Milepost #915

March 21, 2019

By Ken Brafman, Image from ROWHS Collection

TITLE: EARLY MOUNTAIN TRANSPORTATION: This week’s image features one of two horse-drawn stagecoach lines which started operating in 1905 and transported passengers to one of several mountain resorts such as Pinecrest and the Squirrel Inn. Fares were $2.00 up, $1.00 down with parcels delivered at a penny per pound. The stage was a significant improvement over earlier methods of mountain travel. Native Americans walked trails for countless centuries leading up to the time of Franciscan missionary Father Garces’ exploration circa 1776. Significant improvements wouldn’t come until 1852 with the construction of the Mormon Road, wide enough to handle teams of oxen. Its original purpose was in facilitating logging operations at Seeley Flat and would later play an important role in forming a toll road and eventually becoming part of the Rim of the World Drive. The late 1800’s saw numerous trails and toll roads completed. The Santa Ana Trail served the east end with its developing mining industry. The Daley Toll Road was steep and dangerous, but it was a quick route to the lumber mills in Little Bear Valley. The turn of the century brought forth the dawn of the horseless carriage, but not without controversy. The steep and narrow roads were considered unsafe for the sharing of automobiles and stages. It took a couple ‘daredevils’ to prove that autos could safely navigate. In 1908 W.C. Vaughan, to prove highway safety, and with police in hot pursuit, drove up Waterman Canyon to Lake Arrowhead. A similar stunt was performed in 1910 using an auto to traverse the Crestline roads. Within a year cars largely replaced horse-drawn carts as the primary means of transport.

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