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 CemeteryAccording 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!

14 comments:

  1. An interesting glimpse into local history

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  2. I was going to say "Forest Range, Pioneer, and Centurian , but looks like you're not 100% (pun intended) certain! So we know his year of death, just not so sure on his birth? I'm wondering just how accurate a census is - especially back in the last century.
    A historian friend of mine has told me there are still many, many mysteries of history to be uncovered. This looks two bee another.
    Thanks for the memories!

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    1. I agree, Cafe. Such an interesting mystery. A census is really only as accurate as those who are reporting on themselves. I haven't been able to find any birth information at all. This mystery may have to remain unsolved - for now!

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  3. What a change - from a forest cabin up in Chilao to a house on Grandview. I had no idea he settled into urban life, but I can imagine the heartbreak of having the Angeles Crest Highway intrude on the remote peace of the forest. Ironically, Newcomb's Ranch now adds to the noise from the highway by attracting hundreds of bikers at the weekend.

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    1. Wow, Bellis. That's ironic for sure. I hadn't thought of it exactly that way. The Newcomb's Ranch website also talks about how he and Sturdevant were working on a Toll Road from Little Santa Anita Canyon over. It never "took" since there was no way to keep track of the tolls.

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  4. Wow...more about the area I lived in most of my life that I didn't know!!! Great sleuthing Adele!!!

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  5. Thank you, Chieftess! They are such an interesting family.

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  6. That is so cool! I like the simple "forest ranger and pioneer," that says it all. (And I love the look of the place from the website.)

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    1. It's a cool place. I've only been there once, on the way back from skiing (which I haven't done since that year). It was cozy, casual and fun.

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    1. Thanks! I hope I can find some more to the story of his age...

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  8. I have never been there. Seems we should go on a weekday, though, eh?

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