Camp Cajon: Picnic tables with a past
February 28, 2017 - Picnic Time
On Jul 5, 1919, The San Bernardino Sun raved about a outrageous jubilee that took place in a Cajon Pass a prior day compelling what would shortly turn a renouned rest stop and cruise area for motorists flitting by as good as for internal residents. The title stated: “ELABORATE CEREMONIES MARK DEDICATION OF CAMP CAJON.”
Unfortunately, if we are meditative about pushing into a Cajon Pass and checking out this place today, don’t rubbish your time because, sadly, a harmful inundate broken it in 1938.
The usually reminders are round, heavy, petrify tables resting in dual San Bernardino parks: 20 during Perris Hill Park and 23 during Lytle Creek Park.
About 5 feet in diameter, steel rimmed and with a 12-inch iron marker image in a center, these tables — miraculously flourishing a inundate — were good used during Camp Cajon, that was determined by William H. Bristol, a Highland citrus grower.
Bristol had taken partial in a loyalty rite of a Santa Fe and Salt Lake Monument in 1917, that commemorates a attainment of explorers, traders and settlers who trafficked by a Cajon Pass during a 1830s and ’40s.
The eventuality desirous Bristol to rise a modern-day place of remit for motorists entering or withdrawal a San Bernardino Valley along a National Old Trails Road, after to be re-established as Route 66.
As internal historians John and Sandy Hockaday discuss in their smashing book “The Man Who Built Camp Cajon,” during weekends during this time, Bristol would mostly representation his tent above Santa Fe Railway’s Cajon Station and spend hours scouting for a suitable place to build a acquire station.
He came adult with a thought of manufacture cruise tables and a permanent building during an aged colonize rest stop, famous to early pioneers as “The Willows” or “Willow Grove,” that was in tighten vicinity to a monument.
In May 1919, Bristol took a two-month vacation from his orange timber and altered to a pass. He pitched his tent during The Willows and done skeleton for building a dozen tables with concomitant benches.
Bristol’s master devise shortly altered from a elementary acquire hire into a bone-fide stay vast adequate to accommodate vast groups of visitors. Public opinion was so good that financial contributions came from a Santa Fe Railway, a Knights of Pythias, a Rotary Club, Elks lodges, other county organizations, cities and private citizens.
Bristol didn’t stop with 12 tables. Various accounts explain that he built anywhere from 43 to 55. There were broilers, cookstoves and grill pits as well.
The Elks dedicated a tables Sept. 11, 1921; a same day a fraternal classification dedicated a outrageous mill hall opposite a highway. Iron plaques on any list supposing information about surrounding communities. They also paid reverence to people who donated supports or lift a names of those to whose memory a tables were dedicated.
The plaques review like this:
“A acquire and a godspeed from a residents of Cajon Pass”
“25 miles southeast to East Highlands … The bend of a citrus belt”
“10 miles southwest, Santa Ana, county chair of Orange County, invites you”
“23 miles north, Adelanto … The dried remade into moneyed homes”
“1920 … Dedicated to a checker players by a family of John Andreson, colonize of 1850”
“23 miles southwest to Fontana … The largest orange timber in a world”
“18 miles southward to Rialto’s orange groves on highway to Los Angeles”
“16 miles northeast to Hesperia … Gateway to Big Bear Valley and a mountains”
“20 miles to San Bernardino … The embankment city and home of a National Orange Show”
During Camp Cajon’s loyalty on Jul 4, 1919, Bristol was a respected guest. J.C. Davis, a producer laureate of California, wrote a poem called “Camp Cajon,” and review it during a event.
The late San Bernardino County historian Arda Haenszel once told me that when she was a teen in a 1920s, her family would expostulate out to Camp Cajon and have picnics. Some years, they ate Thanksgiving cooking on those petrify tables.
During a 1938 flood, a campground was destroyed, withdrawal a tables in a confused heap. But rather than dump them, civic-minded leaders brought a tables to San Bernardino and placed them during Perris Hill and Lytle Creek parks.
Camp Cajon is prolonged left though not forgotten. Thanks to a total efforts by members of a Wrightwood Historical Society, a San Bernardino Historical and Pioneer Society, a Mohave Historical Society, a Mojave River Valley Museum and San Bernardino’s Parks and Community Services, a relic will be erected in a Cajon Pass on Jul 4, 2019, featuring a board and dual flourishing strange tables commemorating a 100th anniversary of this iconic landmark.
Contact Nick Cataldo during Yankeenut15@gmail.com. Read some-more of his internal story articles during Facebook.com/BackRoadsPress.