Edmund Frederick Erk.

A merry crusade to the Golden Gate : under the banners of Allegheny Commandery, No. 35, Knights Templar, Allegheny, Pa. : a complete story of the Twenty-ninth Triennial Conclave, Grand Encampment, Knights Templar, U.S.A. ... and a tour of ten thousand miles through the wonderland of the West online

. (page 27 of 38)
Online LibraryEdmund Frederick ErkA merry crusade to the Golden Gate : under the banners of Allegheny Commandery, No. 35, Knights Templar, Allegheny, Pa. : a complete story of the Twenty-ninth Triennial Conclave, Grand Encampment, Knights Templar, U.S.A. ... and a tour of ten thousand miles through the wonderland of the West → online text (page 27 of 38)
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favorite varieties being the graceful pepper, which grows to a great size,
the eucalyptus and the grevilla.

The almost universal material for residences in Southern California
is woodpine and redwood, the latter being used altogether for outside
and largely for inside finish. This material, while amply sufficient for
the climate, lends itself to graceful decoration undreamed of to those
who have been accustomed to houses of brick and stone.


The development of the horticultural industry of Los Angeles dur-
ing the past few years has been remarkable. The most important horti-
cultural product of the county is the orange. Other fruits raised in Los
Angeles are the lemon, almond, fig, prune, apricot, walnut, peach, pear
and berries.

The shipment of citrus fruits from Southern California points for a
season are estimated at 27,500 carloads. A large portion of these ship-
ments are contributed by Los Angeles county. Floriculture is also an
important and rapidly growing industry in Southern California.

The school facilities of Los Angeles are especially good. Besides
the complete system of public schools, private schools and colleges
abound in Los Angeles, Pasadena and other towns. Most of the leading
religious denominations are represented, not only by churches, but also
by one or more religious colleges.

There is not a secret society of any importance that is not repre-
sented. Los Angeles society is cosmopolitan, every State in the Union,
and almost every country in the world, being numerously represented.

To find evidences of the old Spanish life one must now seek in the
most remote corners of the city. One can find the Spanish quarter, and
in it a few unkempt houses and elements of the picturesque. One may
find a restaurant or two, in the heart of the city, where English is spoken
and broken by dark-skinned girls who stand ready to introduce the pat-
rons into the mysteries of chili con carne, frijoles, or tortillas.

Senores, senoras and senoritas are plentifully encountered upon the
streets, but are not in general distinguished by any peculiarity of attire.
Upon the borders of the city one finds more vivid types, and there the
jacal, a poor mud hovel thatched with straw, is not quite extinct. The
words Spanish and Mexican are commonly used in California to distin-
guish a racial difference. Not a few of the Spanish soldiery and colo-
nists originally took wives from among the native Indians. Their off-
spring has had its charms for later comers of still other races, and a com-
plexity of mixture has resulted.

The term Mexican is generally understood to apply to this amal-
gamation, those of pure Castilian descent preferring to be known as
Spanish. The latter, numerically a small class, represent high types,
and the persistency of the old strain is such that the poorest Mexican
is to a certain manner born. He wears a contented mein, as if his
Diogenes-tub and his imperceptible larder were regal possessions, and he
does not easily part with dignity and self-respect.

Returning from our drive we sought our "Special," which had been
side-tracked for the night. During our absence, other Commanderies,
with special trains had arrived and soon there was a large colony of
"hotels on wheels" perched about on all available sidings. There was a


great advantage in these movable hostelries, for if one did not like the
neighborhood in which his hotel was situated, it could quickly and easily
be moved.

The usual "open meeting" was held in our commissary car that night,
though not with the extreme enthusiasm that had marked these occasions
in the past, for everyone was more or less fatigued after the activities of
the day.

One sad feature of the night was the necessity of establishing an
emergency hospital on board the train, with Sir Kreps as house physician,
surgeon and nurse, and Sir Biddle as the patient.

While making the ride from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles Sir Bid-
die became deeply interested in the many specimens of cactus growing
along the track. He had seen cactus before, when we crossed the desert,
but he did not know "what sort of an animal" it was at close range. So
he decided to capture one "alive."

When the "Special" made one of its short stops en route, Sir Biddle
seized his long waited opportunity, and rushing out surrounded a cactus
with his hands. Then he closed in upon it with a suddenness that
must have surprised the cactus, as much as the cactus surprised him.

"It bit me," he yelled as he rushed to the train firmly clutching the
plant, while blood flowed from the many wounds made by the sharp and
piercing needles, with which the cactus leaves were covered.

He was given temporary relief, but that night aboard the train, the
wounded hands began to show further signs of inflammation and became
quite painful. Sir Kreps, whose reputation as a poultice-maker is un-
equaled, and whose good-nature is boundless, spent the greater portion
of the night in relieving the suffering pilgrim, and it must be said in all
fairness and justice to Dr. Kreps, that his patient survived through the


UR itinerary for the day included a visit to Mt. Lowe, Pasadena,
and the Ostrich Farm at South Pasadena, and with this program
before us, an early start was made. After a delightful car ride
which carried us past Pasadena and through a rich agricultural
country, we arrived at the foot of Mount Echo. Here we boarded the
cable incline to the summit of that mountain, as a preparatory trip to
Mt. Lowe.

The ride through Rubio Canyon is one of great interest. Beautiful
view of valley and ocean are afforded during the first portion of the


two and one-half mile ride, and as the route enters the canyon, pic-
turesque rocks and streamlets are passed and crossed until the cable
incline is reached at a point 2,200 feet above the sea. Trees, shrubs,
flowers and ferns grow in wild confusion on the mountain side, while
Mirror Lake, a small but beautiful body of water, is located near the
foot of the incline.

The cable incline, which makes the sharp ascent up Echo Mountain,
is operated by the novel application of both electric and water power.
It is 3,000 feet in length and has a grade of 62 per cent. The steepness
of this grade can better be realized, when one understands that a 62
per cent grade means a rise of 62 feet in going forward 100 feet.

The view in ascending is indescribably grand. The motion of the
car is smooth. At first, the mountains composing the Rubio amphi-
theater appear to rise with the car. Passing through Granite Gorge
an immense cut in the mountain slope and over Macpherson trestle
a bridge 200 feet long the San Gabriel Valley unfolds its incomparable
charms, and, as the elevation increases the view expands to its fullest

Once upon the crest of Echo Mountain, the discovery is made that
the mountain is dissevered from the main range with the exception
of a small "saddle." The view of the ever verdant valleys, cities, towns,
villages, old missions, islands, and ocean is a remarkable one. A com-
fortable hotel is located on the mountain, while the Lowe Observatory
is situated on a slope above. The site is said to be an exceptionally
good one for astronomical research. Here many discoveries have been
made, under the direction of Prof. Edgar L. Larkin.

From the top of Echo Mountain begins the Alpine division of the
railroad to Alpine Tavern; a section of electric road that is five miles
long, and without exception the finest scenic railroad in this or any other
country. Built on an easy grade, over a road bed which is an almost
continuous shelve of granite, upon which rest redwood ties, this scenic
railroad winds its way around Mt. Lowe, leaping ove'r chasms and
canyons by means of unique bridges, circling mountainous projections,
and passing through granite walls and offering a view of the valleys
and country thousands of feet below. Pikes' Peak and other noted
mountain tops offer enchanting distant views, but the Mt. Lowe railroad,
winding itself around and around the mountain side, offers a direct
downward, as well as out-reaching view, that is distinctly its own.
Whole Southern California seems spread out beneath. Distant Catalina
Islands and the more remote Channel Islands, off Santa Barbara, are
clearly and distinctly in view.

The cars go swinging along the precipitous flanks of the rugged
mountain and around such startling curves, bold headlines, sharp angled
rock piles, and amazing bridges and trestles, that the unacquainted is


5-io Orange Grove





Mt. Lowe Road. 23 C.. _ .

Catalina Islands. 25 Avalon, Santa Catalina Islands

Flvins? Fish. 37 Catalina Tuna. 38 Arch Rock. 28

-Seal Rocks Catalina Islands. 24 Caught witn roa ana n

27 Sugar Loaf, Santa Catalina Islands. 35 Drive to Middle Ranch. 36

San Diego, Cal. 20 Street Scene, San Diego, Cal. 30 Inner Harbor, San

yng s 3 7 -aana una. -c . - , . ,

Pedro 3i-San Pedro Harbor. 3 2-34-Boating Terminal Island. 33-Pomt Firmm Light House, San Pedro.


prone to suffer fear and nervousness, though every assurance of safety
is given. On portions of the division, loops are made around the
canyons in such number, and the track turns and twists in such a maze,
that at times one can look down and count nine different tracks over
which the car has passed before reaching the upper altitude. At almost
every stage of the journey one can look down and see the tracks of the
road passing one another.

The picturesque route is through dense forests of luxuriant wood.
Foliage is heavy and sweet-smelling. The whole journey is alluring
and thrilling. On one side of the road there rises the towering moun-
tain side, while on the other lies immeasurable depths that find their
end in the valleys and canyon-bottoms below.

For the first half mile there is little to excite the passenger, but as
the cars suddenly begin their sharp and abrupt climb, one enters a
veritable world of shrubbery and woodland. Spinning around the
mountain the cars shoot ever upward zigzaging over trestles and bridges
and round curves innumerable.

Twisting, circling, dodging, but ever rising, it unthreads the skein
whose end lies in the clouds. Skirting over the open slopes, across the
ravines and canyons, the broad plain below is no longer a fleeting vista,
but a broad prospect. You can see the forest spilling itself upon the
field as you look far below, and catch a faint glimpse of the Pacific Ocean,
which appears as a hazy cloud of steel.

Up and up we went, holding firmly to the car with one hand, and
clasping our hat with the other. At Mt. Lowe Springs, a point 5,000 feet
above sea level, the unique scenic railway came to an end. Here is
located Alpine Tavern, a cosy Swiss-fashioned hotel nestling in the
mountain side, and about 1,000 feet below the summit of the mountain.
About the tavern grew trees in the wildest profusion, as well as every
variety of fern, some of the species growing to the height of a man.

Walks, driveways and bridle paths led the visitor from the hotel
through romantic woodland. Squirrels, the size of which we had never
seen, pranced about playfully, and while somewhat tame, did not place
enough confidence in man to approach too closely.

An interesting example of the taming of the wild was exhibited on
the balconies of the hotel. A lady, seated reading a book, held a piece
of sugar in the palm of her outstretched hand. Shortly, several birds of
various species were attracted, and after circling about in smaller and
smaller radius, alighted on her finger and ate from her hand. The birds
watched her face intently, and when she looked up from her book and
at them off they flew. Again she turned her eyes to her book and the
birds were back again.

After an interesting jaunt about the tavern we started on the return



trip. The descent was not less interesting than the ascent. In fact there
was a deeper sense of the thrilling, as we went whirling down the moun-
tain side to the depths below. Arriving at the foot of Mount Echo, we
returned over the same route which we came and stopped at Pasadena,
a thriving modern city of 20,000 inhabitants. For the origin of the
name you may choose between the imputed Indian signification, Crown
of the Valley, and a corruption of the Spanish Paso de Eden (Threshold
of Eden). It is in any event the crown of the San Gabriel Valley, which
nestles warmly in its groves and rosebowers below lofty bulwarks tipped
with snow. Here an eastern multitude makes regular winter home in
modest cottage or imposing mansion. Every fruit and flower and every
ornamental tree and shrub known to Southern California is represented
in the elaborate grounds of this little realm. It is a playground of

Orange Grove avenue is one of the most beautiful residence
thoroughfares in the United States, or in any other country, for that
matter. The magnificent Raymond Hotel on the hill is a prominent land-
mark for many miles around. The Hotel Green, adjoining the depot
of the Santa Fe, is a fine specimen of California architecture. Another
notable edifice is Hotel Maryland, recently built. The visitor to Pasadena
finds it difficult to believe that less than thirty years ago the site of this
beautiful city, then known as the San Pasqual rancho, was sbld to the
"Indiana Colony" for $5 an acre, and the seller afterward expressed
contrition at having taken advantage of the "tenderfeet" in charging so
exorbitant a price.

One of the most pleasing features of our visit to Pasadena was the
reception tendered us and hospitality shown by the local Commandery.
It was on this occasion that Sir William exhibited a staunch temperance
spirit, that could not have been put to a more severe test. He visited
one of the wineries whose daily capacity was 75 tons of grapes. Sir
William witnessed the process of making wine with great interest, saw
the huge casks being rapidly filled, and where sufficient wine was stored
to supply a nation. Then he went to the Pasadena Commandery head-
quarters to secure some lemonade and cake.

After a short but delightful stay in Pasadena we visited South
Pasadena and Ostrich Farm. Amid semi-tropical surroundings this
unique enterprise finds its home. In 1885 fifty ostriches were imported
from Africa and formed the foundation of a flock that numbered 250
during our visit. The care of the young, and the method of extracting
plumes from the old, were of much interest. The chicks are fed on
gravel during the first few days and seemed to thrive on it. Spectators
are not permitted to venture near, for the ostrich often becomes angered^
and when so aroused, is somewhat dangerous. They also have a great
fancy for anything that shines, and are inclined to steal and eat such


I San Gabriel Mission. 2 California Poppy. 3 Los Angeles -Mission and the Plaza. 4 Hollenbeck Park. 5 City Park. 6
West Lake Park. 7-12-16 East Lake Park. 8 A Cluster ol Oranges. 9 Baldwin's ranch, showing " Lucky " Baldwin. lo A
Rose covered Cottage. 11-14 Higueroa Street. 13 A Palm Drive, is St. James Park. 17 Residence of Paul De Longpre. 18 A
Typical Southern California semi-tropic scene. 19 Palm Avenue. 20 Adams Street.


objects, whether they be portions of wearing apparel or not. Hanley
would not venture within 50 yards of an ostrich when he heard of their
fondness for glittering objects, as he had his shoes polished prior to
leaving Pasadena. Johnston held his hand over his nose, which had
become sunburned and shone like Sir Oscar's stud.

A brick is just as toothsome to an ostrich as a plate of tri-colored
ice cream. The birds swallow everything whole, and depend upon their
stomachs to do the mastication as well as digestion. Oranges are
gulped down whole, without the formality of taking off the rind. We
suggested to the proprietor that he take his birds and board them at
the inn, on the border of the Yellowstone Park, but he declared that
even an ostrich might die of shock.

The peculiarity of the bird in swallowing everything whole, is clearly
shown by the bulge in the side of the neck which each article forms,
before it works its way down into the stomach. Some were leisurely
walking about with one or two apparent pouches in their long necks,
while others wore necks that looked like well-knotted hickory canes, with
big bulges here and there on both sides. Although the ostriches at the,
Pasadena farm are somewhat tamed by confinement, they seemed to
consider the visiting Sir Knights with suspicion. They looked upon
Templars as their natural enemies, because of their display of plumes.

Returning to Los Angeles we sauntered about upon the cheerful,
well-lighted streets. After a short walk we came upon a building in gala
array. A banner swung across the thoroughfare, announced that it was
the Temple of Los Angeles Commandery, No. 9. Above the entrance
hung a sign, larger by far than the banner, which read "Welcome Sir
Knights." But the broad invitation of a wide sign was not necessary in
this case. It was like meeting a dear old friend. The boundless hospi-
tality of Los Angeles Commandery, No. 9, was a fresh memory. We
had learned to know our Praters, and had enjoyed their generosity in
the Conclave City.

As we entered the open door we became immersed in a flood of
light and brilliancy. Everything seemed to lift itself and smilingly say:
"Pilgrim, I Greet Thee." The whole edifice within was aglow. Music
filled the air. The sweet aroma of fragrant flowers intoxicated the
senses. For 14 days and nights this Commandery kept its doors wide
open to the visiting Sir Knights from all sections of the country, and
never did the hospitality waver from the point of extravagant liberality.

We were ushered into a spacious banquet hall, where an elegant
repast was spread. A corps of attendants stood ready, not only to cater
to our needs but to encourage us to take more than our needs. Beautiful
floral designs and decorations stood about in large number. Roses and
delicate buds were virtually showered upon us, for as one beautiful piece
was plucked apart for the guests, another was provided. Tickets of


admission and transportation to various resorts and pleasure points, were
liberally offered to the visiting Sir Knights, including street car tickets.

The ladies who assisted the Los Angeles Sir Knights in receiving,
were as attentive and sisterly as the most liberal application of those
terms can convey. Not only did they receive our ladies with a hospi-
tality that was entirely free from formality, but they also received the
Sir Knights of our party as old-time acquaintances.

The social and fraternal kindness shown us that evening by every
individual, was truly beyond any anticipation. It is no exaggeration to
say that the reception accorded us was one of the most liberal throughout
our transcontinental pilgrimage. It was only upon our announcement
that our schedule would permit us to remain in Los Angeles for another
day or two, and that we would return before leaving the city, that our
leave-taking on that night was made possible. Under these conditions
we were able to say "good-night" but not good bye.

As we reached the railroad station in search of our train, to retire
for the night, we found that we had "moved" again. We didn't live in
the same neighborhood. Trains bearing delegations from other sections
of the country occupied the site where we had resided during the
morning. We were compelled to inquire where we "lived."

Finally we found our "Special." We had moved to an aristocratic
community and were located on a siding used by a lard refinery. In the
morning we had faced a foundry and saw mill. However, knowing that
our train had been switched back and forth among other Knight Templar
"Specials," we knew that we were "moving in good society."

A thrilling incident occurred in the "stag" coach that night which
virtually made the cold chills creep upon the backs of many of the occu-
pants. It was all due to a cold reception which the "stag" coach dele-
gation received.

Two of the pilgrims, who received an inspiration, by seeing the
trainmen wheeling cracked ice for the drinking tanks, managed to
"borrow" a tubful. In order that the excitement of the day might not
overheat the blood of the comrades during the night, they distributed"
the ice equally, under the sheets of each berth in the "stag" coach, while
occupants were innocently discussing in the commissary car. After the
Sir Knights had retired there came a rude awakening. Some declared
that ten thousand needles pierced them. Others announced that the city
was immersed in a flood. Sir Watson, who had an upper berth, called
for an umbrella to keep the rain from coming in the roof. Only one
pilgrim was spared, and this was only accomplished by the heroic action
of a brother Sir Knight. The ice distributor had entered the stateroom,
occupied by "Kunnie," with the charitable purpose of showing him the
same attention the others had received. Once within the apartment, he
was encountered by Sir "Bobbie" who guarded his sleeping comrade


and roommate with a sincerity that would have driven the melodrama
hero to blush. No logical argument on the part of the ice man could
induce Sir "Bobbie" to permit his comrade to be sprinkled with
cracked ice, and "Kunnie" was permitted to enjoy the sleep of the
just without the comforts of a refrigerator car.


HETHER the fates willed it because it was the thirteenth day of
the month, or whether it was merely a caprice of destiny may never
be known, but the fact remains that our happy band of pilgrims
were compelled to suffer embarrassment at the hands of a confused

On the previous morning, a well-meaning young man called upon us
and had politely solicited the laundry of our party in behalf of his firm,
who washed for a living. His promise to return the linens the same day
was an inducement that won him our business. We gave him everything
wearable that could be spared; retaining only essential articles for the
day's wear. But when night came, it came without the laundry or the

However, early on this morning there came a delivery of bundles to
our "Special" that looked like an army equipment. In fact the bundles
returned seemed so many more than those sent, that we had a suspicion
that the fertile climate of Southern California had induced our linen to
multiply upon contact with water.

Some time after the delivery was made and the bundles had been
distributed, the awful truth dawned upon us. Our laundry had become
confused with that of a visiting circus, and we were destined to either re-
main "at home" or appear only in the sawdust ring. While we deeply
sympathized with the bareback riders, clowns, and acrobats who at the
same time might be struggling into sane clothing, we were compelled to
take a selfish view of the situation, and consider what an embarrassment
it would be to wear the costumes we had received, without the use of
make-up paint.

Sir Oscar, who had entrusted the laundry with cleaning three
pairs of flannel trousers and several suits of underwear, had received in
return a pair of lavender tights which had evidently been built for the
"living skeleton" or the "ossified man." Knowing that lavender was not
favorable to his complexion, Sir Oscar refused to wear the tights in


Sir Frederick W. received a pair of drawers which were constructed
on a new plan. They consisted of two white ruffle-cuffed absurdities,
hitched together at the top with a narrow band; and when applied, they
did not come down to his knees. They were pretty enough, but made
him feel like two persons, and much disconnected at that. He didn't
appear to be related to himself when he tried them on.

The shirt they brought Sir Reel was shorter than Sir Frederick's
drawers, and hadn't any sleeves at least it had nothing more than what
could be called "rudimentary or undeveloped" sleeves. Fancy "edging"
ran around the arm pits, where the sleeves had been amputated, and the
bosom was cut ridiculously low. When Sir Reel tried it on he found
that it was cut too high at the bottom and too low at the top but how

Online LibraryEdmund Frederick ErkA merry crusade to the Golden Gate : under the banners of Allegheny Commandery, No. 35, Knights Templar, Allegheny, Pa. : a complete story of the Twenty-ninth Triennial Conclave, Grand Encampment, Knights Templar, U.S.A. ... and a tour of ten thousand miles through the wonderland of the West → online text (page 27 of 38)