October 10, 2019
By Ken Brafman, Image from Stan Bellamy Collection
Today’s image is a real photo from 1928 showing the recently christened Green Valley Lake. No cabins had yet been built, and much of the timber around the lake had been cut by Brookings Lumber. The three gentlemen in business suits might be pondering potential investment opportunities. They would need to have vision, as the lake was not yet utilized, and the roads were dirt. A developer and sportsman named Harry McMullen secured financing for $85,000 to build a dam as well as preliminary roads for tourists, a water system and create a subdivision. In 1926 Green Valley Lake was born and the first buildable lots were sold. Soon the nine-acre lake would be stocked with trout and continued improvements to the area would be made. Early speculators realized the potential of this resort location, and in the years since they realized their dreams. GVL is secluded from the other mountain communities, and at 7,200 feet it is the highest mountain town in the San Bernardino National Forest. Known for its collection of artists and retirees, the unincorporated community attracts many who just want to escape the congestion and crime found “down the hill.” However, that solitude can come with a price. Green Valley Lake Road is long and winding. Also being snowed in is not an uncommon occurrence. This can lead to some getting “cabin fever,” which can be a serious illness. On Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving weekends, visitors come for the Artisan Tour, an open house of the studios or homes of the many talented artists and craftspeople. Maps are available at local businesses.Many additional activities take place throughout the season as well as fishing for prize trout. For the hardy Green Valley Lake offers mountain and lake beauty, fresh air, clean water, friendly people and a close-knit community.