Southern California’s hidden treasure lies in the San Jacinto Mountains. Capped by the last 10,000-foot peaks on the way to Mexico, these mountains have enriched human lives for centuries. Discovered by loggers in 1876, partially stripped of their trees during California’s first population boom in the 1880s, then protected by federal edict in 1897, these mountains attracted a special breed of settler. The uncommon village of Idyllwild was created by common people who were enchanted by the surrounding forest wilderness. Isolated here, high above the chaos of modern life, they have preserved a vestige of mid-20th-century small-town America in the woods. This collection of around 200 previously unpublished photographs, including stunning images by the gifted photographers Avery Field and Harry Wendelken, offers glimpses of the paths along which village and wilderness have shaped each other.
About the Author
Robert B. Smith has forged a deep connection with the high San Jacintos over the past 70 summers. Retired from an academic career, he moved to Idyllwild in 2001 and serves on the Idyllwild Area Historical Society’s board of directors. With a unique background as scientist, administrator, nature writer, newspaper columnist, and amateur historian, he has mined chiefly the historical society’s archive to create this book.
Table of Contents
1 Resource: The Mountains Exploited 9
2 Reserve: The Mountains Preserved 17
3 Resort: The Mountains Rediscovered 39
4 Residence: The Village Emerges 61
5 Refuge: Beyond the Village 97
6 Renaissance: The Village Evolves 111
About the Idyllwild Area Historical Society 127