29 August 2012

4.1 Earthquake Today near Carbon Canyon

Co-workers were rushing to call each other about the earthquake that came along at about 1:30 this afternoon, so maybe there are more jitters than usual given the Imperial County swarm of quakes that have hit recently.

In any case, today's little episode was measured at 4.1 and has been located very close to the epicenter of the 5.5 temblor that hit in summer 2008 and has been called the "Chino Hills" quake, although it really ought to be more like the "Sleepy Hollow" shaker.  That larger quake would be somewhat more than 10 times as strong as the meek rumbler from today.  Today's was a tad smaller in Richter scale measurement than the 7 August quake that has been called the "Yorba Linda" quake, but was actually in the vicinity of that section of Chino Hills State Park near that city.

So, earthquake activity continues in and around Carbon Canyon, though today's was not much of an event.  Unless you're already jittery.

On the Skids in Carbon Canyon #9563-66

The folks at CalTrans District 8 work fast sometimes.  Sometime, likely late Monday or early Tuesday, a driver heading east on Carbon Canyon Road took the middle portion of S-curve on the Chino Hills portion between the summit and the upper entrance to Summit Ranch and took out the directional sign shown in the photo below.

The sign was badly crumpled and probably totaled when it was noticed on Monday afternoon's drive home.  By this morning, when this photo was taken, a brand new sign and post were up and it looked as if nothing had ever happened. 

Someone took offense, evidently, at being told how to navigate this curve and unceremoniously put said sign out of commission, apparently late Monday or early Tuesday, but CalTrans District 8 personnel were on the scene in short order and put up a new post and probably a new sign by the time this photo was taken this morning.

Meanwhile, there have been at least one crash and a couple of other examples of cross-lane action over on the Brea side.  Just west of the Orange/San Bernardino County lines, an eastbound driver skidded, went through the westbound lane and ran into the rocky outcropping just off the roadway.  Dirt and parts of the car's undercarriage and perhaps other pieces were quite visible for some time, though this has now been cleaned up (though the skid marks remain.)

Further west, just before the old Manely Friends stable, another tight curve reveals a westbound skid pattern crossing through the opposing lane and towards the shoulder.

Then, another short distance towards Olinda, just east of the old entrance to the La Vida Mineral Springs motel, on another curve, there is a similar result of skid marks going into opposing lanes.  There is no apparent evidence of collisions in either of these last two examples.

25 August 2012

Affordable Housing at Tres Hermanos in Tonner Canyon?

Today's Chino Hills Champion reports that 85 acres of the Tres Hermanos Ranch property north of Carbon Canyon is likely to be rezoned to allow for the possibility of the construction of affordable housing (i.e., apartments) to meet state mandates imposed on cities.

Thirty acres would be in that section lying within the City of Diamond Bar, this being the portion north of Grand Avenue, while 55 acres to the south of that roadway in the City of Chino Hills is being earmarked.

It was noted in the article that, just because these cities may (or may not) approve such rezoning from agricultural/ranching to high-density residential, this does not mean that any such housing will actually be constructed.  This is because state statute does not require that units have to be built, but that zoning has to allow for a certain number of them. 

Obviously, there would have to be some market demand for affordable housing in a given area that would lead developers to go in and submit a project application and get the ball rolling.  With the state of the economy, it does not appear there will be any rush for such activity, but one never knows.

In a nearby example, there is an affordable-housing element in the Blackstone master planned community just west of Carbon Canyon in the City of Brea, where former oil fields are being developed into mainly single-family housing, but also some apartments.

It is not an accident that sites such as Blackstone and the ones in Tres Hermanos are being sought by cities for affordable housing.  There are many examples in which residents of established single-family residence communities are fighting affordable housing projects in their area.

Only recently in Chino Hills, a proposal to rezone the former civic center, now known as the Founders Recreation Center, on Grand Avenue at Founders Drive near Chino Hils Parkway, met with spirited resistance by local homeowners, who fear the usual suspects—declining property values, crime, etc.—from affordable housing.

Typically, areas targeted for affordable housing seem to be those with the least perceived impact on single family houses.  In Chino Hills, this includes a site zoned for commercial use and next to existing apartments on Butterfield Ranch Road, just west of the 71 Freeway; the high-density residential zone next to the Civic Center and The Shoppes; and a potential homeless shelter designation for commercial areas east of the 71 Freeway between Soquel Canyon Parkway and Chino Hills Parkway.

Oh, and theoretically at least, at Tres Hermanos Ranch, which is part of the entirety of Tonner Canyon and which is owned by the City of Industry.  Because these holdings were acquired under the recently-abolished redevelopment agency system, Industry is now having to confront a new reality for all of its properties purchased under that regime.  While a long-proposed reservoir project may still be on the table for Industry, it is not known whether or not that city will be maintaining ownership of any of the Tonner Canyon properties for much longer.

Hence, the recent movement by Diamond Bar and Chino Hills to rezone the small sections (for now) into residential ones.  Presumably, in the future, there will be other movements and it will be interesting to observe what happens with Tonner Canyon over upcoming years given the situations outlined above.

23 August 2012

Carbon Canyon Road and Its "Scenic Dangers"

Here's a quote to peruse for a moment:

Winding Carbon Canyon Road, which takes a Sunday motorist on a leisurely tour of pleasant, rural country in northern Orange County, is beginning to relect the pressures of urban devlopment.

Scenic State Highway 142 through the canyon connects Brea with Chino.  The problem is that the route is carrying more and faster traffic than it was designed to handle.

This isn't from last week's Orange County Register or last month's Chino Hills Champion.  It's a Los Angeles Times article titled "Old Road Offers Scenic Dangers" from reporter Howard Seelye, dated 12 December 1971.  A mere 40 years ago.

As much as some people (YHB included) might like to complain about modern dangers and serious accidents or near accidents that might (or might not) warrant, say, a blog post or something, this article reported that, in the preceding 17 months, there were 44 serious accidents, including in five deaths, "four of them young people."  One of the accompanying photos showed two of seven crosses at the side of the highway where two accidents took place.

Consequently, the piece continued, "now residents who moved into Carbon Canyon to escape the urban life, find themselves pushing for highway design changes to cut down dangers to those who travel through the area."  Amplifying the main theme, Seelye noted that, "it seems that some improvements are badly needed," while at the same time there was the contradiction in the fact that "those who live in the area and many who enjoy touring the canyon hope the changes won't spoil its beauty."

In describing the area traversed by the highway, Seelye provided some interesting facts and some errors, as well; an example of the latter being the statement that "Carbon Canyon once served as a portion of the route for the Butterfield Stage Line."  Actually, the line followed roughly the path of the 71 Freeway up into Pomona before turning west into Walnut, Rowland Heights and other areas of the San Gabriel Valley.

It is amusing to hear him describe the 100 hours of Olinda Village with prices ranging "from $40,000 to $100,000."  He also notes "the aptly named community of Sleepy Hollow, a cluster of 200 dwellings, nestling under a canopy of giant oak trees" as well as "a community church, a service station, a small grocery store, and a little restaurant," all of which have been changed in one way or another.

Seelye also spent a fair amount of column space and ink on "an abandoned ski resort, where skiers once coursed down the hill on a carpet of plastic."  This was Ski Villa, only closed a few years by the time the article came out, and the journalist followed with the statement that "the resort, which showed so much early promise, has fallen on hard times.  The small plastic interlocking squares, which provided the skiing surface, are scattered over the hill.  Weeds and brush have grown up in the middle of the run."

Moreover, he went on, "a group of buildings, which once housed the ski shop, warming hut and restaurant, have either been converted to dwellings or abandoned.  Windows in the restaurant are broken, a junked car with its wheels removed sits on blocks beside the building."

Another remnant of the canyon's history comes in his description of parts further east, including "the Carbon Canyon Winery and the 'Carbon Canyon Territorial Jail,' a small bastille built between a service station and restaurant, both closed."

Returning to the theme of danger, Seelye observed that "traffic accidents occur mostly in the western portion of the canyon, largely in the city of Brea."  Moreover, he noted that "this problem has been created, to a great degree, by the presence of Olinda Village, which attracts a steady stream of local traffic." 

Consequently, the movement to revamp the road emanated largely from that community, which carried some clout and leverage because "a city councilman, the president of the Chamber of Commerce and two school board members live in the community."  Indeed, it was the folks of Olinda Village who placed the seven crosses next to the highway and at a place that was then considered the most dangerous part of the roadway.

This was "a large, sweeping turn which takes the motorists off Valencia Ave. onto Catbon Canyon Road in county territory [emphasis added] at the western end of the road."  It was at this spot just the previous month that a 15-year old girl was killed and which was the latest spur for action by Olinda Village residents.

As a result of the teen's death, CalTrans officials met with city leaders and the president of the homeowners' association in the Village to discuss solutions, including "a promise that the curve at Valencia Ave. would be eliminated in favor of a controlled, right-angle turn."  Indeed, this was done, and an early post on this blog showed where the old route of Valencia still exists behind fencing as it started to make that dangerous curve.  The article stated that the work to realign the Valencia Avenue curve would cost $75,000 and be paid for with city, county and state funds with design work by Brea and construction by the county.  Meantime, there was also talk of "studies [that] will be made of other dangerous curves and possible installation of guard rails at other locations."

Another interesting revelation in this article was the fact that "speed lmits in the canyon have been redesignated from 65 to 45 and 50 miles per hour."  Anyone who drives the highway now knows that, aside from a few spots, like the sections in Brea from Carbon Canyon Road from Valencia to the hill leading up to Olinda Village, the hill descending from the latter to the curve near the old La Vida Mineral Springs and the portion in Chino Hills from Old Carbon Canyon to Chino Hills Parkway, traveling 65 miles per hour is about as reckless as could be.  No wonder there were 44 accidents in seventeen months!

Something that might be worth resurrecting is this reference from the article:  "a sign has been erected at the top of the canyon warning motorists entering from San Bernardino Canyon [County] that there is a 'Hazardous Driving Area Ahead'."  There could be a need for more than one of those, however.

A fitting conclusion came from Olinda Villa HOA president Gerald Shaffer, who observed, "this is one place in Orange County where people can live out in the country.  The problems we've had involve mostly people who are not familiar with the road.  Everyone who lives here has been run off the road at least once."  There is undoubtedly some exaggeration there, but the points are still largely valid.  40 years later.

Meantime, the road, still hardly designed for its current usage, is rated "F" in traffic levels during peak commuter hours and there are two approved housing developments on the Chino Hills side for well over 100 hours, another apparently about to be proposed for south of the intersection of the highway and Canyon Hills Road, and the spectre of the massive Canyon Crest development on the Brea side may loom once again.  The pressures of urban development, indeed, affecting the notion that "people can live out in the country."

The answer:  more traffic signals, these proposed for Fairway Drive/Ginseng Lane and Canon Lane; which will only help the few on those streets trying to enter the highway, but hardly make the commute better for those already on Carbon Canyon Road!

And, even if we don't see 44 accidents in 17 months, cars are faster and people still love to test their vehicles or drive under chemical enhancement, so that, while not "everyone who lives here has been run off the road at least once," many of us have been or have come very near to that or an accident because of unsafe driving (speed, passing, etc.)

To borrow a brilliant, current saying in vogue, "it is what it is" or, maybe in this case, "it was what it was, so now it is what it is, and it will be what it will be."  Finally, to quote from that guy in the old "Hill Street Blues" television show who gave this advice to officers before they hit the mean streets of New York (though, here, we would say the "mean streets of Carbon Canyon"):  " . . . and, hey, let's be careful out there."

21 August 2012

St. Joseph's Hill of Hope and its New Carbon Canyon Home 40 Years Ago

In October 1972, a few months after 440 acres of land in Orange, Los Angeles, and San Bernardino counties north of Carbon Canyon were purchased by Frances Klug for her nonprofit religious institution, St. Joseph's Hill of Hope, John Dart of the Los Angeles Times penned the first of two articles he composed on the association.  In both pieces, the other coming out in 1976 and which will be discussed in a separate post, Dart was able to secure an interview and photos of Mrs. Klug under a portrait of Christ and a devotee kneeling before a covered statue of St. Joseph.  He characterized her as a "Roman Catholic mother and housewife, [who] says she has for five years been the vehicle for the admonition and advice of Gon, Jesus, Mary, Joseph and other saints in Heaven."

At the time of this initial article, titled "Hill of Hope—It's Her Mandate from Heaven," Mrs. Klug was 52 years old and Dart noted that "when he locutions began to draw overflow crowds to her Placentia home earlier this year, the meetings were switched to a clubhouse in town for Friday nights and to an outdoor site off Carbon Canyon Road for the Sunday and Wednesday morning gatherings."

To allow for these morning meetings, the Carbon Canyon ranch land was purchased for $1.1 million with a $100,000 down payment raised by donation during escrow in April and May.   During the interview, Mrs. Klug noted that the site being within three counties constituted a "trinity" and "added seriously that God chose the land for them."  Moreover, the article continued, she and the nonprofit corporation formed for the project "hope to fulfill heavenly instructions to construct within the next five years an array of facilities on the land—including a hospital, monastery, convent, restaurant and religious goods store."

As pointed out in previous posts about the organization, there was a backlash by the Roman Catholic Church, which Dart pointed out (!), "Catholics were advised not to give financial support to the Hill of Hope organization in a recent statement by Bishop Leo T. Maher of the San Diego diocese (San Diego, Imperial, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties."

Maher was quoted as saying that "down through the ages, the church has witnessed countless claims to personal revelations from God, the Blessed Mother or popular saints.  Most of these assertions have been found erroneous, some fraudulent, and the unsuspecting faithful have suffered much harm. No credence should be given to these claims unless and until authenticated by the church."

In response, Mrs, Klug stated that letters "dictated by Our Lord" were sent to Vatican City and specifically to an American cardinal in Rome, "to keep them aware of what's been happening" with her revelations.  Dr. Andrew Kiely, a Long Beach surgeon who was then president of the St. Joseph's Hill of Hope nonprofit corporation, noted that there were attempts by the group to get official Roman Catholic recognition and an interview with Archbishop Timothy Manning, but the 42-year old Irish-born doctor observed that "they ignore it completely."  Yet, it was also noted that some priests and nuns were found among the estimated 150-500 persons who listened to Mrs. Klug's regular lectures and that a priest from San Diego diocese was considered a "personal spiritual advisor."

This same advisor evidently cautioned Mrs. Klug not to talk about her past, though why was not stated.  Still, she offered some details about herself.  First, that she was born in May 1921 in Chicago at St. Joseph's Hospital; then that she was married for 26 years to insurance agent Robert Klug; and that the couple had three teenaged children.  She offered to Dart that, "I was aware of a closeness wth God since I was a child in Chicago."  She had been a parishioner at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Placentia before determining that there was a truer path to trod.

When asked by Dart why there was so much emphasis on St. Joseph in her work, it was noted that at Dr. Kiely's dedication speech at the new Carbon Canyon site on 7 May, before some 1,200 guests, he stated that the Virgin Mary in her appearance at Fatima (this was in Portugal in 1917) proclaimed that the time would come when the world would come to follow the example of her husband, so Kiely remarked that" it is these times which need more than ever to hold up the image of St. Joseph's life . . . the miracle of St. Joseph was given to a family woman; it was made available through a family home; it was delivered to families."

Dart got to the heart of the reason why the St. Joseph Hill of Hope organization was formed, which was that "the purported messages from Heaven, delivered through Mrs. Klug's voice and recorded on tapes and printed in booklets since 1968, mesh frequently with the views of devout Catholics of the pre-Vatican Council days."  In other words, for the pronounced conservative Roman Catholics, the sea change in the direction of the policies adopted by the Holy See and marked by Vatican II in the mid-1960s was unacceptable.

Consequently, a great empahsis was put on daily mass attendance, a fervent devotion to the rosary (which was expressed, according to Mrs. Klug, in a statement attributed to the Virgin Mary through her on 15 June 1970), kneeling while at prayer, and the stress placed on "religious articles, religious items, religious statues."

As for the particular method of revelation, Dart stated that "the majority of the locutions, in which Mrs. Klug maintains the voice is hers but the words are not" lead to a "difference in voice or manner between the locutions and Mrs. Klugs 'own' [that] are indistinguishable to an outsider, but close devotees of the miravle say they can tell the difference."

Rose Barres of Placentia was quoted as saying that "we can tell by the wisdom that comes through" and that the miracle of St. Joseph as expresed through Mrs. Klug was "the answer that I had been praying for," when she found the Hill of Hope the previous December, eight months after her husband's death.

While Mrs. Klug told Dart that he was informed "by many learned men that in their simplicity, the locutions are profound," the reporter cited a San  Diego diocesan newsletter editor as reporting, after hearing one of these in person, that they were "naive and simplistic" and in a style that was "stilted [and] awkward."  At a recent Wednesday service, attended by the journalist, she stated that "man is always trying to disprove something like this."

Dart then gave a rare view into the service as held at the Carbon Canyon compound, after noting that visitors would pass through a green and white gate and past security personnel in brown hats, like a park ranger would wear, before approaching, at a mile or so in, a small house and some sheds.  He described that the service began with hymns, after which Mrs. Klug walked among the devoted seated in a semi-circle, crossing herself and leading the group in prayers.

To the author, "her manner is unpretentious, except possible for a sigh after a long locution, and her clothing is unusually simple—a cotton dress, a sweater and slippers."  For the congregants, they received at least one heaven-mandated locution and sometimes several.

Meantime, the pressing need was to build the complex that God commanded be completed within five years and so "to raise money for those goals a modest 'Pennies from Heaven' collection is supplemented by the traditional Catholic raffle (first prize, a car; second prize, a microwave oven) and a charity ball to be held at the rather worldly Century City in mid-November.

Curious to know how the ambitious five-year plan was going, Dart returned to the subject a little under four years later in a follow-up article--this to be discussed soon.

19 August 2012

Even More Early La Vida Mineral Springs History

As detailed here previously, the La Vida Mineral Springs resort went through several ownerships in its early pre-1940 years.  As always, new findings come to light to add to the story, so here are a couple of items that have emerged lately.

Phil Brigandi, a native of Orange who is a preeminent authority on Orange County history and much else, passed along a reference that the Fullerton Tribune newspaper of 28 September 1905 had an article noting that the sulphur springs were being used by workers from nearby oil fields at Olinda, which were only several years in operation, who sought the hot mineral water to relieve aching muscles after hard work on the pump.  Notably, it was suggested that the springs be "cleaned out" and that a bath house be installed, so, clearly, these oil workers were going directly to the source and not enjoying anywhere near a resort experience!

Within a few years that would change and Phil located another article from the Fullerton News from 2 August 1917 that indicated that a resort was in the process of construction in the sulphur springs above Olinda in Carbon Canyon.  The name La Vida was not mentioned in the article, though earlier references to that moniker have been located.

By 1924, there was an incorporation of the La Vida Mineral Springs, attributed to William Newton Miller, who was an oil worker living in Anaheim during those years, and, from there, the springs became a larger endeavor.

A newly located article from the Los Angeles Times, dated 1 August 1926 had this to say about the attributed health benefits from the waters:

According to Fred Cline, manager of the La Vida Mineral Springs situated in Carbon Canyon thirty miles from this city and three miles from Olinda, La Vida Mineral Springs offers the only natural hot soda baths in the world.

The baths are said by Mr. Cline to be unusually beneficial in the treatment of rheumatism, muscular aches, pains, stomach, kidney or skin troubles.

La Vida Springs, which is open the year round, is a combination health and pleasure resort and comprises a hotel, cafe, housekeeping accomodations, a large store, a large dance hall, numerous camp sites, and picnic tables and afford abundant shade.

The springs are within easy access of Los Angeles, reached after an enjoyable ride through La Habra and Brea, thence through Carbon Canyon to the resort.

Then, there was a new phase of development at La Vida, which was the use of the mineral water for bottling and distribution as a healthful soda water.  Several examples ofd La Vida mineral water bottles have been shown on this blog and an upcoming post will give some of the early history of the La Vida Mineral Water Company.

07 August 2012

4.4 Earthquake Close to Carbon Canyon

A few minutes ago, while enjoying some Olympics gymnastics competitions, a short, but sharp jolt and movement was felt and it did seem quite close.

Indeed, it was a 4.4 earthquake that just now has been reported as being 2 miles northeast of Yorba Linda, which puts the epicenter within Chino Hills State Park at just about the same point (and, likely, the exact fault) as the most recent quake on 13 June, less than two months back.  At 5 1/2 miles below the surface, it is considered a shallow shaker, hence the stronger feeling for those of us up above.

At that magnitude, damage is most probably non-existent, but this is a reminder that there has been some fairly significant seismic activity, recall the 5+ shaker that hit a few years back on 29 July 2008, in this area.

UPDATE, evening of 8 August. 

Turns out there were at least 30 tremors in and around the area of last night's shaking, with one this morning at about 9:30 being slightly smaller than the previous evening.  All in all, though, little stuff compared to the Big One (8.0+) that we're long overdue for, given that the last of these major quakes was in 1857.  And, it's amusing to hear people on TV going into great detail concerning what happened with that 4.4 struck and caused a pencil to roll off the desk or a Franklin Mint collectible to shift an eighth of an inch to the right.  Makes you wonder just how unprepared people are for what is bound to slam into us one day.