30 April 2015

Club El Circulo

In 1958, after thirty years, Camp Kinder Ring, operated by the Los Angeles chapter of the leftist Jewish organization, The Workmen's Circle and located on both sides of Canyon Hills Road just north of Carbon Canyon Road, closed down.  Among the reasons given was a lack of water and, later that year, a massive fire tore through Carbon Canyon.

Three years later, on 20 August 1961, the site reopened as Club El Circulo.  A major feature article in the Chino Champion noted that the facility featured, "a swimming pool, lounge, dining room, cocktail lounge, picnic area and children's playground," most left over, probably, from Camp Kinder Ring.

In addition, there were plans for many more amenities, including a square dancing pad outdoors, tennis and basketball courts, a softball diamond, volleyball court, a shuffleboard area, an archery course, a badminton court, ping-pong tables, tetherball poles, horseshoe pits and an outdoor theater.

It was also planned to have a 9-hole "pitch and put" golf course.  More grandiose concepts included a dam with a pool of water behind it for stocking fish, a large auditorium, a miniature golf course, and the development of home sites for members.

The site sat on 100 acres purchased from an unnamed Orange County development group and of this, 45 were intended for immediate use and the remainder set aside for some of those future concepts.  The piece did identify the leading figures of the Club El Circulo [which obviously decided to keep a reference to the Workmen's Circle in the new concept] as Brea resident F.J. Nipp, who was president and sales manager; vice-president George Hacker of Fullerton; and William Rentz of Placentia, who was the secretary and treasurer.

A patio at the Club El Circulo, which opened at the old Camp Kinder Ring site at Canyon Hills Drive and Carbon Canyon Road in August 1961 and lasted about two years until its closure.  From the 17 August 1961 issue of the Chino Champion as found on newspapers.com.  Click on this and the other images to see them enlarged in new windows.
Specific attention in the piece was paid to the fact that water was "a scarce commodity in Carbon Canyon," but that the property had five excellent wells, at least according to the club manager, C.D. Varner, though the club did intend to secure more water from the Chino Basin District.

The two-story main building, which still stands, was considered the heart of the facility with a dining room and lounge on the first floor and a cocktail lounge in the basement or lower floor.  Seating capacity in the dining room was 130, making it desirable for renting to outside groups, as well as for members.

The article continued by noting that there were twenty-eight cabins, with double and twin beds with adjoining bedrooms, intended for members who wanted overnight accommodations.  These were also holdovers from the Camp Kinder Ring area and the remnants of the last of these units have just been razed as the Canyon Hills subdivision grading work continues.

The newest aspect of the facility was a 36'x72' swimming pool, including a diving board, tile deck, walkways and sunbathing area.  A wading pool for children was also completed.  Under construction were a bath house and snack bar.

The children's playground was slated to be located adjacent to the pool area and the picnic grounds were proposed under a huge spreading oak tree.  Notably, the piece continued, "up the hill, a future project calls for the development of a youth center, with dormitories and social hall for tenagers [sic]."

Another crucial component identified in the article was the fact that "the grounds are located in a high fire hazard area," so that "extra precautions are being taken."  This included the clearing of land near the surviving buildings, removal of any chimneys from preexisting structures, the installation of fire hydrants and the fencing off of surplus land within the 100-acre parcel.  Reference was specifically made to the conflagration of 1958.

Dues were set at $65 a year with a $10 initiation fee and it was reported that 200 people signed up in the pre-registration period.

About 1 1/2 years later, in a January 1963 spread about recreational opportunities in Carbon Canyon, the Champion gave further information about Club El Circulo.  For example, some $90,000 had been expended on further improvements since the opening.  General manager Jack Winter noted that a driving range was slated for a summer opening, the tennis court was about finished with a remodeling, and the baseball diamond had been completed.  A children's recreation area and amphitheater were said to be in the planning stages.

The entrance to Club El Circulo from the 10 January 1963 edition of the Champion.  The two-story clubhouse at the center still stands.
Of particular note was the fact that grass was being planted in abundance at the driving range and elsewhere on the site, including the entrance, with other landscaping readied for planting.  This was because the new feeder line of the Metropolitan Water District was finished and expected to be connected to the club in a few weeks.  As discussed in this blog before, the line extended from the Inland Empire through Tonner Canyon and over the hills into Carbon Canyon before moving up to the Diemer treatment plant next to the Chino Hills State Park Discovery Center in Yorba Linda.

Naturally, the celebration just over a half-century ago about the bringing in of what seemed, at the time, to be a limitless supply of water can be compared to our current condition!

Returning to the club, the article also pointed out that there was "Las Vegas entertainment" offered, including comedian and trumpeter Bob Hart, who headlined the club's New Year's Eve party.  Other entertainment plans included twice-annual luaus (which was a very popular deal back in the 1950s and 1960s when you think of the connection to Polynesian-themed motels and hotels, restaurants like Don the Beachcombers and Bahooka, and other aspects) and outdoor Western barbeques.

The remaking of an amphitheater with a blue roof and white sides, the color pattern of the facility's buildings, was said to have been underway in a few months, providing a venue for children's programs, like puppet shows.  The location was north of the clubhouse and next to the oak-shaded picnic grounds.

While most of the site was only accessible to members, the dining room (evidently expanded to seat up to 250, double the number stated in 1961) and cocktail lounge in the two-story main structure were temporarily open to the public.

The large stone fireplace was the centerpiece of the Club El Circulo clubhouse, as shown in the Champion, 10 January 1963.
It was also stated that new management were recently brought in by the owners, listed as the Circle C Development Company, indicating that the club was under-subscribed and utilized since its August 1961 opening.

Winter was spotlighted for his fourteen years experience managing clubs, such as the Quail Valley Country Club near Lake Elsinore and Menifee, and Azusa's Rainbow Country Club.  Likewise, the restaurant and bar manager, Dottie Benson, had much experience in that line, including at the Rainbow Club and West Covina's Coffee Dan.

The change in management, expanded facilities, and imported water, however, could not keep Club El Circulo from folding, however, by June 1964.  There was, however, another enterprise on the way, which will be highlighted here soon.

27 April 2015

Cleve A. Purington, Sleepy Hollow Founder

Back in early August 2008 in the early days of this blog, some biographical information was presented about Cleve Alpheus Purington, founder of Sleepy Hollow along with a group of investors in 1923.  At the time, it was known that Purington was a shipyard foreman in the Seattle area as well as at San Pedro here in southern California.  The recent find of Purington's obituary, however, provides more about him.

The obit was in the 15 May 1928 edition of the Chino Champion, with the article noting that Purington died a few days prior at San Antonio Community Hospital in Upland and that his funeral was held at the Congregational Church (now known as Pilgrim Congregational Church) in Pomona with burial in that city, presumably at the city cemetery in the south portion of town.

Clearly, the writer of the piece knew Purington as he was said to be "a wonderful personality and a most absorbing personage with whom to talk."  Not only was he said to be a ship builder, but also an engineer, architect and developer.  His life story was then given, with details about his upbringing in Maine, being born in the town of South Paris.

It was said in the article that Purington started in the shipbuilding business in his native state and the earlier finding from 2008 that he worked for the Bath Iron Works confirms this.  Evidently, he continued in this line of work upon his arrival in 1905 in northern California with San Francisco's Union Iron Works and, for a time, in Washington state where he was put in charge of building ships for the military.  By the end of the First World War when a massive shipbuilding effort was developed, he was supervising the building of ships for the Southwestern Shipbuilding Company (owned later by Bethlehem Steel) at San Pedro.

The headline and subhead for the Chino Champion obituary of Cleve A. Purington, 15 May 1928.  From newspapers.com.  Click on either image to see them in a larger view in a separate window.
The obituary noted that he "rendered his greatest service" while with Southwestern and "gained national acclaim for the records he established in efficiency and quantity of ocean craft constructed under his direction."  His employer cited not only his work in "time-saving devices and methods," but also "his understanding and sympathetic attitude toward the men working under him."

Another career highlighted in the article was Purington's work as an engineer and architect, specifically with the Los Angeles firm of Munson, Rouff, Roalfe and Purington.  This enterprise followed Purington's decision, in his late thirties, to quit shipbuilding because of ill-effects to his health.  By 1920, he had moved into construction engineering and it was an ideal time to do this, as the Los Angeles region was fully immersed in another of its frequent housing booms and there was plenty of work available.

Arthur Munson and Allen Ruoff were architects while Purington and George Roalfe were engineers and the quartet seems to have been active for a few years in the early 1920s, working on projects in the Los Feliz neighborhood near Griffith Park, in Venice and in Claremont.  There was a main office in the Walter P. Story Building, a 1909 structure still standing at 610 S. Broadway, but, in 1922, Building and Engineering News reported that a branch office was opened in the State Bank Building in Pomona, which was the home of a few local architects, and which also noted that Purington was the manager at the branch.

His association with Munson, Ruoff and Roalfe, however, was soon over.  The engineer who conducted the 1923 survey of Sleepy Hollow, Edward Taylor of Claremont, became a partner of Purington in a new business, Taylor & Purington, which specialized in civil and construction engineering, including land surveying, development of subdivisions and townsites, the design and building of steel and concrete structures, and reporting and appraisal services.  The firm, housed in Claremont, began advertising in the Champion in November 1924.

An advertisement for the firm of Taylor & Purington from the Champion, 14 November 1924.  From newspapers.com.
Among the projects cited in the obituary that Taylor & Purington developed were Padua Hills, in the foothills north Claremont and where a famed theater operated for many years, Evey Canyon, which is essentially the Baldy Village area in the canyon leading from Claremont and Upland to Mount San Antonio (Baldy), and Carbon Canyon (that is, Sleepy Hollow.)  The article went on to say that, "the latter development became the home of Mr. Purington during the last year-and-a-half so that he could watch the growth of the beautiful canyon to the southwestern edge of the Chino Valley."

Purington was also, at the time of his death, the Vice-President of the Vortox Company, founded in Pomona by H. H. Garner in 1922 as Pomona Air Cleaner.  This firm provided air cleaners for agricultural equipment used in the famed citrus groves that formed the economic background of the foothill regions of the San Gabriel Valley and Inland Empire at the time.  When the company decided to move its plant to Claremont, it was readying for its grand opening when Purington unexpectedly died, leading Vortox to postpone the event to a later date.  Vortox still operates today at that same location at 121 S. Indian Hill.

The obituary concluded with the observation that Purington's widow, Elizabeth (Heald), was "intimately associated with her husband's business activities and in later years has lifted a great portion of the responsibilities connected therewith from Mr. Purington's shoulders."  It was stated, further, that "many of the details became hers and with Prof. Taylor she will continue the work begun by her husband."

Whatever happened with the Purington & Taylor firm, it is true that Elizabeth Heald Purington became the prime mover in the Sleepy Hollow community from her husband's death and remained so for many years.  Moreover, her son David continued to live in the neighborhood for decades.  The original Purington home just across from the Sleepy Hollow Community Center along Carbon [Canyon] Creek still stands and David Purington had several parcels in the community, as well.

Purington was just forty-six when he died, but the little subdivision he started over ninety years ago still retains the rural atmosphere (for now) and a great deal of the charm that he mainly brought into being.  Hopefully, he will be remembered in the future as the founder of Sleepy Hollow.

26 April 2015

Carbon Canyon Road Closed Again

UPDATE, 10:25 p.m.  Looks like Carbon Canyon Road has reopened as of about 10 minutes ago.

Getting ready to get home from work and got a call that Carbon Canyon Road is closed yet again, this time on the Chino Hills side.

Checking the city's road closure hotline, there is a recorded message from just over ten minutes ago (8:39) that the state highway is completely shut down because of a traffic accident at the intersection of Old Carbon Canyon Road at the east end of the S-curves.

It is expected that the closure will last a few hours.  Updates will be added as found up to a reasonable hour.

So, two days in a row for complete closures.

25 April 2015

Carbon Canyon Road Closure

UPDATE, Sunday, 12:30 p.m.:  Just in time for the commute to work, it was found that Carbon Canyon Road was reopened about 10:30 a.m., almost exactly twenty-four hours after the state highway was closed.

UPDATE, Saturday 9:35 p.m.:  The latest from the City of Chino Hills on this closure is . . .

Carbon Canyon Road remains closed until sometime tomorrow (Sunday). Due to the weather, work could not be completed on the downed power line. Updates on this closure will be posted here as soon as updates are provided by Chino Hills Police or Southern California Edison.

Today's commute to work at 10:30 this morning was interrupted and unexpectedly extended by the surprise discovery of the closure of Carbon Canyon Road at Olinda Village.

At the time, no details were known and drivers were turned around at Olinda Drive and it was back through the canyon to Chino Hills and on to the final destination.

Now, thanks to an Olinda Village resident, it has been learned that the cause of the closure was a car accident involving the hitting of a power pole and downing of lines adjacent to the Hollydale Mobile Home Estates, which now means that Southern California Edison has to repair the damage before the state highway can be opened.

The photo, taken by the resident, shows a full-size white pickup at rest next to the damaged pole.  Conditions were dry at the time, so the accident can't be attributed to rain.  So, it may be possible (though this is just a wild guess) that speed was a factor.  Perhaps there'll be an article in one of the local papers or someone out there might know more details.

Not too much further to the west, at the Olinda Ranch supervision, there was a full road closure, albeit for only about an hour, on Friday, 4 April.

Also worth mentioning (perhaps) is that there was another recent example of a car moving eastbound on Carbon Canyon Road through the S-curve in the Chino Hills section and, instead of following the many signs that indicate a right curve (and recommending a speed of 20 mph), decided to skid straight into the guardrail after crossing the opposing westbound lane.

As for today's closure, there have been no alerts sent from the Chino Hills side about a possible reopening and the Brea phone hotline for Carbon Canyon has not been updated since the accident this morning.

21 April 2015

New Carbon Canyon Restaurant Opening Soon

A banner has appeared in recent days on eastbound Carbon Canyon Road just before Olinda Village announcing that a new restaurant, Stones Smoke House Barbecue & Grill, is opening soon and that hiring has begun.

The new eatery will occupy the space in the Olinda Village shopping center that was, for several years, the excellent and missed Sol de México and before that was, briefly, an Italian restaurant and then another long-standing Mexican place.

A comment was left on this blog months ago stating that there was something in the works and now this looks to be coming to fruition.

Of course, the restaurant business is notoriously competitive and the shopping center at Olinda Village, dating to the 1960s, is a relic of the time.  An unusual combination of dry cleaners and scrapbooking has opened recently, though it's not clear how well that business is doing.  Otherwise, there is the electrical testing facility and the Carbon Creek Realty business that also operate there.

So, stay tuned for more!

20 April 2015

Stop Madrona Garden Tour Fundraiser This Sunday!

Hills for Everyone, the local organization that has done so much to preserve badly-needed open space in our area, and its litigation partners Friends of Harbors, Beaches and Parks, the California Native Plant Society, and the Sierra Club, filed on 19 March its latest brief in their lawsuit to halt the poorly-conceived Madrona housing project, which would consist of 162 houses on 367 acres on the north side of Carbon Canyon between Olinda Village and Sleepy Hollow.

The hearing is scheduled for July and so Hills for Everyone is holding a fundraiser next Sunday, 25 April from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. that consists of a Garden Tour of houses in Brea that highlight the beauty of residential landscape.  Most of the properties utilize water wise practices, as well.

Early bird registration is $30 per ticket (per car) with same day registration being $40 per ticket (per car.)  Those who buy tickets early will have instructions e-mailed to them, while purchasers on the day of the tour should call (714) 906-3430.  There are two starting locations: one in central Brea and the other at Olinda Village in Carbon Canyon.

Proceeds from the tour go toward the ongoing battle to overturn the City of Brea's lamentable decision to approve Madrona despite planning tools like the Carbon Canyon Specific Plan and Hillside Management Ordinance that were designed to prevent this kind of project.

To buy tickets and get more information, click here.

19 April 2015

Brush Drop Off Day Next Saturday!

Next Saturday, 25 April from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., the Carbon Canyon Fire Safe Council once again offers a brush drop-off event as part of its Fuel Reduction Program project.

During those five hours, any resident of the Chino Hills portion of Carbon Canyon is welcome to bring their cut brush, which Fire Safe Council will assist in loading into roll-off bins paid for by the City of Chino Hills and provided by Chino Hills (Republic) Disposal.

The location is just north of Chino Valley Fire District station 64 at 16231 Canon Lane at Carbon Canyon Road.

Residents should bring their ID, a copy of a utility bill or a Carbon Canyon Emergency Access pass to verify that they are eligible to take advantage of the program.

With fire department inspections coming starting 15 May, this is the time for local property owners to be cutting their brush, hauling it down to the drop off point, and be ahead of the game when it comes to reducing fuel and keeping our fire risk lower.

For more information about the brush drop-off program and the Fire Safe Council, call (909) 902-5280, ext. 8833 or www.CarbonCanyonFSC.com.

15 April 2015

E.F. Gaines' Flying Cow Ranch

Edward F. Gaines has been discussed on this blog before.  He was a native of Gilroy, who moved with his family to the community of Wilmington next to Los Angeles Harbor.  Evidently, his father ran cattle in Carbon Canyon during the late 19th-century and Edward assisted in this.  After farming for a period in Clearwater and Hynes, communities that are now in the area of Paramount, Gaines, his wife, the former Frances Atwater, and their children moved out to a spread, known as the "Flying Cow Ranch," in the canyon.

A Santa Ana (now Orange County) Register article about a barbeque for the Orange County Riding Club on the E.F. Gaines ranch, 17 November 1927.
Among other endeavors having to do with horse raising, real estate investing and others, Gaines appears to have been among the first, if not the first, people to work with La Vida Mineral Springs from a commercial standpoint.  James Williams, who managed the resort in the 1910s, was from the same area in modern Paramount that Gaines had lived in.  Gaines' nephew Allan Abbott was shown in the 1920 federal census as the manager of La Vida.  By 1924, however, William N. Miller, an Anaheim oilman, assumed control of the resort and ushered in almost a half-century of ownership by his family.

An oral history interview done by Cal State Fullerton personnel included a reference that Gaines' house was where the Hollydale Mobile Home Estates is located.  But, his holdings extended beyond that into what is today's Olinda Village subdivision.

Notably, Gaines was considered a prime mover in the creation of Carbon Canyon Road east of Olinda and deep into the canyon, but he also wanted the original location along Carbon [Canyon] Creek and below his home to be the preferred route, even as local and state officials, once the road became a state highway, pushed to have the road moved higher and above the flood-prone creek.  In fact, the road was relocated, dividing Gaines' house from the remainder of his land.

In March 1937, the Santa Ana (now Orange County) Register had an article in its "Places to Go in Orange County" series penned by Marah Adams on Carbon Canyon with much information about Gaines.  For example, the oil well that purportedly exposed the mineral springs that later fed La Vida was built with Gaines observing the proceedings--this would have been at the end of the 1890s or early in the 1900s.  In the fact, the name "C.C. Price" was mentioned for a second drilling on the site--this was actually Charles E. Price of the Carbon Canyon Oil Company, which drilled its wells in 1900 and just afterward.

The article also detailed the efforts of Gaines and W.T. Brown of Fullerton in converting an old cow trail into the first edition of Carbon Canyon Road.  The article did not give a date, but this would have been in 1913-14.

A photo from a Santa Ana Register article, dated 21 May 1937, showing Edward F. Gaines of the Flying Cow Ranch (today's Olinda Village area) and a visitor next to the circa 1870s stagecoach that was a prized possession of Gaines.
Two months later, in May, another Register article dealt with Gaines, this time in connection with a rare old stagecoach that he owned on his ranch, which was said to have been 3,000 acres, though this may have been with an added zero as an error, and to have been owned by Gaines since the late 1890s.  In any case, the reason for the ranch's name was explained as due to "a wild cow that used to roam the hills and which always evaded the skillfully flung ropes of the ranch hands."

The piece also observed that "the ranch house sits cool and pleasant as a lovely hostess, on a hill overlooking a slope of orange trees set on one side of a barranca, the other side overgrown with a tangle of trees and vines."  This location corresponds well to the Hollydale site, with its note of a slope above the "barranca," which is Spanish for a deep gully with steep sides.

Then the article touched upon Gaines' rare example of a surviving stagecoach, many of its brethren having been lost, the rancher stated, to movie companies that thought nothing of taking an old coach and tumbling it over a cliff or hillside for dramatic effect during a film shoot.

Gaines' vehicle, however, was made by Abbott, Downing and Company of Concord, New Hampshire (hence the term "Concord coach") about 1875.  It was said the coach was used by the Bixby family, which owned the Long Beach-area ranchos Los Cerritos and Los Alamitos, as well as stretches of land throughout the region (the Bixby Land Company is still successful today), on its commercial stage line up the state's coast.

Gaines even stated that the coach he owned was used by his father when he migrated from Gilroy to a ranch he purchased in San Gabriel, while young Edward and his mother made the trip by ocean steamer.  There was then a detailed description of the coach and the article was accompanied by a photo (shown above).

At the end of 1939, another piece in the Register covered the fiftieth wedding anniversary of Edward and Frances Gaines.  After a detailed description of decorations in the family home, the cake, family members attending and so on, the article noted that the two met at Clearwater, where Mrs. Gaines' father was a major figure in the subdivision of the property and where Edward lived while his father farmed and ran cattle in Carbon Canyon.

In fact, the article went on to state that, for years after their 1889 marriage, Gaines ran 300-400 head of cattle every year between the Clearwater pastures and Carbon Canyon.  The piece concluded by stating that, "Mr. and Mrs. Gaines never will be forgotten as representatives of the romance of the state," while also observing that Edward's prize stagecoach had burned in a recent fire.

Frances Gaines died in 1947 and Edward followed nine years later in San Diego County.  Within a decade of that, during the 1960s, the Flying Cow Ranch was sold and the Hollydale Mobile Home Estates and church property (now a Hindu facility) were established where the Gaines house once stood.

13 April 2015

An 1856 Visit to Rancho Santa Ana del Chino

In late July 1856, Captain Edward O.C. Ord of the Army's Third U.S. Artillery, arrived in the Los Angeles region to scout potential locations for a fort and portions of his diary were published by the Huntington Library in 1978 as the book, The City of the Angels and the City of the Saints or A Trip to Los Angeles and San Bernardino in 1856.  After a brief visit to the small town of Los Angeles, then embroiled in some tension involving the homicide of a local Mexican-American by a deputy constable over a $50 debt and writ of attachment to satisfy that debt, Ord ventured east.

After a visit to "Quicomongo," otherwise known as the Rancho Cucamonga (where Ord noted the owner was building an addition to his adobe house, using Indian labor, and that "these sundried bricks called adobes, pronounced dobys, are pretty good for a lazy people, but great encouragers of dirt & fleas"), the captain wrote, "I left the road here to get information from a wealthy ranchero, Col. W., an old acquaintance at "El Chino," a large cattle estate."

It was common in diaries and travelogues to use shorthand for people, like "Col. W.," who was Isaac Williams, owner of the Rancho Santa Ana del Chino.  A footnote observed that, "Ord had been there in October 1849" to make a survey.  In fact, Ord, who was later a somewhat prominent figure in the Union Army during the Civil War, is best known locally for the survey of Los Angeles he completed in 1849 that was the first "true" (or professional) survey of that community and which established the pattern for the development of the town in subsequent years.

It turned out that, when Ord arrived at the ranch headquarters, located where Boys Republic operates in Chino Hills, "we found the Col. absent from his house, which like all the other houses, is a flat roofed, one-story adobe near a spring or stream, which after spreading fertility over several acres, dries up." Ord went on to record that, "The Cols. Mayor domo [foreman] gave us a welcome and a hearty meal of beef stewed with young pumpkins, maise &c."

The following day, however. "The Col. arrived from the playa [coastal area at the Pacific Ocean] next day, told me all I wanted to know [about potential fort locations near Cajon Pass, where Mormons had, in 1851, established the town of San Bernardino], and gave me an interesting exhibition of how the Indians of this country are managed."

This view, taken on 24 February from a hilltop location east of Peyton Drive and south of Chino Hills Parkway, looks north towards the briefly snowcapped Mount Baldy and the adjacent Ontario and Cucamonga peaks.  At the far left are trees and farm and pasture land on the Boys Republic property, which is where the Williams Adobe stood as the headquarters of the Rancho Santa Ana del Chino, which Captain Edward O.C. Ord visited in late July 1856.  Click on the image to see it in an enlarged view in a separate window.
Williams was, in fact, well-known for his intensive use of native American labor at his ranch, as well as for the fact that he fathered several children from a few native women after his own wife, Maria Lugo died several years before.  Ord went on to state that, "he [Williams] having the principal chief of the nearest band as his head cattle driver, some dozen or two as work hands or vaqueros.  This Indian chief waited at the door after sunset with his hat in hand to report the state of the cattle drive to a distance, for, from little rain, the grazing this year is very thin on this estate."

The band referred to may be the local group of Gabrieleño Indians, whose village ancestrally was at or near the location of the ranch's headquarters, or to Pablo Apis of a tribe from the Temecula area, who was a longtime employee of Williams and whose daughters bore some of Williams' children.  As to the drought problem (which we are experiencing all too well these days, though, obviously, under strikingly different circumstances and conditions), the problem in 1856 would pale in comparison to the mega-drought of 1863-64, which all but finished off the cattle industry in the region.

Ord also commented on the California state government's "singular absurdity" on its Indian policies that effectively meant that natives were "held in bondage by the owners of large estates [like Williams], as the slaves are in the south." He then claimed that slaves were of more value as productive in being "saleable chattle [chattel, or property]" whereas local Indians were "only saleable or buyable for debts due," Ord concluded that this meant that ranchers, having no use for Indians after immediate work was done, "ceases to credit him, drives him off, & he [the Indian] may die . . ."

Ord's views, however, were not sympathetic to natives, as he noted that Indian agents "soon discover that such miserable, servile wretches, who can be made to work, have no business to be fed in idleness."  That is, Indians were convinced by Indian agents to go to government reservations so that they didn't need to work for ranchers as "peons," but could receive food, shelter and other amenities, such as they were, as an entitlement [doesn't this sound familiar today?]

After his lengthy digression about Indian policy, Ord wrote, "but to return to the Rancho del Chino and the peonage system, it works very well at least for the cattle owners & vine growers."  Strikingly, Ord observed that "the institution of labor was established as a punishment [his italics[, and as the whites in California are not fond of being punished, the punishment of labor is inflicted on the stupid Indians, and the law of peonage established by northern men in this free(?) state is not likely to be rescinded for a while."  He continued that, "besides, the Indians are better fed on the ranchos than on government reservations & they prefer to stay there."  His final statement was, "so we might as well let the poor wretches have the choice of masters."

With this somewhat ambivalent indictment of nearly everyone from the state and federal governments, to the Indians, and the ranchers, like Williams, Ord moved on to San Bernardino to finish his inspection tour for a fort location that never materialized.  His description of his stay at the Williams Adobe on Rancho Santa Ana del Chino, however, is an interesting addition to the information about the property and its singular owner from 1841 until his death on 13 September 1856, just under two months after he hosted Ord for the second and final time.