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Category: Big Bear Photos

Hollywood Loves Big Bear

  Big Bear, CA, February 22, 2014 – In July of 1911, a movie company from back east arrived at the new Pine Knot Lodge in Big Bear and began filming. That began a love affair between Hollywood and Big Bear that still continues. At about the same time, tourism started taking off in the valley, but only in the summer. During the winter, Big Bear sat empty. However, an enterprising local named Fred Skinner who was the manager of the new Pine Knot Lodge, let Hollywood know that the Lodge would remain open during the winter if the studios wanted to come up and film. He even brought in a generator, giving Pine Knot Lodge electricity five years before it reached the valley. Until the ski resorts came along, it was the movie business that kept Big Bear alive during the winter months. ‘The Last of the Mohicans’ was filmed on location here in 1920 as well as other films such as the 1969 musical ‘Paint Your Wagon’ starring Lee Marvin and Clint Eastwood, Disney’s ‘Old Yeller’, and the 1983 film ‘War Games’ with Matthew Broderick. The television industry also found Big Bear. In 1969, the show ‘HR Pufnstuf’ shot their opening sequence right on the lake. Episodes of ‘Daniel Boone’ were shot here and a number of ‘Bonanza’ episodes were shot up at Cedar Lake. ‘Lassie’, ‘FBI’,...

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Google to Preserve Big Bear’s Treasures

Big Bear City, CA, February 16, 2014 – The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors approved a new partnership this month between the County Museum and the Google Cultural Institute. Through their Art Project, the Institute will film and photograph various exhibits at the Museum, covering the cultural and natural heritage of the San Bernardino Mountains and other areas. The materials will include a diorama of the birds in the Big Bear area, and a “First People” exhibit honoring the various native American tribes of our region. The endeavor is designed to digitally preserve cultural information for future generations and make it globally accessible, and according to Museum Director Robert McKernan, it’s only fitting his institution should be included. He says, “Our collections are of worldwide significance, and this partnership will help spread the word….about the educational and research opportunities offered through our museum.” Third District Supervisor James Ramos added that the online platform will be a great tool for educating local youth about the rich history of San Bernardino County. Google has already partnered with hundreds of museums, cultural institutions, and archives from 40 countries to host the world’s cultural treasures online. Partner museums can upload high quality images from their collections and offer virtual tours of museum exhibits. The San Bernardino County Museum is at the California Street exit from Interstate 10 in Redlands, and will soon...

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1884 – Big Bear Gets a Dam and a Lake

    Big Bear Lake, CA, February 15, 2014 – Frank Brown and Hiram Barton rode into Big Bear Valley on horseback in May of 1883. They quickly concluded that if they built a dam at the narrow west end of the valley, they would create a lake five and a half miles long that could supply much needed water to thirsty communities down the hill. For economic reasons, they decided on a stone arch dam 52 feet high, built of hand cut granite blocks weighing as much as 5 tons each. The dam was finished in 1884 at a cost of $75,000., creating the largest man made lake in the world at the time. In 1910, due to the growing citrus industry in the valleys below, it was decided a new, larger dam was needed to increase the capacity of the lake. An unusual, multiple-arch design was built by John Eastwood about 300 feet further downstream. Cement and supplies were hauled up the mountain from Victorville by teams of horses. It was finished in 1912, costing $138,000. The new design did not inspire public confidence. However, it proved it’s strength when it withstood a large earthquake in 1921 without a crack. The new dam, which was 20 feet higher than the old 1884 dam, increased the the size of the lake from 1800 acres to 2500 acres and...

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Big Bear Airport Has a ‘Bumpy’ Start

   Big Bear City, CA  January 25, 2014 – In 1916, Waldo Waterman, a pilot from Ontario, landed an aircraft in a field just east of Big Bear Lake, opening up a new era for the valley.  In 1924 Waterman laid out Big Bear’s first airfield just east of the lake. He used a 5 seat, single engine plane to provide passenger service between Ontario and the Big Bear Valley. There were some bumps along the way, however. Several local dignitaries went down to Ontario to make the maiden flight with Waterman. Unfortunately, they encountered turbulence which forced them to make a landing on a dry lake bed in Lucerne and they ended up hitching a ride home. A week later, the flight was made again with none of the original passengers. It made a successful trip up, landing safely in Big Bear. It then reloaded and took off again, only to stall at 300 feet and fall into the lake. The plane was destroyed and one passenger died of a heart attack, but the rest on board were relatively unhurt. Waterman put his plane back together and was back in business one month later.  The airfield caught on.  In addition to Waterman’s regular flights, many days saw a half dozen airplanes on the field. In 1927, the field was re-graded for Ambassador Airways. Major Henry ‘Hap’ Arnold, who gained fame as an Army Air Corps commander in WWII, discovered Big...

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Cabin Fire Near Big Bear City Airport

Big Bear City, Ca – January 14, 2013, 11:50 AM – Fire crews of Big Bear Fire responded to a reported fire in the 700 block of West Country Club, just after 11 AM today.  As they arrived one small cabin was fully engulfed and a second cabin next door was also involved.  A lot of  smoke was seen throughout the Big Bear Valley prompting many calls to authorities   The proximity to the Airport alarmed many more Big Bear City residents.  The firefighters quickly doused the flames leaving one cabin looking like a total loss and two others with possible...

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