28 April 2023

Carbon Canyon Fire Safe Council Brush Drop Off

There were forecasts of weather being into the low 90s tomorrow, but it looks like it will be about ten degrees cooler than that, so that's good news.

This is especially true if Chino Hills residents of Carbon Canyon are cutting brush tomorrow on their properties to reduce fire risk because they can bring that material down to the Carbon Canyon Fire Safe Council's twice-annual brush drop-off next to Fire Station 64 on Canon Lane north of Carbon Canyon Road.  Volunteers will be there from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. to assist.

10 April 2023

Chino Hills State Park "Superbloom" Spotlight in the Los Angeles Times

The "California" section of today's Los Angeles Times features a front-page article with three images of Chino Hills State Park and concerns so-called "superblooms," or the profusion of wildflowers now carpeting our landscape thanks to the copious amounts of rainfall we experienced this past winter.

The piece identified seven locations, most outside of the greater Los Angeles area, but also including the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve, as well as our local state park.  Of the three photos, however, two of them actually show the overabundance of black mustard, which, while striking for its bright yellow blooms, are an incredibly invasive and destructive plant.  

Brought to California by Spanish missionaries in the late 18th century, black mustard take over before native plants get a chance to make headway, deny the natives sunlight and water with hyper-aggressive growth and then, when dry, become a huge wildfire risk.  Among the plants that are crowded out by this invasive are the state flower, the poppy, lupines, goldfields, and many others.

The third and largest image by Allen J. Schaben seemed to be chosen for its artistic merits, as he aimed his lens through a windmill at the Rolling M. Ranch (for a little history of the Rolling M, check out this 2010 post from this blog) and captured a hiker checking out some wildflowers, which are not all that visible.  In any case, if you search for the online version of the article, the photos are different, though, frankly, a lot more spectacular and focus mainly on the bright orange poppies that we need far more of instead of the black mustard that we'll come to rue when the weather gets hot and wildfire risk escalates.

UPDATE, 11 April: Check this out from Newsweek

01 April 2023

Post Agrarian Landscapes Photo Project Request

Having been contacted by David Reeve about his photo project, the Chronicle is happy to share this on his behalf:

I am a photographer living in Brea, born in La Habra. Last year I embarked on a photo project called Post Agrarian Landscapes that looks at how the this area has evolved from farming community to its modern form – retail spaces, homes, economic growth. I am focusing on Central Avenue in La Habra as it winds through Brea, connects with Lambert Rd and into Carbon Canyon and Sleepy Hollow. It’s a fascinating path that touches on a lot of diverse communities. I am wanting to meet people in Carbon Canyon/Sleepy Hollow who would like to be featured in this work. Perhaps they have a story to tell about this area, or some historical knowledge. I am looking for interesting people, locations, history, to document as part of this project. No costs or payment – this is an artistic endeavor that may get published in a future magazine or newspaper. Please contact David Reeve at davidwilliamreeve@gmail.com and you are also encouraged to visit my website.


23 March 2023

Carbon Canyon Road Full Closure (Again)

 This is 3 hours old, but it is notable that this is the second full closure of Carbon Canyon Road in the last few days:

March 23, 2023 6:42 AM

Carbon Canyon Road (SR142) is Closed - Resident Access Only on Chino Hills Side

Carbon Canyon Road (SR142) is closed from Chino Hills Parkway to Hillside Drive/Rosemary Lane due to a traffic collision and vehicle fire on the Brea Side.
This is a hard closure for commuters, who need to seek an alternate route. Residents who live in the Canyon are being allowed access up to the County line.
On the Brea side the closure for both directions is from Olinda to Rosemary Lane/Hillside Drive. Until further notice.

For a brief update, see: https://ktla.com/news/local-news/death-investigation-underway-after-burned-truck-discovered-off-brea-road/.

The site looks to be where the La Vida Mineral Springs used to operate on the north side of SR 142 just east of Olinda Village.

20 March 2023

Carbon Canyon Road Full Closure

From the City of Chino Hills: 

March 20, 2023 9:09 PM

Complete Closure of Carbon Canyon Road in Both Directions

Carbon Canyon Road is closed in both directions east of Hillside Drive/Rosemary Lane due to a fatal traffic collision on the Brea side. This is a hard closure with no through traffic to the Brea side. No ETA for reopening has been provided at this time.

26 February 2023

Chino Hills Historical Society Talk Tomorrow Night on Vada Watson Somerville

The next meeting of the Chino Hills Historical Society is on  Monday, February 27 at 7:00 pm at the Community Center at 14250 Peyton Drive, across from Ayala High School.  

For Black History Month, we would like to announce that we will learn about the life of Vada Watson Somerville.  She was a pioneering Black woman in Los Angeles in many ways, including earning her degree from USC and being the first female African-American dentist in the city.  She served in many leadership roles with organizations for the Black community and women, in particular.  

She and her husband, John Somerville, with whom she practiced dentistry, were also the builders of the Hotel Somerville, later the Hotel Dunbar, a vital South-Central Los Angeles site for African-Americans.  When she died in 1972, Vada was recognized for her many contributions to the Black community.  

Few know, however, that she spent part of her youth right here in the Chino Valley, so please join the Chino Hills Historical Society for a presentation by Chino Hills resident and historian Paul R. Spitzzeri for a review of the life and achievements of this remarkable African-American woman.

28 September 2022

Carbon Canyon Historical Artifact #65: "Oil Fields Olinda Cal." Looking South Toward Carbon Canyon Road, ca. 1920

As promised a month ago, here is the second of two real photo postcards of the Olinda Oil Field by Edward W. Cochems, a well-known Santa Ana photographer, and taken about 1920.  Whereas the first was taken from at or near Carbon Canyon Road and looked north to the hillside wells of the Santa Fe lease, this one is from the hillside looking south toward the road.

The several wooden structures on either side of wide dirt road on which Cochems stood as well as where the thoroughfare terminated, probably with another street running east to west in front of it, probably are a mix of field offices, dwellings, and buildings associated with wells, with at least two tall wooden derricks in the foreground.

Left of center is a thick stand of trees (perhaps eucalyptus?) behind which is the gap between hills (the one to the right, or west, having derricks upon it), where Carbon [Canyon] Creek, which to the east was joined by the creek emanating from Soquel Canyon, cut through that divide on its way to the Santa Ana River.  In the late 1950s, Carbon Canyon Dam was built in that area, followed in the mid-Sixties by the opening of Carbon Canyon Regional Park.  Out in the distance is Placentia and surrounding areas, mostly comprised of orange groves and very much a rural, agricultural section.

What our friends at the Olinda Oil Museum will have to confirm for us, and we can be sure at least one of them will in very short order (ahem, Chris Farren!), is whether this is, in fact, where the Museum is today, sequestered amid the Olinda Ranch housing tract.  If so, the original 1897 well brought in by oil tycoon Edward L. Doheny, in partnership with the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad (hence the name of the lease, with Santa Fe Avenue being the main thoroughfare running through the subdivision today), with that well not only launching Orange County's oil industry, but is still pumping today!

If this is not that location, it is still a fantastic view of the oil field.  Given that the remaining wells to the west, including on and around that hill on the right, are soon to be shut down and the land developed as the Brea265 project, one of the last remaining large-scale oil operations, not only in this area, but in the county and region generally, will cease to have a physical presence.  Photos like these will be the only reminders of an industry that long was prominent in southern California, but, with expanding climate change, is becoming more heavily contested with each passing year.

UPDATE, 29 September:  Chris Farren, who is with the Olinda Oil Museum and is a fountain of knowledge on the local field and area generally, confirms that this is where the Museum is today, so this provides additional interest and significance to the photo and also a good opportunity to remind readers to visit the Museum!