Rim of The World Historical Society

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Hiking is a wonderful way to get some exercise, reduce stress and enjoy all the natural history our mountains have to of...
10/29/2020

Hiking is a wonderful way to get some exercise, reduce stress and enjoy all the natural history our mountains have to offer. There are over 500 miles of hiking opportunities and over 100 established trails spread across the San Bernardino Mountains, each one unique. There are easy trails such as half-mile Heaps Peak Arboretum, where you can observe dozens of varieties of flora. The popular Heart Rock Trail leads you to a breathtaking geological wonder. With the recent lifting of restrictions on hiking and other forms of outdoor recreation it’s a great time to revisit a column that was published a couple years back about a trail rich with history. Just north of Highway 173 and Grass Valley Road, above the community of Lake Arrowhead, the Metate Trail is an enjoyable, family-friendly hike that will bring you to some impressive relics from our state’s Native American past. Metates were used by the Serrano Indians who lived a nomadic existence in these mountains for some 5,000 years. The grinding holes pictured in this week’s image were carved into large slabs of bedrock and are called “mortars.” Serrano women used “manos” (or “pestles”) to grind acorns, pinon nuts and other grain. The Serrano came to this area every spring because of the plentiful acorn crop and mild climate. To make acorn flour was a multi-step process which involved first soaking the acorns to remove their skin, then grinding them into a flour. This was then made into a meal and leached with boiling water to remove the bitterness. The resulting mush was further processed into “Wiiwish” which could then be served. The Serrano call themselves the Yuhaviatam which means “people of the pines.” After a century of brutal hardships and skirmishes with militia, tribal leader Santos Manuel led the remaining Yuhaviatam down the mountain in the late 1860’s to safety. The reservation bearing his name was established in 1891. By Ken Brafman, Image from Ken Brafman Collection. To purchase a wide selection of book on local history, check out our new website: https://mtnmuseum.org.

One of the many movies which used Cedar Lake as a shooting location is Kissin’ Cousins, an Elvis Presley film. Productio...
10/22/2020

One of the many movies which used Cedar Lake as a shooting location is Kissin’ Cousins, an Elvis Presley film. Production started in October 1963 and the premiere followed in March 1964. All shooting was completed on location in late 1963 in the greater Big Bear and Cedar Lake area. The plot of Kissin’ Cousins is rather ludicrous, casting Elvis in a dual role as an army lieutenant trying to convince his hick cousin (Elvis in a blonde wig) to allow a missile base to be built on the family land. Yvonne Craig, of Batgirl fame, along with Cynthia Pepper play the two female leads and love interests. In his book More Magnificent Mountain Movies Lee Cozad refers to an interview Miss Pepper gave in 2004. She admitted to having a slight crush on Elvis, telling the director after several of their kissing scenes that she didn’t think it was quite right, and there ought to be a re-take. This week’s image shows the crew for Kissin’ Cousins preparing to shoot a scene. The mill house is well weathered from when it was built close to 30 years earlier for the set of The Trail of the Lonesome Pine. Just west of Big Bear, Cedar Lake started out as grazing land in the 1890’s. In 1922 the parcel was sold to the Bartlett brothers, who tried to develop and subdivide the land. In an effort to improve the value a dam was built in 1929, creating the three-and-a-half-acre lake. The family eventually decided to promote the area as a tourist attraction, charging a 25-cent admission to enter the property. Then in the 1930’s Hollywood discovered Cedar Lake, and in the coming decades most major studios have made good use of its beauty and character. By Ken Brafman, Image from Tom Core Collection.To purchase a wide selection of book on local history, check out our new website: https://mtnmuseum.org.

Lake Arrowhead was completed and would become established as a tourist destination in the early 1920’s. Lake Arrowhead V...
10/15/2020

Lake Arrowhead was completed and would become established as a tourist destination in the early 1920’s. Lake Arrowhead Village was completed and had its official opening on June 24, 1922, to much fanfare and promotion. The next order of business was to build a world-class hotel. A.L. Richmond was the owner of the exclusive Arlington Hotel in Santa Barbara. He undertook the task of building a luxury resort for this new up-and-coming area. The architect chosen was McNeal Swasney and the two developed plans for the project that would create a resort that would be in harmony with its surroundings, using as much local building material as possible. Construction began swiftly and hundreds of masons and carpenters were used. The Arlington Lodge had its grand opening on June 23, 1923 and was host to a thousand guests, most of whom belonged to high society. There was a midnight champagne party and guests danced to an orchestra, some on the spacious terrace overlooking Lake Arrowhead glowing in the moonlight. The hotel boasted a massive lobby which was called the Great Hall. This week’s image is a real photo which shows this impressive architectural achievement. The room boasted 45-foot high ceilings and a huge fireplace. On the other end of the lobby was a grand curved staircase. A fire in 1938 burned the hotel to the ground but it was rebuilt quickly, retaining much of its former style. Many actors, directors and producers stayed at the Lodge over the years, some while shooting around the lake. In December 1976 the hotel was torn down, followed by the razing of Lake Arrowhead Village in April 1979. The new Village opened in 1981 and later that year construction began on a new 176-room resort which opened in November 1982 as the Lake Arrowhead Hilton Lodge. After another ownership change in 1989 the resort was purchased by the Benchmark Resorts and Hotels chain in 2018. By Ken Brafman, Image from Benchmark Resorts Archive. To purchase a wide selection of book on local history, check out our new website: https://mtnmuseum.org.

Fishing, boating, family and friends always brings us to the subject of docks on Lake Arrowhead. The iconic picture of t...
10/08/2020

Fishing, boating, family and friends always brings us to the subject of docks on Lake Arrowhead. The iconic picture of the young boy fishing off the dock says it all. Early launching and retrieving of boats took place at Orchard Bay Tent Camp. The entrance was located at Highway 173 and John Muir where the existing house with the turret is located. The other early site was in Tavern Bay where UCLA Conference Center is located. Today the present location is at the marina near the dam. During the winters in the 1920s and 1930s the Arrowhead Lake Company stored 200-plus docks finger-to-finger in Shelter Cove and Winter Harbor, tying them off to the shoreline. Today over 2700 docks are attached to permanent piers around the lake all year long. The first docks were built with oil drum floats and over the years, they changed to steel floats, fiberglass floats, and then eventually the foam-filled plastic floats used today. The original dock slips were 8 feet wide to accommodate the narrow wooden boats used back then, and currently the slips are 10 feet wide to fit the size of modern boats. Dock fingers were 2 feet wide and today are 3-4 feet wide to an overall width of 17 feet versus the 12 feet of yesteryear. Therefore, the original 8 feet of separation between the docks has been compromised over the years. The shape of the slips has also changed from a V shape to a U shape with the most current slips having slight cut-off corners to accommodate the wider fiberglass and pontoon boats of today. With the docks on the lake, they provide the leisure activities for family and friends to enjoy Lake Arrowhead as many have done so since the 1920s. Eddy Juan, the marina manager, is credited for developing the Lake Arrowhead Green color that most of the docks were painted in the day. The paint is still available at Rim Forest Lumber Company. By Greg Naylor – Guest Columnist, Image from Greg Naylor Collection.To purchase a wide selection of book on local history, check out our new website: https://mtnmuseum.org.

The popular Willow Woods area of Skyforest has had many owners over the past 90 years. In 1932 Grace and Lou Williams bu...
10/01/2020

The popular Willow Woods area of Skyforest has had many owners over the past 90 years. In 1932 Grace and Lou Williams built several cabins and a five-room lodge that had a small restaurant. Known as the Old Homestead Camp, it opened Fourth of July 1932. Lou Williams was a motor transit operator running tourists up and down the mountain to San Bernardino. In 1932 six cabins were advertised as having gas and electricity with a bathroom and living room. Dinners were 50 cents and breakfast and lunch could also be ordered. Through the forties the camp was a favorite with fishermen who would keep it booked during trout season. In 1948 a famous cartoonist named Frank Adams and his wife Eileen bought the Old Homestead Camp. In 1950 Adams orchestrated one of the most famous April Fool’s Day pranks on the mountain by leading some local residents in hanging 50,000 oranges from pine and cedar trees along a one mile stretch of Highway 18 in Skyforest. Adams sold the property to Don McFarland in 1957. In 1961 John Koeper decided to retire from the Los Angeles Times and purchased the tract of cabins from McFarland. The camp was then renamed the Skyforest Resort and John and his wife Glenna operated the wooded acreage for 16 years. “We gave each of the cabins a name, for the flora around them,” Glenna explained. The main cabin was their home, office and lodge. During those 16 years the resort, with its quaint cottages, flourished as it was known as a great hideaway for the rich and famous from Hollywood. Johnny Crawford, from the “Rifleman” series, was a frequent guest. In 1977 the property took on its commercial look and was renamed Willow Woods when Ted and Pat Nissen purchased the property in 1984 and incorporated their businesses into a group of buildings which today make up the historic two acres of Willow Woods. By Bill Pumford. To purchase a wide selection of book on local history, check out our new website: https://mtnmuseum.org.

Last week we spotlighted a few of our local lakes, and some of the challenges they experienced through the years. Crestl...
09/24/2020

Last week we spotlighted a few of our local lakes, and some of the challenges they experienced through the years. Crestline’s Moon Lake was formed by the blocking of Dart Creek. It experienced the ultimate challenge in that it ceased to exist. This week’s image is taken from a real photo postcard and shows Moon Lake on the right. The large building in the foreground is the original Arrowhead Valley Club which was built in 1926 for members of the Masonic Order. The name of the post office, shown on the postcard as “MOONLAKE,” was eventually changed to Switzerland to capitalize on the alpine resort theme. Following a closure during the Great Depression the club came under new ownership, underwent extensive renovation and was reopened in 1939 as the Club San Moritz. The lake was small, around one-quarter the size of Lake Gregory, which was filled around the same time. It was approximately one acre in surface area and had a depth not exceeding six feet. Still, the little lake saw a lot of canoe activity during the summer months, as well as fishing. In the winter the shallow lake froze, making it a popular place to ice skate. As the club continued to gain in post-war popularity throughout the 1940’s boat docks were added and fishing derbies were held, along with other activities. The success led to the purchase of additional land around Lake Gregory, culminating in the building of a secondary, expanded clubhouse which opened in the early 1950’s. Meanwhile a fire of suspicious origin consumed most of the old clubhouse. In the early 1960’s, as a result of a persistent problem with mosquitoes, Moon Lake was drained. Today Valley of the Moon lives on, while Moon Lake sleeps peacefully beneath the parking lot of a popular local church. By Ken Brafman, Image from Ken Brafman Collection. To purchase a wide selection of book on local history, check out our new website: https://mtnmuseum.org.

Not surprising that with mountain lakes, it’s all about the water. We’ve written about neighboring lakes such as Silverw...
09/17/2020

Not surprising that with mountain lakes, it’s all about the water. We’ve written about neighboring lakes such as Silverwood, which gobbled up small towns for the sake of increasing capacity. Our historical society hosts Tunnel Tours every year (no tour 2020 due to covid) where members get to explore an abandoned “under the lake” tunnel which, over a century ago, was built as part of a network to suck water out of present-day Lake Arrowhead to irrigate the valley below. A few lakes have vanished over time. While many of our mountain lakes played a key role in the logging industry, Lake Gregory has always been about recreation. By the mid-1930s there had been significant residential as well as tourist growth in the Crestline area. Entrepreneurial developers such as Charles S. Mann built whole communities along with hundreds of homes and cabins. These area pioneers had a vested interest in transforming Crestline into a mecca for tourism and business. Lake Gregory construction began in earnest in 1937 as a WPA project. When the dam was barely completed, the rains came. Much has been written here about the 1938 flood which brought record-breaking rainfall. On the “upside,” instead of taking the projected three years to fill, Lake Gregory filled in three days, becoming “Crestline’s gem,” as it remains to this day. On the “downside,” nearby Moon Lake needed to be drained in the early 1960s for mosquito abatement. A church parking lot sits there today. In recent years Lake Gregory dam repair required lowering the lake significantly. The work was completed in early spring 2019, just in time for another miracle storm to fill her to near capacity. This week’s image is a real photo postcard. Not postmarked or dated it is likely circa 1950. Dubbed “Lakeview Trail” on the card, this location is near present-day St. Moritz Lodge. The trail meets up with the current fitness trail. On the back is written simply, “This is the club where we were last Sunday – it’s really beautiful.” Just like our beautiful alpine gem. By Ken Brafman, Image from Ken Brafman Collection. To purchase a wide selection of book on local history, check out our new website: https://mtnmuseum.org.

THE ALPINE MALL IN LAKE GREGORY VILLAGE: The Alpine Mall in Lake Gregory Village started its life in the 1940’s as a mot...
09/10/2020

THE ALPINE MALL IN LAKE GREGORY VILLAGE: The Alpine Mall in Lake Gregory Village started its life in the 1940’s as a motel and was one of the original Lake Drive businesses. This week’s image is taken from a real photo postcard and depicts the smaller half of the Mall as it looked in the 40’s and 50’s, when it housed Hal’s Place. A very popular hot dog stand and cocktail lounge, Hal later added “Hot Dogs – Café Open – Home Cooking” at the bottom of the window. He would also drop the “chamber” slogan and replace it with “Visit The Corral,” the name of his lounge. Russ Keller writes in his book Crestline – The Swingingest Town In America that Hal “was the unofficial mayor of Crestline and also claimed to be a one-man chamber of commerce.” Hence the slogan. To the left of Hal’s stood Dinky Golf, now Ace Garden Center. The first of a dozen or so cabins is visible, and at the other end of the arch, which says Crestline Motel, is a larger building. The arch came down in the 1970’s and the front buildings were completely remodeled, as were some of the cabins. They were converted into various-sized retail stores, some of which would later be rented as offices. Larger businesses could be accommodated in the front buildings. The tall neon sign, which once said “Kelly’s Crestline Motel,” became the iconic new symbol for the ambitious new enterprise, reading “Alpine Mall.” The Mall has been family-owned for some 40 years and has hosted a diverse range of businesses and has served numerous functions. Many successful businesses got their start in the Mall, some going back 30 years. Many expanded into larger, successful enterprises. The Mall has been an anchor business for generations and has kept current. The entire operation got a major remodel and facelift over the past couple years and has been turned into a showplace. Check it out. We always need to support our local businesses. By Ken Brafman, Image from Rhea-Frances Tetley Collection. To purchase a wide selection of book on local history, check out our new website: https://mtnmuseum.org.

This week’s column is based upon an article written in the late 2000’s by noted local historian Jim Huff. Those familiar...
09/03/2020

This week’s column is based upon an article written in the late 2000’s by noted local historian Jim Huff. Those familiar with The Great Mountain War of 1939 know that Crestline cityhood is not exactly a new idea. In 1939 Crestline citizens had decided it was time to become a city and to elect their own ruling officers. Twenty-one candidates threw their hats in the ring, vying for offices ranging from mayor to councilman to city attorney. The mayoral race was the most hotly contested. Harvey Edwards campaigned for mayor on the promise that he would import an orchestra from San Bernardino upon his victory along with ample cases of beer. Sam Campbell was thrust into the mayor race but eventually threw his support to Lucy Hilbig, wife of the popular Crestline druggist. Lucy’s platform included a plan to charge tourists an additional two percent luxury tax. The owner of The Crash Inn, Chet Beehler, was opposing George Johnson for first district councilman. The top contenders for second district were Lyle Seccombe and Weber, with Iner Jenson and Ralph Hilbig jousting for third. The remainder of the offices included treasurer and city attorney. For the latter, neither candidate had any experience but “they were sure they knew as much about it as anyone else.” In the meantime the Blue Jayites were rattling their sabers and making statements such as, “When the smoke clears we will be the real winners of the campaign,” and, “It’s easier to buy a Crestline mayor after an election, than before.” On election day Crestline voters turned up en masse to find that the ballot contained only the current five propositions and no candidates. Sabotage by the Blue Jayites was suspected. Threats of reprisal were hurled in the town watering holes, including the Town Hall Café, this week’s image. Cooler heads prevailed but the legend lives on, how the Blue Jayites prevented the Crestline Hillbillies from becoming a city. By Ken Brafman, Image from Russ Keller Collection. To purchase a wide selection of book on local history, check out our new website: https://mtnmuseum.org.

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Lake Arrowhead, CA
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I thought I would share this converted 16mm movie taken by my grandfather at his house at Lake Arrowhead. The young man driving the boat is my father. My best guess is that this was taken about 1941.
Bob Compere posted: How many people can fit in a Chris Craft? At least this many! My Dad (far left) getting ready to take a few friends on a cruise on Lake Arrowhead. Picture taken somewhere between 1942 and 1945 ...
Escape Lake Gregory has officially opened its newest room! The new room is called Lost Lake Gold and it is based on the history of Lake Gregory when it was first constructed.
I would love for my local friend to join me at this event.
Hello! If I'm trying to d various old houses located in/around Lake Arrowhead, would your historical society have information on those? E.g. this is the Dr. Carlyle Ahrens cabin in Lake Arrowhead
Well, I just finished retyping and editing for publication an 80-page document originally written almost forty years ago by mountain historian, Pauliena LaFuze, entitled "The Worthwhile Club in a Nutshell." This was club in Twin Peaks. This document really tells you about the Twin Peaks (and Arrowhead, etc.) early life. I had promised Pauliena 13 years ago that I would retype this into a publishable form. Sorry I took so long doing this, Pauliena. Hopefully, we can get a few copies of this made in time to have available for sale at our museum this year. After you read this, you almost fell you knew all these people and vicariously relive their lives with them over the time period from 1932 to 1980.
Join us June 17-18, 9:00am-3:00pm for an amazing sale at a historic property in Big Bear. The house is also for sale. Come shop for top of the line home furniture, decor and more!