April 2, 2020
TITLE: THE UPS AND DOWNS OF OUR MOUNTAIN LAKES: 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 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.