Sunday, March 10, 2013

Mr. Carter

Nathaniel C. Carter, founder of Sierra Madre, was born in Lowell, Massachusetts.  Always an entrepreneur, he began his career selling groceries, and as an agent for sewing machines.  Later, he was in the business of manufacturing ready-made clothes and United States flags.  In 1866, Mr. Carter manufactured the first flag made by machinery, for the U.S. Government. 

In 1864, Nathaniel C. Carter married Annetta M. Pierce, who was also a native of Lowell.  The couple had five children: Florence, Arthur, Julia, Anita, and Philip. (Anita, who was the first girl born in Sierra Madre, ultimately married Holt Gregory, who was the first boy born in Sierra Madre.  Julia married Thomas Henszey, another local boy.)

In 1870, due to his poor health, Mr. Carter came to California, in search of a milder climate.  On that trip, he also visited different parts of the country, and then returned to the East.  In 1872, he returned to California, purchased a portion of a ranch near San Gabriel, and lived there in an adobe house.  The Carters' third child was born in this house.  In 1874, Mr. Carter organized "Carter Excursions," which brought groups of people by train to California from all over the East. 

In 1881, Carter bought 845 acres of the Santa Anita Ranch from Lucky Baldwin, along with 150 acres from John R. Richardson, and another 108 acres from the Southern Pacific Railroad.  After subdividing and re-selling much of this property, the tract was named Sierra Madre.  Mr. Carter's own home, "Carterhia," was built high at the top of Baldwin Avenue.

Among many other contributions to the growth of the young town, Mr. Carter was one of the original incorporators of both the Sierra Madre Water Company and the Sierra Madre Library Association.

Nathaniel C. Carter passed away in September of 1904, at the age of 64. 

Source: Annals of Early Sierra Madre


  1. Nice history lesson Adele!!! Interesting to think that California started out as a tourist destination!!!

  2. I would've loved to see California through his eyes! Imagine what it must've been like then.

  3. Great history lessons and pretty decent photo to go with it, Adele :).

  4. I do like these little history lessons.

  5. Glad i caught this - better late then never. I often walk that street. Carter street. SM became the town I visited often after the forest burnt down and i needed a bit of mountain air. I may one day do a post about an SM artist.. The very first post i did was on him for my earlier and now defunct blog Palm Axis

    1. It's such a nice street to walk on. So quiet. I can see why you would use it for a bit of mountain air. WOuld love to hear about the SM artist. Put that on your blog list!


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