Follow by Email

Saturday, November 11, 2017

One Hundred and Six Years Ago Today

The First World War was not even four months old; it would be another four years before the significance of November 11th would take hold of the world.
And yet, this father made it a special day for his daughter. They went up to the top of Mount Lowe to make a day of it and he sent her a little reminder of their special time together. The message on the post card says, "Dear Daughter, Just a line from Mt. Lowe and although you are with me I wished to surprise you with a card. Love from Papa" How great is that?

In 1889, David MacPherson, a former Santa Fe Railway civil engineer, planned a steam powered railroad into the mountains behind Pasadena. In 1891, MacPherson and Thaddeus Lowe, a public figure from the Civil War, incorporated the Pasadena and Mt. Wilson Railway. Land near Mt. Wilson was unavailable, so Lowe ran electric trolley cars through Altadena into Rubio Canyon. At the terminus, Lowe built a pavilion transfer station and "The Great Incline". Designed by Andrew Halladie, cable car inventor, the incline was California's first electric cable hoisting mechanism. It traveled 1/2 mile to Echo Mountain summit where Lowe built a powerhouse, Chalet, the Echo Mountain House,
a casino (used as a dance pavilion and dormitory), an observatory, residential car barn, gardens, gas holder, zoo and water system. "The White City on the Mountain" was world famous. Echo Mountain House rose 4-stories with a 400 foot wing providing office space, social and recreational halls, a dining room, curio shop, shoeshine stand and 70 rooms. A massive dome crowned the structure. The interior was finished in natural wood.

Henry Huntington (Pacific Electric Railway System) bought the railway in 1901.  "Red Cars" ran from Los Angeles to Rubio Canyon.  Huntington strengthened the bridges and upgraded the track of the Mt. Lowe Line.  The casino collapsed during a sever gale on December 9, 1905.  The roof flew 60 feet, landing on the powerhouse.  Huntington constructed a modern incline mechanism in a new powerhouse.  For the Alpine Division, he built open-air crossbench cars and expanded the Alpine Tavern.  Amenities included a dining room, billiard room, music room with floor, card room, circulating library and souvenir shop.  Recreation included croquet, tennis, riding, hiking an miniature golf.  Bungalows surrounded the hotel.  A nearby silver fox farm added ambiance.  For the next 30 years, the Mt. Lowe Line was Southern California's favorite lodestone.  Another windstorm destroyed the observatory in 1928.  September 15, 1936, fire completely gutted Alpine Tavern.  Although Pacific Electric weighed rebuilding the hotel, the Depression destined the end of the line. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

If you know anything about the history of the cards, the trains or the locations, please add them.