Cabin Trivia

Ringtail in Cabin #1

Ringtail in Cabin #1

Tidbits:

  • Big SAC was once home to 2 swimming pools, a US Post Office, a trout hatchery, an LA County library and a baseball diamond.
  • There are five pianos in Big SAC.
  • Sturtevant’s Camp has eight showers. The Pack Station and the Fire Barracks each have two. Each Forest Service house has one. There used to be one at the Heliport. There are not eleven others 😉
  • There are 14 wooden decks in Big SAC, 9 concrete patios & 7 sleeping porches.
  • Cabin #138 in Winter Creek once belonged to the San Antonio Hiking Club. This club was started by Will Thrall, early mountain enthusiast and editor of Trails Magazine. Their first cabin in Bear Canyon (the one in the Arroyo Seco drainage) was lost in the 1954 Woodwardia Fire.
  • Cabin #1 is in both the Angeles Nat’l. Forest and the City of Monrovia. So is Santa Anita Dam.
  • Otto Lynn Roberts built Cabin #106 for his wife in 1912, across the creek from camp, because she was not satisfied with the rustic accommodations of the camp itself.
  • Cabin 16 was owned by Ernest “E. B.” Gray, an important figure in the history of the San Gabriel Mountains. Gray was a professional photographer that documented mountain life, including all of the camps and cabins of Big Santa Anita Canyon. He bought the cabin in 1919, when it was numbered 26, as the Gray family’s full-time home.

Cabin Numbers:

The current cabin permit numbers in Big Santa Anita Canyon are not the originals. From the very start, permit numbers were issued as the permits were approved. If a cabin site was approved next to a cabin that had stood for years, their numbers would be unrelated. This led to a great deal of confusion among those who were unfamiliar with The Canyon.

After the 1938 flood, as The Canyon was being reassembled, it was decided to put the address situation right as well. The cabins left standing were renumbered in ascending order from south to north, starting in First Water. The sole cabin remaining below Hermit Falls was labeled #1. Renumbering continued up the Main Canyon to the site furthest north, #105 Sturtevant’s Camp. They did the same up Winter Creek, starting with #106 at Roberts’ Camp to #139. Where neighboring cabins were at the same latitude, as along the mouth of the East Fork, ascension was from east to west. The lone cabin in Santa Oline Creek was labeled #140 and the Pack Station #141.

The only evidence of the renumbering, aside from photographs & Forest Service records, is at cabin #25. It has a 2 and a 5 nailed to the front door, but the number 47 is stamped into the concrete kitchen doorstep. 59 cabins have been lost to fire and flood since the renumbering.