31 March 2015

Two Early Photos of La Vida Mineral Springs

Courtesy of University of California, Irvine's Special Collections come these two great early photos of La Vida Mineral Springs, taken by Edward W. Cochems (1875-1949), an amateur photographer based in Santa Ana from about 1919 until his death:

This first view is titled "Bath House, La Vida Springs" and shows a simple, rustic wooden structure with a lattice-work fence just steps off Carbon Canyon Road.  To the east are a couple of cars, dating the photo to the late 1920s or perhaps the early 1930s, while the stand of eucalyptus trees in the background, where the picnic facilities were, still have a survivor or two today.  The location appears to be just where Carbon Creek crosses the highway from its north to south sides.

The second is denoted as "Sulphur Springs / La Vida Cal," and depicts a pipe angled from the top left and depositing a stream of mineral water from what appears to be the hillside above Carbon Creek onto a pile of rocks accessed by a rough wood footbridge.  The precise location may be difficult to pinpoint in today's topography, given that conditions have likely changed a great deal in terms of what is left of the hillside, what course the creek follows and so on.  The date is almost certainly the same as the one above.

The Edward Cochems Colllection at UCI comprises some 1,100 glass plate negatives and about 100 prints with about 40% of the collection available online.  For more on this remarkable collection, please click here and here.

Click on either image to see them in new windows in enlarged views.


Brandon said...

Fantastic! If you find someone that can expertly identify those automobiles, you can pinpoint the date.

prs said...

Hi Brandon, very true. These are clearly 1920s cars, though during the Great Depression of the 1930s many people drove older vehicles because of the horrible economy. It wouldn't be surprising if the photo was from 1924, when William N. Miller bought the place and it started to be actively promoted or within a decade after. Thanks for the comment.

Meghan Maldonado said...

Love your blog and posts about La vida! Any current info on who actually owns it now is greatly appreciated!