PROFESSOR THADDEUS LOWE

MOUNT LOWE RAILWAY

Railway Construction

Thaddeus Lowe and California Governor H. H. Markham

(Courtesy of Greg Snyder - great great grandson of H. H. Markham)

Tracklaying had progressed from Mountain Junction to the mouth of the canyon by late September of 1892. All the ties, stringers and rails required for the final mile of the Rubio Canyon section had been hauled up to the site of the first bridge, and deposited in huge piles. Once the grading was accomplished and the foundation installed for a bridge, the laying of timber was a simple matter and required only a few days by a crew of four men. As each trestle was built, it was planked over so that a team of horses could pull the construction gondola to the site of the next one. In all, nine bridges plus the Incline loading platform were required in the final 5,000 feet. The first of these, a small structure spanning a deep ravine, was named "Las Flores Bridge." Difficult construction work and the large outlay required for material such as trestle timber placed a heavy drain on the Professor's personal fortune. While the right-of-way was being pushed into Rubio Canyon, grading for the cableway had already begun. Incline construction was underway by April 12, 1892, with D.J. Macpherson taking personal charge. Since the line into the canyon was nowhere near completion, all supplies had to be packed in by burro. Mount Lowe, The Railway in the Clouds, page 37.

  Improvised passenger car turning onto Lake Avenue. - Joseph Ferm Collection


On the grounds of Professor T.S.C. Lowe's Pasadena Estate. - Anne Read Collection


Andrew McNally's trout pounds near the mountain railway. - Anne Read Collection


Andrew McNally's trout pounds near the mountain railway. - Anne Read Collection


Picking flowers on the Andrew McNally estate. - Anne Read Collection


First improvised passenger car showing a glimpse of the Echo Mountain grade. - Anne Read Collection


First trolley freight car leaving Mountain Junction for Rubio Canyon. - Anne Read Collection


First trolley freight car leaving Mountain Junction for Rubio Canyon. - Anne Read Collection


Trial trip trolley freight car descending on Lake Avenue from Rubio Canyon. - Anne Read Collection


Point Lookout on railway bed in Rubio Canyon. - Anne Read Collection

Railway bed in Rubio Canyon at the foot of the Great Incline. - Anne Read Collection


Building the Great Incline

Building the Incline proved to be one of the most difficult tasks of the railway's construction. Just above the bottom a ridge of the mountain intersected the right-of-way, and on its upper side lay a deep canyon. Both of these obstacles had to be surmounted before a single tie could be laid. It required eight long months to cut a grade through the ridge, which was called Granite Gorge. During that time every available man was kept busy. It was impossible to dispose of the rubble removed from the gorge downhill as it would have quickly filled up the canyon and inundated the spot where the loading platform was to be located. Gangs of laborers were set to work hand carrying the debris upward 50 yards, where it was dumped down a side canyon. Once the cut was completed the problem remained of crossing the 40-foot deep canyon to its upper side. The problem was finally resolved with a bridge that was one of the engineering marvels of its time. It was over 200 feet long, and stood 114 feet higher on its upper end. All of the cement required for its foundations had to be taken up on the backs of the workmen, as no amount of flogging could induce even a single burro to negotiate the 62 percent grade of the roadbed. Mount Lowe, The Railway in the Clouds, pages 39, 41.

Workmen loading a construction car at the foot of the Great Incline. - Anne Read Collection

Construction after Rubio Pavilion and Chalet Hotel had been built. - Anne Read Collection

Rubio Canyon view from the Great Incline at MacPherson Trestle. - Anne Read Collection


Cable winding equipment at the top of Echo Mountain during construction. - Anne Read Collection


Loading water pipes on wagon at Echo Mountain summit. - Anne Read Collection


Dining tent with Jason Brown building open air fireplace. - Anne Read Collection


Chalet Hotel after completion but before walkways and landscaping. - Anne Read Collection


Bridal road mule trail through Castle Canyon. - Anne Read Collection


View from bridal road mule trail in Castle Canyon. - Anne Read Collection

Castle Rock. - Anne Read Collection


View west through Grand Canyon from Saddle Junction. - Anne Read Collection


View of Mount Lowe from the bridal road mule trail in Grand Canyon. - Anne Read Collection


Looking down on Echo Mountain from Saddle Junction or Inspiration Point. - Anne Read Collection


On the bridal road or mule trail in Castle Canyon. - Anne Read Collection


On the bridal road or mule trail in Castle Canyon. - Anne Read Collection


Professor T.S.C. Lowe and company arriving at the summit of Mount Lowe. - Anne Read Collection


Lowe and MacPherson at the summit of Mount Lowe. - Anne Read Collection


The completed railway up to Rubio Pavilon. - Anne Read Collection


Looking down on MacPherson Trestle. - Anne Read Collection


Dining tent at Echo Mountain during winter. - Anne Read Collection


Winter scene along the future route of the railway to Alpine Tavern. - Anne Read Collection

Winter scene along the future route of the railway to Alpine Tavern. - Anne Read Collection


Winter scene along the future route of the railway to Alpine Tavern. - Anne Read Collection


Winter scene at future site of the Alpine Tavern. - Anne Read Collection


Winter scene at future site of the Alpine Tavern. - Anne Read Collection

Work car hauling lumber up the Great Incline (Courtesy of Los Angeles County Library)


Horses being used before the power station was built on Echo Mountain (Courtesy of Los Angeles County Library)


INDEX PAGE

BEFORE THE WAR

CIVIL WAR YEARS

INVENTIONS AND INDUSTRY

NORRISTOWN PENNSYLVANIA YEARS

PASADENA CALIFORNIA YEARS

MOUNT LOWE RAILWAY

AFTER THE RAILWAY

LOWE FAMILY

BOOKS ABOUT LOWE

NEWSPAPER ARTICLES

EVENTS AND REUNIONS

ARTIFACTS AND HISTORY

ENCYCLOPEDIA BIOGRAPHY

ACCLAMATIONS AND AWARDS

LINKS TO OTHER THADDEUS LOWE WEBSITES