Paul Rippens at Granite Gate (1993)

From our good friend and Mount Lowe Preservation Society Inc. member, Paul Rippens, comes this set of images taken at the Mount Lowe Railway Granite Gate in the 1990s.

Here’s Paul:

The photo was taken on July 4, 1993. I was the Chief of the Forestry Division of the Fire Department at the time and attended the 100th Anniversary of the opening of the Mt. Lowe Railway in that capacity. It was a cold, foggy morning as you can see in the photo. A woman that worked in our office wanted to go along so she and her husband and myself drove to the Cape of Good Hope and hiked to Echo Mountain. Following the ceremony on Echo Mountain, I drove them to the Alpine Tavern site – hence the photo. When we arrived at Ye Alpine Tavern, we got above the fog.

The celebration continued later that afternoon on McPherson Parkway, but, being like I am, I drove to my home in La Verne, washed my red car, changed clothes and returned to the event. Could not show up with a dirty car!

Here’s another photo of one of my red cars in granite Gate about 1990.

Paul Rippens Collection
Paul Rippens Collection

8 Comments on “Paul Rippens at Granite Gate (1993)”

  1. Thanks for pic, looked like a neat day.
    Is that wire harness attached to side of rock wall still there today?

    • I was up the fire road last December 2015 and yes, the harness is still attached to the rock wall.

  2. Answer: He very likely drove up the fire road coming up from Millard Canyon & joining the graded original tackbed that continues to the Tavern site & beyond to Markham Saddle. I’ve done it in my small Toyota truck about 10 years ago with Brian Marcroft & Paul Ayres. When we used to hike up from Lake Ave. in the 60’s (not on the established Sam Merrill Trail but up the firebreak across Las Flores Cyn) we joined the Alpine route at Cape of Good Hope & continued up to the Tavern. With each trip we could see the advancing road construction below which would eventually join with & deface the old road, Circular Bridge footings & Granite Gate.

    I was there for the 93 event but I & several others came up the Great Incline bed. I recall the intense gloom & drizzle as I was totally soaked upon arrival at the festivities. An L. A. Times photog captured me & the other guy I had encountered on the Incline, clambering up & put us both in the paper the next day. The others coming up that way were poor climbers & didn’t arrive until much later. There was a putative son of Mc Pherson there in a wheel chair who said he had ridden the Railway when he was years old. Also Silky Griffith showed photos he had taken when the Incline ran.


    Hard to believe that was 20 years ago!

  3. The supreme bummer for me was when the forest service blew off the top portion of Granite Gate! That was so unnessarry! It took the workers in the construction crew one year to sculpt and complete Granite Gate; it is sad that that’s the way it ended up! I

  4. When the Forest Service turned the right of way into a road in the 1960s, wooden poles were torn down, and many of the metl overhead poles and hangers left on the ground. We hand carried many of them down, and donated them to Orange Empire Railway Museum.

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