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Re-dedication of the Ramada
1996 will be the cumulation of months of hard work by the Scenic Mt. Lowe Historical
Committee and its volunteers.
On that day a re-dedication of the Ramada at Inspiration Point will be
held at Inspiration Point. The program will start at 10:00 AM. Included in the program
will be guest speakers, displays of Mt. Lowe memoribilia, and the spectacular views of
All interested parties are encouraged to call 818-568-2610 for more
information or to secure a ride to the event. Only a limited number of vehicals will be
allowed access to this beautiful, remote, mountain location.
Bring along water and pack yourself a lunch. Most of all youll
want to bring along a camera to record the event as well as get some special shots of this
historical site and its views. The Ramada at Inpiration Point was part of the 1924-25
Pacific Electric expansion program. Located 1/4 mile from Alpine Tavern the site offered
an unparrelled view of both the valleys and the heavens above.
It was a great stopping off point for hikers and also was the terminus
of the famous OM& M Railroad, which stood for One Man and A Mule.
It was advertised heavily that from Inspiration Point one could observe
with the aid of telescopic viewers, 56 different cities. The 2000 square miles of Southern
California that visitors saw from the site showed checker board squares of orange groves,
vineyards, and threaded through them were the newly built, great highways connecting it
all to the shores of the great pacific ocean. On a clearooked as if the sky had turned
The millions of twinkling lights formed kaleidoscopic
patterns on a velvet carpet of black. No wonder it was such a popular spot on the Mt. Lowe
Nearby were other points of interest like Proposal Arbor, a shady nook
for picnic parties and a post where all could leave a business card tacked to it. There
was also the silver fox farm, tennis courts, Easter Rock, pony rides and the many trails
winding to various points across the range.
Perhaps the most popular attraction other then the view at inspiration
Point was the OM & M. The One Man & a Mule Railroad was the brainstorm of a man
named Zetterwall. He had come to the mountains around 1915 looking for purer air to help
with his tuberculous.
Zetterwall laid almost three miles of track along the ridge east of
Inspiration Point taking visitors to another view of the eastern San Gabriel valley.
Passengers were charged 35 cents and children were 20 cents. The open railroad car was
powered by Herbert the mule, who would push the car both ways to keep the dust off of the
A Metz on the Mountain Top
Eighty one years ago on June 22, 1915
guests from the surrounding area and from around the country were treated to an unusual
visitation at the Alpine Tavern. The locals from Altadena,
Pasadena, and Eagle Rock mingled with seasoned travelers from Kalamazoo,
and Dayton. Some
rode the rails up to the tavern as an escape from the day to day routines in the growing
cities below, while for others it was the highlight of a vacation that perhaps took years
of toiling and saving.
The guests were savey to the ways of gaining access to the mountain. The
route most known to tourists was the incline railroad from Rubio Platform up to Echo
Mountain and then a trip on the Pacific Electric's Alpine Division to the rustic Alpine
Tavern. Other then that you had to hike it on one of the trails that zig-zagged up the
So, you can
just imagine the surprise of the guests that day as they stepped down off the porch of the
Alpine Tavern to see an automobile parked in front under a canopy of huge oaks. The site
attracted quite a number of onlookers as the car,
driver and owner posed for photos in the picturesque setting.
The car, a Metz roadster, was being delivered to Mr. H. B. Brown the
manager of the tavern by the local Metz agent Mr. F. L. Wing. This sporty roadster
manufactured in Waltham, Massachusetts had a conventional four cylinder motor and a novel
new engineering feature, a continuous speed transmission with a friction drive. The car
put to the test a number of questions the Metz manufacturers had about the unusual
transmission, passing all with flying colors. Also put to the test that day were the Goodrich
tires which prior to the accent of the mountain had accumulated 6000 miles on them.
The Goodrich, a company magazine dated October 1915 did a nice write up about the stamina
of the rubber tires stating that they stood the punishment like men and there were no
problems as they were built for service.
How did the Metz get to the Alpine Tavern? Well, Mr. F. L. wing the Metz
auto agent in Los Angeles was a bit like our Professor Lowe in that he loved a promotion
and a challenge. It's been said that he would try anything once. So, after a challenging
trip to the depths of the Grand Canyon a friend said to Wing as he eyed Mt. Lowe, "F.
L. just because the gods were with you on your canyon trip don't monkey around with the
machinery. Let well enough alone, anyway you couldn't get a car up that mountain unless
you shot it up! there's no road just railroad ties."
enough for Wing to get the venture underway. He rode the rails to Rubio Platform where
they loaded the Metz onto an incline flatcar and pulled it up to Echo Mountain. At echo F.
L. picked up two ride along guests Mr. A. G. Waddell of the Los Angeles Times and Mr. C.
S. Lawrence of Echo Mountain. (Mr. Lawrence took many of the great photos depicting life
on Mt. Lowe seen in todays books on the subject.) With his guests holding on for dear life
Wing took off on a five mile journey across giant crevices and grand gorges hundreds of
feet deep. The little Metz roadster bounced steadfastly from tie to tie giving the trio a
true "white knuckler" of the day. the ties were 12 to 14 inches apart and as The
Goodrich is quoted as saying, "only two feet and a perfect set of Goodrich tires
stood between the riders and eternity as they rode over the spans."
Along the way to the tavern C. S. Lawrence took a number of photos which
have survived to this day depicting the event. Perhaps the most thrilling part of the ride
was Circular Bridge. Lawrence took quite a few shots of this event as well as the car
passing through Granite Gate, reaching the top at Mt. Lowe, and a great shot at the Alpine
This writer would like to thank men like C. S. Lawrence whose photos
preserve the large and small segments of history that depict our early pioneers
challenging their environments.
A Tenderfoot in So. Cal.
Mt. Lowe, By M. D. Yeslah
This piece is reprinted from "A Tenderfoot in Southern
California." Published as a limited edition, autographed copy by J.J. Little &
Ives Co. 1908. It is one chapter of seventeen dicussing Southern California.
As all tenderfeet are expected to do, I took the trip up
Mt. Lowe. Its all right, that trip is, except that it makes you feel that if you ever get
down on the level again you'll go to church a little oftener, and be prepared for the next
By gum, there are spots on that trip, and then some!
I went up with a fellar named Smith, and as we got half way
up that blamed incline, I got to thinking pretty hard.
You see, Bill, at the bottom of that incline, there's a
solid wall of rock, fifty feet high, not more than twenty-five feet from where those cable
cars stop. Yes-sir-ree, I got to thinking that if anything busted, and we shot back down
the hill, they would never be able to tell which was me and which was Smith when they
gathered us up to ship back East in the baggage car.
You bet I kept my mouth shut and I guess I held my breathe
too, for someway I felt that too much laughing and loud talking would jar that dinky car
and mebbe loosen something.
I as mighty glad when I reached level ground at the top of
Then began a foot race for another dinky car, a bobbed tail
electric this time, that takes you on further up the mountain to Mt. Lowe. There were
about seventy-five people all trying at once to get into one lonesome little car, that
groaned with only twenty-five aboard, but they all got on somehow or somewhere, and the
rest of the ride we wiggled up and down, in and out, around corners and across squeaking
bridges, that looked like they'd go down for a cent and a half, and all the time everybody
was "oh-ing" and "ah-ing" and no wonder.
Say Bill, if you ever get to California, dont miss this
trip. They skin you on the price of it, all right, but its the most satisfying
"skinning" I've had since I came out here.
Be sure and take your mother-in-law along, Bill, and half
way up that incline, if there's anything on earth you want, ask her for it, while you are
hanging onto the side of the mountain at an angle of 65 degrees.
You'll get it all right, if she's got wind enough left to
Prof. Lowe on the Web
The treasure hunter, explorer, historian, and collector
will sometimes search around the globe for those treasures he seeks. Little did I know I
would find the years best treasure in my own office.
Last Thursday night, just before the Labor
Day weekend this member of the Land-Sea Discovery Group experienced the internet for
the first time. What a thrill it was browsing through the various pages seeing what others
have to offer. For a researcher it is sheer paradise. For a collector it is a world wide
playground. I spent nearly thirty hours that long weekend on the net. I highly recommend
to those that can swing the fee (mine is $19.95 a month) and that have the computer and
So, needless to say after a while I typed in Thaddeus Lowe.
I also tried variation of the name and initials to see what would come up. I searched
through Civil War pages, balloon
sites, and railroad sites.
I'm sure I didn't cover all the aspects but I'm working on
the combinations every chance I get.
So in my first tour, what did I find? I found a site on Altadena.
The site has an events page, history, and a bit about Altadena. What they did not have was
Mt. Lowe. I used my e-mail (email@example.com)
for the first time and contacted the webmaster. I eventually offered up some pictures and
my newsletter to the site's webmaster and Mt. Lowe is now on the internet with AAAIM's help. Thanks
Triple A Internet Masters! I am considering doing a site for Mt. Lowe myself as soon as I
have a full grasp of the concept and what it entails.
Sadly I did not find anything else on Mt. Lowe (yet). I did
however find various tidbits on Thaddeus himself, who as many of you know he had quite a
previous history in ballooning
and the Civil
War. He was also a great inventor.
One of the pages I found offered a first day cover for the
Thaddeus Lowe 1915
being printed by the U.S. Postal Service. Unfortunately it was for Sept. 23, 1995. I
thought well.... maybe the post office still had some of the areogrammes. They did! I
managed to get some and you probably can to. Just go in and ask at the post office. It is
full color and depicts three Civil War scenes. They cost 50 cents.
I found one site in an aviation area that discussed
someone's experience meeting the daughter of Prof. Lowe, a Florence ("Pancho")
Lowe Barnes. They describe her casual dress, salty conversation, and predilection for foul
which she light by striking matches on the seat of her pants. She definitely did not
project the image of her wealthy birthright. What a hoot!
Following highway US-2 just west of Jefferson there is a
roadside marker that commemorates the birth of Thaddeus Lowe. This note was posted by the
Lancaster Historical Society.
Looking around in the observatory category I found a
snippet about the Ricard Memorial Observatory on Santa Clara University. This is the final
resting place of Lewis Swift's telescope that he manned for so many years on Echo
Mountain. The University bought the telescope in 1941 for $2000.
Listen to this. Heritage,
New Hampshire says you can have your picture taken in a lighter than air reconnaissance
balloon designed by New Hampshire's own Thaddeus Lowe. Love to get a snap of that.
And then there was NASA. In their Observatorium/font>
Page they show the history of the remote sensing industry and guess who was right near the
top of their list? Right! Thaddeus Lowe.
There is much more I haven't spoke of and I'm sure much
more I have yet to find. Why not give it a while yourself? Let's hear what you find. Send
E-Mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
News to and from our readers
Thanks to Frank Tsai for the kind words about the
newsletter and the great video he sent along.
Robert Wilde was lucky enough to pick up a 5th edition
Scenic Mt. Lowe booklet chock full of pictures at the last postcard show.
LSDG was able to steer Paul Rippens to a great book on the
LA Aqueduct and Mullholland. Its a subject he collects.
Thanks to Carl Wendt for the support in word and purchases
of the Metz picture.
Thanks Tom McKnight for the purchase of a couple books and
Thanks to Paul Ayers and Robert Wilde for sharing copies of
LSDG mailed some copies of the Echoes to the Scripps Home
for the folks to enjoy, which they did and sent a nice letter back.
Special thanks to Roger and Nick at R & N Postcards for
letting LSDG display some newsletters and a mailing list.12 new interested people were
Jake Brouwer found a 2nd edition Scenic Mt. Lowe book for
$25.00 after a modest discount. Copyright was 1896. See it on display at Inspiration Point
along with some other finds.
Feel free to contact us about your finds of Mt. Lowe
collectables. Its nice to know what youre finding. It helps also to establish
values on misc. items.
A note from the editor
Sometimes things just have to come to an end and so this
will be the last issue of 1996. I hope you have enjoyed the material that was presented
during the year in our first four issues.
It has been great fun for me doing research, layouts, and
just putting the whole thing together.
As this last issue comes together I am also getting ready
for the rededication at Inspiration Point. This will be a fun event that I hope you all
The holiday season is almost upon us and I expect to be
kept quite busy with family and business affairs for the next two months. During that time
I will be looking into various ways to keep the newsletter coming to you in 1997. I would
appreciate any and all comments on the paper, or suggestions to keep it afloat.
Just send them to me at the LSDG address posted to the
right of this column.
Your letters of support may be shown to local business
people interested in purchasing inexpensive advertising space.
With the support of local business people, we hope the
newsletter will flourish and grow into a larger publication that may incorporate other
areas of interest along the San Gabriel Mountains.
With that Ill sign off for now and I hope to hear
from you all soon. Have a wonderful holiday season and take care of yourselves and our
Land-Sea Discovery Group Contact Information
Land~Sea Discovery Group
PO Box 401904
Hesperia, Ca. 92340
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Last modified: July 10, 1997
No part of this paper may be reproduced in any form
without written permission from: Jake Brouwer
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Land-Sea Discovery Group
Copyright © 1997