21 September 2011

1924 Map of Olinda Oil Field and Surrounding Areas, Part 2

In the 1924 map discussed first a few days back, the focus was on oil production in the Fullerton field, but which was mainly developed in the Olinda area.  Eventually, attention will be paid to the Olinda section of the map, but there are outlying areas of interest.

The detail [click the maps for closer views] below, for instance, shows the area known as Tres Hermanos Ranch, controlled by the "three brothers," Harry Chandler, longtime publisher of the Los Angeles Times and powerful real estate mogul; William R. Rowland, son of early San Gabriel Valley rancher John Rowland (owner of half of the massive Rancho La Puente), two-time sheriff of Los Angeles County, and part-owner of the Puente Oil Company, which first began operations on Rowland's share of La Puente ranch in 1885; and William Benjamin Scott, another oil operator, whose connections to Olinda were substantial, and who also owned the historic Soto-Sanchez Adobe in Montebello.  As shown below, the trio owned section 12 and a good chunk of section 1, with the dotted lines indicating the county boundaries between Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties.  Note, too, that the lands of F. E. Lewis, creator of the Diamond Bar Ranch in the 1910s is to the west, while properties owned by the heirs of Louis Phillips at the top and top right are within the City of Pomona.  

This detail of a 1924 map of oil lands in the Fullerton district also embraces outlying areas, such as Tonner Canyon and the Tres Hermanos Ranch, shown here in sections 1 and 12 with the names of its owners, Harry Chandler, William B. Scott, and William R. Rowland, and Diamond Bar Ranch (owner: F. E. Lewis).  Courtesy: Workman and Temple Family Homestead Museum, City of Industry.

Phillips, born in Poland, migrated to America in the late 1840s and soon found his way to Gold Rush-era Los Angeles.  After ranching near the San Gabriel River, he moved to Rancho San Jose to serve as manager for the interests of the new owners of the southern half of the ranch, Tischler and Schlessinger, but quickly acquired the parcel.  After residing for about a decade in the ranch house of the original owner, Ricardo Vejar, who lost the lower San Jose to Tischler and Schlessinger during the drought years of the early 1860s, Phillips built a French Second Empire brick residence in 1875 that survives as the Phillips Mansion in Pomona.  The structure is partly restored and occasionally opened by the Historical Society of the Pomona Valley, which manages the site for the City of Pomona.  The area shown on this map is partly within the Phillips Ranch neighborhood within Pomona.

Meanwhile, another section of the map just to the east of the above example, shows the northeast extremity of the range of territory covered in the document.  As can be seen, most of the land on the San Bernardino County side of the boundary fell within the ownership of the Chino Land and Water Company.  As discussed in many postings on this blog concerning the Rancho Santa Ana del Chino, this firm was formed in 1900 after the ranch was lost by Richard Gird, owner of the ranch from 1881 and founder of the City of Chino.  Led by Edwin Marshall, the Chino Land and Water Company revamped the town, which incorporated in 1910, and rededicated itself to the management of its large acreage in Chino and what became Chino Hills.  In fact, section 7 of the map is essentially the area in and around Grand Avenue as it today's moves east from Tres Hermanos Ranch and downslope toward Chino Hills Park and back up another hill and down toward Peyton Drive.  To the south all of the sections in the detail (13, 16-17, 19-20, 23-24) were Chino Land and Water Company property.

A broader view of the above image showing portions of Rancho Santa Ana del Chino as mainly owned by the Chino Land and Water Company, but with two sections held by Valentine Peyton, a railroad president, mining executive, citrus grower and rancher, for whom Peyton Drive in Chino Hills and Peyton Road in La Verne are named.  Courtesy: Workman and Temple Family Homestead Museum, City of Industry.

But, there is an interesting area within section 8 involving land owned by the man who became the namesake of the only major arterial roadway in today's Chino Hills named for a person.  While residents of the city, of course, know Peyton Drive very well, few likely have any idea of where the name comes from.  The story is fascinating and worth a little diversion here.

Valentine Peyton was born in April 1845 near Danville, Illinois, close to the Indiana border and east of Champaign.  His mother hailed from Clinton County, Ohio, northeast of Cincinnati, and his father was born in the wonderfully-named Apple Pie Ridge, Virginia, northwest of Washington, D. C.  He was one of ten children born to Joseph Peyton and Priscilla Cass and his father was a farmer who made shoes off-season and who served as Vermillion County Sheriff.  Valentine remained in Danville until his late twenties, working first as a sewing machine store clerk and then as a merchant, achieving some wealth in his hometown before moving to Chetopa, Kansas, in the southeast part of the state west of Joplin, Missouri, where he married and had a daughter.  He had moved there, following his older brother, Isaac, who was a successful real estate agent in Danville before going to Kansas and then relocated to Saguache, Colorado, west of Pueblo in the south-central part of the state, where he was a newspaper publisher, hotel proprietor and salesman and was elected to the state legislature.  By 1880, Valentine, whose wife had died, trailed Isaac to Saguache with his child and went into the cattle dealing business.

Issac Peyton, meantime, had a nasty little issue when he experienced financial problems and was the subject of an arrest warrant that may have been connected to the monetary difficulties.  Escaping Saguache with his wife, Isaac hightailed it to St. Louis and then suddenly abandoned his wife and skipped town.  Only when Valentine wrote to the wife in his brother's stead did she learn she was being abandoned.  Issac then surfaced in Washington Territory, specifically the eastern city of Spokane.  By the mid-1880s, Isaac had gotten involved in local banks and became a major player in town, except that he had taken an alias, Colonel G. H. Morgan.  When he tried to remarry, however, he had to reveal his actual name, which was published in the paper.  His earlier wife found out, however, and brought some unwanted publicity that led to Isaac's arrest for bigamy.  The matter was eventually settled with a cash payment and a legal divorce from the first wife, while Isaac resumed his role as a leading citizen of Spokane, bulding a prominent downtown commercial building in 1898 that still stands.  In fact, his son was a prominent investment banker there and a grandson, president of the Spokane School Board for many years, died in 2010.  Astute readers of the blog will note that the current owner of the moribund, but not dead, Canyon Crest housing project in the Brea portion of Carbon Canyon, is an insurance company, Old Standard, based in Spokane.

Isaac Peyton, then, became, in fall 1890, a major investor in a gold mining venture at the LeRoi Mine in Rossland, British Columbia, Canada, north of Spokane and just over the international boundary line, but solicited his younger brother, Valentine, who had moved back to Danville and earned a good income as a wholesale grocer, to purchase a large share of the stock, totaling $25,000, in the project.  Consequently, Valentine was, for a time, president of the mining company.  In 1898, however, a British mining conglomerate made a princely offer on the LeRoi mine, which was sold for about $4 million.  As a major partner, who gradually accumulated over 71.000 shares sold for $6 each, Valentine made a substantial profit and decided to pull up stakes and leave Danville for Los Angeles.

The reason he migrated west is because of an offer that arose to buy one of the most unusual railroads in the world, the Mount Lowe Railway.  The funicular rail, operated by cable up very steep grades in the San Gabriel Mountains above Altadena near Pasadena, was the brainchild of Thaddeus Lowe, best known before as the creator of the ballooning corps for the Union Army during the Civil War.  In 1893, Lowe conceived of the Mount Lowe project and, against staggering odds in terms of geography and financing, got the line built, open and operating as part of a resort that featured hotels, dance pavilions and other elements.  After several years, however, he was no longer able to maintain control of the railroad and it went into foreclosure.  Notably, the assignee who handled the sale was Jared Sidney Torrance, a major player at Rancho Santa Ana del Chino.  Valentine Peyton had an agent work to buy the Mount Lowe Railroad in May 1899 for $190,000 and then migrated out to run the business, renamed the Pasadena and Mount Lowe Railroad.

Peyton bought a house in a fashionable upscale neighborhood near Westlake (now MacArthur) Park, with his second wife and three children, and was listed in the 1900 federal census as a railroad president.  He was given brief mention in the 1916 memoir of prominent Los Angeles merchant, Harris Newmark, who in his Sixty Years in Southern California, a major resource of the 1850s through 1910s in Los Angeles, referred to Peyton as "my agreeable neighbor and friend."  Unfortunately, the cost of running the Mount Lowe resort and railroad line was staggering and a major fire in early February 1900 took out the Echo Mountain House hotel.  Consequently, within two years of buying the business, in June 1901, Peyton sold it to Henry E. Huntington, railroad titan and founder of the museum in San Marino that bears his name.

In the meantime, it would appear that Peyton's connection to Jared S. Torrance led to his purchase of land on the Rancho Santa Ana del Chino's northwest corner, from about where the 60 and 71 freeways meet southward.  Given that he remained a resident in Los Angeles, it might be that Peyton ran cattle or sheep on his ranch, but another notable project came his way.  By 1901, Peyton had become a director of the McKinley Home for Boys, a school for delinquent youth.  Within  a few years, in early 1907, he was named Chairman of the Board of Directors of the George Junior Republic, a new facility for troubled boys that had just acquired land on the Rancho Santa Ana del Chino immediately south of Peyton's portion of the ranch.  This institution is now Boys Republic.

It is not yet known how long Peyton held onto his Chino ranch property, but, in fall 1906, he acquired 200 acres of ranch land in the town of Lordsburg, now La Verne, and expandeded the pre-existing Evergreen Ranch, which was started by Chicago manufacturer J.A. Packard, who bought 160 acres from the Soto family and started the ranch in 1884. Peyton raised oranges on the property in conjunction with his son, Robert, who had been an automobile agency owner in Los Angeles.  He continued to maintain his permanent residence in Los Angeles and made shrewd real estate deals in downtown, such as a 1909 purchase of the Los Angeles Trust Company building there.

In La Verne, Peyton became a prominent person, building the La Verne Orange Packing House, a concrete structure finished in 1910, that still stands at the southeast corner of 1st and D streets, though the building was sold within a few years to a lemon-growing cooperative.  It is now used by the Art Department of the University of La Verne.  He continued to own the Evergreen Ranch for many years and, late in life, moved out to the ranch at D Street north of Bonita Avenue.  Years later, when housing tracts replaced the orange trees a street called Peyton Road was built running east to west through the old ranch property.

Peyton's second wife died in 1925 and the aged rancher and capitalist was listed in the 1930 federal census as a resident of Evergreen Ranch on D St., but, at age 85, described as "mentally incapacitated," likely a reference to senility or dementia (what we would call Alzheimer's Disease.)  He died in 1932 and is buried at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, known mainly for its many film stars and other celebrities interred there. 

More soon about other portions of this great map.


Jim Swanek said...

How did the public lands around the Carbon Canyon area first become private? The rancho maps of both LA and OC show a big chunk of public lands. Why didn't the Southern Pacific get 1/2 of this area in the early 1870s, when they were completing the line to the north?

prs said...

Hi Jim, this is a good, interesting question. The Spanish and Mexican-era public lands began to be sold to private citizens in the early American period. I know, for example, of public lands in the Monterey Park area that were sold in the 1860s. As to Carbon Canyon, I'm not sure when the first sales were made, but well before 1900 when the oil industry brought a lot of activity to the area. As an example, the Chino Land and Water Company, owner of Rancho Santa Ana del Chino and developers of the town of Chino, acquired public land outside the rancho and even in Orange County. The Southern Pacific, incidentally, acquired easements for their lines through existing ranches and farms (and, possibly, some public land) for lines leading from LA to Anaheim and LA to modern-day Pomona--neither of which was very close to the Canyon. Hope this helps.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the interesting history of the area. I have a question. In my great-grandmnother's "memories book" she described being at "Evergreen Ranch" near Pomona and Lordsburg in April of 1890. Her book includes handwritten and dated notes from people she met there. Did Evergreen Ranch exist as a place before 1906? Dave

prs said...

Hi Dave, thanks for the visit and question. Yes, Evergreen Ranch did go back prior to 1906. Brackett's 1920 history of the Pomona Valley stated that J.A. Packard, a Chicago industrialist who made his fortune selling axle grease, bought 160 acres from the Soto family in 1884 and started the ranch, which was frequently visited because of its beautiful appearance. So, Peyton must've purchased the property in 1906, rather than created it, as I had written. That is now being changed!