30 September 2012

Sleepy Hollow Paper Boy Delivering by Horseback in 1956

Another interesting recent find in the archives of the Los Angeles Times is a 1 November 1956 article that was some news out of the ordinary.  It started

The age of internal combustion hasn't caught up yet with 14-year old Jim Fitzgerald of Sleepy Hollow.

Jim is the Times carrier boy for this tiny community in rustic Carbon Canyon, between Brea and Chino, and he rides his route by horseback.

The vehicle for this outdated method of delivery was a 9-year old mare named "Quelty" who was described as being "of sorry conformation but sterling character," and called by her owner nothing more than a "stack of bones in a sorrel sack."  Yet, the undersized horse was "a paragon of patience—tough as a yak, immune to the morning could.  And she can pick her way blindfolded through the twists and turns of Jim's canyon route."  An accompanying photo showed the rider and horse near a couple of mailboxes in Sleepy Hollow, as Fitzgerald placed a paper into one of the boxes.

As for her owner, he was a freshman at Brea-Olinda High, a member of the Future Farmers of America and had ambitions to be a cattle raiser.  It would sure be interesting to know what became of Fitzgerald, who would now by about 70.  It was known that he had three sisters and three brothers, with ages ranging from 2 to 15 years of age and that the Fitzgerald family had a menagerie of animals at their home.

Concerning the route, it was noted that "the houses . . . are scattered throughout the cup of Sleepy Hollow, hidden by scrub oak and eucalyptus and connected buy coils of dirt road."  Up before dawn, Fitzgerald dressed, went to the barn to retrieve his faithful steed and "rides down the path to Carbon Canyon Road, where the day's newspapers are dropped off by a truck." 

While the carrier carefully folded his papers into a canvas bag ("teeth chattering," the article added), which was then placed around his head and shoulders, Quelty waited quietly and then Fitzgerald shifted the bag of papers from himself to his partner by standing next to the animal and lifting the bag over his head and over the animal's body.  The 92-pound rider then led the horse to a post which he climbed to give him the means to ascend the (presumably saddle-less) animal.

The article concluded by noting that

As the sun peaks over a bushy hilltop, making long stripes of light and shadow in the sleeping hollow, Jim whacks Quelty amiably on her flank with the tail end of her halter and she waddles off down the road, the boy's legs sticking out and the paper pouches slapping solftly against her bones.

Young D'Artagnan riding out from Gascony to make his way in the world.

It might bear noting that, while issues of the Times are delivered, as everywhere, by car, delivery of a paper copy of the excellent local paper, the Chino Hills Champion, can't be physically delivered at all, but has to be accessed digitally!

27 September 2012

Carbon Canyon Road Closed Again Tonight

UPDATE, courtesy of "Canyon Lover":  As reported by the Orange County Register, the wreck involved three vehicles and was precipitated by a DUI driver, who was taken to UCI Medical Center.  Hopefully, the innocent people in the other vehicles were not seriously injured.

For the second time in less than a week, Carbon Canyon Road was closed because of a traffic accident.  YHB just returned home after having to wait out tonight's incident at my father-in-law's place in Olinda. 

Nothing was learned, other than that the incident happened around 7 p.m. and the closure was slated to last until 8:15.  It was over a half-hour later before the cleanup was completed and the highway reopened.

Without knowing details, it is impossible to comment any further, but maybe some details will be forthcoming (or someone might leave a comment here.)

25 September 2012

Carbon Canyon Road Paving in 1928 + Bonus Chino Hills Bird Farm History!

The near-completion of the lengthy, but all-encompassing repaving of Carbon Canyon Road from the Orange/San Bernardino counties line to just before the Olinda Ranch community seems an opportune moment to reach back nearly 85 years to what appears to be the first effort to repave the highway, or, at least, part of it.

It was noted in this blog back in September 2008 that work was done to complete a paving of the road in 1926, shortly after the completion of the Los Serranos Country Club gave impetus to the project to make the drive out from Los Angeles easier and quicker.

In the July-August 1928 issue of the short-lived magazine, San Gabriel Valley Monthly, however, a page devoted to goings-on in Chino featured a couple of paragraphs on new work to Carbon Canoyn Road.  After highlighting the work of the Chino Chamber of Commerce "in promoting a good roads program," the description stated that the chamber "now sees one of its major projects nearing completion in the Carbon Canyon improvement which will be finished this summer."

This page from the San Gabriel Valley Monthly (July-August 1928) highlights happenings in Chino and makes reference to a paving project on Carbon Canyon Road.  Click on the image to see it in a larger view in its own window.  From the original in the collection of the Homestead Museum, City of Industry.

Specifically, bids were being solicited for the paving of seven-and-a-half miles of roadway, which "will mean a new ribbon of pavement from Central Avenue on the east through Carbon Canyon o the Orange County line on the west."  Moreover, the piece continued, "Orange County officials have signified their intention of continuing the pavement through their part of the canyon to intersect with paving already completed near Olinda."  Of course, at the time Olinda was a booming oil community.

The piece conclded by noting that "this route, when completed, wil be the most direct mountains-to-sea thoroughfare through scenic Carbon Canyon for motorists from San Bernardino, Riverside and all points east, also from the west."  In addition, "Carbon Canyon Road has always been listed as one of Southern California's notable scenic drives, and provides easy access to the famous LiVida [sic] Mineral Springs, midway between Chino and Olinda.
It seems strange that there should have been paving, probably the first conducted on the highway, in 1926 and then more work only two years later, but there were problems with early road paving technology, though there is no way to know if this was the case with Carbon Canyon Road in the late Twenties.

In any case, the growing use of the automobile in the region, already the car capital of the world, was spurring on projects like this to allow for, in this example, leisure activities through the Canyon.  Nearly nine decades on, repaving projects like the one nearly done now are more about the practical considerations of commuting, though some people still like to take their weekend spin through the area.

There was something else of interest in this article, which might interest people who wonder why there is a "Bird Farm Road" in the Los Serranos neighborhood of Chino Hills.  As explained in the opening paragraph of this piece, "The California State Game and Fish Commission has begun improvement of the thirty-acre site for a bird farm and hatchery, recntly [sic] donated by Los Serranos Country Club."  In 1926, that state department provided some two hundred pheasants "for breeding purposes in the south end of Chino Valley" and, having healthily increased their numbers, "this was a contributing factor in the selection of the site by the commission."  With this initial breeding succes, "a development program calling for the expenditure of $75,000 in the immediate future, with future additions next year, wil establish the farm as one of the important ones in the country."

To this day, the California Department of Fish and Game retains a local office on the site, while the remainder was obtained by the local school district and Chaparral Elementary School opened there in recent years.

21 September 2012

Carbon Canyon Road Crash--Lane Closed

Just a few moments ago, a black sedan came roaring through Sleepy Hollow on Carbon Canyon Road heading eastbound, then skidded, hit the embankment on the south side of the highway next door to my house and came to rest on its side.

Taken minutes ago from my backyard, showing the black sedan that tore eastbound through Sleepy Hollow on Carbon Canyon Road before skidding off the road, hittng the embankment on the south side and coming to rest on the driver's side just a few feet to the west.

A quick call to 9-1-1 followed with a fast survey of the scene and talking to some neighbors revealed that there appears to be no one hurt in the one-car accident.

So, what more is there to say?  Reckless speeding and driving is literally a several times daily occurrence on this roadway and there are the skid marks, damaged signs, and, occasionally, mangled cars to prove it.

Chino Hills/San Bernardino County Sheriff personnel were on the scene quickly to direct traffic and write the report that will likely be promptly filed away and forgotten for eternity.

And, this goes back decades and decades, while the operating assumption seems to be that this is normal and to be expected. 

17 September 2012

Sleepy Hollow Postmodern Home for Sale

There are a couple postmodern houses in Sleepy Hollow and one of them, on East Lane near the intersection with Rosemary Lane, is for sale.

The nearly 1,300 square foot, two-bedroom, two-bath residence has a large 11,000+ square foot lot with patios, gardens and other nice amenities and the interior of the house is well laid-out and maintained, especially for those who prize modern houses.

The structure is architect-designed, was completed in 2000, and is offered for $319,000.  There was an open house last Saturday and perhaps there will be another. 

Click here for listing information.  There is a nice slideshow with a generous number of photographs that attractively show the house and lot.

08 September 2012

California State Parks Film Showing in Carbon Canyon

This afternoon there was an excellent documentary film about California State Parks, called California Forever, which premiered this afternoon at the Chino Hills State Park Discovery Center in the Brea side of Carbon Canyon.  This evening was a larger event that featured a showing, a silent auction, and other activities.

The film provided a very solid and interesting overview of the history of the system, starting with the world's very first national designation of a place for preservation: the federal government's donation of Yosemite Valley to the State of California in the 1860s.  While John Muir's later forays into the Sierra Nevada Mountains made him the major symbolic figure of environmental stewardship, landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, most famous for his design of New York City's Central Park, was hired to craft a plan for the management of the valley.  Although Olmsted put a great deal of thought about the future of Yosemite, his prescient vision was disregarded.

Unfortunately, and this is very contemporary, overbuilding and overuse for the remaining part of the century deteriorated the condition of one of the most beautiful places on earth and, in 1906, Congress rescinded the act and Yosemite became a national park instead.

It was twenty more years until California organized a state parks department and much had changed as the population of the state continued to grow, especially during the so-called Roaring Twenties.  In 1928, the parks department was organized and an $8 million bond measure was passed by voters with a margin of more than 3 to 1, demonstrating how committed California's citizens were generally to preservation of land and the creation of recreational opportunities.

Notably, Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., like his father a major landscape architect who also created a parks plan for Los Angeles that was disregarded, spent a year working to identify well over one hundred significant sites to be included in the new state parks system and submitted his remarkable plan in 1929.

Even in the Great Depression years, federal and state programs used unemployed workers to build roads, camping facilities, restore and recreate historic structures, and other valuable work to shore up the parks system.   With the post-World War II population boom and increase in tourism, California State Parks became a model for other states and countries to emulate, not unlike our highway and educational systems.

The film covered many areas of the park system, from natural areas to historic sites and to the important work by Claire Schlotterbeck of Olinda Village and her Hills for Everyone organization, whose monumental task to create Chino Hills State Park thirty years ago cannot be overestimated in its importance.

Not discussed were current conditions, in which budgets have been slashed, services stifled and the threat of massive closures to a system that serves 80 million visitors annually.  It was more than ironic to see comments from parks director Ruth Coleman, who abruptly resigned recently after over $50 million were found hidden in accounts concealed by department employees, apparently without Coleman's knowledge, but she had to fall on her proverbial sword.

Still, it seems obvious that the film was made to bring attention to the obvious need for California State Parks to be given the credit, attention and money it deserves.  It'd be nice to think that enough people will see this well-done documentary to help that happen, but the state's problems are of such breadth, depth and magnitude that it hardly seems likely.

A post-showing hike up a bit of Telegraph Canyon and the Diemer Trail to the South Ridge Trail overlooking Yorba Linda was a nice way to get in a little exercise and direct appreciation for the immense value of Chino Hills State Park.  And, a delicious camarones a la diabla on the patio amidst a nice sunset at the wonderful Sol de México restaurant in Olinda Village, always highly recommended, capped off a fine excursion.

07 September 2012

Carbon Canyon Historypin Channel Launched!

Images and text for Carbon Canyon-related history have been adapted from the Carbon Canyon Chronicle to Historypin, a site that allows users to mark interesting historical locations through photos, video and audio on Google maps.

There is an existing Google Maps page with pinned sites, but without the historic photos, that has been in place for a few years, but Historypin provides another platform for sharing historic content, including photographs, for those out there who might have an interest or who might accidentally stumble upon something that will stir interest.

Today's modest launch features four pinned sites, but, hopefully, there will be regular additions to it in coming weeks and months.  Historypin also provides an opportunity for viewers to comment, view other channels, and, of course, create their own.

To see the Carbon Canyon Channel directly, click here.  There is also a link at the far right of the main page of this blog.

01 September 2012

California State Parks film at the Chino Hills State Park Discovery Center Next Saturday

Offered by the group Hills for Everyone, a fundraiser and premiere showing of a new 75-minute film on California's state parks, titled California Forever, will be at the Chino Hills State Park Discovery Center in Brea next Saturday, 8 September.

There will be a film showing at 3:00 p.m. with tickets priced at $12.50 and a family pack of four for $40.  An evening fundraising event with a 7 p.m. showing, wine and dessert, and a silent auction is $25 per person or $40 for a couple.

There will be a longer version of the movie aired this Fall by PBS, but this is a chance to get an early viewing.  The silent auction includes such items as hotel stays, restaurant certificates, a framed photo of Chino Hills State Park, gift baskets, a stay at a Mammoth condo, and more.

For more information, see here.