Thursday, May 19, 2011

Big Bear 2

Having been unable to confirm that Big Bear is the 3rd sunniest place on earth, I found in the same magazine that the original name for the area was Yuhaviat, which is what the Serrano Indians called it.  It means 'Pine Place.' 

In 1845 a fellow called Ben Wilson came up here, with a posse of 200 men.  They were chasing Indians who had been stealing from their ranches down below.  They found very large numbers of Grizzly Bears here.

They roped and captured eleven of these bears on one day and brought them back to their camp, which was at the edge of Baldwin Lake at the east end of the Valley.  Big Bear Lake did not exist back then; it was just a pine filled valley.

Big Bear is a man-made lake which was completed in 1885, as a reservoir for the orange growers down in the San Bernardino area.  But at the time of Davis' visit, it was Baldwin that took the name, which then spread to the lake we know today.

Incidentally, Baldwin Lake is now dry and only fills after excessive rain.  The water company capped all the wells that used to fill it naturally, in order to sell the water to it's customers.  The price of capitalism!  There have been no Grizzles since 1920, but we do get Brown Bears appearing from time to time - even in the village.

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