Thursday, December 17, 2015

Up and Down the 190

When Arthur and I are driving the 190 we have land marks we look for.  The conversation about what they look like and what is the best name enlivens our little journeys out for groceries.  

The Pierpoint Flamingos below delighted us every time we passed them but, naturally, they had to retire when the snows came. 

 When we pass by the Artesian Spring just below Piewrpoint we always check to see how much is coming out of the pipe.  It would be lovely if someone build a spill basin of local rock.  Of course, gathering rock always reminds me of Les Bailey and the dynamite.  (see The History of Nellie Marshall and Cedar Slope, written by Arthur F. Pillsbury.)

 Now we are on the look out for the HairNet, a grid of metal which protects drivers from being struck by stones falling from the sheer cut which so improved the road.  I am still looking for a safe place to take the photo.  

Place Holder 
That will be coming.  But Arthur and I have lively speculative dialog about the Mill, which shows up on the right, upside of the drive, after the Hairnet.  For that, there was lots of room to pull off and take photos.  If you know the story, please, please share!

And then we wait for the Cave to appear, either going down or coming up.  The Cave was a huge, intriguing sight when I was little and nothing has changed.  Arthur stood at the entrance once, when he was small, but never ventured in.   

The Cave sighted on the way down.

The Cave sighted on the way up. 
 Then, we begin looking for a landmark which has changed over the years.  Mother picked it as 'her rock.'  At the time a Century Plant was growing out of a rounded whorl in the cliff.  Eventually, after Mom, Mary Alice Reasoner Pillsbury, died, the Century plant disappeared and we saw a round hole.  Then, another appeared.  Now it looks a little like Mom's eyes, a comforting thought. 

Mary Alice's Rock (eyes) Going Up.

Mary Alice's Rock (Eyes) on our way down
 And now the most named landmark on our journey along the 190.  We call this the Clam, the Oyster, the Shell - and the Hippie Rock, though we adopted that from a man Arthur knows.  He told Arthur Hippies used to congregate there.  Well, we wondered why, but always remember. 

At this point we begin looking for the sharpish turn leading to the Power House.  We still need a photo but, again, need to look for a place to stop and take it.  

Place Reserved

And how, we come to Point Mugu Rock, which is on the down side of the road.  Arthur said it reminds him of Point Mugu, so naturally that caught on. 

And then, the Flume.  I remember it fondly from when I was very small, but not easily nauseated so I sat in the back seat while my older brother, Cappy, who was very, very easily nauseated sat in the front passenger seat.

Flume, going up!

The next photos are all going up because stopping was easier that way.   So, now we report from the POV of approaching the Power Plant.  Eventually, we will have accumulated photos each way. 

And there it is.  Wishon Road on the Left and ahead a glimpse of the Power Station.  

Approaching Power Station!

And now, the Big Bend leading upward to Paradise

The next thing we look for going down is the Truck Crossing Sign, although it no longer says that we remember when it did so, forever after that is what we will call it.  

 And that completes our tour of amazing landmarks - for the moment. 

The History of Nellie L. Marshall and Cedar Slope

Mary Alice Reasoner Pillsbury and Dr. Arthur Francis Pillsbury

The History of Cedar Slope
by Art Pillsbury

Nellie L. Marshall was born on 15 June, 1851. She was a professional seamstress, living somewhere in the area bounded by Visalia, Porterville (or Plano). Daunt (now Springville), and Milo (A settlement at the junction of Balch Park Road and Yokohl Valley Road. There is no settlement there now.). She has been reputed to have worn a gold nugget signet ring, a present made by her cousin, James Marshall, the discoverer of gold in California. This was Sutter's Mill on the American River. The present whereabouts of the ring appears to be unknown.

In 1881 Nellie Marshall, on one of her trips into the southern Sierra, discovered the land now known as Cedar Slope, and decided to homestead. She built a log cabin on what is now lot 65, where the Clark (formerly Smith) cabin stands. [This is now the Hummel cabin.] Twenty years ago, when my family and I started going up to Cedar Slope for our vacations, the ruins of the old cabin were still there. Our children were excited when they search for, and found, the old square forged nails that she had used. She must have felled the trees on the spot for her logs, and packed in the supplies and equipment on mile back. There were no roads at that time above Springville. A little one gallon per minute spring, from where she carried her water, is just below Oak Drive on the Reasoner property west of Lot 85. She did have a neighbor, name unknown, [M. Rowland]* on the other side of the river, and a way down there of about the same vintage (the land was subsequently traded to the Forest Service for 160 acres down towards Springville.)

One Nathan (Nate) P. Dillon, his wife Zylphia, and children, who were living in Quincy, Illinois, decided in 1851 to head west. They purchased Conestoga wagons, oxen, and the necessary equipment and supplies, and the next next spring started the long trek west. Zylphia had Mormon kinfolk who had recently settled in Salt Lake City. That was a possible destination. Also, they heard many accounts of the potentials and delights of California so that was another possible destination. They started with a group similarly equipped, and with similar desires. They followed the Oregon Trail, and then cut south to Salt Lake City. After a stay there, they headed on to the California gold fields. Maybe the gold fields were too rough and lawless for them, or maybe Nate's roots were in the soil, they headed south and purchased land where Visalia is now located. They did farm, primarily growing wheat and a group under the leadership of Nate, is said to have donated some of their farm land to establish the town of Visalia. They hoped that it would become the County Seat of Tulare County, which county then included Kings and Inyo Counties.

Wheat farming kept him busy for part of the year, but there were long periods when there was nothing to do. So Nate ran a pharmacy in Visalia for a while. Then, he built and operated a grist mill, water-powered, east of Visalia on the St. Johns Branch of the Kaweah River. Wheat milling is also not a continuous activity, and he only supervised the farming by then. In looking around, he became interested in logging, and in the Big Trees. He found the land he wanted in the “Mammoth Forest” area, north of what is now known as Balch Park. And Mountain Home State Park. He homesteaded a parcel, moved his family there, and gradually purchased land father and farther up the slopes. There was an economic problem in the cost of getting lumber to the market. Above all, it was costly to move the logs very far. Therefore, he moved his lumber mill several times, each move father up the slope. His final mill was in the area now called Dillonwood. It is being looked at today as a possible ski resort of considerable promise.

Zylphia died in 1886. Nate's sister, sometime later, introduced him to her good friend, Nellie Marshall. After a short courtship, Nellie and Nate were married in Visalia, Nate's age was 71, and Nellie gave her age as 35, although she was really 40. After the marriage, they went to his home in the North Fork of the Tule country to lead a busy and happy life. Nate had had 12 children by Zylphia and had a daughter by Nellie, (a Mrs. Veda McCoy). Nellie was killed in an accident involving her wagon and horses on August 1, 1897; so Nate survived both his wives. Today the tombs of Zylphia, Nate and Nellie are to be found, side by side, in Porterville Cemetery. Nellie did have a busy life from 1891, when she married Nate, until her death in 1897, and, apparently sold her Cedar Slope homestead during this time.

In 1920 there was a road up to the powerhouse where the North Fork of the Middle Fork, Tule River, joins the Middle Fork. (Actually, from a water production standpoint, the Tule River. Besides producing more water, it is longer than any other branch of the River, and reaches higher elevation.) Brooks Gist recalls a pack trip of that year, and states that they had to start up the trail from there with their saddle horses and pack animals. All along the trail they saw the survey stakes for a road following the same route. That road must have been complete, at least as far as Camp Nelson, a year or two after 1920. For a time after the road was completed to Camp nelson, it was a one-way affair, up on the even hours, and down on the odd. Apparently, the control stated at Coffee Camp.

Ruth Bailey once told me that they had found the spot, and loved to drive up there, for a Sunday picnic. Apparently Fred and Hazelyn Hopkins, along with Les and Ruth Bailey (Les and Hazelyn were brother and sister), and with the children, went on these picnics. The area had been heavily logged, but the swmill was gone. The”Headquarters” cabin was standing, and is now on lot 33 [indicator cabin]. Also, there was a giant sawdust pile, which the children loved to slide down. Anyway, the Bailey and Hopkins families, together, decided to purchase the property, if possible. They found the owners at that time to be George and Amanda Dooley of Delano. Because the land had been so heavily logged, they were able to purchase it for $5,000.00, each family putting up $2,500.00. the deed is dated December 29, 1944, and was recorded on September 5, 1947. [L. W. Cornell had sold this property to George and Amanda Dooley on March 18, 1924 for $2,500.00. Dooley took off 1,000,000 board feet of timer before he sold the property to Bailey. *

The Bailey and Hopkins families originally stayed in the old sawmill cabin. In May 1946, Les hired Paul Gordeuk, who had been working in Springville, o do the building and developing of Cedar Slope. (Paul has spent his free time at Cedar Slope every year since he stopped working for Les. He and his wife Evelone have long had their own cabin up above the highway [now the Harr cabin].) The subdivision was developed in 1947-48, with an Alden Jones doing the surveying. While the subdivision was not officially open for sale until 1949 Les had sold three of his lots in 1947. Construction on thse lots started almost immediately. These lots were sold to Dr. Elmo Zumwalt (father of the former CO of the Navy) [Lot #7, how the Reasoner cabin], severely damaged in the snow storm of 1969 at which time it became uninhabitable. “Annex” on the property was converted and became the present cabin. - Information obtained from Muriel Reasoner] to Dr. L. Watke, [Lot #76, purchased by Tabaz in 1978, cabin burned before 1983], and to Gail Shadinger [Lot #46, now the Khoury cabin]. Dr. Watke still owns his cabin, along side of Marshall Creed, and still spends time there. Paul did much of the construction of the Zumwalt cabin, and of the “Canteen” the original store [Lot #20].

There was always fresh coffee at the Canteen, along with candy, bread, milk, and other staples. Also, a Mr. Root was working for Les, and was a barber on th eside. He had his barber chain in the Canteen. They Canteen, now remodeled into a cabin, is standing and owned by the Cotta and Franklin families of Porterville. A sign on a tree in front calls in “Fred's O'l Place”. A bit later, less dug a pond next to the Canteen, stocked it with trout, and charged people 50 cents for each fish caught.

A Mr. Flag, some time before, had moved the sawmill from Cedar Slope to Camp Nelson. After his death a few years later, it was purchased by E. E. (Bud) Lyman, and moved to Springville. About 1945 Les picked out trees in his part of the subdivision that would be in the way of access roads, plus some needed for thinning, and had Bud do the logging and hauling. Part of the deal was the rough lumber needed for the 1947 construction. This was hauled back to Cedar Slope. Part of the sugar pine was cut into short blocks and sawed into shingles at the Springville shingle mill. These same shingles are still on the old Zumwalt cabin [cabin demolished in 1988] and on the former Canteen.

In 1952 Les built a new store on Lot 5, along side of the highway. At about the same time he built a new cabin for Ruth and himself above the highway on a spot that commands a remarkable view of Cedar Slope and all of the surrounding country. [Now the McDonald cabin, P#1] Also about the same time, Fred invited many of his friend sup for a “house raising”. In two days time they put up a one room cabin. This cabin was gradually remodeled and added onto, with a major reconstruction in 1956. It is now the Watto cabin, [Lot # 4]. While next door to our cabin, [Lot #S6], we see nothing, and hear nothing, and never have, because of the dense stand of trees.

The granite around Cedar Slope is too decomposed and soft for use in making fireplaces and chimneys. Major work was underway on the highway between Cedar Slope and Quaking Aspen. This granite was quite while in appearance, very hard, and Les resolved to collect quite a bit of it. Les and Paul generally went together with a truck. Near Boulder Creek, Les noticed some particularly good rocks above a cut for the highway. He told Paul to climb up and crow bar a couple of good ones loose. Paul loosened one, and this started a tremendous rock slide, completely blocking the road. Soon, there were quite a few cars stopped, since no one could go up or down past the slide. Quite a “crew” was formed to clear the highway. Les just couldn't admit how the landslide had started, but he hated to see all of those beautiful rocks roll down the slope. Then he had a brilliant idea. He told the people that he was thinking of building a fireplace, and these rocks wight be suitable. Anyway, he persuaded the people to put the rocks he selected into his trust, rather than to roll them down the slope. He selected the rocks he wanted, and soon the truck was fill. From this trip, and others, enough rocks were collected for an immense fireplace and chimney for the new store, for his cabin [Parcel #1], and Fred's cabin and later he gave the rest to the Gists for their cabin. We long admired those fireplaces.

NOTE: I interviewed Paul after Dad had died and he told me that it was no crowbar that caused the slide but several sticks of dynamite. I suspect the story changed because many people were loathed to tell Father, an internationally respected expert in several areas, about what really happened.

There was not much other cabin construction until 1953. In that year, the Matthews [Lot # 32 – now the Harris cabin]. The Clements [Lot # 16], and the Reedys [Lot #38 – now the Russell cabin] were built. Ever since then there has been steady process until, today, some 57 cabins are served by the Cedar Slope Mutual Water Company. Three of these are above the highway, so technically not in Tract 119.

The philosophy behind cabins now is quite different than it was in 1947. Elaborate building codes and County inpections, as we know it today, were not instituted until 1962. There was some inspection of electrical wiring before electricity could be connected, and some inspection of septic tanks, but not today's strict building codes. A cabin was built as a rough summer cabin, now as a home. They were built for a 20-year life, with piers held off the ground only by cedar blocks – no concrete. Plumbing usually went up the outside of the cabins for easy repairs, and to be easily drained in the fall. Two staggered layers of 1” x 12” planks commonly served as the walls. Septic tanks were usually two lengths of concrete pipe on end, and connected. Te leach lines were about 20 feet of concrete drain tile put in shallow trench and covered. There was no electricity at Cedar Slope. However, Dr. Zumwalt, who was then serving as Mayor of Tulare, in addition to his medical practice, invited Edison officals up to his cabin for a week-end. They arranged to bring electricity to Cedar Slope from Camp Nelson while sitting around the table that he had had the German Prisoners-or-war build for him at their camp near Tulare. Charlie Reasoner has now rebuilt the original Zumwalt “annex” into a good, but small cabin. The big table will not fin into that cabin so we are lucky to have the temporary use of it in our cabin {Lot S6]. It fits well into our cabin and we would have to be without it.

Rods, 20 years ago, were simply for access and egress during the summer. Narrow dirt roads would not spoil the primitive environment, and that is what Les, in particular, wanted. Les and Fred did go together at first on the roads ,sharing the cost. Together, they spent $1,283.00 on the roads. But Fred was concerned that the County would not accept responsibility for the maintenance of the roads that Les put in. While the County would own them, they would be classed a “traveled right-of-way”, with the property owners responsible for all maintenance, and any paving. Therefore, Fred put of $300.00 for clearing the brush and trees, and $1,200.00 to the County to grade, drain, and pave the roads in his part of the subdivision. Thus, the County does maintain the main subdivision road, and the roads that Fred had had improved. Some of the other roads are in very bad shape today.

Fred Hopkins actually made his lots larger and fewer in number, than did Les in the Tract 119 subdivision. Fred believed that lots should average about one acre in size. While there are 85 lots in the subdivision, there are only 25 in Feed's half. Tract 119 was limited to the land below the highway and between Marshall Creek and Hopkins Creek. Both Les and Fred had considerable land left, which they sold off in various ways. In 1956, Fred Sold a large parcel to Brooks and Mabel Gist, long-time friends of the Hopkins and Bailey families. (I have thoroughly enjoyed reading two of Brooks Gist's books: “The Years Between”, about the early says in the San Joaquin Valley, and “High Sierra Adventure”.) Fred suggested that Brooks build a real log cabin. Fred and Brooks became enthused, and together cruised the land to find enough where thinning was required. Brooks felled the trees in 1957, and built the log cabin in 1958 and 1959. Brooks was no stranger to the area; his first of several pack trips, leaving from what is now the PG&E hydroplant was in 1913, and going past Camp Nelson and Cedar Slope to Whites Meadows, Trout Meadows, and on to Funston Meadows. (Incidentally, 1913 was my first of many summers spent in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, but in Yosemite, rather than in the southern Sierra.)

NOTE: See this link for information on Father's father, Arthur C. Pillsbury, the inventor of many of the photographic cameras that have shaped our world today.

Nothing has been said about how Cedar Slope was named. This had to be done before applying for the subdivision permit. Names being considered were Ponderosa, Bailey's Camp and Bull Pine Flats. Then Ruth suggested “Cedar Slope”. Possibly because Ruth was adored by all, and particularly by Les, her suggestion became law. Cedar Slope it is and always will be. The lots were originally priced at $800.00 to $1,200.00 when the subdivision officially opened in 1949.

In 1952 Les built a new store along side of Highway 10. It was basically a store, with freezers, refrigerators and grocery shelves. There were game tables such as pool and shuffle board. There was a counter where one could get short orders, coffee, cold drinks, candy and pies. Also, Les always said, “The kids need their milk”; so it was sold at Springville prices. Les often had the urge or need to be somewhere else. At such times, he would leave the cash register open, and a sign on the counter asking people to wait on themselves. When my oldest son found Les gone, which was often, he generally took over and ran the place for the fun of it. When Les returned, he would generally give Cap a few candy bars. Les often said that he never lost a dine by his informal storekeeping. I believe it. Another thing, everything was priced in multiples of 5 cents. No pennies allowed. Making frequent excursions to the store was a ritual for all of the children around. Ruth always stayed at home, but the kids usually went up to visit her, too. And, they always flocked up there fore her regular summer Sunday School.

NOTE: Cap, myself, and Stephen our younger brother, all took turns in the store. I sold a few candy bars and cokes myself. It was lots of fun and the Store was then the community meeting house, welcoming to all ages and kinds of people who either were vacationing or passing through.

It must have been round 1960 that Les sold the store and the undeveloped “trailer park”. Les had designed the store so that the northeast room could be a bar. He actually applied for a license, but, when Ruth and Hazelyn found out about it, that room suddenly became the storage room. The new owner did put in a bar there. He also developed the trailer park by burying 3 ft. lengths of 3 ft. diameter concrete pipe, with a hole in the lids. An electrical outlet, and a water faucet, was run to each trailer site. However, in 1962, the sanitary facilities were condemned. The trailer park, still not open for public use, is now owned by Carl Tapia. [In recent years the trailer part has been open for use.[

The young man who had purchased the store apparently lost interest after a couple of years, and sold it to Carl Tapia. In the winder of 1969, the store burned down, apparently because of a faulty gas water heater. Carl rebuilt it as the Cedar Slope Inn. His avocation has always been in the are of music, and, if we listen on week-end evenings for almost 9 months out of the year, we generally can hear music coming from the Inn. And, never rock and roll. The Inn is quite an attraction for many of the adults of the Upper Tule, but no longer a mecca for the children.

The Cedar Slope Mutual Water Company was incorporated in 1947, and a permit was granted for the issuance of 89 shares of stock. The water system has always been a surface diversion from Marshall Creek. There are almost continuous seeps for a half mile above the tiny diversion dam. These seeps appear to be fed from the seepage from a meadow on the way up to Jordan Peak. The original storage tank was only two feet high, and was fed by a hose running from Marshall Creek. It was damaged by falling trees and totally inadequate. It was replaced by a 500 gallon galvanized steel sheet metal tank, which is till standing,but unused. In 1957, Charlie Reasoner, then President of the Board, Cedar Slope Mutual Water Company, arranged the purchase of a 22,000 gallon tank for $2,450.00. At the same time, the tiny diversion dam on Marshall Creek was built with volunteer help, and a pipeline installed from the dam to the tank. The capacity of the pipeline is about 55 gallons per minute, although the water right is only for 22 gallons per minute. In 1960, the new tank became inadequate and Charlie arranged the purchase of another tank of 44,000 gallons capacity to be installed next to the other tank, and connected to it. This tank cost $3,300.00 installed. Charlie, and other volunteers, did all the connecting up, making the system very flexible. Incidentally, the newest tank has a double bolted lower section, permitting the future addition of another section that would add 22,000 gallons more.

Also, at the time that Charlie was giving all of his time to the Cedar Slope Mutual Water Company, he made a start in putting in new mains and burying them. The old “invasion” pipe was put right on the surface, and was drained every fall on the Sunday following Thanksgiving. Paul Gordeuk always did this task, with the help of any others that might still be at their cabins, Subsequently, largely through the efforts of George Matthews, who is retired but receives nominal pay from the water company, the mains and laterals have now all been replaced and completely “winterized”. The water is on the year round. Further, the water is now chlorinated, and without at all affecting its food taste. All 85 lots in Tract 119, plus 5 above the highway, are all served with water. In all, 57 cabins [now there are 58 cabins and the Cedar Slope Inn using water] have been constructed, and are in use. It's an excellent water system, and we are quite pleased [a well was drilled in 1987 and chlorination is not required at this time]. Cedar Slope is a most pleasant spot for a “second home”. Those who live there keep the place neat and tidy, and clean up the litter that campers and other itinerants leave in their wake.

Finally, it might be mentioned that Les purchased another 160 acre homestead right after it had been logged. I helped him search the land for the best water supply, so that he could go ahead with the subdivision. Also, I viewed the “Indian bathtubs” where the Indians had leached, and then dried into cakes, their acorn meal. But old age crept up on Les, and he was forced to sell the land. It has been partially developed as Alpine Village. Hopefully, someone will write a history of it.

NOTE: I accompanied Father to the area that is now Alpine Village for the survey and held the stick for him when not playing in the bathtubs and exploring.

Brooks and Mabel Gist, Paul Gordeuk, Charles and Muriel Reasoner, George matthews, and Delpha Hopkins, widow of Fred, have provided me with a wealth of information, which is incorporated herein. My sincere thanks to all of them!

Floyd L. Otter, 1963. “The Men of Mammoth Forest”, Edwards Bros. Inc., Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Elaine Egenes. 1970. “The Dauntless Dillons”, Edwards Bros. Inck Ann Arbor, Michigan.

About Dr. Arthur Francis Pillsbury

Born October 10, 1904 – Died April 12, 1991

Dr. Arthur F. Pillsbury was an acknowledged expert in the field of water resources and conservation, his first job after receiving his Ph. D. from Stanford University in 1932, was to design projects for the Civilian Conservation Corp. in California. He and his new bride, Mary Alice Reasoner Pillsbury, spent the first six months of their marriage moving from place to place, living in a tent, so that Dr. Pillsbury could be on site.

Dr. Pillsbury went to work for the California University system on the Los Angeles Campus in 1933, working in both their nascent engineering department and in agriculture.

He served on the first EPA in the late 60s and because of his broad understanding of the integrative discipline of soils, agriculture, and water issues.

In 1962 Dr. Pillsbury was invited to serve on the U. S. Panel of the International Boundary Commission to work on the problem of increased salinity of the Colorado River. In 19634 he was in northern Mexico with the World Bank, in 1964 he took sabbatical leave from UCLA to be part of the world conference on the problem of salinity in the river basin. He consulted on water and irrigation problems in West Pakistan, Tehran, Iran and Israel.

Until his retirement, Dr. Pillsbury was the Director of the Water Resources Center and the Director of the Engineering and Applied Center and the Director of the Engineering and Applied Science Departments at UCLA. He also served on the Department of the Interior's task force on water quality in 1967, and the following year was appointed to the California Environmental Quality Study Council, and traveled the entire state.

In 1981 his article, “Salts of the Earth,” was published in Scientific American.

He served as Secretary-Treasurer of the Cedar Slope Mutual Water company from 1975 to 1978.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

An Interview with Paul Gordeuk in 1996

Paul Gordeuk

I interviewed Paul in 1996 and he shared with me the memories recounted here. They do not all correlate with what I heard from others, which is one of the things that builds out that lense!

Paul Gordeuk came to California to work for Less Bailey. His brother had become acquainted with Les while in the Army. Les has met him and some friends while they were on furlough and taken him home for a good meal. The brother related this to Paul and suggested that Paul, who wanted very much to come to California, might be able to work for Les. This was soon accomplished. Paul came to California for the purpose of helping Les develop a resort area which was later named Cedar Slope. Paul was 22 years old then. He lived with Les and his family or at the resort while he was employed there.

His first job for Les was to add windows, a bathroom and a shed to what is now the Roberts cabin, which was the only structure on the property when Baily acquired it. It has been the cook shed for the logging operation.

The next cabin built was on lot 7, the Zumwalt cabin, built for Dr. Zumwalt who owned it from the time it was built in '47 until it was sold to Mr. Charles Lafayette Reasoner in 1952.

The next cabin was built on spec, the cabin just down the slope from the store. The next few were the cabin on lot 46, which is now owned by the Khourys. Paul related that he had to redo the kitchen on this one four times until the wife was satisfied. Three ounces of gold dust were used in the mortar that went into the fireplace. This was for luck. The gold was contributed by the wife. Paul also make the chandelier out of manzanita which is an earmark of a cabin he worked on. Examples of this are seen in many of the cabin at Cedar Slope.

It was in 1947 that Les decided to celebrate the Fourth of July in a way that matched the extravagance of his imagination. Knowing that fireworks were illegal he bade Paul to set of a charge of dynamite on the flat rock on lot 46. Paul placed a stick of dynamite and a fuse. No, Les told him, this was not large enough. So ten sticks of dynamite and ten fuses where forthwith placed on the rock while Paul scampered out of the blast zone. The explosion was echoed back and forth across the mountain for five minutes. Later that day the party went down to Springville and were queried about the thunder and lightning storm. Les responded with a straight face that he has seen no storm.

The Great Rock Caper

Les decided that a chimney should be built, and of course that Paul should do it. Paul had never built a chimney but Les never let this stop him. Rock was needed first, Les said, and so they climbed in the truck and headed up the mountain to look for some. At 190 and L oso (Bear in Spanish) Creek, they found a likely looking outcropping of good stone in a cut above the highway. Les told Paul to go up and lever out a few pieces. Starting his long involvement with Manzanita, Paul was able to save himself from joining the general stampede of stone onto the road, completely blocking the highway.

the two of them decided that they really must clear enough to allow a car to pass. Soon there was a collection of stopped vehicles and the drivers and passengers started a spontaneous effort to clear the road. Never one to pass up an opportunity, Les convinc3ed them to pile the best stone into his truck. From this came the chimney still adorning the Roberts cabin. About 15 or 20 people were involved in the clearing effort.

Les had a real knack for finding things for Paul to do. Paul wold no sooner hear Les say, ``I or we are going to..." that he would start to worry. At this time Paul was not exactly on the pay roll. Les promised to pay him when it became convenient but their actual arrangement was work for food, clothes and spending money.

Les never actually got around to paying Paul. But 15 minutes before he died of an anyurism, Les insisted on writing up a codicil to his will leaving Paul a lot at Cedar Slope. This was lot 10, and is today the site for the Gordeuk cabin.

Les' wife Ruth was a college professor who also collected butterflies and other insects.

This collection was on display in their cabin and many children spent hours going

over the specimens. Some were inspired to start collections of their own.

The Original Highway 190 Cedar Slope Store

Cedar Slope Beginnings, The Store, and The Chimney

Cedar Slope Beginnings
(The Store at Cedar Slope in the Good Old Days)

Cedar Slope was the name chosen by Ruth Bailey for the beautiful picnic place that she and her husband. Les, started visiting for Sunday picnics from their farm in the Valley.

The plot of land that would become Cedar Slope had originally been homesteaded by a woman named Nellie Marshall, who legend has it was the niece of the Marshall who discovered gold in California. Nellie saw the land in 1881 on one of her trips into the Southern Sierras and built a log cabin on what is now Lot 65.

Nellie began proving up her claim, living there in the summers and spending the winters working as a seamstress in the Porterville area.

Eventually she married a local farmer but the stream running through the acres still bears her name.

Her cabin was built with logs from trees she cut her self and hammered together using square nails, made by hand and carried up the trails on horseback.

Nellie died tragically in a carriage accident on August 1, 1897 and eventually the land passed to a logging company who came in to cut the sequoias, leaving piles of saw dust in their wake.

The Cedar Slope Store

Families escaping from the heat of Central Valley began traveling up into the Sequoias to picnic and camp in the early years of the 1900s. But until there were roads travel was subject to packing in what was necessary.

In 1920 there was a road up to the powerhouse where the North Fork of the Middle Fork, Tule River, joins the Middle Fork. After that point travel was again either by horses or foot.

Change was slow but steady. Soon afterwards the road was completed as far as Camp Nelson.
In those early years of Highway 190 transport up the Mountain was also subject to hourly one way traffic with travelers pulling off to wait until it was then their turn at the narrows and dusty road that wended its way up from the Manzanita and Oaks into the cedars, Pines and Sequoias.
Ruth and Les were able to buy the now abandoned logging site because it has been so thoroughly cut for a modest amount of money and then Les's mind turned to how this location could best be used.

Les's sister, Hazelyn Hopkins and her husband Fred had all enjoyed the picnics in the cooler elevations, now they considered how to make this spot a second home.

The first Cedar Slops Store was located below Highway 190 in a largish flat area now Lots 33, 32 and 31. The first Store, Fred's Ol' Place still stands there as a private cabin.

But soon Les's ideas ran to a larger and more accessible establishment and the location right on 190 was selected for construction which began right after World War II by Paul Gordeuk, a Ukrainian immigrant who would build not only the original store to stand on 190 but many of the cabins Les sold.

The Chimney

The Chimney of the original Store was constructed from good stone, which was hard to come by because the granite most local to the area is too decomposed to be good for building so Les cast his eyes around and found a source of good stone near the road between Cedar Slope and Quaking Aspen.

Paul Gordeuk reported that the stone resisted their efforts so Les applied some persuasion in the form of dynamite that he had brought along.

This proved to be very successful in releasing the stone but also brought it down onto the road so that it was impossible to pass.

Cars trying to go up and down 190 started to pile up and the occupants, decided that they must move the stone from the highway.

Seeing an opportunity Les asked that instead of pushing it off to the side that they despite the beautiful white granite in the bed of his truck, which was conveniently located backed up to the slide.

They did so and the result was the wonderful fireplace and chimney that stood at one end of the Cedar Slope Store until it burned down.

Melinda's Memories of Cedar Slope

Cedar Slope Memories

Melinda Pillsury-Foster

We visited the Franz Family in Central Valley sometimes!

From left, Cap, Beverly and her sister, Melinda and Little Stevie.

I was five years of age the first year my family began its yearly journey from Los Angeles to the cedar pungent mountains of the Sequoias. At that point in my life the trip from our home on Colby Avenue to the heights of the mountains was an adventure itself. Over the years stopping to get gas and to eat before, “going up the Mountain,” became part of a ritual that took me from one kind of life to another one that was very different.

At home we lived on a street inhabited by an eclectic collation of families, around half of them with one or the other parent worked at UCLA; the No. 8 bus line went by on National, just two short blocks to the north of us and delivered parents and students neatly into the entrance in Westwood. Phil Silvers lived just a few houses down the street from us on the other side with a yappy little poodle and John Wooden lived next door to Mr. Silvers. Coach Wooden was a good friend of my Dad's and taught all of us to play basketball from the time we were able to bounce it once or twice. Around the corner lived the Lloyd Bridges family with a whole half basketball team of kids. Mr. Bridges and my Dad were both Scout Masters for Troop 70 when my older brother, Cap, and the Bridges Boys were working their way through the Scout Program.

The trip up the 190 took us into a different world, one that blended stories of boy boys, mountain men, and brought up recollections from my Dad of his years growing up in Yosemite. Making it up the 190 was itself an adventure in those days.

While we no longer had to wait on the hour at a pull out so that traffic could either go up or down on a one way road, we were often stopped on long, hot, waits while we heard the distant or not so distant boom of dynamite that was used to widen the path for the new road. At those times Dad would estimate by walking forward and talking to the flag man how long a particular wait would be before letting up get out and 'occupy' ourselves. We knew not to go too far afield; none of us wanted any more delay in reaching the Slope.

It was a coincidence of time and family that began our connection to this section of the Sierras; given slightly different timing we would probably have continued our trips to Yosemite, where we visited the sites of Dad's childhood, each year instead. But Uncle Chuck, my mother’s next older sibling, owned a cabin there on lot 7. Uncle Chuck lived in Oildale at that time and was in charge of the oil lines for Standard Oil in that area. He, along with everyone else, baked during the week and hungered for someplace high in the cool air of the pines, cedars, and sequoias. Through casual talk Uncle Chuck learned that one of the oil field workers, Paul Gordeuk, was building cabins in the mountains. From Paul, who was surprised to be summoned to the head office, Uncle Chuck learned about Cedar Slope and promptly bought one of the first cabins that had been built by Paul there. It was referred to as the Zumwalt cabin, for the family that had bought it originally from Les Bailey, the developer of Cedar Slope.

Dr. Zumwalt was a physician and the father of Elmo Zumwalt, the Admiral. The cabin was very cabinish, with a small bathroom off the porch with a shower that was made of metal and so sounded like a drum when you turned on the water. I liked that, actually. When I was still in the single digits taking a shower there was itself an adventure.

Naturally I did not learn the history of Cedar Slope all at one time, it trickled in through overheard conversation and then later, when I was an adult, through interviews with people who were older, for instance Paul Gordeuk. Paul told me fascinating things about all of the people who as a child I had known only from a child's viewpoint.

Les Bailey was a farmer down in the Valley and when I was a small child I thought of him as being older than God. He was different from anyone else I had every known at that point. His wife Ruth was a mine of information; she collected butterflies and had a collection under glass at their cabin above the road where she also provided Sunday School for us every Sunday Morning. Sunday School at Cedar Slope was a very different experience than it was at the little Congregational Church on the Hill in West Los Angeles.

Naturally, we started with a prayer. But Mrs. Ruth's prayers ventured into good wishes for all of us personally and for other living things. I liked that and sometimes would peek at her face as she prayed. She was usually smiling. After we prayed Mrs. Ruth read us a story about Jesus and we could ask questions. I liked this; any question was in order. After that Mrs. Ruth always had a project for us to do. Sometimes she would have had us bring things to use, like dry pine needles or pine cones or pressed flowers. Once she provided very nice forms and we poured plaster of paris in to the forms we liked and when they dried, we painted them. I still have mine to this day. After we cleaned up we got home made cookies and juice. Like I said, Sunday School was a very good thing.

At the cabin we could sleep inside at night or we could haul beds and sleep out on the porch or even bed down in a tent. In back of the main cabin there was a smaller building we called the Annex and some summers we kids would go there to sleep. Deciding what we were going to do was part of getting ready to go to the cabin every year.

The cabin itself was small and there were no doors inside, just a curtain across the doorway of the one bedroom.

One of the cupboards in the kitchen bore a map burned into surface a map of the cabins that were then in existence. There were not very many.

The fireplace was wide and inviting, formed with river rock and boasting a rough wood mantle which I could just touch if I climbed on one of the four footed stools which we kids used for chairs.

The table on which we ate had, I was told, been made by German POWs under the command of Zumwalt in the mountain camp to which they had been consigned. It was a good sized oval, surrounded by benches which matched the smaller stools. Beds were also army issue, tubing and unforgiving, springless mattresses.

In the kitchen there was both a wood stove, a real four burner with grill and a water resevoir in the back, which we managed to empty even when we were reluctant to bathe, which was the case in those early years. I learned to cook on that stove, sizzling bacon on cold mornings and cooking up platters of eggs and pan cakes as agreed to in some consensual way that now strikes me as effortless. Part of cooking was cutting the wood, outside next to the pile of ready materials.

The refrigerator was small, old and discouraged. It hummed a bright, high song thoughout the night, reminding us of its presence. But it held what we needed, producing occasional lumps of ice and enormous amounts of frost which must be hacked out before we left.

We washed our clothes in a ringer washing machine. I was eight when I was given the ominous pleasure of overseeing this process with the help of my two year younger brother, Stephen. Stephen has a way of getting his hands caught in the ringer, which necessitated my smacking the safety bar - and bring the process of cleansing to a temporary hiatus.

Wash day meant lines and lines of clothes slapping in the breeze and evenings spent folding the collection away into baskets. Jeans were the worst to clean. They came out stiff and scratchy, no matter how old they were. It generally took two days of wearing for them to recover from the process.

When we were not using the machine for washing clothes it served as a receptical for trout which had been hooked alive and kept fresh for future consumption.

There were lots of varmints that shared the cabin with us. One of these, a pushy mouse, could venture forth while lights were still on to retrieve abandoned food from the floor. One time I saw him trying to push a grape through his hole. He pushed and smacked it with his head and nose. Then, he began jumping up and down with frustration and glared at me when I laughed. We did not leave candy bars in our beds. They would be found with nips and chunks removed.

The mountains meant working. From the first year we spent there Father made it clear that vacation did not mean an endless round of entertainments. We built out ground for a sitting area, put in trails, repaired and improved existing structures, emptied the septic tank, which was, according to my father, clearly inadequate for even a much smaller building.

I was around ten when Father bought the adjacent lot from Uncle Chuck and we began leveling the place that he chose for a building site.

For the next six years our yearly duties narrowed to removing decomposed, and not decomposed granite, from the site, building out the level area and clearing brush. We had a great time. I came home every year with monumental callouses to hear about my friends trips to Hawaii. I never doubted that I had had the best of the deal.

I had worked along side Father and Uncle Chuck, who each exemplified all that adulthood ought to be. They joked and smiled through the day, scrambled together dinner at night and sorted reluctant children into chores. Mom had decided after the first year that going to the Cabin was not what she wanted to do.

To be continued......