On Mt. Lowe
When day begins near ocean spray
We start our journey P.E. way;
Through orange groves to mountain heights
And romp in snow before the night
By Jake Brouwer
In Southern California a semi-crescent shaped range of
mountains named the San Gabriels, sweeps some fifty miles in length offering views not
quite like any other afforded most travelers. Its stark contrasts are most apparent in the
winter months though not so much in recent years as it was in years long past.
Californias greatest winter playground near the turn of the twentieth century became
the San Gabriel Mountains most prominent landmark and to this day beckons hikers to its
sometimes-ghostly haunts. It was known as the Scenic Mt. Lowe Railway and incorporated
such colorful names as Rubio Canyon, Echo Mountain, Crystal Springs and Inspiration Point.
Thaddeus S. C. Lowe was the artist and the beautiful San Gabriel Mountains were his
|The beach at noon
||snowballs at 4:00
Thaddeus Lowe, not new to winter wonderlands, was born and
raised in the White
Mountains White Mountains of New Hampshire. He had more than a vision in mind
when he created and built the Scenic Mt. Lowe Railroad. The Professor sought to and
successfully did wed the fastness of the mountains with the wonders of modern life.
Walkways and trails skirt for miles along steep canyon walls, across babbling streams,
through idyllic forests bringing you the traveler to the choicest views the Professor
could find. His electric railroad brought thousands of tourists to Californias
vacation Mecca and it also allowed a view of unsurpassed beauty and endless recreation to
the local residents in the valleys below.
For men of letters like George Wharton James, John sharp,
and John Stoddard perhaps the best literary contrasts they could present to portray the
splendor of the Mt. Lowe Railway were ones of winter. Where else could these men boast of
swimming on the beaches of Santa
Monica Bay at noon, than strolling in groves of oranges
to pick a snack at two oclock, and later to be frantically evading a catapulted
snowball by four that same afternoon.
Think of it! Pasadenas rose
gardens and sleighing at Inspiration Point the same day! Chasing butterflies
in Rubio, then snowballing near the Tavern! Watching humming birds
along Sunset Trail in the morning and than building a snowman in the frosty white before
dinner! Who would not want to go?
A clever Pacific Electric ad announced SNOW ON MT. LOWE!
Most distinct novelty in California. Go and take the "kiddies." Think of what a
treat it will be for all of you, with no hardships or severe exposure to the cold.
Comfortable cars all the way. Alpine tavern provides every comfort while you stay, with
meals a la carte. Go today and enjoy the "beautiful." Think of the rare sport to
be had. And the snow cannot last very long. Five trains daily.
And so they came. Through
the valley floor where the odor oforanges and roses struggle for precedence, across the
semi-tropical fields of Altadena aglow
with golden poppies, and into the depths of Rubio Canyon for the spirited ride up to the
heavens on a white chariot. Climbing through the clouds to this "White City,"
this Echo Mountain, this first stop on the way to sights of Norwegian grandeur on the
Alpine Division was a cool adventure in itself. Pulling sweaters and mittens on as the
chariot rose. Then, huddling with your neighbor against the cold until you turn to look at
the car falling from above as someone so graciously has pointed out, and then you quickly
turn back as the breeze created as it passes bites at your exposed cheeks. It is quiet
most of the rest of the trip up.
"Landing" on Echo was a good feeling. It was
swell to be on solid ground. After a short stop well head on up the line. Just want
to stretch my feet a bit if its all right with you.
Echo was sometimes blanketed in snow adding to its serene
beauty but mostly you would be amazed at the delicate flowers that were flourishing in
this wintry climate. For here in Southern California winter brings to our canyons their
greatest allure. Nature is busily at work. From the rock streams water, flowing over mossy
canyon walls, filling pools, forming cascades, giving moisture and renewed life to all
sorts of vegetation. Patches of brown transform to rich green and once bare spots sprout
A Charles Lawrence photograph
courtesy of the Charles Seims Collection
"Enough of this!" shout the young
ones. "On to the snow"
And so we board the Alpine Division of the Scenic Mt. Lowe Railroad. Bundling up even
more. As we climb in elevation the excitement starts to escalate. "How much further
will it be?" Then not more than a thousand feet above the flowers at Echo came the
first patches of snow. "Hurray!" Come the shouts from young and old. Then as the
electric car climbs higher and higher the snow gets deeper and deeper. Soon even the
motorman has some concerns about the depth of the newly fallen snow, or so it seems. He
stops the car as if to inspect a particular problem and as natural as can be half the car
is soon emptied and a snowball battle ensues. What an unexpected pleasure this was as a
prelude to Alpine Tavern.
C. Seims Collection
Crystal Springs, Ye Alpine Tavern, and Mt.
Lowe Tavern, all one in the same, depending on when you were there, could be covered by a
layer of snow for several
weeks during the year bringing crowds to this winter wonderland. The mountain atmosphere
is dry and pure and even though a foot or more of snow may blanket the ground the cold is
not at all as severe as it is in other mountain resorts.
Exiting the train at the Tavern was a
welcome occurrence. The cold had taken its toll on the passengers and they eagerly headed
inside to check into their accommodations for the evening. After thawing out around the
grand fireplace it was "up and at em" again. An elegant sleigh was taking
on hearty passengers for a ride among the pines and to points unsurpassed for looking at a
variety of scenery.
Later in the early evening you walk alone through the moon
lit darkness towards the tavern, a light flurry of snow causes you to raise your collar.
There is a deep silence, the silence of nature. You feel better for having been there and
quietly go to your room.
is the American?
By Jake Brouwer
The lines were cut at exactly 3:00 in the afternoon and the balloon
American rose to the skies. Its flight seemed destined for trouble at the outset for just
outside the fence of Tournament Park the drag rope wrapped around three electrical wires
and held the balloon captive. As the crowd looked on a ground crew came to the assistance
of the American and freed the balloon for its afternoon ride. With all the commotion going
on the pilot, Captain Augustus E. Mueller failed to notice that the wind sock was no
longer tailing towards the east as their trip plan required but to the north towards the
San Gabriel Mountains.
|Photo of Tournament Park 1909 by Harold Parker
courtesy of Donald A. Parker
It was March 20, 1909 and thousands of people crowded the
streets of Pasadena that day to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Tournament
of Roses. Afterwards folks would gather at Tournament Park to witness horse races, chariot
races, football games, view the horse drawn floats, and on this particular day there
was to be a balloon race between the American and the United States. The owner of both
balloons, Dick Ferris, was to pilot the United States in the race. Ferris however was
dismayed by the weather conditions on Friday and canceled the race.
Captain Mueller was not one to be put off by a few dark clouds off in
the mountains to the north. It was sunny in the morning, the skies were clear to the east,
and after all it was the last day of the carnival. Mueller optimistically set out to
inflate the balloon. Surely there will be some that will ride the winds with me today.
|The Captain and his passengers ready for take off in the balloon
American. Photograph from the Harold Parker collection.
courtesy of Donald A. Parker
Richard C. Halsted rode in the balloon earlier that week
and gathered together four other men to pay the $25.00 fee for todays ride. The
other passengers were Lane C. Gilliam, Sydney Cray, Edwin Dobschultz, and photographer
Harold A. Parker. At 2:30 the six men climbed in the balloon and after dealing with the
ropes being caught up the wires they were finally up, up, and away. As they drifted along
in free flight the drag rope of the American touched the tops of the trees in the orange
groves north of the park. Mueller had a sandbag dropped overboard and the American gained
Thirty-year-old Parker brought with him his new Kodak bellows camera.
This modern wonder used roll film and was promoted as being a "vest pocket
model." As the balloon rose Parker snapped the first aerial pictures of Pasadena.
The passengers were quite occupied with pointing out familiar sites to
each other while Mueller remained silent. He was aware that the balloon was traveling
north instead of east. Instead of turning back at this point he chooses to toss out more
sandbags and gain altitude, rather than be the laughing stock of his peers by landing
shortly after take off.
||The American ascends.
Photo Harold Parker Collection
courtesy Donald A. Parker
The balloon soon appeared to be being sucked into Eaton
Canyon and then skirted the edge of the mountains. Sydney Cray, a local sportsman and
pigeon rancher, spotted Echo Mountain and the Incline Railroad below. Dark clouds were
hanging ominously in the upper reaches of the canyons. Next the balloon passed Camp Sierra
further to the west. The passengers suggested landing there but as the ropes actually
touched the tops of the tents and cabins, captain Mueller saw dangerous camp fires and
threw out more ballast shooting them into the clouds.
That was the last folk back home saw of the American. Speculations
ran from the balloonists landing on one of the crags on the valley side of the range, to
Mueller gaining more altitude and crossing the range into he desert on the other side. The
Pasadena office of the Southern Pacific Railroad sent out telegraphic inquires to
Palmdale, Lancaster and other stations along the SPRR line.
Professor Thaddeus Lowe of the Mt. Lowe Railroad, and a balloonist in
his own right, dashed these theories, saying that the air moves in waves and the danger of
being tossed against the mountains was extreme. Also at the elevations necessary to make a
crossing the air is very cold and it causes the balloon to lose his lifting power.
Page 10 of the Los Angles Times Sunday morning the 21st gave
an accounting of the balloon last being sited below Alpine Tavern. Anxiety was increasing
and the tension mounting as rain began to fall in Pasadena and reports of snow at Mt.
Wilson were coming in.
By Sunday afternoon search parties were being organized. Reports of
sightings had came in from Camp Sierra, the train dispatcher at Echo Mountain Station, and
a ranger in Sierra Madre. These were tabulated and entered into the search plans.
By now though the temperatures were below
freezing and reports came in of four feet of snow at Mt. Wilson. Alpine Tavern reported
two feet of the powder and said the visibility was less than one hundred feet. One party
headed out from the tavern Sunday afternoon but had to turn back when the snow on the
trails became waist deep. Other search groups also held off due to the blizzard like
conditions in the mountains.
On Monday morning the Pasadena Daily News proclaimed;
PASADENANS MAY HAVE PERISHED IN BALLOON. When the weather cleared the search parties
headed for the mountains. One group went in the mouth of the Arroyo Seco and headed
towards Switzers Camp, another group was to enter from Mt. Wilson. Roy Knabenshue, another
balloonist, took off Monday morning on a train into Rubio Canyon and then rode to the top
of the Great Incline where he waited while the crews cleared the tracks of snow on the
Four experienced mountaineers joined him on a specially
dispatched train to the tavern. Once at the tavern the men warmed themselves by the grand
fireplace. Then they headed out in waist deep snow along side Mt. Lowe and Mt. Markham.
They shouted at every ravine and hollow hoping to hear a response back. They headed into
Bear Canyon and were stopped finally by water and snow five feet deep. The next morning
they set out again into the headwaters of Millard Canyon and followed it all the way down
to Dawn Mine. Finally the men took the trail back up to the tracks and rode the train back
into the city exhausted.
The electric plant agreed to blow its whistle when word was received of
the balloon crew. Two long blasts meant the group had been found alive. Four short blasts
indicated they were found but that some had perished. Monday came and went with no blast
from the power plant, as did Tuesday morning. That morning the story was headlined in New
York, Chicago, Baltimore, and the Los Angeles papers, the Tribune and the Times.
WHERE IS THE AMERICAN?
When the ballast was thrown from the balloon on Saturday the 20th
the basket and its passengers shot up into the darkness at thirteen thousand feet. Bolts
of lightning lit up the sky above the clouds. There was hail and it was freezing cold. The
group decided it would be best to try to land. Mueller agreed and released gas from the
bag. Rapidly the balloon descended and most of the men gasped for breath. As they popped
through he clouds at seven thousand feet a jagged peak was seen with a small plateau to
the left. They aimed for the clearing and the balloon alighted softly. The men grabbed
onto brush to hold the basket steady as the giant bag settled across the bushes and rocks
off the side. No one was hurt and the ride was over at 4:15 PM, just one hour and fifteen
minutes after take off!
|Photo of the landing site taken by Harold Parker with his Kodak Vest
courtesy of Donald A. Parker
The photographer, Parker, takes a shot of the group by
the fallen balloon and then the group ties it off so it can be retrieved later. An
accounting of their gear shows only a rope and a smashed basket of food provided earlier
by the Maryland Hotel. No compass and very low visibility sets the intrepid travelers off
in different directions to search for a way out of their predicament. Parker headed to the
north quickly returning saying a sheer cliff was not more than twenty feet away. Cray
found a canyon that they all decided to follow into single file. Later it was determined
to be Grotto Canyon. It was raining and the group made use of the rope working their way
down into the canyon. The vegetation got thicker as they went on and soon they had to
settle in for the night.
At a small flat area in the canyon called the group found that by moving
the wet pine needles aside, dry ones were underneath. One match was found amongst them and
it was cautiously used to light the needles, some shavings and a crumpled piece of
cigarette paper. They rationed the food into thirds and ate one third of it.
Sunday morning they continued down the canyon though
the water in the widened stream was now waist deep. Soon a crashing of water was heard and
it was realized none to soon a waterfall was ahead. Closer investigation led them to
discover a 30-50 foot fall. It begins to hail again and rain was coming down in sheets.
The men had to head back up the canyon the way they had come. Halsted at one point falls
completely into the water and the others with no regard for themselves go in after him.
Cold and drenched the six men continue on soon finding a snow-covered trail and a stump of
a tree that had been recently cut. Another thirty minutes up the trail and they smelled
smoke and came upon a pen for cattle or pigs. All was not lost. At last they saw a house
with smoke pouring from the chimney.
Halloo! Ma and Delos Colby heard the noise and on investigation they
were surprised to see a group of frozen men in business suits. Realizing quickly their
predicament the colbys, took in the strangers and gave them sanctuary from the elements.
Their clothes were removed and hung to dry across the room. Ma Colby pulled out all the
stops when it came to feeding the men whom hadnt eaten for 24 hours. They told of
their flight and though Delos Colby disagreed at first, it was determined they had landed
near Strawberry Peak one of the most jagged peaks in the San Gabriels.
On Monday the men rested most of the day, as the weather was so bad
Delos would not guide them out to Switzers the location of the nearest phone.
||Captain Mueller on the snowy trail Tuesday March 23, 1909.
Photo by Harold Parker, courtesy of Donald A. Parker
Tuesday morning the weather broke and Delos Colby guided
the men to the trail that would take them over to Switzers Camp. Colby would not go all
the way himself. The men broke the trail Indian style and at 2:30 Tuesday afternoon the
search party resting at Switzers heard another "HALLOO!" The balloon party had
reached Switzers. They were quickly rushed inside to warm by the fire and promply had to
field a barrage of questions from the press.
A phone call was made to the paper and another to the power plant and
before long across the valley two long blasts of the steam whistle blew. The entire
balloon party was safe!
This is a book that needs to be read by all Echo Mtn. Echoes
subscribers. It contains wonderful clips of history in the Pasadena area and a factual
accounting of a real life event in our history that captivates the reader from beginning
to end. My thanks to Donald L. Parker for allowing me to use photos and excerpts of his
book, PERILOUS VOYAGE OF THE BALLOON AMERICAN, in order to bring this story to you. Also
thanks to Harold A. Parker for his insight to photograph the event and to his wife and
descendants for maintaining a scrap book to be the source of inspiration for Donald Parker
to write this wonderful book.
THE PERILOUS BOOK OF THE BALLOON AMERICAN can be found at Dawsons
Books and at Vromans Books. Local libraries have it as well as the Altadena Historical
Im saddened to
report the death of Walter Whitman Wheelock on November 12, 1997.
I first met Mr. Wheelock when he was 90 years young. I had gone to his
publishing house to purchase a number of books he put out under the name La Siesta Press.
At the time I was involved with prospecting, scouring the mountains
and desert for mines and leads to new discoveries. My Land-Sea Discovery Group was only a
few months old and two of our biggest sellers were Mines of the East Fork and Mines of the
San Gabriels which he published.
Rather than having the books shipped I asked to pick them up in person
and it was a rewarding experience for me. Walt and I chatted about about Publishing and
then about the books he published.
When we got to subjects on the desert and Baja, Walt jumped up on the
counter top leaned back and while he spoke of his love, his eyes sparkled. I was thrilled
when he gave me a copy of his first book, Rope, Knots, and Slings a work you could tell he
was still proud of 30 years later.
He will be missed by many and I for one wish I know him better.
on the Rails
By Michael Patris
The mountain top gem of the San Gabriel Valley known as Mount Lowe was a
sight to behold for many years. During the colder months of the year an occasional storm
would transform these peeks into a winter wonderland.
Distant travelers as well as local residents would take the incline to
the top of Echo Mountain and in less than a mile their surroundings would change from a
fertile green valley to an alpine frost forest.
Young and old alike would frolic and play in the snow and have some good
One local resident, John Hall, the son of a Pacific Electric conductor,
was one of those who would frequent the incline and Alpine Tavern areas as a child. Now 85
years young, John has recounted many wonderful stories about his dad and the fun they used
to have up on the hill.
One story in particular stands out as being a whole lot of fun. John and
his friends would ride up the incline and pick up the Alpine Division trolley at the top
of Echo Mountain with their Flexible Flyer
sleds in tow. Once reaching the Alpine Tavern the boys would turn around with their
sleds and ride on their bellies back down to Echo Mountain right in the middle of
the train tracks! John says they had to be careful doing this "because the electric
trains made almost no noise." So with a gleam in his eye, the story continued,
"we would sled down the hills and be ready to jump off at a moments notice or be
faced with running head-on into a train." John says jovially he and his compadres
sleighed the center of the tracks many times over the 20 years his father was a conductor
all in the name of good clean fun.
A special v-shaped plow was made and used
at Echo Mountain when Mother Nature was especially harsh. The plow was attached to the
front of the Alpine Division trolley. This custom steel early day snow plow shaved snow
and ice right off the tracks, pushing it off to the sides as it went along. When a not in
use, it was detached and stored near the mechanic pits behind the electric house. The
rusty remains of his special tool can still be seen up on Echo Mountain today, right over
the mechanics pit.
The old roadbed between Echo Mountain and Alpine Tavern can still be
traced, much of it fire road maintained by the forestry service. The campground at the
side of Alpine Tavern has a few recognizable ruins as a reminder of the once great hotel
that stood there. What wasnt destroyed by fire in 1936 or flood in 1938 was
dynamited and bulldozed by the forestry service in 1959. Regardless of the time of year,
however, a cold winter like chill can be felt standing in the presence of the rock facades
and remaining steps. A cold reminder of the once great landmark called "Ye Alpine
Michael Patris is a collector extraordinary of Mt. Lowe material and
was featured recently in an issue of collectors Magazine.
By Jake Brouwer
Whats the point of the
poinsettia you ask. Sure its a beautiful plant with its vibrant red bract leaves and
yellow berries, but why do we have it abounding in our homes and offices at Christmas
time? I thought most of our Christmas customs derived from Greek and Roman festivals,
Norse pagan ceremonies and English Druid rites. In similar pattern most of the plants
associated with Christmas like holly, mistletoe
and evergreens are also from Europe and the Mediterranean. How did we come to take up the
poinsettia as a Christmas plant and where did it come from?
First lets look at the variety of names attached to this plant.
Officially it is Euphorbia Pulcherrima, a member of the spurge family, Euphorbiaceae. More
commonly known as the poinsettia, this all but common plant has attracted such names as
Christmas star, lobster plant, fire flower, flower of the holy night, painted leaf,
Mexican flame leaf, and Cueslaxochiltl. Judging by the last names you may have guessed by
now this plant has its origins in the New World. In fact we can trace it back to the
pre-Hispanic times of the mighty Aztec Empire.
It is an ancient Aztec legend that says the first appearance of the
plant came from an Aztec maiden who loved unwisely. The drops of blood from her broken
heart showered upon the earth and everywhere the drops fell they took root and grew into
the crimson plant.
The Aztecs called the plant
Cueslaxochiltl. Its name represented purity and signified "flower that withers,
mortal flower that perishes like all that is pure." During the times of this great
empire beautiful botanical gardens were grown. Flowers were cultivated for their beauty
and their medicinal purposes. The crimson Cueslaxochiltl was cultivated and admired but
rarely touched. It was an exotic gift of nature given by the gods as a reminder of the
periodic sacrifices given in agreement with the creation of the Fifth
Sun. The bright crimson red of the leaves is said to represent Chalchimimatl, the
precious liquid of the sacrifices that was offered to the gods.
As we move through the centuries the plant takes a less ominous tone
with the injection of Spanish influence into the culture. Originally symbolizing Aztec
blood sacrifices it now becomes the symbol of the blood of Christ and represents
A legend in 16th century Mexico says Franciscan friars
evangelizing the area around Taxco celebrated one Christmas with a lavishly decorated
nativity scene. Around the nativity luscious green plants were placed, Rosarys and a
litany were prayed, a piñata broken, gifts exchanged, and a mass was held. During the
mass the plant decorating the nativity
turned bright red. After that the flower was called Flor de Noche Buena or Flower of the
Blessed or Holy Night.
Another early Mexican legend tells of a poor young girl on the way to
church on Christmas Eve. She weeps because she has no gift to place on the altar of the
virgin and child. Though her tears an angel appears and instructs her to gather plants
from the dusty roadside. The other children mocked her gift but as she placed them on to
the altar all were amazed as they transformed from the wilted greens to a starry crimson
In 1825 Dr. Joel Roberts Poinsett served
as the first U.S. Minister to Mexico. Poinsett was also a botanist who traded seeds with
friends around the world. He first saw the wild plant growing along the dusty Mexican
roads. Later at the market he noticed customers buying huge bunches of cuttings to
decorate their homes and churches. He learned that the plants leaves turned
brilliant shades of red in November and December in response to the longer nights. When
learning of the legends and customs surrounding the flaming red plant he became determined
to see it grown in his own homeland. He shipped cuttings back home to his friends in
Greenville, South Carolina. The plants were well received. By 1829 Poinsett was asked to
leave Mexico because of his brash enthusiasm for Mexican politics. He had previously been
recalled from other South American posts because of indiscrete support of local
revolutionaries. Back home Poinsett began to propagate the cuttings he brought back from
Mexico in his greenhouses. He also sent some to Philadelphia where they were grown in hot
houses. At first they were thought to be a new species of a new genus and the plant was
named after Dr. Joel Poinsett. So the poinsettia had taken root in the United States.
Soon the poinsettia was being grown all over the southern states
particularly in Florida and California. The poinsettia has become the Christmas plant in
America. Today florists sell them by the thousands to folks like you and me to decorate
our homes, offices, and bring us a little holiday pleasure.
By Jake Brouwer
On October 25, 1997 a group from the
Altadena Historical society mounted a blue and white bus and headed out on a tour of the
Los Angeles Aqueduct. The tour was presented by the historical society and our guide for
the day was Mr. Paul Rippens.
Our first stop was at the cascades in the North San Fernando Valley.
Unfortunately the water was not running over the cascades that day but it was easy to
visualize the crowd of thirty of forty thousand waiting for the gates to be opened and the
water released the first time in 1913. As the crowds moved towards the cascades to get a
better view that 15th day of November, Mulholland had turned to Mayor Rose and
said, "There is, take it."
Mulholland had finally
completed the project that that voters of Los Angeles had approved back in June of 1907.
The aqueducts beginnings were in the Owens Valley, flowing from the river through concrete
lined conduit, into various reservoirs, through tunnels and siphon pipes, penstocks and
powerhouses to the final glorious vision of water coming down the cascades.
Our guide took us into the Santa Clarita Valley and up into Bouquet
Canyon and past the Bouquet Reservoir. This was a pleasant ride through the meandering
canyon bordered by small streams and rustic houses. Farther on up we entered the Leona
Valley and finally dropped into San Francisquito Canyon. Along the way numerous spots were
pointed out where the aqueduct would cross a canyon or rise up a hill or under a bridge.
At San Francisquito Canyon we stopped at the site of Powerhouse #1 which has
been in operation since 1917. Here we took a lazy tour of the Powerhouse and its museum of
artifacts. Afterwards lunch was served and stories swapped until it was time to load up
for the next destination, the site of the St.
Francis Dam disaster.
Thanks to the pictures and books passed around the bus before arriving
at this site one could more easily picture the placement of the dam and the damage it
caused. Pieces of the dam that were bigger than houses are to be found quite a ways
It was an interesting day to see the trouble man has gone through to
make Los Angeles green.
of our readers
October 4, 1997 members of the Scenic Mt. Lowe Historical Committee met
at Inspiration Point after a three-month summer break. Present were Brian Marcroft,
John Harrigan, Scott Neilson, Bill Crouch, Robert Wilde, Lee
Varnum, Bruce Chubbuck, Jim Beckwith, and Jake Brouwer. Work
projects were planned and scheduled for the months of October and November. An event was
announced for the 6th of December 1997, celebrating the last run of the Mt.
Lowe Railroad. After the meeting the group went to the Mt. Lowe Campground and excavated a
sidewalk and steps that had been covered since the 1920s.
In subsequent visits by the above members and others, brush was cleared
around the tavern area in preparation for the event. Later the group went up to Inspiration
Point with the purpose of moving the flagpole from off the side of the ravine
to a position approximate to its base. With wire rope, a heavy-duty truck, and a bit of
manpower the heavy pole was put into place.
The SMLHC has many
projects planned for the up coming year including but not limited to the following:
Preserving the wood on the structures at Inspiration Point, reinstalling the flagpole,
install an interpretive sign for Easter Rock, repair and align Observation tubes on Mt.
Lowe, repair benches, reinforce trails from the Cape of Good Hope to Echo Mt., and
rebuilding the station at Dawn. These and other projects are usually performed on
Saturdays and provide a chance for you to return some of the joy the mountain brings to
you by working to preserve, protect and inform others about the Scenic Mt. Lowe Railroad.
If you would like to help out contact us at the paper and well get you on a
notification list. You can also help with donating money or materials to a specific
The Internet brought some new friends to us. Bob Daniels
from Fairfield, Ohio found the Echo Mtn. Echoes web site. He was raised in Altadena and
used to hike the trails as a Boy Scout.
Also in November the great grandson of Charles Lowe, Thaddeus
Lowes brother, contacted us. Gordon Allen Lowe Jr. lives in New Hampshire
at the foot of Lowes Path. Lowes Path was the first path cut to the top
of the Presidential Range of mountains and is traveled by people from all over the globe.
Mr. Lowe says his grandfather Charles Lowe took 37 years to build it cutting waterways and
stairs into the mountain using nothing but hand tools.
I recently found on the Internet a book written by Barbara
Hunter Schultz, called Pancho, The biography of Florence Lowe Barnes. Anyone
looking to learn more about the Lowe family should pick up this book about T.S.C.
Lowes granddaughter Florence. Pancho, as she preferred to be called was an aviatrix
involved with stunt flying, setting womens speed records, and later in life owner of
the Happy Bottom Riding Club near Edwards Air force Base. The book can be purchased
in the mountain
Readers are encouraged to send in their news for consideration to be
printed. News of events, finds, studies, books, and activities pertaining to the Mt. Lowe
experience are all welcome.
Visit Mountain Marketplace - updated with every new issue.
year has come and gone in wonderful Southern California. I hope it has been a good one for
all of you.
Although it took nearly
the full year our little paper has reached our first goal of obtaining over 100
subscribers. I would like to thank you all very much for your kind support of the Echoes.
Our web site is doing well
also attracting attention from as far away as New Hampshire and Ohio. I hope you will
bookmark this site and take the time to follow some of the links as they often lead to
interesting new discoveries.
I would appreciate any
comments, suggestions, or feed back you may have on the Echo Mtn. Echoes that you would
like to offer. Doing most of this myself I often wonder if I'm meeting your expectations
or if there is more you would like to see. Let me know.
I have some plans for 1998
that I hope to pull off in addition to the paper, which include a gathering of Mt. Lowe
collectors open to all, and a presentation about Pancho Barnes. Let me know if this
Well, I'm off to get our
tree about now and prepare for the holidays. I wish you all well and safe for the
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