.. Winter
...1997
Echo Mtn. Echoes Volume 2..
Number 4
..

Snow 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.

Snow On Mt. Lowe
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. California’s 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 canvas.

the beach at noon snowballs at 4:00
The beach at noon snowballs at 4:00

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Where 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.

Tournament Park 1909
Photo of Tournament Park 1909 by Harold Parker
courtesy of Donald A. Parker

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Walt Wheelock
1909-1997

Walt WheelockI’m 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.

 

Snow 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 old-fashioned fun.

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Flora and Fauna.

What's the Poinsettia?

By Jake Brouwer

What’s the point of the poinsettia you ask. Sure it’s 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.

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Aqueduct Echoes
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."

Altadena Historical TourMulholland 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.

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News of our readers

Mt. Lowe Post OfficeOctober 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 1920’s.

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.

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Visit Mountain Marketplace

Visit Mountain Marketplace - updated with every new issue.

Editorials

nother 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.

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Land-Sea Discovery Group Contact Information

Postal address:
Land~Sea Discovery Group
PO Box 401904
Hesperia, Ca. 92340

Electronic Mail:
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Last modified: February 12, 1999

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