March 12, 2020
THE GREAT MOUNTAIN WAR OF 1939: The Blue Jayites vs. The Crestline Hillbillies: This week’s column is based upon an article written in the late 2000’s by noted local historian Jim Huff. The legendary embattled coexistence of Blue Jay and Crestline was first chronicled in a tabloid published in San Bernardino between 1938 and 1942 called Snoop. It told of Sam Wager, pharmacist at the Blue Jay Drug Store, who led the Blue Jayites. Known as Dapper Sam, God’s Gift to Women, and the Self-Styled Political Boss of the Mountains, Sam and the Blue Jayites had on ongoing feud with the citizens of Crestline whom they referred to as the Crestline Hillbillies. In response, in 1939 Sam was hung in effigy by enraged Crestliners in a wild celebration of dominance over the rival resort. In those days Crestline was known as The Swingingest Town in America, with popular watering holes such as the Crash Inn, Scotties, the Rim of the World Tavern and the Town Hall Café. In contrast Blue Jay only had the Tap Room. Crestline was the popular destination for flatland “furriners,” as they were called. This included many military personnel from the numerous bases, some of whom had their wedding ceremonies in the Crash Inn. A 1939 advertisement is featured as this week’s image. The Blue Jayites did get to brag about their new ice rink and its nine miles of cooling pipes. Name dropping was common, such as, “Oh, it didn’t take Jane Withers long to discover our beautiful rink,” or, “Wasn’t Gene Lockhart handsome gliding around the ice last week.” The Hillbillies knew, however, that most of the rich and famous had to pass through Crestline after their long climb up the hill and would likely stop to pause and refresh before finishing their trip to Blue Jay. In retaliation, the Blue Jayites started advertising that Daley Canyon Road was being widened and paved with better grades and would be the shortest route into Blue Jay and Lake Arrowhead. They further advised motorists to bypass Crestline and take the route we now know as Highway 189. By Ken Brafman, Image from Ken Brafman Collection.