Author Topic: Old Cabin @ Toms Place  (Read 8926 times)

Creek Dude

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Old Cabin @ Toms Place
« on: December 29, 2012, 09:38:35 PM »
More from Scout...



This is one of the only pictures I have of the log cabin at Tom's. In this cabin, the logs are squared on the outside, left round on the inside.  In those days, there was only one big room, the additions you see today (they still rent it out, #20) were done after my Grandmother sold the resort.
   
The cabin was built by Hans Lof, I've heard in 1916, which makes all of the dates on their shirts and stuff wrong...oh well. As I implied previously, the amazing part about this is Hans Lof only had one hand. I heard most of the stories about him from my my Grandma and my mom, so I'll do my best to remember...they told me that the hand that he had lost was replaced by an apparatus with a screw socket in it, allowing him to screw various tools onto his arm...hammers, saws, I guess whatever he needed. It must have worked well for him, he was quite the craftsman.

There's another building at the old Happy Jack's (more on that later) that he built that is even more impressive, upright log construction, at least 12" logs, squared off on all sides. I got to go into it years ago, when the owners at the time were remodeling. The gaps between the logs were no larger that an eighth of an inch, very impressive. Luckily, those folks realized what they had, and left it as it was.
   
Hans came to the area as a power line "checker", dates unknown, he was hired to patrol the power lines in the area, on horseback, or walking in good weather, skiing during the winter. Everybody thinks this is how he became interested in the Rock Creek property.

Fun story about his horse...my mom, and others who saw it, said that he'd go out to his horse, squat down under it's belly, then rise up, lifting the horse off the ground.  Sounds a little improbable, but too many people substantiated the story to discount it. They all say he was an immensely strong man.
   
I found this description of what Hans sold Tom in the County archives in Bridgeport...

"Oct. 20, 1923, for the sum of $5000.00." All those certain houses consisting of store building, garage, cookhouse, warehouse, corrals, fences and all improvements on U.S. Land under the concession for the USFS, known and designated as the Rock Creek Gasoline Station."
   
Supposedly, Hans used to "sell" his operation at Rock Creek to unsuspecting people, then make the payments so high that he could repossess it. Then Tom came along, had some money behind him, purchased what became Tom's Place and paid Hans off.  My G'ma told me that this really pissed Hans Lof off, he was after Tom from then on out.

In 1924, Hans went a couple of miles up the road and homesteaded 164 acres at what is now Aspen Springs . He started developing another resort, mainly a pack station that served Rock Creek and Hilton Canyons. Everybody I've talked to who knew him said that Hans wasn't a real friendly guy, but that he liked children. My mom told stories of riding her horse down that way and seeing Hans.  He'd always wave his hook (he wore a hook on his arm when he wasn't working) at her in what she perceived as a friendly fashion...whenever he saw Tom, the gesture definitely looked different.... even with a hook.  Tom knew what Hans was saying. G'ma told me a story about Hans keeping Tom pinned down in Crooked Creek with a rifle for hours one afternoon, until it got dark enough for Tom to sneak out...the good old days...!
   
In the early 1930's Hans borrowed some money from Happy Jack Partridge's father ( an old time Bishop family...Jack was born in 1906 at a ranch on Collins Road, south of town), a few thousand dollars, then fell behind on his payments. After trying to collect for quite a while, the Partridges took him to court. Happy Jack went to the trial in Independence, representing his family. He told me that the judge looked at everything, pondered for a while, then looked at both Jack and Hans and said " In my opinion, possession is nine tenths of the law" and left it at that. As he was telling me this, Jack looked me right in the eye and said " I had the faster car." He made it back up the hill and was standing in the doorway when Hans pulled up, and the place was then the Partridges. Happy Jack turned it into a popular resort, selling it in the 60's, after the new highway was built. The highway pretty much killed a lot of small resorts on the old road.
   
An aside about Happy Jack's car.... It seems that, in a Model T, what most people drove in those days, the gas tank was under the seat, and when you went up a hill, the tank became lower than the motor, thereby starving it of gas. Most people would climb hills in reverse to keep the gas tank above the motor, allowing it to run. Jack told me that he figured out a pressurization system, with a hand pump on the gas cap right next to him, that he would pump up whenever climbing hills, then he could drive up going forward...he told me he'd wave and laugh as he passed the people backing up the hill...therefore "the faster car".
   
Hans Lof was also a bootlegger. He grew potatoes on the land, and made "potato brandy"...Jack said he found a case of it under the floorboards of the log building...he didn't tell me if he tried it or not.
   
Another sign that Hans Lof liked kids...in the early days, he cut down a large pine tree, took it down to Bishop, stripped off the limbs and bark, and turned it into a flagpole that stood at the intersection of Main and Line streets, a landmark for years. Then, every Christmas season, he'd go out and get a big pine tree that he'd take down and attach to the flagpole to give the Bishop kids a Christmas tree.
   
After Aspen Springs, Hans Lof built a resort on Hilton Creek, "Hans Resort"....it's still there today, a group of private rental cabins. This is another one that I can't find a whole lot of information on, so I can't tell you much. Happy Jack said that Hans was constantly in trouble financially, he ended up living, and passing away in Benton, sometime in the late 30's. One day I'll go out and look for his grave.
"Rock the Creek." - Hardrock

Claremont Dude

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Re: Old Cabin @ Toms Place
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2012, 10:11:11 PM »
Always interesting to hear the history! If you do plan on looking for Hans' grave, I found what I believe to be a picture of his gravemarker on the internet. Apparently he died in 1934.



Thanks Creek Dude & Scout!

"Many go fishing all their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after."- Henry David Thoreau

Creek Dude

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Re: Old Cabin @ Toms Place
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2012, 10:19:48 PM »
I think that was a different Hans Lof, interestingly enough.  That Hans Lof was buried in Washington, whereas I think this is our Hans Lof...

http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=15295339&FLid=8119967&

"Rock the Creek." - Hardrock

saudust

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Re: Old Cabin @ Toms Place
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2012, 07:06:25 AM »
Thank you both for this bit of history, Scout and Creek Dude.  Great reading and thoroughly fascinating.  Had him pinned down for several hours, huh?   :lol2:
Let me wake laughing from a nap in the afternoon under the aspens in the fall.

TEX

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Re: Old Cabin @ Toms Place
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2012, 08:14:21 AM »
GOOD Stuff! :clap:  I see/feel a very interesting book coming. On a serious note; if this stuff does not get written and passed on the past does seem to die.
Case in point. My grandparents came over on "the boat"  They had two kids.  My father and aunt feuded over the land of my grandparents and I was forbidden to be in contact with the other side.  Well, both are gone now and so much of that history has gone with them to their graves as my aunt died a short time after my father. It was a shame I went to Milan a few years back and even seeing my surname in the area I had no clue where to start with relatives I didn't know.  There is a group in the Chicago area too. I came from a small family, so I know all my immediate relatives are still in the So. Cal area.
Here's an article from 1939 about my grandfather's lima bean and grape farm which he sold, moved to nearby what is now the Fairfax District of L.A., then on to his retirement "gentleman's farm" in Malibu where I grew up. There were a few stories that Laurel and Hardy would come to lunch as the farm was close to the studios.  My dad went to school with Alfalfa from the Little Rascals; he was "spoiled".  Back then I w/b on first name basis with quite a few celebrities and the like.  I didn't know or care what they did for a living, they were just neighbors at the Mayfair market or the Malibu Pharmacy; it was just a small town feeling long since lost. It wasn't till I was in high school did I realize who the scope of people they were.
Enjoy:
http://www.expogreenway.org/History_files/Arnaz%20-%20Romance%20of%20a%20Rancho.htm
The E.S. is where I come to get back to sanity and to the real me.

beldingi

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Re: Old Cabin @ Toms Place
« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2012, 09:24:36 AM »
Thanks Jeff!   :clap: :clap: :clap:

wshawkins

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Re: Old Cabin @ Toms Place
« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2012, 09:44:02 AM »
Interesting read Scout!  Never stayed at #20 Cabin, my favorite being #10 by the creek or one of the rooms at the lodge.  That Hans Lof was some character!  Not a man you want on his bad side if you know what I mean.  But had a soft heart for kids.

Save a chapter in your book for Happy Jack Partridge, maybe the most interesting person so far and the one I like to hear more stories about.
"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

Scout

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Re: Old Cabin @ Toms Place
« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2012, 01:06:12 PM »
It looks like Hans Lof's grave may be another mystery. The picture of the headstone posted by Claremont Dude seems to have the right dates...Creek Dude's link has him dying in 1953, way too late...Happy Jack said mid 30s. I should be able to find the info in the County archives, and, knowing Benton (tiny town), people out there might be able to give me some ideas.
Happy Jack was quite a character, I only wish I had talked with him more. He told me a lot of stories that kind of stretched one's imagination, but when I asked Johnny Fobes ( John and Jack were long time friends) about them, he more or less intimated that Jack never lied, so I took his stories as the "gospel". His niece lives in Bishop, as well as other relatives, so I still have access to the history.
Cabin 10 is my favorite too. My G'ma had that cabin built for herself in the mid 30's, after Tom had the first of his strokes, and she had to be more hands on in the business. Prior to that, she generally went south during the school year with my Mom....better schools down there....I think she picked the best site on the property for her own cabin.
Where did you find that pic of Hans grave?

Bestfrets

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Re: Old Cabin @ Toms Place
« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2013, 08:12:06 AM »


Delinquent Tax List/The Bridgeport Chronical Union
No- 81 Hans Lof,
Montgomery School District
Patent right to SWft, Sec. 31,
T. 4- S., R. 30 E.,-168 acres, Value
$1,680., Store Bldg., Cabins, etc.,
Value $3,920. Personal Property
$400.00. Total value $6,000- Total
Tax $120. 1st install., paid. 2nd
install- $56.00. 5% penalty on total
amount of Taxes due $2.80.
Costs $0.50- Total amount due
$59.30,

Little Hardrock

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Re: Old Cabin @ Toms Place
« Reply #9 on: January 01, 2013, 02:03:43 PM »
Wow....  Such incredible information!!!!!!!!!!  Thank you, thank you!!!!
Hardrock, may his spirit live on in all of us.....

Creek Dude

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Re: Old Cabin @ Toms Place
« Reply #10 on: January 01, 2013, 02:30:20 PM »
Here's a link to the Hans Lof that was buried in Washington w/ the dates on the posted headstone by Claremont Dude...
http://billiongraves.com/pages/record/HansLof/685075

I wonder if the one I posted just has the dates wrong but is the right guy....
"Rock the Creek." - Hardrock

Scout

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Re: Old Cabin @ Toms Place
« Reply #11 on: January 01, 2013, 03:21:40 PM »
I can't imagine why "our" Hans Lof would be buried in Washington. In some of my online research I have found at least one more Hans Lof, a totally different person. Once again, I take the word of Happy Jack, who told me that Hans was buried in Benton. Naturally, I can't find anything on line, just teasers. The only sure way to find out is to go to Bridgeport, to check County records,  or maybe Laws Museum, to check the Inyo Registers for his obituary...at least I have some rough dates...searching through the newspapers takes forever, but it's a lot of fun...I go in with one or two things in mind, then find tons of articles that just I have to read...it took hours just to get through 1918. Better than looking at microfilm (Bishop Library has those) as I can see the whole page at once...be patient.
Bestfrets...where did you find the delinquent tax list? Definitely sounds like Aspen Springs/Happy Jack's.
Another problem with my @#&*! dial up...I can't access all the good looking sites that might tell us this info. If anyone else wants to look, keep me informed?

RockNCreekGirl

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Re: Old Cabin @ Toms Place
« Reply #12 on: January 01, 2013, 03:44:58 PM »
Scout, I but my old background investigator skills to work and found some info for you.  According to the 1940 Census, he was still alive and living in Benton on April 30, 1940.  According to the US Census he was 67 years old, which would give an approximate DOB of 1873...which would be a potential match for the Hans Lof in Bishop.  Does a Hilda Lof ring a bell?  She is the one who posted the gravesite info into the Find a Grave system.  Here is the link to the Census info for you - http://interactive.ancestry.com/2442/m-t0627-00266-00309/69038572?backurl=http%3a%2f%2fsearch.ancestry.com%2fcgi-bin%2fsse.dll%3fdb%3d1940usfedcen%26indiv%3dtry%26h%3d69038572&ssrc=&backlabel=ReturnRecord
The creek is waiting...

Bestfrets

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Re: Old Cabin @ Toms Place
« Reply #13 on: January 01, 2013, 04:31:02 PM »
[Bestfrets...where did you find the delinquent tax list? Definitely sounds like Aspen Springs/Happy Jack's.
Another problem with my @#&*! dial up...I can't access all the good looking sites that might tell us this info. If anyone else wants to look, keep me informed?
[/quote]

Here's the link to the page
http://www.fultonhistory.com/Process%20small/Newspapers/Newspapers%20%20Out%20of%20NY/Bridgeport%20California%20Cronical%20Union%201927-1930.pdf/Bridgeport%20California%20Cronical%20Union%201927-1930%20-%200443.PDF

bstolton

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Re: Old Cabin @ Toms Place
« Reply #14 on: January 01, 2013, 08:14:29 PM »
Just finished reading the book I caught a fisherman. The story of Virginia Lakes Resort. The resort was built by Walter and Anita Foster, starting in 1923. They mention stopping for gas after making it up Sherwin grade at a place owned by Hans Lof, now Tom`s place I guess. Anita describes him as being over 6' and around 200 lb`s, minus one hand which was replaced by a hook. She guessed his age to be around 50. They told him they were going to start a fish camp at Virginia lakes and he mentioned that he had done considerable deer huntin up there. He then gave them advise on how to build the roofs on their cabins. He told them at lower elevations where he was at the roofs needed to be steep because the snow is heavy and sticks, but at a higher elevation like Virginia lakes the snow is fine like powder and will blow right off if you keep the roofs almost flat. It was advise that they followed and where glad they did.
I am just learning about the history of the area, but so far it seems there where quite a few hard working and very interesting people involved in its formation.
gone fishn, hope to be catchn soon !

Claremont Dude

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Re: Old Cabin @ Toms Place
« Reply #15 on: January 01, 2013, 11:57:58 PM »
I think the info from Creek Dude looks like the right Hans Lof, and the year of death may be a typo or reporting error listing it as 1953. In any event, unless I am mistaken the namesake of Tom's Place (Thomas Yerby) is also buried at the same cemetery as Hans Lof (East Line Cemetery in Bishop) . Here is the gravemarker for Tom:

"Many go fishing all their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after."- Henry David Thoreau

Scout

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Re: Old Cabin @ Toms Place
« Reply #16 on: January 02, 2013, 02:19:38 PM »
I just got back from Bishop, stopped by the East Line Cemetery, there is a Hans Lof buried  there, in an unmarked grave (had the groundskeeper track it down, so I know I was in the right place), which didn't help a whole lot. The register at the entrance to the cemetery gave a date of death as 1953.....
So, the mystery deepens. We have a Hans Lof in Washington, which still doesn't make sense, but I never discount anything. This one in Bishop, where the DOD makes no sense, but I feel I'm getting closer. Seems like Hans Lof was a somewhat common name? Only one i've ever heard of up here, though.
This just means that I have to do more digging ( no pun)....not sure when I'll be able to get around to it, but I'll keep you posted.
Thanks again for everyone's input, suggestions, etc....this is why I've spent twenty years or more researching this stuff...talk with one person, get another lead, talk to another person, get more...it never ends...but is sure is fun.
That is my Grandfather's grave in Bishop...I stopped to say Hi while I was there.

vhbcinc

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Re: Old Cabin @ Toms Place
« Reply #17 on: January 02, 2013, 04:28:17 PM »
Scout, 

If you find Hans Lof's grave site and it does not have a marker, please get the GPS coordinates so that a marker can be placed (if the family had no objectins).  We would be happy to buy and install the marker.

Of course, the dob and dod would be noce but can be added at a later date.