“Nobody can be in good health if he does not have all the time fresh air, sunshine and good water.”
~ Chief Flying Hawk, 1854
Why do you live in the Crescenta Valley? The reasons are varied. Nowadays, the driving force seems to be our schools. Another often overlooked reason is the climate; by many standards it is considered near-perfect.
Pre-dating our arrivals by many thousands years, the Tongva lived in villages located from the San Gabriel Mountains to the Santa Catalina, San Nicholas, San Clemente and Santa Barbara islands. A mild climate made for an abundance of natural resources and therefore a relatively comfortable lifestyle
With time, more people – including missionaries, ranchers, trappers, pioneer families and gold seekers – moved to California. Like the previous inhabitants, these people also found the weather agreeable. By the end of the 1800s, folks from all over looked to Southern California for the intangible – good health. Pasadena, Altadena, Monrovia, La Cañada, La Crescenta, Montrose and many communities along the San Gabriel Mountains were considered prime locations.
Real estate developers, railroad companies and other landowners, holding thousands of acres of cheap, available land, were out to “make a quick buck.” They promoted Southern California’s “Mediterranean” climate to East Coast and Midwestern residents sick of brutal winters and sweltering summers. Another plus – they said the climate could reportedly cure tuberculosis, chronic pneumonia, asthma, cirrhosis, liver ailments and nervous disorders.
“The overworked and over worried class,” one promotion read, “will find here a most soothing climate to regain their lost energy or restore the nervous system to its normal equilibrium.”
Included were the Civil War veterans suffering from life-changing mental and physical traumas.
Last, and often forgotten, were women with “nervous disorders.” Hotels, sanitariums and hospitals were built to accommodate those in need.
I came upon an old book, “Two Health-seekers In Southern California” by William A. Edwards, M.D. and Beatrice Harraden, 1896. It states the following as the ideal patient home:
“One-story structure with overhanging eaves and sun porches. It must face south. Upon this porch the invalid is literally to live as many hours his (or her) strength or weather will permit.”
The words paint an exact picture of Rockhaven Sanitarium. At 2713 Honolulu Ave. in Montrose, the gated buildings and natural surroundings was home to women with mental disorders. Now abandoned, the City of Glendale holds the future of the last-left sanitarium in the foothills. Go to www.friendsofrockhaven.org for more information.
Clear and cooler days of autumn are forecast. Come Monday, a few drops of rain are added. Nothing can dampen the excitement, though, of our first rain!
Sue Kilpatrick is a Crescenta Valley resident and Official Skywarn Spotter for the National Weather Service. Reach her at email@example.com.