25 January 2017

Tres Hermanos Ranch Decision Postponed

The successor agency to the City of Industry's former redevelopment agency has delayed a decision on the city's $100 million offer for Tres Hermanos Ranch.

Tres Hermanos Ranch, March 2016.
The bottom line is the agency wants to know more from the city about its specific plans for the 2,500-acre property, aside from its recent general statements about preserving open space and providing public access.

Read more here.

23 January 2017

Tres Hermanos Ranch Article from the San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Late Saturday, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune posted an article about the City of Industry's latest offer to purchase the Tres Hermanos Ranch in Tonner Canyon for $100 million.

Tres Hermanos Ranch as seen from the south, March 2016.
Mention is made about the concept of using much of the property for water storage.

Read more here.

22 January 2017

Carbon Canyon Road Closed Due to Mudslides

UPDATE, 3:40 p.m.  Literally got home ten minutes ago and am now hearing the first flow of cars heading eastbound on Carbon Canyon Road, which is now completely open.

8:50 a.m., 24 January:   Chino Hills has not updated its alert, but the Brea hotline was updated a few minutes ago and says the road is closed with no clear path to Chino Hills and that CalTrans states the road might possibly be open at Noon.  Yet, for nearly two hours cars have been heading west, though with long delays.  A long line of westbound vehicles is stopped here in Sleepy Hollow, but cars have been going through for about two hours, though very slowly.

7 a.m., 24 January:  Though there have been no updates from Brea or Chino Hills, a long line of cars is making its way west on Carbon Canyon Road, which appears to indicate the road is open, though perhaps not both lanes.

UPDATE, 8:10 p.m., 23 January.  A half-hour ago, a new update came out, now posted by both Brea and Chino Hills that CalTrans has revised its estimate for reopenng Carbon Canyon Road from 6 a.m. to Noon.

UPDATE, 5:40 p.m., 23 January.  The City of Brea updated its Carbon Canyon hotline an hour ago.  Residents of Olinda Village and the Hollydale mobile home park will be escorted to their homes tonight by CalTrans personnel, but will then have to "shelter in place" (that is, stay put) until the work is completed to reopen Carbon Canyon Road.

CalTrans estimates the state highway will be open by 6 a.m. tomorrow morning and it hopes to do so sooner.

4:30 p.m., 23 January.  The City of Chino Hills alert system was last updated at 1 p.m. and there was no news.  Carbon Canyon Road remains closed while repairs on the mud slide and downed power pole continue.

UPDATE, 23 January, 5:50 a.m.  An alert update almost an hour ago informs that Carbon Canyon Road remains closed from the county line to Santa Fe Road.

UPDATE, 11:05 p.m.:  Carbon Canyon Road will remain closed through the night with no given timetable for reopening.  Olinda Village residents can access their homes from Santa Fe Road eastward with a police escort only.

Not surprisingly, with the heavy downpours all day today, Carbon Canyon Road has been closed between Santa Fe Road and Olinda Village, where the uphill climb eastward passes the steep slopes of the hills.

Mud slides and a downed power pole are involved, according to notices posted just moments ago on the Brea phone hotline and the Chino Hills website.  More information will be posted when available.

The Gaines and Brown Families of Carbon Canyon, Part Two

Here are a couple more great photographs provided by Joyce Harrington of her ancestors in the Brown and Gaines families, who were in the Olinda oil fields (Brown) and at the Flying Cow Ranch (Gaines) where Olinda Village is now.

The first photograph shows Earl Brown and others at an office, probably the Santa Fe lease where the Olinda Ranch subdivision now is located, on the Olinda lease.  The date was given on the photograph as 1909 or 1910.

Employees at an office, probably on the Santa Fe lease, at Olinda, ca. 1909-10.  The photos shown here are courtesy of Joyce Harrington.
The second image is a look at the Gaines family home from the southeast.  It looks as if the photo was taken on what is now the Hollydale mobile home park.

The dirt road leading to the house probably came up from the old road through Carbon Canyon, which was down along the creek as it came from Olinda to the west, met the confluence with Soquel Canyon and its creek and then headed uphill to Carbon Canyon just east of the ranch.

The Flying Cow Ranch house of Ed and Fannie Gaines seen from the southeast.  The location of the photo appears to be on what is now the Hollydale mobile home park and the peaked hill in the background is to the west of the Olinda Village subdivision.
People familiar with the area will recognize the peaked hill in the background, which is to the west of the Olinda Village tract.

More fantastic photos coming soon!

20 January 2017

On the Skids in Carbon Canyon #20001

Looks like this one happened earlier today.

The location is on the S-curve along Carbon Canyon Road between Summit Ranch and Carriage Hills in Chino Hills.

As said here before, these come in groups.

19 January 2017

The Gaines and Brown Families of Carbon Canyon, Part 1

Yesterday, a package arrived in the mail from Joyce Harrington, who lives in central California, and who is descended from the Gaines and Brown families, whose histories in Carbon Canyon go back almost 120 years.

Ms. Harrington very generously offered to share photos and reminiscences from both families for publication here (as well as for the Brea Historical Society) and there is enough material to keep this series going for quite some time.  Some sorting, organizing and arranging needs to be done, but let's start off with some basic information and a couple of great photos.

Earl Brown in a carriage pulled by "Nick" the horse at Olinda, ca. 1910s.  Photos courtesy of Joyce Harrington.

Her mother Barbara Brown was the daughter of Ora A. Brown and Stella Aileen Gaines.  The Browns were from Missouri and arrived at the Olinda oil field in 1907, a decade after the first well was brought in there by Edward Doheny in partnership with the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad.  In fact, the Browns lived in housing on the Santa Fe lease where the Olinda Ranch subdivision is across from the Carbon Canyon Dam and Regional Park.

The Gaines family had been in Gilroy near San Jose and then migrated south to Hynes and Clearwater, communities now known as Paramount, near Long Beach.  The family had a ranch there as well as in Carbon Canyon and the home on the latter is where the Bharat Sevashram Sangha Temple is adjacent to the Hollydale mobile home park at Olinda Village.

Edward F. Gaines at an entrance to the Flying Cow Ranch where the Olinda Village community is now located.
Ora Brown and Aileen Gaines attended the Olinda School, which was located near Carbon [Canyon] Creek in what is today the east end of the regional park.  They then attended Fullerton High School, which served the whole area, and married in 1918.

Some of this history of the Gaines family and their Flying Cow Ranch has been posted here before as well as general information about the Olinda oil field.  Future posts in this series will intersperse the history of the ranch and oil field, but the focus will be on the amazing photos Ms. Harrington has generously provided.

The Gaines family home on Flying Cow Ranch, where the Bharat Sevashram Sangha Temple is next to Hollydale mobile home park in Olinda Village. 
For now, enjoy the few examples here and check back regularly for further posts!

17 January 2017

On the Skids in Carbon Canyon #19999

CORRECTION, 9:45 a.m.:  Thanks to a local resident who commented on a Facebook post about this accident and stated that this accident was early on Sunday before 6 a.m.   The resident saud a car was wedged between the power pole at the left of the photo and the fence to the right.

These incidents tend to come in bunches with lulls in between.  This one appears to have happened last night.

The location is eastbound on Carbon Canyon Road on the S-curve between Azurite Drive and Old Carbon Canyon Road.

It's another common place for cars to depart the roadway on a steep curved downhill.

The skid marks began a ways out before the vehicle rode up the embankment.

Note that a utility box was crushed and deposited atop the embankment.

16 January 2017

On the Skids in Carbon Canyon #s 19674, 19728, 19802

The latest trio of traffic travails of note have taken place on Carbon Canyon Road within the last few weeks.

They all took place on familiar and frequent locations for errant driving and, while rain may (or may not) have been a factor, that's a far cry for an excuse.

In any case, two took place in the vicinity of the old La Vida Mineral Springs property on the Brea side, in which guardrails on the westbound side were crumpled, crushed and crinkled.  In the case of the one just after the former Manely Friends property, a section of chain link fencing was also battered.

A little further down, where the old entrance to the La Vida motel was located, a section of guardrail that has repeatedly been damaged and replaced has, again, been hit.

The third area is at the entrance to the Carriage Hills development at the S-curve and summit on the Chino Hills portion and involved an eastbound vehicle veering off the highway and tearing out some portions of turf there, just narrowly missing a power pole.

There have been other incidents, including one at the east end of Sleepy Hollow, where fluid residue has been visible on the roadway, and an accident between Canon Lane and Canyon Hills Road, within the same general time period.

14 January 2017

City of industry To Offer $100 Million for Tres Hermanos Ranch

According to yesterday's Pasadena Star-News, the City of Industry has upped its offer to purchase the 2,500-acre Tres Hermanos Ranch, which the city acquired forty years ago through its now-defunct redevelopment agency, to $100 million.

This was done after the regular council meeting Thursday included a closed session discussion after which the matter was to be resumed in two weeks.  However, a special meeting was called for yesterday afternoon, at which the decision was made to make the offer.

Industry city attorney Jamie Casso stated that the special meeting was called, with 24 hours notice as required by law, because the city had to make its offer ten days in advance of the next meeting of the successor agency to the city's redevelopment agency.

The article paraphrased Industry city manager Paul Philips' statement that "the City Council wants the land preserved for open space, public uses and public facilities" but did not offer details when contacted by the reporter, saying, "It's a work in progress."

Tres Hermanos Ranch as seen from the south, March 2016.
The land, which became subject to the disposition under the successor agency, was eyed by developers, with an Irvine firm, GH America, making a $101 million offer.  The city had an appraisal done that valued the land at less than half that amount and offered just over $40 million for the ranch, but is obviously willing to match the private offer.

The successor agency will consider Industry's latest offer at its next meeting on the 23rd.

The Star-News pointed out that the $100 million would come from Industry's general fund and that the city has a $264 million budget and some $800 million as surplus, amounts that far exceed what other municipalities have.

Chino Hills' mayor Ray Marquez, who is also a realtor, offered his views on the latest developments with Tres Hermanos, stating that residents prefer preservation of open space to high-density housing, but questioned why Industry would put up that kind of money, noting "there is a reason for it" and asking "what value is it to them?"

For more on this story, click here.

08 January 2017

Carbon Canyon in "The Old Spanish and Mexican Ranchos of Orange County", 1952

Sixty-five years ago this month, in January 1952, the Title Insurance and Trust Company, which did a massive business in greater Los Angeles real estate for many decades, issued a pamphlet, "The Old Spanish and Mexican Rancho of Orange County,"

Ticor Title, as it is now known today, began life in 1894 due to the merger of two firms dealing with title abstracts (summary histories of real estate properties) and title insurance (established to cover issues with legal defects in a property).  The Los Angeles area had been through the massive Boom of the 1880s, in which tens of thousands of settlers flocked to the small city and many more in the region.  It was during that boom that William H. Bailey came to the area, purchased some former public land northeast of Anaheim and established the Olinda Ranch at the west end of the Carbon Canyon area.

In 1894, the local economy was in a downturn, drought was a frequent occurrence in the decade, and a national depression broke out the prior year.  Yet, the Los Angeles oil field was, two years before, brought into existence by Charles Canfield and Edward Doheny and Doheny soon explored on Bailey's ranch, five years before incorporated into the new County of Orange during the boom, and located a spot to explore for a new well.

In 1897, the first producing well at the Olinda (first called Fullerton, then Olinda or Brea-Olinda) field was brought in by Doheny, who partnered with the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad, which was converting its locomotives to oil, the new industry standard.  The history of northeast Orange County became intertwined with that of the new "black gold" followed by the rapid growth of citrus farming.

This is a partial detail of a large foldout map from a 1952 publication by Title Insurance and Trust Company (TICOR) of Los Angeles about the Spanish and Mexican era ranchos of Orange County.  Click on any image to see them expanded in a separate window.
The pamphlet was written by company executive William W. Robinson, who wrote a great many works of greater Los Angeles history, and what he noted was that,
as late as March 11, 1889, when Governor [Robert] Waterman signed the bill forming the new county of Orange out of the south=eastern part of Los Angeles County, the land was still largely "rancho."  Valleys and grazing plains, crossed by the Santa Ana River, and a number of creeks or streams, predominated—the sort of country that has been the first choice of rancheros in Spanish and Mexican days when cattle raising was California's chief industry.
Robinson pointed out that there was only one established settlement before the founding of the German colony of Anaheim in 1857, this being the mission town of San Juan Capistrano.  But, flood and drought catastrophically hit the region in the early to mid 1860s, destroying the cattle industry.  What followed was the foreclosure or sale and then subdivision of much of the land in the area, with small farms, vineyards and orchards predominating in many cases.

As the author noted, during the region's first growth boom, which extended from the late 1860s through the mid 1870s, a raft of new towns and settlements sprung up during that first boom, including Garden Grove, Orange, Santa Ana, Tustin and Westminster.  Though Robinson didn't mention it, the growth period spectacular came to an end in 1875-76, when a bust in San Francisco enveloped Los Angeles, and stagnation resulted for a decade.

Then, the 1885 arrival of the Santa Fe from the east bringing a direct transcontinental link to greater Los Angeles ushered in that great "Boom of the Eighties."  Robinson lists new boom towns like Buena Park, El Modena [now part of Orange], Fullerton, and Olive [also in Orange].

Yet, what he left out was the fact that huge swaths of land in the southern part of the county remained open ranching and farming areas under the ownership of the family of James Irvine, who hit the jackpot when he bought former ranchos in the mid-1860s during the worst days of that decade's drought.

By 1952, the Irvine Company was still in possession of most of these holdings and most of that was still agricultural.  Those days, however, were soon to come to an end.  The early 1950s was the onset of another great boom in the region, as post-World War II Orange County became suburbia on steroids.  Tract houses, shopping centers, schools, a network of streets and freeways, and other elements totally transformed the county, though most of that was in concept and planning when the pamphlet was published.

There were some twenty Spanish and Mexican era ranchos that were fully or partially in Orange County.  This blog has mentioned many times before that the Carbon Canyon area was actually part of public lands set aside (wisely) under Spanish rule to provide common livestock grazing areas, so that ranchers would not overgraze their dominions.

Another detail takes in the northeastern reaches of Orange County to the borders with Riverside and San Bernardino counties.  Carbon Canyon and nearby areas are at the top, just left of center.  The white area there represented public land, held in common use for the neighboring ranches for additional livestock grazing land.
A large color foldout map pasted to the inside back cover of the pamphlet provides the location of the neighboring ranchos overlaid onto the grid of streets, rail lines and other elements that existed in 1946, just as the war ended and on the verge of the boom that would follow.  It is a particularly interesting and valuable map to show the convergence of history and "modern" development waiting to happen.

As to the relevant ranchos in the general Carbon Canyon area, there was, to the west, "San Juan Cajon de Santa Ana," which the pamphlet stated
extends from the northwest bank of the Santa Ana River to Ranchos La Habra and Los Coyotes on the north and west.  The cities of Anaheim, Fullerton, Placentia, and Brea have arisen on this rancho.
San Juan Cajon de Santa Ana was granted in 1837 by Governor Juan Bautista Alvarado to Juan Pacifico Ontiveros and totaled just under 36,000 acres.

To the south was the "Cañon de Santa Ana", described as
this rancho of rolling foothills and small canyons lies near the boundary line between Orange and San Bernardino counties and along and north of the curving Santa Ana River.  The town of Yorba is within this rancho, also a portion of Yorba Linda [both were combined very shortly after publication].
The ranch was granted by Governor José Figueroa to Bernardo Yorba in 1834 and totaled just a shade over 13,300 acres.  Yorba was a remarkable figure and also obtained the ranchos Sierra and Rincon in what is now Riverside County adjoining the Santa Ana River and inherited part of the Santiago de Santa Ana ranch from his father.  As Robinson observed, this allowed Yorba "to run his herds of cattle from the Riverside area to Newport Bay."

A tiny sliver of a ranch, in comparison, to the northwest of Carbon Canyon was "Rincon de la Brea."  Naturally, the name of the area came from brea, or tar, deposits of which were found in the canyon named for the material used to cover house roofs and for other purposes.  It also indicated part of where future deposits of oil were to be located in a belt running from modern Montebello into Brea.

Robinson recorded that the ranch, a little less than 4,500 acres, was granted in early 1841 by Governor Alvarado to Gil Ybarra, a well-known Los Angeles resident and office holder.  Most of Rincon de la Brea falls within Los Angeles County, with just the southern tip extending through Brea Canyon into Orange County just north of the City of Brea.

Honing in on the Carbon Canyon area, this detail shows it, as well as Soquel and Telepgraph canyons moving east from the Olinda oil town towards the county line with San Bernardino.  "La Vida Hot Springs," technically "La Vida Mineral Springs" is shown, as well.
The first detail of the map shown here gives a perspective from Seal Beach, Santa Ana, and Tustin on the south to the northern border of Orange County and from the San Gabriel River area on the west to the eastern reachers of Santa Ana Canyon on the east.

The three aforementioned ranches are in blue, green and pink, respectively, while the public lands adjacent and available to those properties are in white with a narrow strip rising from the Santa Ana River in what is now Anaheim, Placentia, Brea and Yorba Linda up to the widened area that principally includes what is now Chino Hills State Park, Carbon Canyon, the Chino Hills above the canyon.

A second detail shows more of the eastern reaches of the map, including where the county lines of Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino meet and where the canyons of Telegraph, Soquel, and Carbon extend towards Chino.

Finally, the last detail takes in those three canyons, the oil town of Olinda, the short-lived boomtown of Carlton on the southern portion of the Olinda Ranch, and the streets as laid out in 1946.  Note Valencia Avenue extended north from Imperial Highway and then curved east (right) into Carbon Canyon Road--the old asphalt path still exists in an oil field east of modern Valencia and south of today's Carbon Canyon.  Lambert Road was a ways off into the future and Brea-Olinda Boulevard was later renamed Birch Street (for Brea Canyon oil magnate A. Otis Birch, who grew up in Santa Ana.)

The thick black line near the center coming up through the old Carlton area was the spur railroad line of the Santa Fe emanating from Atwood (Placentia) to take shipments of crude from the Olinda fields out to refining.  The only marked entity within Carbon Canyon was the La Vida Hot [actually, Mineral} Springs resort, a few decaying ruins of which still exist on the Brea side of the canyon.  It is also worth pointing that the historic Brea Canyon, as shown on this map and many others, is actually today's Tonner Canyon!