04 June 2017

The Gaines and Brown Families of Carbon Canyon, Part 5: Olinda School, 1910s

Because it was located in a district that had extraordinary tax revenues from a booming oil field, Olinda School may have been the best-funded elementary through junior high school in the region.

For the Gaines and Brown families, whose descendant Joyce Harrington has shared many of the family photos, this meant a quality education outside of the established cities in northern Orange County like Fullerton and Anaheim.

When it came to going to high school, Olinda students would make the long bus ride to Fullerton Union High School, which gave a good education, just not with the tax revenues of Olinda!

It seemed particularly appropriate at this point, as our schools have completed their year and students are headed for their summer vacations, including some who have graduated, to post a couple of the images provided by Joyce of the Olinda School.

The facility was located near the banks of Carbon [Canyon] Creek after it flowed out of Carbon Canyon, past the confluence with Soquel Canyon and its creek and headed into what is now Carbon Canyon Regional Park.

The Olinda School, located in what is now the eastern end of Carbon Canyon Regional Park, from a circa 1910s photograph provided courtesy of Joyce Harrington.
Those familiar with the old park entrance, near which is a state historic landmark plaque for the Olinda community, will recognize in one of the photos the steep hill behind the school, which is above the park's eastern edge and where housing tracts in Yorba Linda overlook the park just to the west of today's Diemer water treatment plant operated by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

At the left of the image, behind a small tree is the covered projecting entrance of the school, situated under a bell tower with arched openings.  Again, this is pretty fancy school for such a rural area.

The other photo shows the graduating 8th grade class of 1917, exactly a century ago, posed on the front steps of the Olinda School.  As with almost all school photos, it is fun to see the varied dress and expressions of the students, some with broad smiles and others are serious, while a few students look away from the camera.  At the bottom left is the mark of Hartsook, a major photography studio with offices in Los Angeles and Oakland.

The 8th grade graduating class of 1917 at the Olinda School.  Courtesy of Joyce Harrington.
The Olinda School operated well after the post-World War II period, even as the residential population of the oil fields diminished significantly from the late 1920s onward, with the rise of the automobile allowing oil field workers to live further from their job site.  When the Carbon Canyon Dam project was completed in the late 1950s, the school was razed.

The name of Olinda School, however, was revived when the Olinda Village subdivision was built further east where the Gaines' Flying Cow Ranch was located.  Olinda Elementary School opened in the mid-1960s and operated until recent years, when new housing at Olinda Ranch and projecting subdivisions in the shuttered oil fields north of Lambert and west of Valencia prompted the move of the school to its current location on Birch Street.

Thanks to photos like the ones provided by Joyce, we can document the existence and usage of the original Olinda School.

03 June 2017

On the Skids in Carbon Canyon #s26262/26389 + Bonuses

Two recent accidents on Carbon Canyon Road indicate more reckless driving.  On Wednesday, 24 May at 10:30 p.m. that familiar sound of screeching tires and skidding followed by a metallic crunch echoed through Sleepy Hollow.

By the time a neighbor and I got over to the accident scene at the old Party House liquor store where Carbon Creek crosses under Carbon Canyon Road, the vehicle was gone, but left behind a twisted, bent section of guardrail there along the north side of the state highway.  A neighbor who lives directly across the street went out upon hearing the wreck and found a young woman hightailing it from the scene.

Yesterday about 4:15 p.m. while heading westbound from Chino Hills Parkway on Carbon Canyon Road, another accident scene was encountered, in which an older SUV was on its side and glass scattered across the westbound lane.

A Summit Ranch resident just narrowly missed being hit by the SUV, which apparently drifted off the eastbound lane, went up a dirt embankment and then skidded across the road on its side acros the opposing lane of traffic.  It has been said, but not verified, that alcohol was smelled on the breath of the driver.

Meanwhile, Chino Hills councilmember Ed Graham, as part of his regular updates to residents, which is a great service that he provides, had this to offer in his most recent edition:
Chino Hills Police conducted a Carbon Canyon Joint Enforcement Action on April 25th. The Cities of Chino and Brea participated as well. A total of 80 citations were issued by the three agencies with Chino Hills writing 50 of those tickets. Twenty of the 80 citations were for excessive speed. Several of those were in excess of 65 mph. Thirty-six citations were issued to Chino Hills’ residents. The balance were spread over a wide range of Orange County and Inland Empire cities. Interestingly, 16 citations were issued for use of cell phone/texting. As expected, a number of citations were issued to trucks, mostly for crossing the double yellow line. All of those were residents outside of Chino Hills. 
It is always a good situation when our local law enforcement personnel are out on Carbon Canyon Road, because, if they write that many citations on one day, just think how many instances of dangerous driving there are every day.

It should be added that the action took place on a Tuesday and, though not stated by councilmember Graham, was almost certainly during daylight hours.  However, those of us who live in or drive the canyon regularly know that more reckless driving takes place weekend evenings than during weekday mornings or afternoons.

As the City of Chino Hills moves to phase two of a Carbon Canyon Road traffic study, the obvious conclusions in phase one's basic engineering analysis were presented last month to the planning commission.  That is, traffic volumes are in the D or F ranch for Level of Service (LOS); that volume will be increasing as more housing is built in the Inland Empire; and that there are some improvements that can be suggested to Carbon Canyon Road with the goal being to increase efficiency of movement on the state highway.

However, of the dozen or so speakers who addressed the commission, many asked for traffic lights at Canon Lane or Canyon Hills Drive so that residents seeking to turn (especially left) onto Carbon Canyon Road can do so more easily.  As a canyon resident who has to turn left all the time, but won't even have the opportunity to have traffic signals to assist because of the sight line issue in Sleepy Hollow, I really do empathize with those residents.

But, adding more traffic signals, while it may benefit a few, will actually slow traffic down and impede movement through the canyon for the larger numbers of commuters on the road.  As a state highway, Carbon Canyon Road has to be looked at in terms of the broader, rather than the more localized, impacts.

Again, I experience the same issues and frustrations of trying to access the road as do those speakers, but more traffic signals will be counterproductive and lead to more stoppages, less access, and slower commute times.

Here, though, is the bottom line in the big picture.  There are too many of us, me included, driving ourselves solo.  There is no way to improve existing freeways, highways and arterial roadways to address the real problem of inefficient volume.  The huge amounts of money and time spent on the 91 Freeway widening and the improvements of the 57/60 interchange, two of the worst traffic areas anywhere in the United States are the proverbial "finger in the dike," and won't address long-term traffic problems.

More carpooling, trains, subways, and, especially, buses are the only way to deal with volume.  For those who love to drive or want the convenience (compromised as those may be by lengthening commute times) of controlling our time by driving ourselves solo, we have to decide how much more we can put up with.

The Carbon Canyon Road traffic study is needed and it is good to see the city taking this project on, but the reality is that solutions will be temporary and minor.  What our elected officials and citizens need to do is embrace getting away from solo vehicle occupancy to mass transit in its varied forms.  Otherwise, it is more time wasted, more pollution generated, and our quality of life diminishes further.