.. Summer
Echo Mtn. Echoes Volume 4..
Number 2

Echo Mtn. Echoes, Rubio Canyon

Remembering Rubio Canyon

By Jake Brouwer

On July 4, 1999, I thought to take a trek into Rubio Canyon. In part, for reverence to what has become a huge part of my "free" life, and in part to simply feel the memories that seem to ooze from every nook and cranny of the ancient canyon walls.

Rubio Canyon is a quiet and sacred place to me, rarely encountering others, I can slip away into this magical canyon and drift back in time to relish in the revelry of the railway’s heydays.

Quietly passing by the block wall of the trailside home on Rubio Vista, it is mere seconds before I am in the wilds of Rubio Canyon. My worn boots kick up small puffs of dust as I walk the well deteriorated trail, and on occasion I stop to watch a lizard scramble across the trail from one tiny burst of brush to another. A canvas could not be more appropriately sketched, and painted, then the canvas that lies before me. The stark and glistening gray granite walls spiked with the verdure of yucca and Spanish Daggers are brought to an enlightening animation with the gentle and paper like orange petals of the California Poppies.



Memories of Rubio Canyon

Submitted by
Alan Leighton
Bochum, Germany, 1999

V4N2POOLOFH2O.jpg (23453 bytes)When I was in the 8th grade (about 1968), I and the other members of a brass quartet I was in thought it would be a great idea to play our quartets in the natural amphitheater of one of the canyons, and at the time, Rubio was the easiest to get into with our instruments. My dad drove us up there, and "kept an eye on us", though he was pretty submerged in the paper he was writing at the time. Our rehearsal was a flop, because we chose the one time of year when there was water in the canyons, so we could barely hear ourselves above the steady hiss of the water in the falls. But we played for about an hour, then took a little hike up the canyon, leaving my dad to write his paper and watch our instruments. On the way back down, I managed to slip on the lip of, I think, the middle of the three falls, and plunged 10 feet straight down into a deep pool of cool water. What a surprise! All present had a good laugh at my expense (even my father chuckled over it), but my mom delivered quite a scene when we got home. ("My God, Bob, he could have been killed!!!" etc.) Such is nostalgia that the whole thing seems like quite a pleasant memory.



Wild Foods of the Gabrielino

By Christopher Nyerges

There is another story of an earlier day in the Pasadena area, before the parade floats, before the immigrants came and claimed the land.

San Gabriel Mission

This is the stairway at the San Gabriel Mission.

Well before the Declaration of Independence was signed far to the east, the area that is now known as Pasadena, and most of Los Angeles County, was occupied by people who later came to be known as the Gabrielino Indians. The term "Gabrielino" came from the San Gabriel Mission, but the Indians themselves had their own local names. Those who lived in what became downtown L.A. were the Yangnas, on the west side were the Tongvas, up in the foothills were the Tujungnas, down by Long Beach were the Puvungnas, and greater Pasadena and the Arroyo Seco was occupied by the Hahamongna.

These people practiced no agriculture in the modern sense, and they domesticated no animals. So how did they survive? They gathered, hunted, and ate these local foods and animals.

Their method of healing was considered fairly advanced, and it included acknowledgment of the spirit world, and rattles, singing, chanting, ceremonies, and the use of steam baths and herbal teas.



A Roar from Rubio Canyon

By Michael Patris

Rubio Canyon has been the source of water to locals since the time of the Indians. Before the turn of the century seven waterfalls with names like Maidenhair Falls, Cavity Chute, Bay Arbor, Ribbon Rock, Moss Grotto, Grand Chasm, Suspended Boulder, Roaring Rift, and Thalehaha Falls existed along with several reflecting pools. The falls dropped thousands of gallons of water from heights ranging from ten to nearly forty feet.

In 1892 Thaddeus Lowe built a dam in the canyon behind Echo Mountain with the permission of the Pasadena Improvement Company; later to become Rubio Canyon Land and Water Association. The idea Lowe formulated to power his rail car was to use the water pressure to recharge some 300 storage batteries via three waterwheels hidden under the floor of the Great Incline and Rubion Pavillion. Although the idea looked good on paper, legal wrangling began when Rubio Canyon Land and Water Association’s predecessor disagreed with the amount of water Lowe wanted to store, citing the need to service their customers.



News of our Readers

On March 6th 1999 enraged citizens met with Rubio Land and Water District shareholders to discuss the destruction caused in Rubio Canyon caused by the replacement of a waterline. For more information on this ongoing story see the article in this issue by Michael Patris.

Mount Lowe Military Academy yearbook 1969

Mount Lowe Military Academy yearbook found by Jake Brouwer and donated to the Altadena Historical Society.

In March I managed to find a very interesting yearbook. It was the Blue and Gold of 1969. The Mount Lowe Military Academy. This particular volume once belonged to David Penfold. Are you out there somewhere David? We would all love to hear more about the MLMA as would the good folks at the Altadena Historical Society. It was located at 603 West Palm Altadena. This was Volume V. Does this mean it was open in 1964? In the rear of the book are photos of the flood of 1969. For anyone interested in viewing this Altadena treasure, it has been donated to the Altadena Historical Society located on Lake Ave, Altadena.


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For better or for worse we are sometimes subjected to changes set into motion by others, quite often without warning or fore thought. For some these changes are a mere pinhead of information to be noted and cast aside without consequence while for others it becomes an outrage and a platform for social and political wrangling. The Echo Mtn. Echoes is deeply saddened by the events in Rubio Canyon this past year and can only say at this juncture that it is yet another unwelcome change to our beloved Scenic Mt. Lowe Railway that has been besieged by one disaster after another for over a hundred years.


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Last modified: February 12, 1999

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