30 October 2016

Eastern Carbon Canyon and Chino Hills Map, 1967

For map geeks, the United States Geological Survey quadrangle maps provide fascinating detail about an area and the historical development of those locations are a notable part of these documents.

One titled "Prado Dam Quadrangle" and issued in 1967 (hard to believe that is a half century for those of a certain age [like a half century]), but with elements dating to 1927, 1933 and 1949, covers the eastern part of the Carbon Canyon Road corridor and a significant area of what became Chino Hills.

What is really obvious in looking at the map as a whole is how sparsely populated the area from Prado Dam up to Boys Republic and from Carbon Canyon over to Grove Avenue really was.  Virtually everything east of Highway 71 (listed as the Corona Freeway, though it was a two-lane oad then) was either dairy lands with houses here and there, the massive Prado Flood Control Basin, and the two prison facilities—the California Institution for Men and the California Institution for Women.  The Chino Airport also is shown at the upper left of the map.

In what is now the Chino Hills State Park area, the section of map from Rolling M Ranch (park headquarters) on the right to McDermont Spring, which is near the Four Corners rest area, at the left, is highlighted in this 1967 U.S. Geological Survey map of the "Prado Dam Quadrangle."  Click on any image to see the set in larger views in separate windows.

As to the areas west of the 71, most of what is shown are the sections of the Chino Hills range, much of which became Chino Hills State Park, at the bottom half of the map.  Fifty years ago, there were two identified ranches in and just adjacent to the future park.  One was Rolling M Ranch, of which over 1,200 acres were purchased for about $5.7 million in 1981 for the park. Some of the history of that ranch has been provided on this blog before.

The other ranch was the McDermont, which bordered the future park at its northern extremity and of which 278 acres was added to the park in 1983 at a cost of just under $1.4 million.  The rest of the McDermont Ranch, which was established in the early 1920s, wound up being purchased by Aerojet Corporation for its weapons testing facility now where the Vellano Country Club and high-end residential community is located.  Meanwhile, regular users of the state park may know of McDermont Spring, which is next to the popular Four Corners rest stop.  More on McDermont Ranch in a forthcoming post.

There are also lots of notations on the map for springs, drill holes for wells (presumed water and oil), oil wells, and existing trails and dirt roads.  A couple notable elements in what became south Chino Hills adjacent to S.R. 71 is "Chino Downs" and  the "Claypit."

Below Los Serranos was the Higgins brick factory, labeled "Claypit", and Chino Downs, a horse tracks operated by the DrVries family.  The latter is near today's Chino Hills High School.

Chino Downs, opened by the DeVries family about 1960, was a horse racing track that later, after that family sold the place, hosted events, including concerts by such diverse performers as country legend Merle Haggard, who died earlier this year, and the rock band Great White, best known for being the headliner at the terrible Station club fire in Rhode Island in 2003.  The Chino Downs location looks to be just about where Chino Hills High School is today.

The Claypit refers to the Higgins brick factory, which sat along a road that extended into the Chino Hills where a gravel pit was situated just a short distance away from the factory (other gravel pits were found near where today's Butterfield Ranch Road and Pine Avenue meet further south).  James Higgins (1879-1937), a native of Illinois, learned the brickmaking trade in his home state and then came to Los Angeles in 1909.

He opened his first factory in 1927 in Gardena.  After his death, his widow and children kept the business going.  In the 1940s, they opened yards in Santa Monica and Monterey Park.  After buying 100 acres in Chino in 1958, they opened the facility there five years later.  The factory closed for good in 2011 and the Higgins Ranch subdivision carries the family name.  Click here for lots of info on the Higgins brick factory.

Boys Republic, which moved from San Fernando to Chino in 1907, and the English Road horse-breeding area are shown in this detail.  The Chino Hills government center, Ayala High School, the community center and community park are all within the area included here.

At the upper left of the map is Boys Republic, which moved to Chino from San Fernando in 1907, a year after the facility for troubled teens opened and directly west is the English Road area of horse breeding facilities.  It is striking that the map identifies these hills as part of the Puente Hills range, not the Chino Hills.  Also, in a little fold of the hills south of English Road is a indication of "mines," though of what kind is not stated.

Moving south there are a few scattered houses and more horse properties and small ranches along Peyton Drive and along Eucalyptus Avenue until Peyton until Carbon Canyon Road was reached.  East of that intersection was the brand new subdivision of Glenmeade, which opened in 1966, and which was between Carbon Canyon, Pipeline Avenue, Rolling Ridge Drive and Glen Ridge Drive in the early stages.

Across Pipeline Avenue and southeast was the main residential district of the future Chino Hills and that was Los Serranos, developed in the mid 1920s along with the country club of that name.  Lake Los Serranos is also shown, but the mobile home park was a few years off from creation.  Off Bird Farm Road, so named because the State of California established a bird farm in the late 1920s, was the state fishing hatchery, where Chaparral Elementary opened a decade ago.

The two existing neighborhoods in the future Chino Hills are shown here.  Los Serranos, developed in the mid-1920s in conjunction with the country club, and Glenmeade, which was a new community southwest of today's Chino Hills Parkway and Pipeline Avenue, contained the majority of the sparse population.

Another notable detail is that Central Avenue coming south from downtown Chino turned and followed the route of today's El Prado Road ending near the City of Chino's sewage ponds at Pine Avenue.  A turnoff from Central crossed Chino Creek and then the 71  and that was Los Serranos Road, where an old store was at the corner of Pomona Rincon Road.  Los Serranos Road was cut off when the 71 Freeway was completed and some of the portion of it east of the freeway is Red Barn Court, for all the old red-colored barn that used to sit at the intersection of today's Fairfield Ranch Road.  This was all rerouted when Soquel Canyon Road was created in the 1990s.

Carbon Canyon Road technically ended at Pipeline Avenue in 1967, with the portion east known as Merrill Avenue and leading to the men's prison.  Merrill does still exist east of Euclid Avenue today, while Carbon Canyon, now Chino Hills Parkway, terminates at Central and the highway designation of 142 ends at the 71 Freeway.

Finally, the area west of Glenmeade and Los Serranos was undeveloped hilllands leading west along Carbon Canyon Road to about where the base of the S-curve climbs to the summit where Carbon Canyon geologically began.  The area where it says "Little Chino [Creek]" is today's Gordon Ranch area of Chino Hills.

This map shows a portion of Carbon Canyon heading west into the hills and curving southwest past a dirt road that led into the Gordon Ranch (discussed in this blog previously.)  That dirt road is the extension of Chino Hills Parkway north towards the 60 Freeway.  It appears that the western edge of the map shows Carbon Canyon Road just as it gets to the bottom of the S-curve where Old Carbon Canyon Road is today.

Maps like this Prado Dam Quadrangle can be very useful for those who like to compare how areas are laid out and used today to how they were in the past, especially somewhere like Chino Hills which has developed relatively recently and changed dramatically within the last several decades.

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