26 February 2012

Sleepy Hollow Tract Map, 1923

This is the first of three sheets for the original 1923 tract map for Sleepy Hollow.  Copies were obtained from the San Bernardino County Archives with assistance from former county archivist and current Riverside County archivist James Hofer.  Click on this or any of the images to see them in a separate window.

The year 1923 marked the peak of a real estate development boom that swept through much of southern California over the preceding several years.  While most of this growth was in west Los Angeles, the South Bay, the western San Gabriel Valley and the eastern San Fernando Valley, there was also heightened interest in fairly closely sited vacation spots for those who might tire of the rapidly urbanizing and industrializing core of the region.  Consequently, the 1920s saw a pronounced growth in the development of such places as Avalon on Santa Catalina Island, Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear in the San Bernardino Mountains, Idyllwild in the mountains above Hemet and certain canyon communities such as those in the Santa Ana Mountains of Orange County like Santiago Canyon, or Topanga Canyon between Malibu and the San Fernando Valley, or in Carbon Canyon situated between Orange and San Bernardino counties.  In this latter, a subdivision was created called Sleepy Hollow.

This is the second of three sheets of the map.  The third, which has information about the incorporators of Sleepy Hollow, as well as the county's recording and approval of the map, will be covered in another post.

The name is best known, of course, for the famed Washington Irving tale of the early 19th-century, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," relatng the story of the unfortunate Ichabod Crane, a superstitious schoolteacher competing with another man for the love of a young lady.  After leaving a party at the damsel's residence, Crane is chased by a headless horseman, said to be the ghost of a soldier whose noggin was knocked off by a cannonball during the Revolutionary War, and a pumpkin is tossed at Crane during the pursuit.  Spooked by the scary apparition, Crane vanished from the town, leaving the object of his desire to marry his rival.  Said rival was said to have a knowing look whenever the story of Crane's encounter with the "headless horseman" was brought up.

This detail shows the west end of Sleepy Hollow, including "Carbon Cañon Road" running through the tract and the unnamed community "lanes" being Oak Way Lane at the bottom, or north, and Rosemary Lane at the top, or south.  Rosemary Lane was named for the young daughter of community founders Cleve and Elizabeth Heald Purington.

Whether or not the founders of Sleepy Hollow (who will be discussed subsequently) were fans of Irving's well-known story, their little community was established in 1923 with dozens of "cabin lots," small parcels considered best suited for cabins erected for weekend getaways and the like.  With its plenteous oak trees dotting the hills, especially on the portion south of Carbon Canyon Road, a creek that generally has water year-round and which supports sycamore trees, wild walnuts and much other plant life, and a cooler climate because of its placement in a "hollow" that sits at a lower elevation than areas nearby at either end (temperatures generally range 4 to 8 degress less in Sleepy Hollow than in Brea or Chino Hills proper), the neighborhood was created to appeal to those looking for a little escape from "civilization."

This detail shows the south side of Sleepy Hollow from Rosemary Lane circling toward Carbon Canyon Road at the bottom to Francis Lane curving to a dead end at the center to a detached section, noted as Block 4, around a curved part of Carbon Canyon Road that now is a remnant left after the road was straightened--this being at the top right.

The map was certified by the San Bernardino County clerk in October 1923 and there are many interesting details about it.  First, there were three distinct blocks established.  Block 4 only covered a few lots at the eastern end of the subdivision covering an area that is now where the apartments are on the south end of the community.  Block 5 took in dozens of lots on the south side of Carbon Canyon Road, while Block 6 embraced those parcels on the north side of the thoroughfare.

Notable in this detail is the large area denoted as "Not a part of this subdivision," much of which was later added to Sleepy Hollow.  This specifically are lots to the south of Oak Way Lane, on both sides of Carbon Canyon Road and to the north of Francis Lane.  It is unclear why this parcel was not included in the original tract, however.

Also, land on either side of Carbon Canyon Road east of Rosemary Lane was excluded from the original subdivision.  It is not known at this time why this was the case--perhaps the incorporators of Sleepy Hollow did not have the funds to buy more land or maybe the owner of that area did not want to sell.

This detail shows Oak Way Lane at the top to its terminus at the east end of the northern section of the subdivision.  Note how some areas to the south of Oak Way are not included in the tract.

In any case, the eastern ends of the community were defined by those lots that were north of Oakway Lane and south of Francis Drive before it curved to the south.  It is also important to note that none of the "upper elevations" of the farthest west area of today's Sleepy Hollow were included in the original tract.  That is, all of Hay Drive, Grandview Lane and East Lane on the south side of the neighborhood were added to the tract later, as was the case with the areas along Hillside Drive on the north side.

This detail shows the area in and around the Sleepy Hollow Community Center and the eastern intersection of Carbon Canyon Road and Rosemary Lane.  Block 6, Lot 3 to the left of the highway was the residence and tract office of community founders Cleve and Elizabeth Heald Purington.  Block 5, Lot 2 (at the center) is now the parking lot for today's community center, which is on Lot 59 to the right.  Note the reference to a 3/4" iron pipe marking a boundary line towards the top--several of these notations are on the tract map.

Another noteworthy element has to do with the small Block 4, which is shown as covered within a steeply curving portion of Carbon Canyon Road that existed then, but only partially does now.  In other words, the road was straightened to the north a little and only a small portion of the old road exists now as a dead end behind the apartments mentioned above as an access for a few houses back there.  It can easily be seen as you drive eastbound along the highway just before the apartments, which was the site of a country store and cafe for many years.

This detail shows the bottom of the map where Rosemary Lane meets Carbon Canyon Road at its western terminus.  Block 5, Lot D marks the bed of Carbon [Canyon] Creek.

Carbon [Canyon] Creek is also assigned its own lot number (D) in both blocks 5 and 6 as the creek crosses under the highway and traverses both the north and south sides of the subdivision.

Another detail shows that, with Carbon [Canyon] Creek, crossing to the north side of Carbon Canyon Road, it is denoted as Block 6, Lot D.

The map is filled with other interesting details, including descriptions of boundary markers, and there are familiar landmarks that later would be built, for which we can see their lot numbers.  These include the Canyon Market, the sole commercial enterprise in the neighborhood; the Sleepy Hollow Community Center, which for years was the site of the volunteer fire station; and the location of the house and tract office run by Cleve Purington, and after his circa 1928 death, his wife Elizabeth Heald, which was essentially across from the community center area on the north side of the highway.

In this detail, the intersection of "Carbon Cañon Road" and the as-of-yet unnamed Oak Way Lane is at the bottom left.  Just above this is Bolock 6, Lot C, which is the parcel on which sits the Canyon Market store (formerly Party House Liquor #2) as well as undeveloped land.  Note that most lots had frontage of about 40 feet.

Next year will mark 90 years since the establishment of Sleepy Hollow.  Though conceived and largely used as a place for part-time, vacation use for many years, it became, from the 1950s onward, more of an established residential community, though many of the cabins still remain from the early years of the neighborhood.  This map gives us a glimpse into its origins and established a tangible sense of place for this historic part of the modern city of Chino Hills.

Another detail showing the course of Carbon [Canyon] Creek, Block 6, Lot D, on the north side of Carbon Canyon Road.

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