15 April 2017

The Gaines and Brown Families of Carbon Canyon, Part Four: Olinda Baseball Team, ca. 1910

Because the major league baseball season has just gotten underway in the last couple of weeks, this seems like a good time to post another great photo, provided by Joyce Harrington, of a couple of her family members.

Earl and Alvis Brown were members of the Olinda baseball team, as pictured here in the oil field community's "ballpark", about 1910.  Identities of most of those in the photo were provided:

Back row (left to right):  Powell, Art Cripps, Bob Isbell, Manager John Martin, Charles (Shagg) Lloyd, and Alvis (Dutch) Brown.

Front row (L-R): Claude (Buzzy) Buzzard, Johnnie Craig, Ray Perry, Billie McLean, Earl Brown.

Nora Brown McMillan wrote some reminiscences of her years living in Olinda and noted:
I would not forget the Olinda baseball team!  It was another source of much pleasure to the settlement.  The local boys first played on a diamond in the "flat" just east off Santa Fe Avenue.  Walter Johnson, the well remembered Big League ball pitcher was one of the local boys who played there, but Walt had moved on up to the Big Leagues before Olinda's best known ball team was formed.  This team was managed by John Martin, and the ball team was back of Martin's Drugstore on the Hall's Lease.  The games were played on Sunday afternoons, and we filled the small grandstand to watch them . . . (Later the ball diamond was again on the Santa Fe Lease, on the west side.)
The photo was also described in Mrs. McMillan's account and the location was, of course, what she said was "back of Martin's Drugstore" on the lease of Charles Victor Hall and his Fullerton Consolidated Oil Company.  The Santa Fe Lease was to the east on the hillside north of Carbon Canyon Road where the Olinda Ranch subdivision is now.

As for Walter Johnson, the native of Kansas came with his family to Olinda in 1902 (five years after the first oil well was brought in by Edward Doheny in the area) when he was fifteen.  By 1907, he signed a contract with the Washington Senators and played for 20 years.  "The Big Train" won 417 games, struck out over 3,500 batters, had 110 shutouts, and sported a lifetime ERA of 2.17.

Johnson threw a no-hitter in 1920 and won his only World Series four years later.  He also managed the Senators and the Cleveland Indians between 1929 and 1935 and won 55% of his games.  A member of the all-century and all-time teams, Johnson was also one of the "Five Immortals" originally inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame, securing just under 84% of the vote in 1936.  The others were Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Ty Cobb, and Christy Mathewson.  Johnson died of a brain tumor in 1946 at age 59.

13 April 2017

New News on Tres Hermanos Ranch

This morning's San Gabriel Valley Tribune has another front-page piece on Tres Hermanos Ranch and negotiations over its potential use.

To read about these developments, read the article here.

12 April 2017

Carbon Canyon Road Closure Today

A few hours ago, the westbound side of Carbon Canyon Road was closed just east of Olinda Village near the old La Vida Mineral Springs site because of a solo vehicle crash.

Here was the detail from the City of Chino Hills website's "Alert Center":

Road Alert-Update 6:05 pm Wed., April 12th Westbound traffic on SR142 is being rerouted around a solo vehicle accident scene east of Olinda Village. Traffic is heavily congested. 

Major Road Closure - 5:45 pm Wednesday, April 12th – Westbound lane is closed on Carbon Canyon Road, east of Olinda Village, due to a solo vehicle accident. A SIG alert has been issued for the next 45 minutes. Traffic is heavily congested.

Notably, the City of Brea's Carbon Canyon hotline had nothing about this accident, as was the case with the accident just yesterday near today's wreck.

It does seem like there has been a spate of incidents recently, though whether these last two have been because of speeding or other reckless driving is not known.

La Vida Mineral Springs Water Tank Good Samaritan Redux!

For the second time in the last few weeks, a good samaritan (or samaritans, it appears) have stepped forward to eradicate graffiti on the water tank of the La Vida Mineral Springs in Carbon Canyon near Olinda Village.

A post five weeks or so ago noted that graffiti applied weeks before that was painted over.  Then, within a short time, another batch of tagging was applied.

However, in short order, another beautification effort was made, including pink paint to match the historic color of the tank!

Incidentally, the concrete base just below the tank has been crumbling in recent years and the heavy rains, so desperately needed, this past winter have done further erosion, but it's great to see what is left being cared for.

So, once more, many thanks to whoever is doing this community service!

11 April 2017

On the Skids in Carbon Canyon: #24839

Heading westbound on Carbon Canyon Road in Brea at about 1:45 p.m., I came across an accident scene, in which an eastbound vehicle evidently skidded across the state highway and crashed into some yellow bollards on the shoulder and was stranded on the westbound lane.  The location was just east of the former Manely Friends stable.

A passerby was working to help with traffic because of a curve in the road and a siren could be heard from the west.  As I proceeded along, a fire truck from the Olinda Village station roared by with sirens and lights going and an ambulance and police vehicles were not far behind.

The car looked like it was totaled with significant front end damage, though a call to the City of Brea's Carbon Canyon Road hotline did not have information about the crash.  

10 April 2017

Near Miss on Carbon Canyon Road This Morning

This morning at about a quarter to 8 as I was taking my kids to school and heading eastbound on Carbon Canyon Road, approaching the second to last curve on the S-curve between Azurite Drive and Old Carbon Canyon Road, I was about forty feet from the turn when a truck with a very long flat bed came around the turn heading west and the bed was well into my lane.

In fact, the truck's bed was so far into the eastbound lane that it left only a few feet of space at the curve, forcing me to make an abrupt stop, while the truck passed.  The driver did not appear to be overly concerned about whether he was going to be able to make these turns without moving through the opposing lane.

The length of the truck, including the long bed, was well over the 50 feet that is on the posted signs (brought about because of local community activism) "advising" drivers that continuing on Carbon Canyon Road is not recommended.  This is, of course, only an advisory and CalTrans has no legal authority to ban vehicles from traveling along the S-curve.

Clearly, this is not an isolated incident.  I once watched an eastbound truck come down the sharper curve west of Azurite and sweep into the westbound lane as a school bus just ahead of me had to stop sharply to avoid a collision.  There have been other incidents, including trucks literally stuck and unable to make these hard turns through the S-curve.

Some years ago, a post on this blog posed the question of why Carbon Canyon Road remains a state highway.  Cited as a model for what could be done was a portion of State Route 39 on Hacienda Road from Whittier Boulevard north through a canyon in La Habra Heights that is also two lanes and features sharp curves and turns.

A number of years ago this section of highway was deleted from the system and control of the roadway went to La Habra Heights.  Large trucks are, consequently, banned from using Hacienda Road.

Carbon Canyon Road is essentially the same type of thoroughfare as Hacienda Road--it consists of two lanes, winding and curving through a canyon and steep hills.  It presents many of the same general obstacles, constrains and problems.

There is, however, one substantial difference.  There are only three viable ways to get from east to west from the lower Inland Empire to Orange County and the lower San Gabriel Valley.  There is the 60 freeway, Grand Avenue (and then the 57 for both of these heading south), the 91 Freeway, and Carbon Canyon Road.

Despite the massive growth inland, causing greater volume and congestion on these routes and despite the urge for greater numbers of long, heavy trucks to use Carbon Canyon Road as a faster alternative to the 60 and 91, all that CalTrans can do, so long as Carbon Canyon remains a state highway, is to give advice.  Local law enforcement occasionally goes out and tickets truck drivers for crossing the lane.

This morning wasn't just crossing the lane, it was taking all but several feet of it.  And, it was a question of timing and circumstance.  A few seconds' difference and there could have been a collision that could have led to serious injury and who knows what else.

Some might recall what happened on Highway 2 in La Cañada/Flintridge some years ago, when a big rig lost control coming down from the San Gabriel Mountains portion of that state highway and caused a fatality.  The situation is not exactly the same on Carbon Canyon Road, but serious collisions on the S-curve are a real possibility, as I experienced first-hand this morning and others have, as well.

Drivers on Carbon Canyon Road:  beyond the other hazards on the state highway, continue to use extra caution, especially on the S-curve and particularly when trucks that are often too large or with drivers unaccustomed to the curves are plying the road looking for a faster shortcut.

09 April 2017

The Latest Tres Hermanos Update

With the City of Industry's $100 million offer for the Tres Hermanos Ranch, in Tonner Canyon just north of Carbon Canyon, still on the table, but with an uncertain future, here is a new article from the San Gabriel Valley Tribune about a lull in the situation.