisited, maintained by Betty Uyeda, a staff member at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

While much of the area contained within the state park appears to have been used almost exclusively for grazing cattle and sheep when the area was public land under Spanish and Mexican rule (neighboring ranchers at Santa Ana del Chino, the Yorba ranches in north Orange County, the owners of San José in present Pomona, etc., would have common grazing rights to public land set aside for that purpose), little seems to have changed until the later 1800s. 

Fenton Slaughter, who, in 1868, bought a Yorba family adobe that is now a San Bernardino County Museum historic site (see here for more on this interesting site on Pomona-Rincon Road in Chino) used the eastern part of the park for grazing his stock.  By the middle 1890s, the Chino Land and Water Company took over most of the area.  According to the Chino Hills State Park General Plan, a 1902 United States Geological Survey map showed only three structures and one wagon road through the park vicinity.  On the other hand, there were indications that a road through Telegraph Canyon, stretching from Brea for several miles to the east may have been in use from at least 1860.  Still, the use of the park site seems to have been limited and not well documented.

That is, until 1921 when the Chino Land and Water Company sold a significant amount of the state park area to Frank Pellissier.  Pellissier was born in Taix, in the Haute Alps region of France that was the homeland of many French Basques who settled such areas as East Los Angeles, La Puente, Fullerton, and Chino, among others.  In fact, Pellissier's uncle, Germain, migrated from the Basque country of France to Los Angeles in 1867, became a wool grower, and acquired land at Seventh and Olive, where he built a home and a business building and 200 acres to the west of the city.  Later, the latter was developed by his grandson, Henry de Roulet, into Pellissier Square and, in 1931, at the southeast corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Western Avenue, de Roulet completed a notable Art Deco structure called the Pellissier Building.  Today, the landmark is best known as the home of the Wiltern Theater.

As for Frank, he migrated to the United States about 1888, and became within a decade a proprietor of the Highland Union Diary in Los Angeles.  In 1900, Pellissier was in Big Pine, a town in Inyo County, where he lived with his wife Marie Valla and their four children.  Pellissier retained interests in animal grazing in that area and out in Mono County, where he tried at one time to build a railroad.  But, by 1905, he had relocated his family to Los Angeles County, specifically Rancho La Puente, where he bought a large tract from Elias J. "Lucky" Baldwin, one of the more colorful figures in California during the late 1800s and early 1900s.  Pellissier built a home on Workman Mill Road between Whittier and La Puente and gradually he and his namesake son, Frank, amassed over 3,200 acres, on which they ran 2,800 head of cattle.

For years, the Pellissiers operated their enterprise by working to sell raw milk to a Los Angeles dairy, but, in 1930, the younger Frank created the Pellissier Dairy Farms.  After his father's death in 1941, Frank, Jr. expanded and enlarged the family enterprise.  He was a co-founder of the American Dairy Association of Los Angeles, was a director of the Holstein-Friesian Association of America.  The Pellissier name received national publicity in 1952 when Time magazine ran a feature on Hazel, a record-setting milk producer, said to have routinely averaged an astounding 37 quarts of raw milk a day.

The post-World War II era, however, saw suburbanization impeding upon the Pellissier ranch at Whittier.  By 1948, the family developed some houses on their land.  Later, the California Country Club, now owned by City of Industry, was opened on the ranch.  Rio Hondo College was created in 1963 on 115 acres of Pellissier Ranch property that included the old family home, long razed.  Rose Hills Cemetery also expanded by acquiring family land and, by 1970, the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts took over a huge chunk of Pellissier land to open the Puente Hills Landfill, a facility slated to close in fall 2013.  Faced with all of these major transformations, the Pellissier Dairy shut down in 1971.  Frank L. Pellissier, meantime, died in 1969 at his home in San Marino.

As for their holdings at Chino, the Pellissiers ran cattle, built a ranch house, and kept their operation going there for almost three decades.  In 1948, however, the family sold the 1720-acre property to the Mollin Investment Company, hence the new name for the ranch, the Rolling M [cute pun!]  The Mollin Investment Company was headed by Christopher Hendra (1900-1985.)  Hendra had family roots in Cornwall, England, where his grandfather, a minister with the Primitive Methodist Church of America, was born, but the family migrated to America in the late 1840s and settled at Mineral Point, Wisconsin, southwest of the state capital in Madison, where Hendra was born.  His father, John, was a dry goods merchant in Mineral Point.

Hendra was a 1923 graduate of the University of Wisconsin and became a banker, working for a time in Chicago and marrying there.  In 1933, however, he picked up stakes and moved to California.  Hendra eventually became president of the Mollin Investment Company, based in San Marino, and had at least two major development projects of note.  One was in Searchlight, Nevada, the hometown of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, where Mollin had an early investment in mining activities.  Another was the 1940 purchase of a project that Mollin Investment called Palm Village and which is now the city of Palm Desert near Palm Springs.

From the 1948 acquisition of the Pellissier holdings until the creation of Chino Hills State Park in the early 1980s, the Rolling M was owned by Mollin Investment Company and run as a cattle ranch.  The existing corrals were expanded and modernized and the ranch house was renovated and enlarged.  The complex included seven structures, four windmills, corrals, stock ponds, water troughs, fencing and other material.

Not long after the sale of the ranch to the state parks department, Hendra, a resident of San Gabriel and Ludington, Michigan (a resort town on the shores of Lake Michigan in the northwest part of the state), died in 1985 at age 85.  He had been a president of the San Gabriel Country Club, a Mason, and director of the Cornish Choir at Huntington Park, and was still president and co-owner of Mollin Investment Company at his death.

10 October 2011

Unique Carbon Canyon Home for Sale

Back in the early days of this blog (A.D. 2008), there was some discussion about some interesting architecture within Carbon Canyon, such as geodisic homes in Sleepy Hollow and Mountain View Estates and postmodern residences in the former and in Western Hills Oaks.
Now there is a house, the Ashley Residence, for sale in Western Hills Oaks that is probably among the most interesting architectural examples in the Canyon and of which more can be seen here.  In fact, the house was featured in the magazine Architectural Record back in 1988

Architect Coy Howard is a faculty member at the Southern California Institute of Architecture and more can be learned about him here.  Notably, he is well-known for his interior design work, specifically furniture and his work has been exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Boston's Museum of Fine Arts, and the Denver Art Museum.

In many ways, this 3,000 square foot architect-designed home on a half-acre lot, much of which is usable, and which has great views is a deal at an offering of $695,000.  Modern architecture may not be to many people's taste, but this is quite a house and should sell quickly.

09 October 2011

Carbon Canyon Road Fatal Accident Update

This photo from Tuesday the 11th shows a simple floral arrangement in a pot along the embankment on the eastbound side of Carbon Canyon Road (SR-142) in Chino Hills that commemorates the death of a cyclist killed in this vicinity by a car on Satursday.  In the distance is Carriage Hills Lane.

UPDATE, 12 OCTOBER:  A roadside memorial started a day or two ago with a simple flower arrangement in a pot that seems to have identified the site of this accident as on Carbon Canyon Road between Fairway Drive/Ginseng Lane and Carriage Hills Drive.  Though the memorial is on the embankment on the shoulder of the eastbound side, it may be that the accident occurred on the westbound side, where the shoulder is very narrow and that the memorial was put where it was because of its safer location. 

By today, the memorial grew to include a couple of votive candles, a decorated cross, and a painted stone.  On the cross is the name of the bicyclist who was killed in this accident, Omar Gómez.  When I stopped there with my sons today, my younger boy noticed that the red candle, closest to the cross, had toppled from the embankment to the pavement and wanted to put it back, showing his respect for Mr. Gómez.

By today, Wednesday the 12th, the memorial had grown to include a painted stone (left, next to the flowers), two votive candles, and a decorated white cross with the name of the deceased, Omar Gómez, 27, a resident of Pomona.

UPDATE, 10 OCTOBER.  With thanks to another commenter, additional information is available about this incident:

This accident was also in the Orange County Register yesterday Oct 9th. Goverment section, news page 10.

The cyclist from Pomona was 27 years old and was struck from behind by a 23 year old unlicened driver from Anaheim. Drugs and alcohol did not appear to be factor but the driver will be charged.

Much could obviously be made of the fact that the driver was unlicensed, but whether there will be other charges related to, say, vehicular homicide or manslaughter, would be another issue.  It is possible in other words that the driver will not be charged for the accident in question, but for the fact that he or she was driving wthout a license.  Perhaps more information will be be forthcoming.

Thanks to a commenter to yesterday's post regarding the closure of Carbon Canyon Road (State Highway 142) yesterday at 11:30 a.m. due to a fatal accident.  This person spoke to a Sheriff's Deputy stationed at the west end of the shuttered section at Fairway Drive/Ginseng Lane and was told that the victim was a bicyclist who was hit by a vehicle somewhere along the S-curve between Fairway/Ginseng and Old Carbon Canyon Road.

Two issues immediately come to mind on this:  first, that stretch of the road is about as dangerous as any along the route and, second, bicycling almost anywhere on the highway is a risky endeavor.  While this may be the only cycling fatality that this blogger is aware of in seven and a half years of living in the Canyon, anyone who drives the highway regularly has had some experience in the potential hazards of sharing the road with bicycle riders. 

It needs to be stated upfront that bicyclists have every right to use the roadway and the drivers of cars, trucks and motorized vehicles need to respect that right, but there is clearly great risk for anyone riding the bikes on a two-lane road with many curves, questionable sight lines, narrow passages, small or non-existent shoulders in many areas and the propensity for people to cut curves by driving too close to the shoulder and those who drive with excessive speed.

Some might suggest that one fatal accident over several or more years is not necessarily indicative of a problem, but others might respond that all it takes is one tragedy like this to highlight the inherent risks of riding a bicycle on Carbon Canyon Road.

As a sidelight, it should be pointed out that this is, at least, the fourth accident of significance on the Chino Hills side in just the last few weeks.  A few Fridays back there was a two-car wreck at Canon Lane.  Last Monday, a red Mustang with a crushed left side was off the road at the bottom of the S-curve on the eastbound side a little west of Old Carbon Canyon Road.  Then, just a few days ago, there was a major accident at Canyon Hills Road, by the soon-to-be-opened Circle K, which required the "Jaws of Life" to literally cut a car in two to extract a person.  Now, the fatality from yesterday is added to the list.

08 October 2011

Carbon Canyon Road Closure Today!

UPDATE, 3:00 P.M.:  Carbon Canyon Road is open again as of 2:30 p.m.  Presumably, there will be information on the fatal accident in the next issue of the Chino Hills Champion.

Carbon Canyon Road (State Route 142) has been closed from the Brea/Chino Hills border on the west because of a fatal traffic accident that has occurred somewhere in the vicnity of Carriage Hills.  For those looking to go west from the Chino Hills side, the road is closed at Chino Hills Parkway and for those coming east from Brea, the closure is at the county line, although posted street signs and message boards warn of the closure from near the 57 Freeway and further east along Lambert.  According to the Chino Hills emergency hotline, the road could be closed as late as 5:00 p.m. while the investigation into the fatality continues.

As of 11:51, the Chino Hills side of Carbon Canyon only has local resident access for Carriage Hills and Summit Ranch residents, with the former using Old Carbon Canyon Road and the latter using the Feldspar Drive access.  While there was no indication as to access to other portions of the Chino Hills side of Carbon Canyon (namely, Sleepy Hollow, Mountain View Estates, Western Hills Oaks, Oak Tree Downs/Estates or Western Hills Mobile Home Estates, I was able to get to Sleepy Hollow from the Brea side and, upon driving east on the highway, found that Sheriff's deputies were blocking access only from Fairway Drive/Ginseng Lane, so access from Brea should be available to that point.

However, while the Chino Hills emergency hotline identifies the westbound closure from Chino Hills, the Brea hotline identifies the closure at the county line and DOES NOT specify resident access to the Chino Hills side up to Fairway/Ginseng.  It is suggested to keep checking the two city hotlines.

For recorded information on road conditions, the City of Chino Hills hotline is (909) 364-2828.   The City of Brea hotline is (714) 990-7732.

05 October 2011

Soquel Canyon Shenanigans

As has been noted previously here, Soquel Canyon, a place just moments from "civilization," is a world unto its own.  Aside from an odd assortment of discards, including a trailer or two, and long disused ranching corrals, watering troughs and the like, the only signs of life generally were a few head of cattle raised on leased land by a local whose family has been doing such for many, many years.

A walk down Soquel Canyon Road from the Aerojet facility on the east to Olinda Village to the west, especially with a decent flow of water in the creek, can be a great tonic to settle the mind (or, perhaps, the soul) looking to break away from the everyday and enjoy a little isolation.

Recently, however, this isolation has brought some issues.  The aforementioned lessor running cattle in Soquel, as well as throughout large section of Carbon, Canyon had noticed that there were unwelcome signs of new life down there.  Namely, a resident of the Brea side of Carbon Canyon had purchased a landlocked ten-acre parcel, cut locks above Sleepy Hollow to access his holding, and stocked it with a fifth-wheel travel trailer, ATVs, motorcycles, and guns.  Consequently, weekends became a time to party with ridin' and shootin' being some of the main sources of recreation.  In addition, the owner decided to create his own apiary (regular readers will recall that bee-raising has been conducted in areas in and near Carbon Canyon in recent years.)

The problem was, however, that these activities not only affected the cattle being run in the canyon, and posed a tremendous fire danger, but were just plain illegal, especially the shooting.  Finally, after the situation was made known to concerned community members, code enforcement personnel from the City of Chino Hills looked into the matter and communicated with the property owner, who was given to allowing friends and family to use the spread for their enjoyment.

After letters and personal contact made it clear that the use of the property violated any number of city codes, it has been reported that the property owner has removed virtually everything from the parcel, excepting a tractor and the bees.  Hopefully, the situation will continue to be better and that the owner will confine activities on the land in question to those allowed for under code.

03 October 2011

Arundoing and Other Doings

In the last couple of weeks or so, work has been ongoing between Olinda Village and the old La Vida Mineral Springs property on the Brea side of Carbon Canyon in the removal of dead biomass from the arundo donax that had long been accumulating in Carbon [Canyon] Creek, but has been subject to an intensive eradication program given unintended assistance by the devastation of the November 2008 Freeway Complex fires.

Crews from a Lake Forest habitat restoration company called Nature's Image (see here) have been busily engaged in the tough task of cutting and hauling away of plant material, as the accompanying photographs, taken last week, show.  These efforts will continue, presumably, for some time, even as new stands of arundo have arisen and will have to be treated.

Meantime, on Chino Hills State Park property alongside Carbon Canyon Road east of the new Discovery Center, work details from the Inland Empire division of the California Conservation Corps (see here for more on the local center of this organization, which has served California since 1976) are doing cleanup work with unwanted plant material.

And, in recent weeks, CalTrans has been on the Orange County portion of Carbon Canyon Road, removing dead trees from as far as near the Chino Hills border to the rehabilitated El Rodeo Stables, where the remnants of very tall, but also very dead trees, burned in the 2008 fires, were probably a risk to those driving on the highway.  CalTrans crews have also been very busy over the last week or so putting down ribbons of asphalt to seal cracks that have long been worsening on SR-142.

Finally, workers have also been quite busy along the highway working on power lines and poles, so the amount of maintenance activity recently has been quite impressive.