Baldwin Lake, CA, May 31, 2014 – When the Serrano Indians used local mountains as a summer residence between 2,000 and 2,500 years ago, they were known as The People of the Pines. They were skilled basket weavers and pottery makers, and they worshipped a huge dome of brilliant white quartz as the eye of their creator, “Kruktat”, calling it “God’s Eye”. It was perched above present day Baldwin Lake, and it’s said that “They took comfort in knowing His watchful gaze looked out at them as they went about their daily lives in the valley.” Legend also has it that Kruktat’s blood created the red hillsides on the northern border of the lake, in the vicinity of the two other sacred Serrano landmarks in our area: Pan Hot Springs at Paradise Way and the Cold Springs in Shay Meadows.

In the middle of the 19th century, valley ranchers chased the Serranos out of the area, leaving God’s Eye exposed on its perch. When the California gold rush brought miners to Big Bear, they dynamited the sacred site in a fruitless search for gold. No gold was found, and irreversible damage had been done.

Its remnants are still a sacred tribal landmark, though, and what’s left of the dome still gleams in the sun at the east end of the valley. From far away, the quartz outcropping looks mostly white, but on closer inspection, it contains multicolored patterns.

Part-time local resident Ian James Murphy produced a half-hour documentary called “God’s Golden Eye”, that goes into the site’s history and its significance today. It includes interviews with Native Americans, and representatives of the mining industry, the Big Bear Discovery Center and the Big Bear Valley Historical Museum, which helps keep legends like God’s Eye alive by preserving local history.