Art used to replace the water lines and add new ones in the Pinyon Pines subdivision with his old dozer and a large horse-drawn plow. He would hook the plow to the back of the dozer with a cable and Val Bixby would handle the plow as it was being pulled by the dozer.
In areas of soft ground the pipe would be over a foot deep and in hard ground it would be nearly at the surface. All of the subdivisions main lines were one inch pipe and the main line from Omstott Spring down to the water tank was originally one inch, but had been replaced by 1 3/4 inch pipe by the time we owned our cabin. Back then the only water source for the subdivision was Omstott Spring.
It was never Stump Spring as reported by Robinson and Risher, as Stump Spring only supplied water to Art’s log cabin up on Santa Rosa Mountain. Even then, the water had to be hand-carried from the spring to the cabin until pipes were installed, probably after Art sold the cabin.
When my half-brother returned from Europe after World War II in 1945, he wanted to buy some land up in the big trees on Santa Rosa Mountain. He had made arrangement to meet Art up at the Stump Spring cabin so he could look at a 40 acre parcel with a spring on it that Art wanted to sell.
Once up there, we were caught in a blizzard and could not go out to look at the property. “Silver” Miller had made a large pot of split-pea soup, so we stayed inside the cabin eating soup and biscuits, playing cards, drinking coffee, and watching the snow come down.
By late afternoon the snow quit, but we had gone up the mountain in my grandfather’s 1939 Chevrolet so could go nowhere in the deep snow.
Art had his old dozer at the cabin and had to take it down to a point above Santa Rosa Spring for some reason that I can no longer remember, so he took off from the cabin plowing snow with his dozer. We left about a half hour later and caught up with him a couple of miles down the road.
About a half mile more down the road from where we met him, the road was nearly clear as it had not snowed below that elevation. We left Art, still walking his cat down the road, and returned to our cabin at Pinyon.
A couple of months later my half-brother, Lt. Robert E. Lee, had to go into the hospital and his hospital stay took all the money he was going to use to buy the land up on the mountain. Soldiers returning from the war did not get much financial or medical help after they got out of the service, even for problems caused by that service. Not much different than today.
Art had asthma and back in those days the atomizers were made of glass with a rubber bulb on one end. He used to carry a couple with him when he was operating his old orange colored dozer, as the dust would activate his asthma.
Being glass, these atomizers often did not last long, as he would break them by hitting them on something or by stepping on them when he laid them down to work on something. I think he bought them by the case, as he was always able to go back to his house and get another one.
One night his place caught fire and burned to the ground before any fire engines could get here from Kenworthy, which was the closest fire station back then. Art always told me that it was arson to cover up a crime of robbery.
He had all his surveying equipment and several rifles, none of which were ever found in the ashes. This type of metal item does not usually burn.
I think I still have an old commercial hand operated meat grinder that came from the camp kitchen, which burned down with the house and a couple of out buildings.
Since it was no longer serviceable, he let me take it from the ashes, along with a few other items that he did not want anymore, but well after the burned area had cooled down.
There was an elderly couple, the Messengers, who lived in a tent down in the Pinyon Pines Camp Ground. Our camp was often near theirs when we camped down there.
We met them when we were living in our tent down at the campground before my grandparents bought our cabin in December of 1941. They had a Model-T Ford which they parked next to their tent.
One night the car caught fire and the fire ignited the tent and burned most of their belongings, both in the tent and the car. People up here pooled together to help replace much of their clothing, cooking utensils, and eating gear and Art let them move into a small cabin he owned near the northwest corner of Sugarloaf Avenue and Pinyon Drive.
They lived there for a couple of years, but now I cannot remember when or why they left. We used to have several of the V-shaped magnets that came from the magneto on their Model-T.
My grandfather and I used them to pick up nails in the yard at our cabin and from the streets near the cabin, as all the streets were dirt back then. These dirt streets always seemed to acquire nails, especially roofing nails, probably from trash being hauled over to the dump.
After Art died, the small cabin that had been used by the Messengers became the home of “Silver” Miller. “Silver” had been the wife of Jack Miller, but decided to become the camp cook at Nightingale’s camp at the end of one their trips over to Jack’s mine and rockhouse over in Martinez Canyon. While Jack returned to the Temecula area, “Silver” stayed here.
She basically lived at Art’s place during most of the time I knew her. Art’s wife, Mae Nightingale, did not live up here during the time that we were up here. She was a music teacher and lived and worked down in the Los Angeles area and only came up here occasionally. I can only remember meeting her on a couple of occasions while Art was living here.
However, after Art had passed away, she had a well drilled, built a house over in section 11, and moved back up here on a permanent basis. She used to be down at the store telling people how things were up here in the past, but many times I had to wonder about what she was saying as I could not remember her even being up here during some of the times she was telling about.
Harry Quinn is a local historian who grew up visiting the area with his grandparents at a young age, eventually moving up here permanently. He is a wealth of knowledge on the areas past and its native peoples. He has in the past published some of his accounts in the areas local newspapers back in the days of Carl Long. The AVO is happy he found this story in his files and decided to share it with our readers today. Thank you Harry– Jodi Thomas, AVO’s Area Manger.