29 March 2012

California Conservation Corps Crews Continue Carbon Canyon Creek Cleanup Correction

In the two-and-a-half weeks since the post about the intensive cleanup work conducted by the California Conservation Corps along Carbon [Canyon] Creek on the Brea side of the Canyon, further work has been done and more orange trash bags are sitting alongside the highway to testify to the efforts that have been ongoing.

There is a very noticeable difference in the appearance of the creek, especially on the south side of the highway as the creek goes from the old La Vida Mineral Springs property under the roadway and hugs the hillsides (recently purchased by the Orange County Transportation Authority for open space preservation and to be later added to Chino Hills State Park) as the watercourse heads toward Hollydale Mobile Home Estates in Olinda Village.

The last post also made mention of the fact that preexisting trash dumped along the road at the La Vida site was not being cleaned up, but someone spoke/wrote a little too soon.  In fact, CCC crews have taken care of this garbage, including the items left very close to the creek at the old bridge leading to the motel from Carbon Canyon Road.  This was material that had been there for many months.

So, further kudos to the Corps for the careful and comprehensive cleaning that it has been engaged on with Carbon Canyon Creek over the last several weeks.  It has truly made a difference!

26 March 2012

On the Skids in Carbon Canyon #9152 and #9228

Two more incidents of accidents on Carbon Canyon Road over the weekend.  The first, shown in the photo below, is, yet again, at the middle portion of the S-curve near Carriage Hills and Summit Ranch in Chino Hills.  Once more, those innocent signs trying to humbly perform their duties were maimed and mangled by someone heading eastbound who just could not manage the curve. 

Further down, toward the lower portion of the S-curve, piles of glass and more dented and scraped guardrails show another example of erratic errancy.

Clearly it was the rain's fault.

20 March 2012

La Vida Mineral Springs Music History: YouTube Videos!

In its later years, the La Vida Mineral Springs was a popular place for live music and a post from 2009 (see here) covers some of the history of the music scene at the resort.

One band that played at La Vida was called SMUT and several videos of mid-1980s performances of contemporary and classic rock songs by the group have been posted on YouTube.  Click here and here for two of four videos that were uploaded.  The other two can be accessed from the sidebar to the right.

It is a trip (back to the past) to watch and listen to these, seeing the rudimentary stage where the band performed, watching people listening and dancing, and observing other elements captured on these videos.  Regardless of what is thought about the quality of the music, it is fun to watch the crowd and see what little can be made out of the resort.

15 March 2012

Carbon Canyon Road Construction Update

From the City of Chino Hills comes some additional information about the Carbon Canyon Road maintenance and paving projects, which being this Monday, 19 March.  This is from the Road Closure Information listserv utilized by the city:

The City of Brea is replacing water mains, vaults, and valves along Carbon Canyon Road starting March 19th. Crews will be working between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm. When a lane closure is needed, a flagman will direct traffic around the work area. Expect delays in the project area between the County line just west of Sleepy Hollow and Brea Hills Avenue near the entrance to Carbon Canyon Regional Park. Work will be completed in May. The City of Brea asks motorists to be alert and patient during this construction period. Every effort will be made to minimize traffic interruptions for commuters.

Most important, probably, concerns the work times, which are pretty typical for high-traffic commuter routes and are obviously designed to minimize effects to users of these roadways.  Moreover, lane closures apparently will not be a constant during the course of the project. 

Note also that the project is to be completed in May (although, as noted before, City of Brea documents had mentioned four or five months) and maybe it will be done on time, though that remains to be seen.

12 March 2012

California Conservation Corps Crews Continue Carbon Canyon Creek Cleanup

Over the last couple of weeks, work crews from the California Conservation Corps, under contract with the Santa Ana Watershed Authority, which oversees a grant-funded arundo donax treatment program, have been busily working to clear dead arundo and much other material (plant and otherwise) from Carbon [Canyon] Creek.

As the photo below shows, there has been a significant amount of debris taken out of the creek and hauled away by the Corps (unfortunately this does not include trash dumped at what are now two spots along the old La Vida Mineral Springs resort property, although someone did recently remove the garbage at the deep turnout on the other side of the highway.)

These bags of plant and other material removed by California Conservation Corps crews from Carbon [Canyon] Creek represent a small fraction of what has been done by these workers over the last couple of weeks.  This is at the west end of the old La Vida Mineral Springs property on the Brea side of Carbon Canyon.

This project with the creek will be ongoing and, hopefully, funded, as efforts to eradicate the highly invasive, flammable and difficult to kill arundo continue over years.  There has already been a noticeable difference in the appearance and water flow in the creek.

Everyone involved in this project, including the CCC, SAWA, Hills for Everyone, the Carbon Canyon Fire Safe Council, the City of Brea and anyone inadvertently left off this list, deserves credit for participating in what is probably the sole bright spot to come from the November 2008 wildfires that ravaged the Orange County portion of Carbon Canyon.

10 March 2012

On the Skids in Carbon Canyon #9001

Just came through Carbon Canyon from the Orange County side and encountered an accident scene a little west of the county line on the Brea portion of Carbon Canyon Road.

An SUV pulling an old, small boat was heading westbound and crossed the opposite lane of traffic, coming to rest on the shoulder.  The boat and trailer slid underneath the vehicle and appeared to have caused some significant damage to the undercarriage.  At least one tire was shredded so it may have blown, causing the car to go out of control and crash.

While there were Brea police department officers there in response and directing traffic, one lane being closed, there did not appear to be an ambulance, so injuries may have been avoided.

A tow truck looked to be on scene, so the road may be fully opened soon.

09 March 2012

Carbon Canyon Road Major Construction Projects Coming Soon!

Electronic message boards have just gone up on the Brea portion of Carbon Canyon Road eastbound just past Valencia Avenue and westbound just past the Orange/San Bernardino counties line to notify residents and commuters of two back-to-back projects starting on 19 March and continuing well into May (or longer--see below.)

The first is the replacement of water distribution line components including deteriorated gate valves, air relief valves, blow offs, and pressure regulating valve vaults along the state highway from Carbon Canyon Regional Park to Brea water pump station #3.  Further, the project entails the installation of water main isolation valves to minimize service interruptions and enhance operations of the system and improve accessibility for maintenance.  Then, some 3,400 linear feet of 6" water mains will be removed and replaced by new mains with a 2" wider diameter from the aforementioned pump station to the San Bernardino County line.

The second project is that CalTrans is going to undertake the resurfacing of Carbon Canyon Road, which is why the City of Brea decided to put the water main project on the fast track, getting the latter completed before the former was to be done.

Initially, Brea was only looking to replace the valves and blow offs but decided to tack on the water main upgrades when the CalTrans repaving work became known.  When the project went out to public bid, there were fourteen proposals received with a wide variance in estimates ranging from about $770,000 to almost $1.4 million.  The low bid was submitted by a Pico Rivera firm that has done a number of projects in the city, including the "Financial Center" at Imperial Highway and State College Boulevard, and cleared requirements for a responsible bid. 

With the accepted bid from the contractor, the standard 15% contingency for overruns and unexpected costs, and an additional 10% cost for construction engineering, the total costs are just under $1 million.  Because the 2011-12 budget was for $600,000, staff went to the city council and received approval for the additional $390,000 to meet those construction costs.  This comes out of the city's water fund and would not, therefore, affect Brea's general fund.

Notably, although the message boards state that work will be going through mid-May, Brea staff documents gave a four to five month timeframe for the water delivery system project.  It has also not been publicly stated yet how the project will specifically impact use of Carbon Canyon Road.  The message boards stress using alternate routes, though the only other nearby east-west ones are Grand Avenue, the 60 Freeway and the 91 Freeway.  Anyone who drives these four routes knows that when one is shut down or restricted, especially during busy commute times, the impacts on the other ones can be significant.

And, this will evidently be going for several months, between the water system work and the repaving.  So, this will certainly be interesting come the 19th!

08 March 2012

Towers of Terror: This Tuesday's Twists and Turns

Below is a message that appeared on the City of Chino Hills Web site back on Tuesday, relative to the Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project and the eighth section of the project running massive 198-foot tall transmission towers on a narrow Edison right-of-way through residential areas of the city.

TRTP Alternative Dispute Resolution Mediation Suspended

Joint Statement Issued by the City of Chino Hills and Southern California Edison (SCE) - March 6th

On February 14, 2012, the City of Chino Hills (the City) and Southern California Edison Company (SCE) commenced mediation in an effort to reach a mutually agreeable resolution to the issues raised by the City’s Petition for Modification of the CPUC’s December 2009 decision authorizing the construction of the Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project. Several mediation sessions were held, and proposals advanced by both the City and SCE were thoroughly discussed. These proposals included the alternative construction and route options, and potential infrastructure improvements, described in SCE’s Initial and Supplemental Testimony filed in January and February 2012. However, the City and SCE were unable to reach agreement on a resolution which met the needs of both parties. Mediation has been suspended at this time. A Prehearing Conference before a California Public Utilities Commission Administrative Law Judge will occur on March 19, 2012. At that Prehearing Conference, the next procedural steps to address the City’s petition will be discussed.

This is hardly a surprise.  Now back to the CPUC . . .

07 March 2012

Founders of Sleepy Hollow: The Shipyard Six Syndicate

The third of three sheets from the original 1923 tract map of Sleepy Hollow, which includes certification of the map by the community's six founders, who appear to have known each other from working in the Long Beach naval shipyards during World War One and the early 1920s.  The map was provided by the San Bernardino County Archives with assistance from former county archivist and current Riverside County archivist James Hofer.

Last post highlighted the 1923 tract map that inaugurated the existence of the Carbon Canyon community of Sleepy Hollow.  While the first two pages showed the mapping of original lots in the subdivision, the third page consisted of several acknowledgements.  The first was a certification that the document represented the survey conducted in August by Los Angeles civil engineer Edward Taylor and dated 24 October.  Another was a statement by San Bernardino County's surveyor and assessor that they examined each lot and its commercial or residential value and recommended approval by the Board of Supervisors.  Then there was the county clerk's certifying that, on motion of Supervisor Cheney, the board approved the map and ordered it filed, dated 26 November.  County auditor Vincent Rose then certified that all property taxes owed on the new subdivision were paid. 

A detail of sheet three with the signatures of the six founders: Cleve and Elizabeth Heald Purington; Charles and Olga Milberg Hale; George Wanley; and Charles M. Witter.  Only the Puringtons and Wanley actually lived in Sleepy Hollow.

This left three separate statements by the subdivision's owners.  One was a certification that they were owners "and that we are the only persons whose consent is necessary to convey a clear title to said land and we hereby consent to the making of said map and subdivision and hereby dedicate to public use, all roads shown on said map within said subdivision."  Two others were specific statements by five of the owners and another by a single owner that were notarized attesting that they were the persons named on the tract map.  Why one of the six had a separate notarized statement may have been a matter of scheduling--perhaps he was not available on the same day as the others?

A detail showing the certification that the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors had approved the tract map for Sleepy Hollow, dated 26 November 1923.

In any case, who were these six people and what was their background?  Cleve Purington and his wife Elizabeth Heald, identified as the main figures in the creation of the community, have already been profiled here before, with respect to their backgrounds and history.  As to the other four, there was another couple:  Charles R. Hale and his wife Olga.

Charles Hale was born in August 1873 in Iowa, but moved at a young age to the town of Mineral, Illinois, a community about 30 or 40 miles east of the Iowa border, where his father John was a farmer.  By 1900, Hale was still in the area, living in the hamlet of Sheffield, a little east of Mineral and was working as a general store salesman.  He had recently married an Illinois native named Bertha, but it appears that during the ensuing decade his wife died, perhaps in childbirth.  By 1910, Hale had relocated to Duluth, Minnesota, on the shore of Lake Superior and was living at a YMCA facility.  Moreover, he had a new occupation: civil engineer, which might have made him useful in the later founding of Sleepy Hollow.

By 1920, Hale had moved again, coming west to California, and a possible factor could have been jobs available due to the outbreak of World War I and the military buildup that was quickly initiated.  In particular, there were many jobs to be had in the shipbuilding industry at Long Beach.  In that year's census, Hale was living in downtown Long Beach and working as a shipyard foreman.  He had also remarried, his second wife being German-born Olga Milberg.  Born in 1882, Olga migrated to the United States with her family in 1892 and lived first in Washburn, Wisconsin.  By 1910, her blacksmith father, Paul, had taken the family to Duluth and, obviously, she met Hale there and came west with him.    Even after their role in founding Sleepy Hollow, the Hales remained in Long Beach and were there in the 1930 census, where Charles managed the apartment house they lived in with her father and the tenants.

A notarized statement certifying that five of the six owners of Sleepy Hollow were acknowledging that status.

Another Sleepy Hollow founder was Charles M. Witter, who was born in December 1860 in Centre, Indiana, a village in eastern Indiana close to the Ohio border, where Witter's father Henry farmed.  The oldest of ten children, Charles remained on the family farm until his marriage in 1887 to a local woman named Eva and, by 1900, he was running his own farm adjacent to his father's place.  In 1910, Witter was still at the home place after nearly fifty years, though he was married for a second time a couple of years before, though whether he was widowed or a divorcee is not known.  Witter did have a daughter, Alta, by his first wife. 

Then, by the 1920 census, Witter came west and, like Charles and Olga Hale, he and his second wife, Cora, were residing in Long Beach and Witter was working as a carpenter, almost certainly in the shipyards.  He and his wife had two young daughters, as well, though the four-year old was shown as born in California (indicating that the Witters came to Long Beach no earlier than 1916) and the two-year old was born in Indiana (perhaps on a brief return back to the home state.)   In 1930, the Witters were still in Long Beach, though the 69-year old Charles was retired.

Another notatized statement for the sixth owner, Charles M. Witter, signifying his acknowledgement as an owner.

Finally, there was George Wanley, born in November 1879 in Hartlepool, England, a seaside community in the northeast part of the country.  Wanley, whose parents were William and Mary, had two sisters, and appears to ahve remained in his hometown until the age of 27.  In 1906, he left Britain for the United States and, in the 1910 census, was living in San Francisco in a residential hotel and working in that city's large shipbuilding industry as a ship's fitter.  That position entailed holding pieces of steel on the hull for welding and riveting.  By the time the United States had entered World War I, however, Wanley had relocated to Seattle, another major shipbuilding center, and was engaged in the same occupation.  Notably, Wanley was in Seattle at the same time as Cleve Purington and, undoubtedly, the two worked together in the yards.  When Purington relocated to southern California, Wanley may well have followed him.

In any case, Wanley married rather late in life, becoming wedded to a woman from Iowa named Grace in about 1925.  By then, he had participated in the founding of Sleepy Hollow and also had the distinction of being the only other founder, besides the Puringtons, of living in the community he helped establish.  it seems likely that Wanley was closer personally to Cleve and Elizabeth Purington than the other founders of the community.  Wanley lived in the Chino area, perhaps in Sleepy Hollow, until his death at age 71 in July 1949.

The founders of Sleepy Hollow were not wealthy people, but, then again, they were buying "country" property in a rustic undeveloped canyon out in the "boondocks."  Their creation was not intended as a full-time residential subdivision, but as a place for people to buy small "cabin lots" and build a modest vacation place to spend a weekend or several weeks in the summer.  While there were, actually, a few full-time residents early on, it was not until well after World War II and the growing urbanization of the Los Angeles Region was moving further into the hinterlands that Sleepy Hollow became less a vacation spot and more of an established residential community.  While they have been unknown to residents of the neighborhood, these six founders, Cleve and Elizabeth Purington, Charles and Olga Hale, Charles Witter and George Wanley, were the founders of Sleepy Hollow nearly ninety years ago and deserve remembrance for their project.