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Author Archive for Robert Smith

Before Our Time: What we do …

I’m sometimes asked what we do at the Idyllwild Area Historical Society, so let me share an example. One of the minor charms of living on our Hill is celebrity sightings. While we typically associate celebrity with entertainments like movies, television, or sports, it sometimes extends to the superwealthy. Think Warren Buffett, Bill Gates … […]

Before Our Time: Sequoias, settle in here …

A grove of giant sequoias in the San Jacinto Mountains? Yes indeed! One sultry day this summer, I was hiking with friends up one of my least favorite routes, the Black Mountain Trail. The day’s weather only made it worse, but as we passed 7,000 feet and approached the saddle at the head of Hall […]

Before Our Time: Two early and longtime Idyllwild fore-fathers …

Frank Strong and George Dickinson get relatively little attention as pioneer developers in Strawberry Valley. Unlike George Hannahs, Walter Lindley or Claudius Lee Emerson, they were based in Los Angeles, and neither one resided here or took an active part in day-to-day management of their holdings on the Hill. Still, their influence was substantial. It […]

Before Our Time: Idyllwild’s “Name game” …

An old tradition my forebears brought from Britain is the habit of bestowing names on their homes. It reached Idyllwild in the 1920s to such an extent that one issue of the Idyllwild Breezes newspaper carried a two-column poem, anonymously composed (possibly by Editor Joyce Carmichael), incorporating nearly forty examples. Most commonly, these early house […]

What, no golf course in Idyllwild?

What, no golf course in Idyllwild?

Tourists today expect to find at least one golf course at almost any vacation destination. Idyllwild is unusual in not having one …

Before Our Time: Betty Maxwell …

Before Our Time: Betty Maxwell …

The attention Idyllwild lavished on Ernie Maxwell during his centennial last year was well deserved. But it left his wife, Betty, the other half of the Town Crier’s founding editorial duo, in the shadows. Born in Missouri in 1906, Elizabeth Beeman grew up in luxury in New York City. By her own account a born […]

Before Our Time: Rustic before Silver Pines …

I first got acquainted with the Silver Pines Lodge as an Idyllwild newcomer, when I learned about artifacts unearthed there by two Idyllwild School students, Max Singer, son of the lodge’s owner Chris Singer, and his friend Bobby Righetti. Now, whenever I attend an event there, the meeting room reminds me of its longevity. Extracting […]

Before Our Time: Fore! BeFore! …

Brendan Steele’s recent success has made golf newsworthy in Idyllwild once again. News media around the country love to highlight the odd fact that he grew up in a town without a golf course. But Idyllwild has not always been a golf-free zone. There’s a reason for street names like Fairway Drive and Green Avenue […]

Before Our Time: Homes evolve, too …

One of the charms of living here on the Hill is the welcome absence of typical Southern California tract housing. As soon as I settled here and began walking about the neighborhoods, I was struck by the endless variety of our residences. Just try to find any two exactly alike! That shouldn’t be surprising, given […]

Before Our Time: Village center …

In a place that changes as slowly as Idyllwild, what’s new about a New Year? Seven years ago it was the imminent opening of our newest commercial development, the Village Centre shops at the corner of North Circle and Village Center drives. New? In fact, this complex was built on just about the oldest commercial […]

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