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.

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