25 June 2012

Carbon Canyon Road Repaving To Start . . . Right About Now

The repaving of Carbon Canyon Road by All-American Asphalt on the Orange County side from the San Bernardino County line to the Olinda Ranch subdivision, which was supposed to have started a week ago (though some preliminary marking may have occurred), looks as if it will be starting  . . .

Well, the clock just struck 9 p.m. and CalTrans bulletins indicated that paving would take place between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m., excepting several weekends, presumably when work would be done around housing, such as in Olinda Village.

On the way home at about 8 tonight, it was observed that many trucks, light standards, signs, cones, and personnel were being readied over by Carbon Canyon Regional Park.  A pace car was moving ahead up the hill toward Olinda Village, as well.

So, look for work to being in earnest tonight and continue into at least September.

23 June 2012

Chino Hills State Park Saturday Night Programs

When taking the little jaunt yesterday in Chino Hills State Park covered last night's post, a handlettered sign was noticed at the entrance about a free program for this evening at the Rolling M Ranch park headquarters.  From the Hills for Everyone Web site, a link was found to a .pdf file (see here) listing all of the Summer programs offered at the park on Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Tonight's concerned efforts to keep the Santa Ana River Watershed, an area encompassing the origins of that river near Big Bear Lake in the San Bernardino Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, where it empties at the border of Huntington Beach and Newport Beach.  Women from the non-profit water stewardship organization, Orange County Coastkeeper (see here), and its branch entity, Inland Empire Coastkeeper (see here) dedicated to improving the water quality of the entire watershed, including creeks, flood control ditches, sewage systems, storm drains and other elements, gave a PowerPoint presentation on the system.

Much of the talk concerned the many efforts and programs these organizations are carrying out to improve water quality and mitigate the many environmental issues that massive urbanization, taking in 6 million people within the watershed, cause to the system.  Creek and beach cleanups, education programs with students, and others were discussed.  Practical and simple tips for what people can do on an everyday level to help protect the watershed were also reviewed.

Unfortunately, as the park ranger pointed out in his opening remarks and in conversation afterward, attendance at these informative and interesting Saturday evening programs has been sparse.  Tonight there were perhaps 20 or so people there, but there is room at the amphitheatre for a few times more than that.

Those who want to learn more about the natural environment and human interactions with it, as well as about the State Park's founding, history and ecology, can access the link to Hills for Everyone above and learn more.  It's a great way to spend a little QT with the family in nature, too, and, as the ranger noted, there are usually plenty of spaces in the very nicely-appointed campground, opened just a couple of years back, within a short walk of the amphitheater.

And, the connection with Carbon Canyon is that Carbon [Canyon] Creek is part of the Santa Ana Watershed, as this body of water goes to Carbon Canyon Dam at Carbon Canyon Regional Park, but also continues southward to the Santa Ana River in Anaheim.  Additionally, the Santa Ana Watershed Authority (SAWA) has been the managing entity for the removal of the invasive plant, arundo donax, which has plagued the creek for years and which is slowly being mitigated.

22 June 2012

Chino Hills State Park, Lower Aliso Canyon Trail

Having lived for seven years within a quarter mile of the entrance of Chino Hills State Park and taking the opportunity (though not as often as preferred) to explore the many wonders of this 14,000-acre treasure, preserved through the diligence and hard work of environmental stewards like Hills for Everyone, it had been far too long since YHB had hiked there.

Lower Aliso Canyon looking south from the overlook near the horse staging area at Chino Hills State Park.

Today, though, on this first day of Summer, my wife and I took the opportunity to walk the 7-mile round trip on the Lower Aliso Canyon Trail, stretching from the horse staging area near park headquarters down to the southeastern edge of the park in Corona and then back.

It had been, in fact, the first trip there since the devastation wrought by the November 2008 Triangle Complex fires, the major of which started along the 91 Freeway not far from where the Corona entry point is and then consumed almost the entirety of the park.

Naturally, evidence of the fire is everywhere, mainly in the burned trunks of trees, particularly sycamores and oaks that are prominent throughout.  Yet, there are also the indicators of regrowth, especially with those oaks old enough to have developed trunks resistant to the worst effects of the burning.

Sunlight pouring through the widespreading branches of an old and enormous oak tree along the Lower Aliso Canyon Trail.

The weather has been excellent--cool and cloudy with the proverbial "June gloom" in the mornings, giving way to clear skies, sun, and breezes the rest of the day.  While the temperature reached the mid-80s, the winds were refreshing enough to make the walk a pleasant and invigorating one.

It was also nice to largely escape the noises of "civilization," excepting the occasional aircraft and, approaching that southeastern limit, the constant, but muted, hum of traffic from the 91, and partake of the chirping of birds, the swish of the wind blowing through the trees and grasses, and the occasional movement of ground squirrels and other small animals.  For the few hours out there, only three mountain bikers were seen and these at the very beginning and end of the trek.  Otherwise, the experience was that which embodies the very reason for the existence of this jewel within a heavily-urbanized setting.

And, of course, much of Chino Hills State Park sits just a short distance from Carbon Canyon, separated only by the equally peaceful Soquel Canyon.  Also on few occasions that wished for, YHB has made the steep ascents and descents needed to get from Sleepy Hollow to the State Park, but each time has been a reminder that living in Carbon Canyon has many great benefits, this access being near the top of the list.

A pool of water formed at a crossing of a creek in Lower Aliso Canyon.

Carbon Canyon has long been prized by many of those who live there as an oasis amidst a megalopolis.  Relatively large expanses of open space, green trees, hawks, the occasional deer and other aspects make it a place appreciated by those who reside there.

Yet, the recent news that a developer is preparing an application for another large housing project on the Chino Hills side of the Canyon, discussed in a recent post here, follows a litany of other projects, in process or on the horizon, involving housing, commercial development, and "improvements" like traffic signals.  All of these herald changes that, rather than enhance the unique aspects of the Canyon, actually serve to demean and denigrate them.  If most or all of what is proposed, approved, or in process come to be, this Canyon will not be recognizable for what has been generally viewed as its attractive attributes.

Instead, the Canyon will be (further) compromised.  

Another nice spot with water in a creek down in Lower Aliso Canyon.

As refreshing and reviving as the walk on the Lower Aliso Canyon Trail in Chino Hills State Park was today, it was also a reminder of the looming threats to Carbon Canyon.  This isn't NIMBYism, it is a reflection that the "back yard" just won't be a yard anymore, unless hardscape is that much more prized than the softscape that has defined the Canyon experience for most of its residents over the years.

At some point, enough is too much.  When the tipping point comes, it will be too late to look back and wonder how it got there. 

The husk of a burned-out sycamore tree from the November 2008 fires at Lower Aliso Canyon.

14 June 2012

Carbon Canyon Road Paving Starts Monday, 18 June!

As noted before, the completion of the water pipe system renovations along Carbon Canyon Road on the Brea portion of the state highway is to be quickly followed by the repaving of the thoroughfare by CalTrans.

As explained in a notice posted by the department, the $1.6 million project will be conducted on a four-mile stretch of SR-142 from Brea Hills Road (at the east end of the Olinda Ranch subdivision, where the four-lane portion of Carbon Canyon Road narrows to two lanes) to the San Bernardino County line.

Contractor All-American Asphalt will grind the existing road surface in both directions and then apply a new layer of asphalt/concrete, as well as complete other work to the highway.

Work commences next Monday, 18 June and will be occur overnight from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Monday through Friday.  In addition, there is a tentative schedule for All-American to conduct work on four consecutive weekends from 14 July to 4 August from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.  The work is expected to be completed in late September.

Even though the project will take three months and will involve regular lane closures, the fact that work will be done overnight will certainly mitigate the kind of delays found in daylight work, though the department advises that delays could last up to 30 minutes.  Those drivers who enjoy employing high speeds on the curves of the state highway will have to modify that routine on weekdays and on the aforementioned weekends, though any weekend before 14 July and after 4 August would appear to be fair game.

For any questions about this project, CalTrans District 12 can be contacted at (949) 724-2000 or at
the district Web site at www.dot.ca.gov/dist12.  The district's social media contacts are at www.facebooks.com/pages/Caltrans-District-12 and https://twitter.com/Com


13 June 2012

Earthquake Near Carbon Canyon Tonight

At 8:17 this evening, a small earthquake measuring about 4.1 on the Richter scale struck along what might be the active Whittier Fault, the source of the 5.4 temblor that struck in July 2008, at which is described as three miles depth and two miles north of Yorba Linda.

This appears to place the quake at an area within Chino Hills State Park, just south of Carbon Canyon and perhaps in or very near Soquel Canyon.

A shaker of this magnitude, described as a short, quick jolt, is a minor event, but a reminder that we are prone to activity on a regular basis.

As for the "Big One" that has long been predicted to be an 8.0+ event, likely along the massive San Andreas Fault, which runs north of the San Gabriel Mountains and roughly west to east along that chain in the desert areas there, this region has not seen a quake of that strength since 1857.

Obviously, we're long overdue for a major earthquake.  Are you prepared?

12 June 2012

Distracted Driving on Carbon Canyon Road

Studies have shown that, while drunk driving accidents on American roads and highways have dropped significantly in recent years, distracted driving, including cell phone talking and texting, has skyrocketed.  While there are laws against cell phone use and texting, there's that old saying about laws and enforcement. 

Driving home on Carbon Canyon Lane from Chino Hills a half hour or so ago and approaching Canon Lane, I noticed a black coupe starting to drift over into the westbound lane I was in.  I tend to watch for lots of potential problems when on the state highway for a bunch of reasons, so I gave a sharp honk as the left side of his car went over the double yellow line.

That's when the driver snapped his head up and then jerked the steering wheel to the right and abruptly pulled the car back into his lane.  Was it texting or something else?  Can't say for sure, but people typically have their head down while driving these days because of either a phone, a meal in their lap, or other reasons, none of which are good.

While there have been no major accidents in recent weeks, there are new skid marks in several places on Carbon Canyon Road, including a few that cross into opposing lanes, such as one at the middle of the S-curve in Chino Hills and a guardrail near the top of that area below Carriage Hills has increasing damage.

Anyone driving the state highway on a regular basis probably knows this already--nothing new here.  But, when someone drifts in your lane and a head-on collision is a distinct possibility, it's always good to remind ourselves to keep your eyes trained on what's ahead of you.

10 June 2012

The 1900 Federal Census and Olinda

In 1896, Edward Doheny, who had opened the Los Angeles City oil field with Charles Canfield, engaged in drilling in a portion of the Fullerton township and soon brought in the first well of the Olinda oil field.  Not long afterward, William Loftus and Samuel C. Graham formed the Graham-Loftus Oil Company, invested $10,000 in the Olinda area, and put its first well, at 700-barrels per day into production in 1898.

The 1900 federal census is the first significant opportunity to see the new Olinda oil field community developing.  From 14-16 July, enumerator Clarence Dickson made his way through the field counting the residents of the small, but rapidly growing area.

Dickson tallied 123 persons in the field, although there were an additional 24 oil workers found in Fullerton and in what became Brea, many or most of whom would have worked at Olinda, as well.  Of these counted 63% were men and 68% were over the age of 21.  American-born residents comprised 94% of the total, with four Europeans (one each from Ireland, Scotland, Germany and Sweden), two Canadians and one California-born Latino entailing the remainder of the citizens.

Stock certificate 172 from the Carbon Canyon Oil Company, which incorporated in California just six weeks before the federal census was conducted at the new Olinda oil field in July 1900.  The certificate is signed by president William F. West and secretary Charles E. Price and is for 100 shares of stock with a par value at $1 each.  Click on the image to see a larger view in a separate window.  From the collection of YHB.

The Graham-Loftus Company was likely the largest employer at the time and company cofounder, William Loftus resided on the property his firm was developing, along the with William Graham, brother of the other founder and who was listed as an "oil overseer," or superintendent, on his census listing.

As noted in some previous posts, the Graham-Loftus firm had a direct connection to Union Oil Company, which was becoming a major player in the rapidly-growing California oil industry.  Based in Santa Paula in Ventura County, Union was founded in 1890 by Thomas Bard, Lyman Stewart and Wallace Hardison.  Hardison's sister married William Loftus in 1893. 

Loftus, born in 1860 in Brooklyn, New York (Brooklyn was a separate city later absorbed as a borough of New York City) to a Irish emigrant rope maker and his wife, worked in the oil fields of Pennsylvania (where the first American oil wells were produced in 1859) and was recruited to come to California to work for the oil industry and was first in a predecessor to Union Oil, a company called the Torrey Canyon Oil Company, operated by Bard and Hardison, before joining Union.

As to Samuel C. Graham, he was born in 1861 in Armstrong County, Pennsylvania and worked as a pumper, dresser and driller in the state's oil region until he relocated to Los Angeles in 1882.  He later went to work, like Loftus, for Torrey Canyon and then Union Oil and married another Hardison sibling, Mamie.  Whereas Loftus lived on the company's Olinda holdings in 1900, Graham resided in downtown Los Angeles with his wife and son and lived in that city until his death in 1934. 

In addition to his oil busines, Graham was a major player in political reform movements in Los Angeles, specifically the successful 1906 recall of Mayor Arthur C. Harper, and was treasurer of the Laguna Maywood Company, which bought land formerly part of the Rancho San Antonio (owned at one time by Antonio Maria Lugo, first owner of Rancho Santa Ana del Chino and for whom Don Lugo High School in Chino is named), which developed the townsite of Maywood.

Meantime, another Pennsylvania oil worker, Benjamin Scott, joined the Union company and married another Hardison daughter.  Scott became a principal of the Columbia Oil Company, which soon became another major player at Olinda, thanks to the family connections with Hardison's firm.

The reverse of the above stock certificate for the Carbon Canyon Oil Company, dated 7 November 1900.  The company worked on 160 acres at the intersection of Carbon and Soquel canyons in the vicinity of today's Olinda Village community in Brea and drilled several wells there.  Click on the image to see a larger view in a separate window.  From the collection of YHB.

Just six week prior to the taking of the 1900 census, another oil company entered the ranks of prospectors in the Olinda area: this being the Carbon Canyon Oil Company (which was profiled here in a couple of posts from April 2010.)  The two sides of a November 1900 stock certificate from the company are shown as images here.

And, of course, Union Oil Company became a dominant presence in Brea, having a corporate building at the northeast corner of Imperial Highway and Valencia Avenue (also State Highway 142) for many years, until it was torn down not that long ago and is now the site of a future housing and commercial project.

06 June 2012

Carbon Canyon Road Water System Project Done?

Based on a few drives over on the Brea side of Carbon Canyon in recent days, it would appear that the extensive work conducted by the city regarding water distribution system aspects is complete.  This project, updating a system that was first installed way back in the 1960s, involving replacement of gate valves air relief valves, blow off valves, water main isolation valves, and vaults with pressure regulating valves, as well as almost 3,500 linear feet of larger water mains along a long stretch of the highway would, if this is true, have been completed on time, which can be a bit of a rarity these days.  One notable and visible change is the installation of a new fire hydrant on the north side of Carbon Canyon Road, just east of the former Manely Friends stable complex.

So, if the project is actually concluded, the next one to come down the pike would be the repaving of the highway, with this latter work conducted by CalTrans.  Of course, this will involve lane closures and slower commutes, though the times during which the work would be done might mirror those of the water system project; in other words, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. or something similar to minimize disruption.

To date, the City of Brea Web site does not have any updated information either on the status of the water main work or the resurfacing, but an update will be posted here when one or the other is known.

05 June 2012

Canyon Market Closed Again?

A few times driving recently by the Canyon Market (formerly Party House Liquor) in Sleepy Hollow has found the store shuttered and lights out.  

There has been a new owner application notice, however, taped to a window at the front of the establishment for quite some time, so there might possibly be a transition to a change in ownership. 

If anyone happens to have any information on the status of Canyon Market, a comment to this post would be much appreciated.

04 June 2012

Carbon Canyon Crime Warning

The following comes from an e-mail distributed to some Carbon Canyon residents by a long-time Canyonite and concerns thefts that have taklen place in recent days.  Nothing needs to be added to it--residents need to safeguard their property carefully and keep an eye for out for anything suspicious:

Hi Neighbors,

A friend of mine who lives off of Valley Springs Rd, called me today to say that there has been a rash of robberies in their neighborhood and in the Carriage Hills neighborhood. These have been reported to the police and I have no description of car/person, etc. However, it seems like there is nothing off limits as cars, garages, sheds and even houses have been broken into. Just a reminder to all of us to keep our eyes open, report any suspicious activity, keep doors, windows, etc locked if not home and if you hear a neighbor's dog(s) barking might want to investigate. Below is information for the Chino Hills Police:

Chino Hills Police Station

14077 Peyton Drive
Chino Hills, CA 91709

Ph: (909) 364-2000

After Hours Dispatch

Ph: (909) 465-6837
In an emergency,
always dial 911!

Front Lobby Hours

Monday – Friday
8:00 am – 5:00 pm

Chino Hills Police Station Website