Granite Gate, Mount Lowe Railway

Mount Lowe Timeline

• 1887 Thaddeus Lowe visits California to see about a possible relocation to Los Angeles

• 1887 Pasadena Railway Company formed by Andrew McNally, Col. G. G. Green and the Woodbury brothers, to bring tracks to Altadena’s wealthy residents

• 1887 Engineer of the Mount Washington Cog Railway, John Horne, brought from New Hampshire to see about a railway to Mount Wilson

• 1888 Thaddeus Lowe moves to Southern California and forms Citizen’s Ice Company and the Pacific-Lowe Gas Company

• 1889 Engineer David Macpherson comes to Pasadena after having worked for the Santa Fe Railway. Begins a solitary look into the possibility of a railway into the mountains

• 1890 Citizen’s Bank of Los Angeles formed, Thaddeus Lowe, President

• 1890 David Macpherson takes a survey team into the mountains above Altadena to look for a route to Mount Wilson, funded in part by Pasadena banker Perry Green

• 1890 Thaddeus Lowe moves to Pasadena

• 1890 Perry Green introduces David Macpherson to Thaddeus Lowe

• 1890 Lowe buys the Pasadena Grand Opera House whose second floor will become drafting offices for the Mount Lowe Railway

• 1891 Pasadena and Mount Wilson Railway Company incorporated

• 1891 Mount Wilson terminus not agreeable with landowners and Echo Mountain becomes new focus

• 1891 Terminal Railroad Depot in Altadena, later known as Mountain Junction, becomes start of narrow gauge tracks to Rubio Canyon

• Lowe travels to Pike’s Peak, Colorado to view the cog railway and decides the railway back in California should be electrified

• San Gabriel Timber Reserve formed, later to become Angeles National Forest

• 1892 tracks arrive at Rubio Canyon and Incline construction begins

• 1892 Lowe takes a group of interested patrons to Oak Mountain Peak, later to be renamed Mount Lowe

• 1892 Cable placed at the incline to aid construction

• 1893 Lowe offers $100,000. in bonds to ease construction costs

• 1893 Rubio Pavilion opens

• 1893 July 4th, Grand opening of the great incline railway and Echo Mountain House (later called the Chalet, after the newer, larger Echo Mountain House was completed

• 1893 City of Pasadena recognizes Thaddeus Lowe with a testimonial holiday

• 1893 George Wharton James becomes the Mount Lowe publicist

• 1894 the Mount Lowe Echo tourist paper is established
• 1894 the newer, larger, Echo Mountain House is under construction and then opens

• 1894 Mount Lowe Observatory constructed

• 1894 World’s largest searchlight delivered to Echo Mountain from California Mid-Winter Exposition in San Francisco

• 1894 Sale of construction bonds for the railway reach nearly $400,000. in indebtedness

• 1894 Construction of the Alpine Division begins

• 1895 Thaddeus Lowe wins the Valley Hunt Club’s (Tournament of Roses) highest award for the “best decorated carriage”

• 1895 Construction bond sales slow and Lowe begins liquidating personal assets to continue construction during nationwide recession

• 1895 Lack of money brings Alpine Division construction to a halt at Crystal Springs, the new home of Alpine Tavern
• 1895 Alpine Tavern opens

• 1896 Thaddeus Lowe borrows money to meet bond interest payments on indebtedness of more than half a million dollars; this is after Lowe pays down the debt by more than $100,000. from proceeds of personal asset liquidation

• 1896 Mount Lowe Echo publishes its last issue
• 1896 Lowe turns over all personal real estate to help satisfy creditors

• 1896 Receivership granted to creditors

• 1897 Lowe loses control of railway

• 1897 Pasadena and Mount Lowe Railway incorporated

• 1898 Railway reconfigured in hands of receiver owners

• 1899 Suit for foreclosure filed and railway sold on steps of the Los Angeles Court House

• 1900 Echo Mountain House burns

• 1900 Astronomer Lewis Swift retires and Edgar Lucien Larkin takes over the Lowe Observatory

• 1901 Pasadena and Mount Lowe Railway sold to the Los Angeles Railway Company

• 1902 Los Angeles Railway Company conveyed to the Pacific Electric Railway Company

• 1903 Trackage into Rubio Canyon standardized
• 1903 Rubio Pavilion closed to public occupancy

• 1905 Fire consumes the “Casino” dance hall, the zoo, the power house and the Chalet

• 1905 Mr. and Mrs. T. S. C. Lowe celebrate their 50th Wedding Anniversary

• 1906 the new power house is erected and the World’s Fair Searchlight located on top

• 1908 Mount Lowe Daily News born

• 1909 Rubio Pavilion destroyed and replaced by the no frills car barn

• 1910 Pacific Electric boasts 2,800 cars are running daily in Southern California

• 1911 Pacific Electric Railway sold to the Southern Pacific Railroad and all stock transferred

• 1911 Pacific Electric adopts the “Safety, Comfort, Speed” logo

• Comfort, Safety, Speed logo adopted by Pacific Electric

• 1912 Mount Lowe incline cars Echo and Rubio replaced with enclosed top cab design and third car Alpine added

• 1912 Mrs. T. S. C. Lowe dies

• 1913 Thaddeus S. C. Lowe dies

• 1917 O.M.&M. Railway formed

• 1921 Advances in technology allow three Alpine Division cars to be operated at the same time

• 1924 Alpine Tavern renamed to Mount Lowe Tavern after extensive remodeling and room additions

• 1925 Ramada at Inspiration Point completed

• 1925 Photographer Charles Lawrence named head of Lowe Observatory

• 1925 Mount Lowe Tavern enlarged

• 1928 Lowe Observatory demolished by huge wind storm

• 1935 O.M.&M. Railway demise

• 1935 Macpherson Trestle burns

• 1936 Mount Lowe Tavern burns

• 1936 Passenger service limited to Hygiea, end of the double tracks in the Northern District

• 1937 Pacific Electric files for abandonment for all Trackage north of Lake and Mariposa Avenues in Altadena

• 1937 Railroad Boosters takes the last trip up the Mount Lowe Incline

• 1938 Massive flooding washes out many parts of the Alpine Division

• 1938 All passenger service ended past Lake and Mariposa Avenues

• 1940 Echo Mountain ablaze again as vandals burn the power house and Alpine Division Cars

• 1940 Mount Lowe Incline and Alpine Division disappear as scrappers pay $800.00 for salvage rights

• 1941 All rail removed into Rubio Canyon as route gets sold

• 1947 Mount Lowe Tavern, Echo Mountain and Rubio Canyon sold by Pacific Electric to the Angeles National Forest

• 1959 Mount Lowe Tavern dynamited by the U. S. Forest Service

• 1962 Power House on Echo Mountain dynamited by U. S. Forest Service

• 1963 Granite marker placed on Echo Mountain to memorialize the once famous Mount Lowe Incline Railway. Organizations involved were Pasadena Historical Society, Altadena Historical Society, Pasadena Pioneer Association and the U.S. Forest Service.

• 1964 Former Mount Lowe Incline Railway right-of-way into Rubio Canyon dedicated at MacPherson Parkway by the Pasadena Historical Society, Los Angeles County Supervisors, Pasadena Pioneer Association, Altadena Historical Society and the descendants of engineer David MacPherson.

• 1979 Altadena Substation #8 of the Pacific Electric Railway on north Lake Avenue placed on the National Register of Historic Places

• 1993 Mount Lowe Incline Railway placed on the National Register of Historic Places for the Centennial of the opening

• 1998 Rubio Canyon devastated by landslide from Rubio Canyon Land and Water Company construction work

• 2000 Mount Lowe Preservation Society formed to preserve remaining landmarks and artifacts of the works of Lowe and Macpherson

Comments are closed.