Friday, December 23, 2011

Canyon Park Timeline 1874 - 1927

1874:  The Rankin Family settled near Emerson's Flat
1880:  L.H. Emerson settled in the canyon
1907:  Ben Overturff began building Deer Park Canyon
1911:  City of Monrovia founders set aside land for Canyon Park
1913:  Road to Mal Packer Mesa (Nature Center) was completed by volunteer efforts. Over 250 trees    were planted. The City of Monrovia incorporated the canyon and starting April 15, maintained the picnic grounds as a City park.
1920:  Malcolm Packer became the park attendant and lived just below Emerson's Flat. He was also in charge of the water lines.
1924:  The Great Fire of 1924. A major forest fire caused by a careless smoker burned out the entire mountain and surrounding canyons. The fire threatened Mt. Wilson Observatory and backfires got out of control, reaching West Fork. The fire burned from August 31 through September 18 and blackened Monrovia Canyon, Spanish Canyon, Fish Canyon, Robert's Canyon, Clamshell Canyon, and Van Tassel. When the fire threatened local Monrovia residents, several hundred volunteers from surrounding cities joined fire fighting efforts and saved homes.
1925: U.S. Forest Service initiated construction of fire roads throughout the San Gabriel Mountains and firebreaks on all ridgelines. This is when the Sawpit fire road was completed.
1927:  Los Angeles County Flood Control District completed the 160-foot Sawpit Dam in June. Construction began in March 1926 with a cost of $637,000. Malcolm Packer became the dam operator, in addition to his duties as the park attendant and water line maintenance operator. Mr. Packer lived in the house on the North side of the dam until 1940. The City and U.S. Forest Service built a road on the Southeast slope of Sawpit Canyon in order to access the far side of the dam.

Information courtesy of Canyon Park

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