By Ken Brafman, Image from Ken Brafman Collection
TITLE: THE RED ROCK WALL: As I’ve traveled Highway 18 AKA Rim of the World Highway for the past 26 years I doubt that I have ever failed to give at least one affectionate glance in the direction of that sturdy, timeless stone border wall that skirts a portion of the roadway. Solid in some areas, it turns to pillars in others connected by heavy, medieval-appearing chain links. While some lengths endure the insult of having modern guard rails placed in front, much of the wall appears as it did when it was first built back in the 1930’s. This week’s image is a real photo postcard circa 1935 showing a typical panorama. In 1932, during the Great Depression, the former California Division of Highways hired Donald S. Wieman, a skilled stone mason and building contractor from Glendale. He was universally respected for his skill, integrity, and dedication and he was made responsible for constructing miles of red rock walls and other structures along State Highway Route 18. The legacy of his work has endured, and it is widely recognized for its beauty and craftsmanship. The Donald S. Wieman Vista Point is at post mile 21.4, about two miles west on Highway 18 from Rimforest. As a turnout, sporting a circular red wall, it offers a place for respite as well as offering an opportunity to soak in the stunning vista. There’s a very fitting monument at this red rock turnout which has a dedication telling the history of the wall, and of the man. Wieman retired in 1965. The 101-mile “Rim of the World Scenic Byway” traverses the rim of the San Bernardino Mountains from Cajon Pass to San Gorgonio Pass. It travels through some of the most naturally beautiful areas in Southern California. Spectacular vistas and panoramas exist everywhere along the route. The original road has improved somewhat since the first round trip was made in 1910 by adventure seeker Jack Heyser. That drive lasted over eight hours.