Milepost #919

April 18, 2019

By Ken Brafman, Image from ERHA Archive

TITLE: PACIFIC ELECTRIC COMPANY CAMP: This week’s image is the motor coach which once transported employees from Los Angeles to the Pacific Electric Camp near Lake Arrowhead. The social hall with dining room and kitchen is in the background. In 1901 the Pacific Electric Railway went in business. Railroad executive Henry Huntington and banker Isaias Hellman had plans to link the far reaches of the southland and carry forward the former company’s motto of “from the mountains to the sea.” The Railway was capitalized in 1903 at$10, 000,000. Known as red cars there were four lines, or districts planned, the first two completed in 1905. The fourth was the eastern line which connected isolated San Bernardino and Riverside to the foothill communities. There was a spur line that brought passengers to Arrowhead Springs Hotel to enjoy the lush accommodations and therapeutic hot springs. The Great Depression and the resulting reduction in ridership hurt the company. World War II brought a surge but the advent of freeways and automobile ownership in the early 1950’s led to the last red car trip in 1961. In 1915 at the height of success the company bought 20 acres of land in Agua Fria to provide a summer vacation resort for its employees. Open in spring 1917 most fees were subsidized, and the camp was a huge success. Never open to the public, it featured a large dining hall and club room, a swimming pool, and cozy cottages. A power boat, the Lady Louise, was docked less than a mile from camp on Lake Arrowhead. The Camp was fully booked every weekend, summer after summer and was enlarged steadily over the years eventually boasting 40 cottages. The company ran special motor coach service (pictured) from downtown Los Angeles to the camp. The property was sold in 1942 to Beverly Pines which became the Pine View Lodge in 1944, in business until 1974. The pool still exists as well as much original architecture and artifacts.

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