Sunday, February 3, 2013
Louie T. Newcomb
Newcomb's Ranch is a popular destination on the Angeles Crest Highway. It's a great place for breakfast, lunch, or a beer, and they even have a gift shop. It is visited mostly by motorcycle riders in the summer, and skiiers in the winter, but all are welcome.
I only recently noticed Louie T. Newcomb's lovely grave marker in Sierra Madre's Pioneer Cemetery. According to the Newcomb's Ranch website, Louie (born in 1851*) was a master trail blazer and cabin builder. In 1888, he visited the area above present-day La Canada, and built a cabin near what would one day become Newcomb's Ranch. Soon he was visited by friends, as well as hikers and hunters, and he ended up becoming one of the first forest rangers in the San Gabriel Timber Reserve. Mr. Newcomb held this position for many years, and built cabins and trails that are still used today.
In about 1904, Louis T. Newcomb married Grace Crandall, who was born in Ohio, but had moved with her family to Sierra Madre. The Newcombs purchased a home on Grandview Avenue in Sierra Madre, and had a daughter whom they named Grace. Mrs. Grace Crandall Newcomb passed away in 1940, followed by Louie in 1954, at the age of 103*.
While Louie T. was the first Newcomb to arrive in the mountains, in 1929 he sold the bulk of his land to his cousin, Lynn Newcomb, Sr. In 1940, he left the "high country" for good, stating that work on the Angeles Crest Highway had "ruined the place." Lynn Newcomb, Sr. and his sons founded the ranch, as well as the Mt. Waterman Ski Area, in 1939. Lynn Newcomb, Jr., who passed away in 2011, is credited with creating the first chair lift in So Cal, in 1942.
* Interestingly, while the headstone and some census records show Mr. Newcomb as being born in 1851, there seems to be a disparity in his reporting throughout the years. For example, the 1940 census shows him as not being born until 1870. I double-checked every which way possible, and it seems that I'm looking at the right person, but this is yet another mystery to me!