30 May 2014

Carbon Canyon Historical Artifact #44: "Map of the Whittier-Olinda Oil Field," 1912

The portion of a 1912 map of the "Whittier-Olinda Oil Field" focusing on the Olinda section at the center and nearby areas, including Carbon Canyon to the upper right.
This is another great map, supervised by Paul W. Prutzman and issued by the California State Mining Bureau and corrected to June 1912, showing a wide-ranging area of oil-producing fields from Whittier to Olinda.  Of particular interest for Carbon Canyon s the section at the lower right section of the map showing the very busy Olinda field fifteen years after its first well came in.

Shown snaking its way up from the mainline (off the map) is the spur line of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad, which went from Atwood to the Olinda field, emerging through what is now Carbon Canyon Regional Park and splitting into a "Y" in today's Olinda Ranch subdivision.  The map clearly shows the terminus as within the "A.T. & S. Fe. R.R.G."

A closer look from the map at the Olinda field showing major oil producers of the time, including Columbia, Graham-Loftus, Puente Oil, Olinda Land Company, Industrial Oil and the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad.  The railroad's spur line from Atwood is showing coming up the center and splitting off into a "Y"
To the east of that, in section 9 (of 3S9W of the San Bernardino Meridian) are the leases of the Olinda Land Company, Fullerton Oil Company and the Puente Oil Company.  The Olinda concern was the brainchild of William H. Bailey, who bought several hundred acres in the late 1880s and created the Olinda Ranch, named after his family's sugarcane plantation on Mau'i and Hawai'i.  The Puente Oil Company, meanwhile, was organized by William R. Rowland, former Los Angeles County sheriff and scion of the family that owned half of the massive Rancho La Puente, shown at the top center of the map and the Puente's 1885 field is dotted with oil wells on land Rowland owned.

Further east, in section 10, are the holdings of Olinda Land, Continental Oil, Soquel Canyon Oil and Edward Gaines.  Some small amount of oil prospecting took place in this vicinity, though without success.  Gaines, however, was the recent owner of property in what is now the Olinda Village community and a creek ran through his property, emptying into Carbon [Canyon] Creek, which also ran through the southern end of his ranch. 

With very little oil prospecting activity, the Carbon Canyon area east of Olinda does show a wagon road (the dotted line) wending its way along Carbon [Canyon] Creek and passing the Orange/San Bernardino County line at the top right, where the thick black line coming from the center and then turning to the right center is the divide between San Bernardino County and the counties of Los Angeles and Orange as well as the western boundary of Rancho Santa Ana del Chino.  The line heading left of the Chino boundary is the dividing line between Orange and Los Angeles counties  At the bottom left are the properties of the Soquel Canyon Oil Company, the Olinda Land Company and the ranch of Edward Gaines, where Olinda Village is located.
Northeast of that and well into Carbon Canyon at the lower left corner of section 2 is the lone well of the Carbon Canyon Oil Company, which about a decade before the map, drilled without striking oil.

To the west of the Santa Fe spur, in section 8, is a very crowded area of development with firms like Graham-Loftus, one of the early players at Olinda starting in 1898, the Santa Fe itself, Olinda Land, Industrial Oil Company, and Columbia Oil Production Company, whose part-owner William B. Scott, along with William Rowland and Los Angeles Times publisher Harry Chandler, constituted the "Tres Hermanos [Three Brothers]" who owned the ranch of that name in Tonner Canyon to the north of Olinda.

Actually, as shown on earlier maps, this one again shows Brea Canyon as being what is now called Tonner Canyon, while today's Brea Canyon is listed as "Canada del Rodeo."

Another detail of the map shows the Olinda field at the right and areas to the west and south.  The thick line moving from the bottom right to the left center is the line of the Pacific Electric Railway streetcar--this right-of-way still runs through Brea and part of it in Yorba Linda is a multi-purpose trail.  At the top is "Brea Cañon", which is today's Tonner Canyon and at the top left is "Canada del Rodeo," now Brea Canyon.  The black lines at the top from just left of center to the top left corner, within sections 1, 6 and a little of section 5 are the southern boundaries of the Rancho Rincon de la Brea.
By 1912, a little activity was found in what is known now as Tonner Hills between Olinda and Brea Canyon, this being on land held by the Union Oil Company.  The Brea Canyon field was represented by Graham-Loftus, Fullerton, Puente and the Pico Oil Company, Orange Oil Company and Brea Canyon Oil Company.

Other transportation routes denoted on the map include the line of the Pacific Electric Railway, which ran from Los Angeles and on through was called East Whittier, the future Brea (a year off from incorporation) and Yorba Linda.  Part of the right-of-way still exists in Brea with plans for recreational use, a concept long ago incorporated for some of that easement in Yorba Linda.

Carbon Canyon Road did not really exist yet as we know it, but the term "wagon road" is used for a route that passed through the Olinda field and into Carbon Canyon.  Notably, there were no such roads in either Soquel and Telegraph canyons, though a wagon road moved through "Brea Canyon" now Tonner, and into the Rancho Santa Ana del Chino.  Another such road went into the "Canada del Rodeo, or modern Brea Canyon as it wended its way into the Diamond Bar and Walnut areas.

This map is a great snapshot of the Olinda area a little over a hundred years ago when the oil industry was in full swing and has enough familiar landmarks to be relatable even today.


RainJet said...

It's really interesting that Brea Canyon used to be called "Rodeo Canyon" Or "Canada del Rodeo". I just found this out looking at a Topographic map of Brea from the 1890's. I have never seen this mentioned anywhere else. Presumably Brea Canyon was once a place where cattle were driven through, or a rodeo was held. The word "rodeo" has the same meaning in English as in Spanish. Information on Brea Canyon is even more sparse than information on Carbon canyon, despite Brea canyon being the epicenter of oil activity in the 1800's through 1900's. It's interesting to see cattle grazing activities still taking place 200 years later much the same way the were done in the days of Gil Ybarra's Rincon De Brea.

prs said...

Hello RainJet, thanks for your visit to the Chronicle and this post and for your comment. As you found, that name of "Cañada del Rodeo" or Rodeo Canyon is the older name, in use at the time that Ybarra had the Rancho Rincon de la Brea, but has all been but forgotten. Incidentally, there was a Rancho Rodeo de las Aguas, which is basically Beverly Hills, and what's left is the name of Rodeo Drive today. Thanks again!