Author Topic: Little Lake  (Read 84051 times)

playingmenace

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Re: Little Lake
« Reply #125 on: February 17, 2014, 04:12:59 PM »
I'll pile on by adding big a welcome to you as well B. Baxter. Thanks for your 2 cents.
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B.Baxter Matheny

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Re: Little Lake
« Reply #126 on: February 18, 2014, 12:14:53 AM »
Thanks to WSHAWKINS and the others who welcomed me.  I am struggling getting my posts on because robot doesn't like my pictures, but I am working at it.  Here is another view of Little Lake Hotel and Cafe when my parents owned it in the 1950s, which no one had ever seen until I had it printed from an old stereo slide that was taken by my late uncle.  No less a scene out of the past is our red Chevy at right, with trailer hitched ready for trip to the dump.  The business, in its glory days, later enabled us to move up to a Cadillac!  People looking at my pictures are asked to note the old Little Lake bell atop the rear of the cafe, visible in nearly every early pic.  Today this bell minus uprights that were lost is on a new tower at Maturango Museum in Ridgecrest.  If you can go there, ask to ring it, then pick up a copy of "The Zig Zag Post Office" referred to throughout this forum that contains other LL pictures.
« Last Edit: October 03, 2014, 02:45:04 PM by B.Baxter Matheny »

wshawkins

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Re: Little Lake
« Reply #127 on: February 18, 2014, 07:39:35 AM »
Your right, I never seen that photo!  Loved to have that Chevy today, what a classic.  I always wondered what happened to that bell.  I was at the New Maturango Museum in Ridgecrest this fall and where I picked up my copy of "The Zig Zag Post Office".  They have a great collection of books there, mostly of the desert but many on the Eastern Sierra.  The only bell I saw was outside in their garden.  Was that the Little Lake bell?
"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

B.Baxter Matheny

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Re: Little Lake
« Reply #128 on: February 18, 2014, 02:43:37 PM »
Yes, that's the very bell!  Originally purchased by builder of Little Lake, Bill Bramlette, from a church near Downey CA in the 1920s, its use had been discontinued by the time my parents acquired the hotel in 1954.  Am so sorry we left it when we moved.  Maturango Museum states the bell was given to a man named John Pate about 1970 by the hotel's "last owner" in lieu of payment for work, that after years of its lying around Pate's yard he donated it.  They omit date of donation but do say the bell, with plaque identifying it as Little Lake's, was erected on its new tower in their Gladys Merrick Garden on August 29, 1998.  Below is a picture of it when on the ground, and another of it on new tower (both credit Maturango).  I have memories of my father Burl Sr ringing the bell to make our dogs bark!  I ask everyone who cherishes memories of Little Lake like that to let the Museum know we would like an exhibit of LL photos and mementos inside as well.  That would help make up to us their deciding not to relocate there the last remaining building at Little Lake, the old post office.
« Last Edit: October 03, 2014, 05:51:32 PM by B.Baxter Matheny »

saudust

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Re: Little Lake
« Reply #129 on: February 19, 2014, 08:08:27 AM »
B. Baxter Matheny, my late welcome to this forum.  Thank you for your contributions on Little Lake's history.  This thread has been filling in another of the gaps of my knowledge of my early travels up 395 to hike parts of the PCT and JMT as a young boy scout in the early 60's.  I scarcely remember the town of Little Lake as we passed through it back then.  I was probably sleeping like usual on those trips as I always had a desperate bout of car sickness (that I do remember).  Thanks again for your input and pictures.
Let me wake laughing from a nap in the afternoon under the aspens in the fall.

Little Hardrock

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Re: Little Lake
« Reply #130 on: February 20, 2014, 11:27:46 AM »
welcome b baxter!!!    (ok fine, so i am running a bit late, as usual:)      reading your post made me realize we re all whinning about having something taken from us... when it was actually taken from you!   oh dear!

love love love that chevy!!!!

Hardrock, may his spirit live on in all of us.....

B.Baxter Matheny

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Re: Little Lake
« Reply #131 on: February 22, 2014, 04:14:15 AM »
Here is another picture of Little Lake Hotel from my collection, probably the last black-and-white, photographer unknown.  The cars date it to about 1950 or earlier, before my family arrived.
« Last Edit: October 03, 2014, 05:44:23 PM by B.Baxter Matheny »

TEX

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Re: Little Lake
« Reply #132 on: February 22, 2014, 07:45:32 AM »
I can see the bell on the south roof? Also the cupola on the main building; was that functional to draw the hot air out of the building. It in return draw in cooler air from outside.
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B.Baxter Matheny

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Re: Little Lake
« Reply #133 on: February 22, 2014, 03:45:17 PM »
Hi, Tex!   
   If your nickname means "Texas," I was born in Dallas! 
   Thanks so much for bringing us back to subject of the venerable old Little Lake bell, because I remembered I have more pictures of it to post!  These are Polaroids taken by my mother that I sent to Historical Society of Upper Mojave Desert/Maturango Museum when I complained that John Pate, who donated the bell, had lost the uprights or "A's" off it which pieces you can clearly see in both these views.  At left is my late sister Charlotte with her horse "Cricket" in Little Lake's backyard; and at right, Charlotte and me with a movie Indian (name unrecorded), all of us wearing the Indian's beautiful headdresses.  The sturdy little building visible in both shots was at various times a pump house/residence for gas station owner Earl Sullivan/one of the post office incarnations/finally "Charlotte's Souvenirs" (see sign over door).  We moved the then no-longer-used bell from the cafe to this shop about 1955 and painted the place to suggest a little red schoolhouse.  Some people may remember the souvenir business being inside the cafe, and they're right because that's where we later had it.
   Yes, that is the Little Lake bell you see on my #131 post's black-and-white picture, but it is on the north roof, of the part of the café that housed our big walk-in refrigerator (I locked myself in that ‘fridge once, screamed "DADDY!").  I have to remind even myself sometimes that when looking at the front of Little Lake Hotel, Los Angeles is toward the right or south.  This is one of many ways Caltrans' cursed highway diversion has screwed us up.
   About the other thing you asked, I have never been able to find out if the "cupola"--as I've never heard it called before--on the hotel's roof, was anything other than a sign.  It was certainly a great addition that gave the building its whole character.  I'm pretty sure it had nothing to do with ventilation.  I think Roy J. Gerard, penpal of mine in Newport WA, senior even to me and formerly of the old Naval Ordinance Test Station complement in China Lake--who fished Little Lake in the '50s--said that the structure might have housed a water tank, though I doubt that too.  It is thought that Little Lake's builder Bramlette originally was going to mount the bell on the front peak of the hotel roof somehow involving the central opening over the door in the rock face of the hotel.  But the gap on every side of the cupola around the top as for alarm purposes suggests to me that this structure may have been intended to house the bell!  (A collector of warning signals, I rankle whenever it's said that this was a "dinner bell" as I like to think it was really a fire bell.  In earliest days there was even a place to park an old fire truck immediately below it where cafe would later be built--too bad they couldn't have had such a fire truck when the hotel burned.)  As there was no access for us to the roof except by ladder from the upper front porch when I lived there, I am unaware of any hatch in the roof under the cupola through which they could have dropped the bell's rope.  This lack is why I doubt the cupola had anything to do with ventilation; you also had the four big slanted vents, one on each quadrant of the roof.  Apologies to everyone who might correct me that a "cupola" is actually round.

« Last Edit: October 03, 2014, 05:38:34 PM by B.Baxter Matheny »

wshawkins

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Re: Little Lake
« Reply #134 on: February 24, 2014, 07:25:11 AM »
Good stuff B.Baxter Matheny!  Caltrans did your family no favors by putting the highway in the back of your hotel.

What was the building just "South" of the hotel?  Looks like a house, or storage building?  Its not in all the photos so was probably torn down after you left.
"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

B.Baxter Matheny

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Re: Little Lake
« Reply #135 on: February 24, 2014, 03:58:26 PM »
Hi, "Hawk," as I understand is your nickname.  Somehow, I guess because you said "house," I thought you were asking about the building I had just described.  In my #133 post I covered the 1942-53 post office to which we transferred the bell, that was on the north side of Little Lake Hotel and is in many photos.  The mystery building, as you have correct, is the one on the south side, this one shown on page 48 of "The Zig Zag Post Office" and most prominently in an online view below of Little Lake's south approach.  You were also right that it is rarely visible in LL pictures.  It looks like a barn.  All I know about it is it was located more out in and at the end of the parking lot from where we later built our swimming pool, straddling where the fence would be along which my mother planted her oleanders.  It was gone long before we arrived in 1954.  I remember when Mama and Charlotte were weeding the ground out there once and I was with them, seeing a lot of evidence that it had burned.  The below shot from 1929 is extremely rare, my having found it on and copied it from Google Images a few years ago.  When the website that had it took it down, I never saw it again.
« Last Edit: October 03, 2014, 05:17:04 PM by B.Baxter Matheny »

saudust

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Re: Little Lake
« Reply #136 on: February 25, 2014, 06:13:37 AM »
That is an incredible picture and obviously a rare one at that.  Thank you so much for posting it.  That has great clarity of detail for a 1929 vintage.  How cool is that!
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wshawkins

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Re: Little Lake
« Reply #137 on: February 25, 2014, 06:52:13 AM »
Yes, that's the building I was referring too, thanks.  That is a great photo. :twothumbs:
"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

B.Baxter Matheny

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Re: Little Lake
« Reply #138 on: September 29, 2014, 05:36:31 AM »
This wonderful thread needs to be kept going!  I am posting a picture of Little Lake I just acquired that I've never seen before.  It is credit to Dan Armstrong, without whom I wouldn't have it.  Hovering over and clicking will make both sides show.
« Last Edit: October 03, 2014, 05:21:32 PM by B.Baxter Matheny »

wshawkins

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Re: Little Lake
« Reply #139 on: September 30, 2014, 06:35:06 AM »
Nice photo.  Looks to be around the 1950's I would guess by looking at the cars.
"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

B.Baxter Matheny

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Re: Little Lake
« Reply #140 on: April 04, 2015, 01:21:29 AM »
These pictures of Little Lake Hotel seen in its last years are Gary B. Speck's from an article of his in Ghost Town USA.  I was very happy to find them.  There were five but I am transferring here the only two really different ones.
My favorite is of my beloved Little Lake Hotel that my parents owned/operated back in the 1950s--at least its burned-off roof poking up--as seen by hiking on the railroad tracks.  Neither the tracks nor the hotel are there anymore.  The shot is really meaningful to me, causing me to remember times in my childhood I walked the same way with my family, enjoyed the same view!  Most poignantly I have the memory of kneeling to caress the beautiful shiny top of a rail during a hike with my father one summer evening, and it saddens me terribly to see the rails all rusty and about to be torn up in this picture.  The famous train in the opening scenes of "Bad Day at Black Rock" starring Spencer Tracy, Anne Francis rolled over these rails on its way to the movie set near Lone Pine.
Then for the second picture while still on the tracks, you come into the full view of the hotel--a markedly less glorious view than I remember.  The upstairs is gone as mentioned, the cafe that used to be attached at left burned off.
When you would cross old Highway 395 (too low to be visible here) and walk up to the railroad and turn south on it, there were two tracks making the Little Lake siding.  Just before you'd reach the point where the pictures were made you'd come to the south switch that merged the tracks back into one.  I wish the picture showed the switch.
An employee of ours whose memory is very dear to me, also used to hike the tracks in that direction, shooting rabbits.  I remember watching him skin and clean them beside the incinerator barrel in the hotel's backyard.  What I most remember: this man probably didn't deserve it but after time in civilian life after getting out of the Navy from WWII, he had incurred a record with law enforcement which the Inyo County Sheriff warned us about.  My parents, Burl Sr and Isabel, had warily accepted him because they needed a dishwasher in the cafe, but when just being kind, he took me along with him on one of his hikes, they promptly fired him!  I almost cry thinking about it.


saudust

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Re: Little Lake
« Reply #141 on: April 04, 2015, 07:34:05 AM »
A wonderful contribution to this historical thread, BBM (if you don't mind me shortening the name a bit).  You not only have unique pictures, but you write with an unusual style that I find more book like.  Perhaps a published author would write such backdrop to a picture with personal detail and observation, tying a long ago untold story to a photograph with such sentiment that the reader can tangibly feel the events, vicariously living the moment again with you.

Thanks for dropping in again.

AAV
Let me wake laughing from a nap in the afternoon under the aspens in the fall.

B.Baxter Matheny

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Re: Little Lake
« Reply #142 on: April 30, 2015, 03:41:47 AM »
A rare view of Little Lake Hotel, seen from original cafe.  Courtesy of Bob Pilatos.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2015, 03:48:06 AM by B.Baxter Matheny »

B.Baxter Matheny

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Re: Little Lake
« Reply #143 on: May 04, 2015, 04:31:25 AM »
Re: WSHAWKINS' reply #100 about the Indian bead.  In the 1950s atop these very cliffs overlooking the water in the picture below (picture courtesy Marcus Engelhardt) within sight of Little Lake Hotel which my family owned/operated at that time, we discovered a hunting blind that Indians had created from stacked rocks.  And on the ground inside this my late sister Charlotte found a little blue bead exactly like the one you show, which I still have today!  One of my most wonderful Little Lake memories.


« Last Edit: May 04, 2015, 02:34:54 PM by B.Baxter Matheny »

wshawkins

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Re: Little Lake
« Reply #144 on: May 04, 2015, 06:49:08 AM »
Used to find arrowheads all the time in the area when I was just a kid.  A lot of people back in the day used to collect Indian artifacts.
"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

B.Baxter Matheny

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Re: Little Lake
« Reply #145 on: May 04, 2015, 02:04:34 PM »
Hi, WSHAWKINS!  Me too--I also still have an obsidian arrowhead I found in the desert near Little Lake in the '50s as a child.  The rest of my small quantity of these beautiful black volcanic glass heads were picked up then by my mother and sister.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2015, 02:40:38 PM by B.Baxter Matheny »

B.Baxter Matheny

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Re: Little Lake
« Reply #146 on: March 06, 2016, 08:03:15 AM »
NEW PICTURE! This is the best I have ever seen of the complete town of Little Lake, circa 1926. It is a Frasher Foto. Unlike similar images it shows the tiny railroad depot across the road which was a feature photographers usually tried to eliminate. The seldom-seen barn on the hotel's south side (right over the depot) is also visible. And for the first time ever, buildings immediately behind Bramlette's Garage (extreme left) have not been cropped out. I did what I could to restore original sharpness, brightness and contrast. The only aspect I am unhappy about is the words "Little Lake Hotel" are yet to appear on the hotel's brand new cupola.

bj

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Re: Little Lake
« Reply #147 on: March 06, 2016, 09:59:42 AM »
Great Photo!
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saudust

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Re: Little Lake
« Reply #148 on: March 06, 2016, 04:45:56 PM »
Fantastic!  Yet another gem and this one RULES!  Thank you!
Let me wake laughing from a nap in the afternoon under the aspens in the fall.

TEX

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Re: Little Lake
« Reply #149 on: March 14, 2016, 05:12:25 AM »
Excellent! Thanks for sharing. That's an heirloom.
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