18 April 2012

Sleepy Hollow's Hiltscher Mineral Springs Resort

Thanks to a comment and an image provided by Sleepy Hollow resident Ray Byworth after he read the post two weeks back on the 1940 federal census in the community, there is new information about a second mineral springs resort in Carbon Canyon.  The far better known La Vida Mineral Springs opened sometime in the early 1910s or so and operated for many decades, but there was another resort just over the San Bernardino County line and Mr. Byworth provided the image below, which he received from Doug Dale, the local realtor who sold him his house and who annotated the image at the top with "PICTURE OF YOUR PROPERTY."  The view comes from a ca. 1960s publication that looks like a community newsletter and shows the Hiltscher Springs property.

This photocopy of a ca. 1960 newsletter from the Carbon Canyon community of Sleepy Hollow shows a photo of the Hiltscher Mineral Springs resort, which operated in the 1930s and perhaps beyond near the southwest corner of Carbon Canyon Road and Rosemary Lane.  The image, which can be viewed in a larger format by clicking on it, was provided by community resident Ray Byworth.

As noted in an earlier post concerning a 1920s map that showed the Olinda oil field and surrounding areas, there was a J.M. Hiltscher who owned a parcel in the general area that became Sleepy Hollow.  It was speculated in that post that this was Joseph Hiltscher, who was from a Fullerton ranching and farming family.  In the 1930 census, as also covered in this blog, there was a Fred Hiltscher shown as residing in Sleepy Hollow. 

A little further research reveals that Joseph and Fred (Frederick) were brothers.  Their parents were August Hiltscher and Frederike Bockisch.  August, born in June 1843, and Frederike, born in September 1850, were from German-speaking families who had Prussian and Austrian birthplaces.  The couple married in 1868 and raised five sons: Frederick, August, Jr., Joseph, Maximilian, and John.  August was a manufacturer of fine linen tablecloths in Austria and, because he had markets in the United States, decided to come to this country.  In April 1886, the Hiltscher family sailed from Hamburg, Germany and landed in New York City within eleven days.

Almost immediately, the family came west and found property west of Fullerton along Orangethorpe Avenue at Nicolas Avenue, what is today Euclid Street.  On twenty acres, the family tried wine grapes (after all, nearby Anaheim was founded by German immigrants looking to establish a wine-making colony), but then moved to walnuts and apricots after a disease wiped out the majority of the area's vineyards.  Later, the ranch was converted to raising oranges, which became the signature crop of its namesake county.

After only five years in the area, however, August Hiltscher died at age 48 and his widow assumed management of the ranch, successfully operating it with the help of some of her sons until her death in August 1919.

Shortly after his father's death, Frederick moved to Butte County in northern California, where he worked as a cooper (who made casks, barrels, tubs, buckets, butter churns and other vessels) in the town of Bangor, southeast of Oroville.  After a couple of years there, he returned to Fullerton for another brief tenure and worked as a farmer.  By 1900, however, he and his younger brother, Maximilian, five years Frederick's junior, were living in Chino where the two were farming.  It is not entirely clear where in Chino they were and it is possible they were in Carbon Canyon.  One of their neighbors, a French Basque named John Bidart (there was a La Puente family by that name) was a shepherd, and another was Andrew Friend, a farmer, and a family named Friend has been raising cattle in the Canyon for many decades.

By 1904, though, Frederick and Maximilian had left California for Arizona, where in that year the former and three partners incorporated the White Dog and Fullerton Mining Company in Prescott, a copper mining town northwest of Phoenix (incidentally, fifteen or so miles north of Prescott is Chino Valley!)  Fred served as the company's vice-president, while Max was a director.

However, after a few years at Prescott, the two brothers lit out for the copper mining town of Faulkner, New Mexico, north of Las Cruces and near what is now called Truth or Consequences, after a popular 1950s game show of all things.  In 1910, Fred worked as a mine assayer, someone who tests ores and minerals and figures out their type and what they are worth, while his brother was a machinist in a mine.  The brothers, who never married, were in the same community a decade later and, while, Maximilian continued to work as a machinist, Fred was listed as a civil engineer, though undoubtedly connected to mining.

Sometime during the 1920s, though, Fred came back to California and settled in Sleepy Hollow, while Maximilian remained in Faulkner associated with mining and was listed as owning his own copper mine in his World War I registration form.

The image provided by Mr. Byworth clearly shows the structure, located on the south side of Carbon Canyon Road between Rosemary Lane and the San Bernardino/Orange counties line to be the "Hiltscher Springs."  The question is: which member of that family.  The Joseph guessed at earlier as the "J.M. Hiltscher" on the 1924 oil map, was actually Joseph P. Hiltscher, not that map-makers don't make mistakes.  On the other hand, the middle initial might stand for "Maximilian," except that the 1900 census shows him as "Max H. Hiltscher."  It certainly wouldn't seem that "J.M." would have been Frederick.

Another minor issue is that 1937 and 1938 articles in the Los Angeles Times about regional mineral springs stated that Hiltscher, along with Silverado (in the Santa Ana Mountains east of Orange) and La Vida, was in Orange County, though the 1940 census clearly enumerates the spa as in San Bernardino County, which the photo above also indicates.

In any case, this is a great find.  Mr. Byworth, as indicated in his comment to the 1940 census post, also unearthed the remains of six concrete and tile hot tubs on his property that were from the Hiltscher Springs resort.  If someone out there has any information on which Hiltschers were owners of the springs, how long it operated, and any other material, it would be great to hear from you.

4 comments:

Landon Boucher said...

Hello - I am a descendant of Joseph Hiltscher. He is my Great Great Grandfather. I came across your blog post while trying to do a little family history research on line. If you have any other information on the Hiltscher family, I would be forever greatful for whatever you can provide. Thank you. Landon Boucher - lboucher2000@gmail.com

prs said...

Hello Landon, there may not be much more on the family than what was posted here; if there is, however, contact will be made. Thanks for the comment.

rocker chic said...

Is anyone aware of any gambling that may have gone on in a so-called 'Carbon Canyon Club' in the 1940s? Apparently some old poker chips were identified as being from such a club. But I don't know if this is the area they are from. No address has been identified yet for the club. But it was in California somewhere, about 1947 according to the manufacturer history of the chip. May have been an illegal club. Let me know if anything comes up. I'm at rockerchic@mac.com
I used to love to visit the La Vida restaurant in the 80s and play pool and listen to rock and blues bands.

Anonymous said...

Landon, we are distantly related. My great great grandfather was August Hiltscher Jr (Joseph's brother).