San Nicolas Island
San Nicolas Island is the most remote of California's Channel Islands, located 61 miles from the nearest point on the mainland coast. It is part of Ventura County; the 14,562 acre island is controlled by the United States Navy and is used as a weapons testing and training facility, served by Naval Outlying Field San Nicolas Island. The uninhabited island is defined by the United States Census Bureau as Block Group 9, Census Tract 36.04 of Ventura County, California. The Nicoleño Native American tribe inhabited the island until 1835; as of the 2000 U. S. Census, the island has since remained uninhabited, though the census estimates that at least 200 military and civilian personnel live on the island at any given time; the island has a small airport, though the 10,000 foot runway is the second longest in Ventura County and several buildings, including telemetry reception antennas. Archaeological evidence suggests that San Nicolas Island has been occupied by humans for at least 10,000 years. For thousands of years, San Nicolas was the home of the Nicoleño people, who were related to the Tongva of the mainland and Santa Catalina Island.
It was named for Saint Nicholas by Spanish explorer Sebastián Vizcaíno after he sighted the island on the saint's feast day in 1602. The Nicoleños were evacuated in the early 19th century by the padres of the California mission system. Within a few years of their removal from the island, the Nicoleño people and their unique language became extinct; the most famous resident of San Nicolas Island was the "Lone Woman of San Nicolas Island", christened Juana Maria. She was left behind, she resided on the island alone for 18 years before she was found by Captain George Nidever and his crew in 1853 and taken to Santa Barbara. Her story is famously told in the award-winning children's novel Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell; the steam-schooner California and its two whale catchers Hawk and Port Saunders operated off San Nicolas in 1932 and 1937, catching about 30 fin whales off the island from October to early December in the former year. San Nicolas Island was one of eight candidate sites to detonate the first atomic bomb before White Sands Proving Ground was selected for the Trinity nuclear test.
Between 1957 and 1973, in 2004 and 2010, U. S. military research rockets were launched from San Nicolas Island. The launchpad was situated at 33°15′51.4″N 119°32′20.4″W. It remains part of the Pacific Missile Range. San Nicolas Island serves as a detachment of Naval Base Ventura County. In addition to Port Hueneme and Point Mugu, San Nicolas Island is military-owned and operated. Composed of Eocene sandstone and shale, much of the island has marine terrace deposits of Pleistocene age, indicating that it was completely submerged at that time; the entire western part of the island is covered with reddish-brown eolian dune deposits laid down during the early Holocene. In some places these deposits are more than 10 meters deep. Small quantities of volcanic rocks exist on the southeast end of the island. Stone available to natives for tool making on San Nicolas Island was limited to metavolcanic and metasedimentary rock; the metavolcanics are found in the form of cobbles within conglomerates and cobble-bearing mudstones.
This material is dense and not workable. Under the Köppen climate classification, San Nicolas Island features a semi-arid climate with mediterranean characteristics. Winters are mild with an average temperature of 55.3 °F in February, the coolest month and is the season where most of the precipitation falls. Summers are warm with an average of 64.7 °F in September, indicating a seasonal lag. Temperatures above 90 °F are rare; the average annual precipitation is 8.58 inches, with the wettest month being February and the driest month being August. On average, there are 36 days with measurable precipitation. There is little ecological diversity on San Nicolas Island; the island was grazed by sheep until they were removed in 1943. Overgrazing and erosion have removed much of the topsoil from the island. Despite the degradation, three endemic plants are found on the island: Astragalus traskiae, Eriogonum grande subspecies timorum, Lomatium insulare; the dominant plant community on the island is coastal bluff scrubland, with giant coreopsis and coyote brush the most visible components.
The few trees present today, including California fan palms were introduced in modern times. However, early written accounts and the remains of ancient plants in the form of calcareous root casts indicate that, prior to 1860, brush covered a portion of the island. There are only three species of endemic land vertebrates on the island. Two other reptiles, the common side-blotched lizard, the southern alligator lizard, were at one time thought to be endemic, but an analysis of mitochondrial DNA indicates that both species were most introduced in recent times. More than 10 endemic molluscs are known only from San Nicolas Island; these are Binneya notabilis, Catinella rehderi, Haplotrema duranti duranti, Micrarionta feralis, Micrarionta micromphala, M. opuntia, M. sodalis, Nearctula rowell
San Gabriel Mountains
The San Gabriel Mountains are a mountain range located in northern Los Angeles County and western San Bernardino County, United States. The mountain range is part of the Transverse Ranges and lies between the Los Angeles Basin and the Mojave Desert, with Interstate 5 to the west and Interstate 15 to the east; this range lies in, is surrounded by, the Angeles National Forest, with the San Andreas Fault as the northern border of the range. The highest peak in the range is Mount San Antonio referred to as Mt. Baldy. Mount Wilson is another famous peak, famed for the Mount Wilson Observatory and the antenna farm that houses many of the transmitters for local media; the observatory may be visited by the public. On October 10, 2014, President Obama designated the area the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. To date, The Trust for Public Land has protected more than 3,800 acres of land in the San Gabriel Mountains, its foothills and the Angeles National Forest. Much of the range features rolling peaks.
The range lacks craggy features, but contains a large number of canyons and is very rugged and difficult to traverse. The San Gabriel Mountains are in effect a large fault block, uplifted and dissected by numerous rivers and washes; the highest elevation, Mount San Antonio at 10,064 feet, rises towards the eastern extremity of the range which extends from the Cajon Pass on the east, where the San Gabriel Mountain Range meets the San Bernardino Mountain Range, westward to meet the Santa Susanna range at Newhall Pass. North of San Fernando, the San Gabriel Mountains crest abruptly up to 4,000 feet. Pacoima and Big Tujunga Canyons cut through the range just east of San Fernando, carrying runoff into the San Fernando Valley. Little Tujunga Canyon Road bridges the range in this area, connecting the San Fernando Valley to the Santa Clara River valley in the north. Towering over Big Tujunga Canyon north of Big Tujunga Reservoir is Mount Gleason, which at 6,502 feet, is the highest in this region of the San Gabriels.
South of the gorge are the southern "foothills" of the mountains, which rise abruptly 4,000 feet above the Los Angeles Basin and give rise to the Arroyo Seco, a tributary of the Los Angeles River. Southeast of Big Tujunga Canyon, the southern front range of the San Gabriels grows in elevation, culminating in notable peaks such as Mount Wilson at 5,710 feet. On the north the range is abruptly dissected by the canyon of the West Fork San Gabriel River. Further north the range slopes up into the towering main crest of the San Gabriels, a sweeping arc-shaped massif 30 miles in length that includes most of the highest peaks in the range: Waterman Mountain, at 8,038 feet. On the north slopes of the San Gabriel crest, the northern ranks of mountains drop down incrementally to the floor of the Mojave Desert in a much more gradual manner than the sheer southern flank; the Angeles Crest Highway, one of the main routes across the San Gabriels, runs through this area from west to east. Little Rock, Big Rock and Sheep Creeks drain off the northern part of the mountains, forming large alluvial fans as they descend into the Mojave.
To the east, the San Andreas Fault cuts across the range, forming a series of long and narrow depressions, including Swarthout Valley and Lone Pine Canyon. South of Mount San Antonio, San Antonio Creek drains the mountains, cutting the deep San Antonio Canyon. East of San Antonio Canyon, the range loses elevation, the highest peaks in this section of the mountain range are in the south, rising above the Inland Empire cities of Claremont and Rancho Cucamonga. However, there are still several notable peaks in this region, including Telegraph Peak, at 8,985 feet, Cucamonga Peak, at 8,859 feet, Ontario Peak, rising 8,693 feet. Lytle Creek, flowing southeast, drains most of the extreme eastern San Gabriels; the range terminates at Cajon Pass, through which runs Interstate 15, beyond which rise the higher San Bernardino Mountains. The Range is bound on the north by the Antelope Valley and the Mojave Desert and to the south by the communities of greater Los Angeles area. In the western portion of the San Gabriel Mountain Range, the Sierra Pelona Ridge stretches from Soledad Canyon, formed by the Santa Clara River.
The Sierra Pelona Ridge includes Liebre Mountain, Sawmill Mountain, Grass Mountain, Redrock Peak, Burnt Peak, most of, part of the Angeles National Forest, but features several rural communities. Melting snow and rain runoff on the south side of the San Gabriels' highest mountains give rise to its largest river, the San Gabriel River. Just to the west of Mount Hawkins, a north-south divide separates water running down the two main forks of the river and their tributaries; the West Fork, beginning at Red Box Saddle, runs 14 miles eastward, the East Fork, starting north of Mount San Antonio, flows 18 miles south and west through a steep and precipitous gorge. The two meet at San Gabriel Reservoir, turn south, boring through the southern portion of the San Gabriels, emptying out of the mountains near Azusa into the urban San Gabriel Valley, to the Pacific Ocean near Seal Beach. San Gabriel Mountains peaks within the Angeles National Forest include: Mount San Antonio, 10,064 ft Pine Mountain, 9,648 ft Dawson Peak, 9,575 ft
Angeles National Forest
The Angeles National Forest of the U. S. Forest Service is located in the San Gabriel Mountains and Sierra Pelona Mountains within Los Angeles County in southern California; the ANF manages a majority of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. The national forest was established in 1908, incorporating the first San Bernardino National Forest and parts of the former Santa Barbara and San Gabriel National Forests. Angeles National Forest headquarters are located in California; the Angeles National Forest covers a total of 700,176 acres, protecting large areas of the San Gabriel Mountains and Sierra Pelona Mountains. It is located just north of the densely inhabited metropolitan area of Greater Los Angeles. While within Los Angeles County, a small part extends eastward into southwestern San Bernardino County, in the Mount San Antonio area, a tiny section extends westward into northeastern Ventura County, in the Lake Piru area; the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, established in 2014 and managed by the U.
S. Forest Service, is within the Angeles National Forest; the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation and Recreation Act of 2019 established the Saint Francis Dam Disaster National Memorial and Saint Francis Dam Disaster National Monument at and around the ruins of the St. Francis Dam in the Forest's San Francisquito Canyon; the Angeles National Forest contains five nationally designated wilderness areas. Two of these extend into neighboring San Bernardino National Forest: Cucamonga Wilderness — in San Bernardino NF Magic Mountain Wilderness Pleasant View Ridge Wilderness San Gabriel Wilderness Sheep Mountain Wilderness — in San Bernardino NF The San Gabriel Forest Reserve was established on December 20, 1892, the San Bernardino Forest Reserve was established on February 25, 1893, the Santa Barbara Forest Reserve was established on December 22, 1903. Together, they became National Forests on March 4, 1907, they were combined on July 1, 1908, with all of the San Bernardino forest and portions of San Gabriel forest and Santa Barbara forest composing the new Angeles National Forest.
On September 30, 1925, portions of the Angeles National Forest and the Cleveland National Forest were detached to re-establish the San Bernardino National Forest. Angeles National Forest is registered as California Historical Landmark #717, for being the first National Forest in the state; the campgrounds at Broken Blade, Twisted Arrow and Pima Loops were closed on July 26, 2013 after squirrel infected with bubonic plague was discovered. Station FireIn the Station Fire, more than 161,000 acres of the forest were burned by an arson fire that began on August 26, 2009, near Angeles Crest Highway in La Cañada and spread, fueled by dry brush that had not burned for over 150 years; the fire burned for more than a month and was the worst in Los Angeles County history, charring one-fourth of the forest, displacing wildlife, destroying 91 homes and outbuildings and the family-owned Hidden Springs Cafe. During the fire, two firefighters died after driving off the Mt. Gleason County Road looking for an alternate route to get the inmates out at Camp 16.
The Station Fire threatened the Mount Wilson Observatory atop Mt. Wilson; the site includes two telescopes, two solar towers, transmitters for 22 television stations, several FM radio stations, police and fire department emergency channels. Although the fire scorched one side of the outhouse at amateur-owned Stony Ridge Observatory, six miles northeast of Mt. Wilson, aside from minor damage from smoke and ash infiltration, the remainder of the observatory and its historic 30-inch Carroll telescope survived. 2012 firesSeveral 2012 wildfires occurred, burning hundreds of acres across the forest-covered mountain range. The Angeles National Forest manages the habitats and fauna ecosystems, watersheds; some of the rivers with watersheds within its boundaries provide valuable non-groundwater recharge water for Southern California. The existing protected and restored native vegetation absorb and slow surface runoff of rainwater to minimize severe floods and landslides in adjacent communities; the land within the forest is diverse, both in terrain.
Elevations range from 1,200 to 10,064 ft. The Pacific Crest Trail crosses the forest. Much of this National Forest is covered with dense chaparral shrub forests with oak woodlands, which changes to pine and fir-covered slopes in the higher elevations. Subsequent to the fire there was a heavy growth of poodle-dog bush triggered by the fire's effect on dormant seeds, that lasted for several years; the plant produces prolific lavender flowers. As visitors to the Forest discovered, contact with it may cause a poison-oak-like rash. Tree species for which the forest is important include bigcone Douglas-fir, Coulter pine, California walnut; the National Forest contains some 29,000 acres of old growth, with: Jeffrey pine forests and mixed conifer forests, lodgepole pine the most abundant types. This forest is home to black bears, gray foxes, bobcats and coyotes. A National Forest Adventure Pass is required for parking at many locations in the Angeles National Forest and other National Forests in Southern California, this can be obtained online or from visitor centers and local merchants.
Los Angeles County has declared. There are many other areas that do not requi
Henninger Flats is a small hanging basin 2,600 feet above sea level in the San Gabriel Mountains in the Angeles National Forest. It was part of the Mount Wilson Toll Road; the trailhead to reach the flats is at the top end of Eaton Canyon in California. Around 1880, William K. Henninger settled in a small basin above Altadena. Henninger had been a gold prospector; the area was purchased by Mr. Peter Stiel through the Homestead Act. Stiel’s friend Henninger had been squatting on the area since 1884. Henninger was given the title captain by the other miners. Henninger married a Baja California Indian known as Teresa Serrano, their firstborn, a son named Natividad, was baptized at the San Gabriel Mission on December 1858. They had three daughters: Louisa and Jesefa. Louisa Henniger had three children by David de la Ossa, son of Rita de Guillen de la Ossa, daughter of Eulalia Perez de Guillen Marine, keeper of the keys at Mission San Gabriel. William K. Henninger built a cistern for water storage, he planted fruit and nut trees and harvested hay.
The produce he carried into a mile and a half down the steep trail that ended in Eaton Canyon. In 1892,Henninger was visited by T. P. Lukens and R. J. Busch, who started the first experimental reforestation in California at Henninger Flats. Upon his death in March 1894, the property was willed to his daughters; the property was auctioned in 1895 to Harriet M. Allen of nearby Pasadena. In October 1895, the Allens sold the property for $5,000 to four men who sold the property to the Mt. Wilson Toll Road Company for $76,600 as part of the Mount Wilson Toll Road. In 1903, under the direction of Lukens, a nursery was established at Henninger Flats. During the years that followed the road was widened to accommodate the passage of equipment up to the observatory at Mt. Wilson. By 1917 the road was widened to the present width of twelve feet. Since 1928, the flats have been used as a high elevation forest nursery by the Los Angeles County Fire Department; the road is a popular hike and the flats were a popular campground.
The Henninger Flats Forestry Center is used for conservation education. The toll road was washed out by a landslide in 2005 200 yards past the Eaton Canyon bridge, but was re-opened in early September 2009 as the result of fire crews needing vehicular access to the area while fighting the Station Fire. See photos here Angeles National Forest Fire Lookout Association Eulalia Perez de Guillen Marine Mission San Gabriel lacounty.gov
Ventura County, California
Ventura County is a county in the southern part of the U. S. state of California. As of the 2010 census, the population was 823,318; the largest city is Oxnard, the county seat is the city of Ventura. Ventura County comprises the Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area, included in the Los Angeles-Long Beach, CA Combined Statistical Area, it is considered the southernmost county along the California Central Coast. It is a separate metropolitan area west of the more populous Los Angeles metropolitan area. Ventura County has been named the "most desirable" place to live in the U. S. by the Washington Post and the U. S. Department of Agriculture in 2015, it is home to several of the safest communities in the U. S. including Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Newbury Park, Moorpark. Overall, crime in the county is 33% lower than California and U. S. rates. Two of the California Channel Islands are part of the county: Anacapa Island, the most visited island in Channel Islands National Park, San Nicolas Island.
Ventura County was inhabited by the Chumash people, who settled much of Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties, with their presence dating back 10,000-12,000 years. The Chumash were hunter-gatherers and traders with the Mojave and Tongva Indians; the Chumash are known for their rock paintings and for their great basketry. Chumash Indian Museum in Thousand Oaks has several reconstructed Chumash houses and there are several Chumash pictographs in the county, including the Burro Flats Painted Cave in Simi Valley; the plank canoe, called a tomol in Chumash, was important to their way of life. Canoe launching points on the mainland for trade with the Chumash of the Channel Islands were located at the mouth of the Ventura River, Mugu Lagoon and Point Hueneme; this has led to speculations among archeologists of whether the Chumash could have had a pre-historic contact with Polynesians. According to diachronic linguistics, certain words such as tomolo’o could be related to Polynesian languages; the dialect of the Chumash language, spoken in Ventura County was Ventureño.
Several place names in the county has originated from Chumash, including Ojai, which means moon, Simi Valley, which originates from the word Shimiyi and refers to the stringy, thread-like clouds that typify the region. Others include Point Mugu from the word Muwu, Saticoy from the word Sa’aqtiko’y, Sespe Creek from the word S’eqp’e. In October 1542, the expedition led by Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo anchored in an inlet near Point Mugu. Active occupation of California by Spain began in 1769. Gaspar de Portolà led a military expedition by land from San Diego to Monterey, passing through Ventura County in August of that year. A priest with the expedition, Father Juan Crespí, kept a journal of the trip and noted that the area was ideal for a mission to be established and it was a "good site to which nothing is lacking". On this expedition was Father Junípero Serra, who founded a mission on this site. On March 31, 1782, the Mission San Buenaventura was founded by Father Serra, it is named after Saint one of the early intellectual founders of the Franciscan Order.
The town that grew up around the mission and remains named San Buenaventura, although has been known as Ventura since 1891. In the 1790s, the Spanish Governor of California began granting land concessions to Spanish Californians who were retiring soldiers; these concessions were known as ranchos and consisted of thousands of acres of land that were used as ranch land for livestock. In Ventura County, Rancho Simi was granted in 1795 and Rancho El Conejo in 1802. Fernando Tico was granted part of Ventura by Gov. Alvarado. In 1822, California was notified of Mexico's independence from Spain and the Governor of California, the Junta, the military in Monterey and the priests and neophytes at Mission San Buenaventura swore allegiance to Mexico on April 11, 1822. California land, vested in the King of Spain was now owned by the nation of Mexico. By the 1830s, Mission San Buenaventura was in a decline with fewer neophytes joining the mission; the number of cattle owned by the mission dropped from first to fifteenth ranking in the California Missions.
The missions were secularized by the Mexican government in 1834. The Mexican governors began granting land rights to Mexican Californians retiring soldiers. By 1846, there were 19 rancho grants in Ventura County. In 1836, Mission San Buenaventura was transferred from the Church to a secular administrator; the natives, working at the mission left to work on the ranchos. By 1839, only 300 Indians were left at the Mission and it slipped into neglect. Several outhouses were discovered in July 2007 dating back to the 1800s where a new site had been cleared to prepare for development; the area proved to be a treasure trove for archaeologists who braved the lingering smell in the dirt to uncover artifacts that showed heavy utilization by mission inhabitants, early settlers and Spanish and Mexican soldiers. The Mexican–American War began in 1846 but its effect was not felt in Ventura County until 1847. In January of that year, Captain John C. Frémont led the California Battalion into San Buenaventura finding that the Europeans had fled leaving only the Indians in the Mission.
Fremont and the Battalion continued south to sign the Treaty of Cahuenga with General Andrés Pico. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo formally transferred California to the United States in 1848. By 1849, a constitution had been adopted for the California territory; the n
Orange County, California
Orange County is located in the Los Angeles metropolitan area in the U. S. state of California. As of the 2010 census, the population was 3,010,232, making it the third-most populous county in California, the sixth-most populous in the United States, more populous than 21 U. S. states. Its county seat is Santa Ana, it is the second most densely populated county behind San Francisco County. The county's four largest cities by population, Santa Ana and Huntington Beach, each have a population exceeding 200,000. Several of Orange County's cities are on the Pacific Ocean western coast, including Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, Dana Point, San Clemente. Orange County is included in Metropolitan Statistical Area. Thirty-four incorporated towns and cities are in the county. Anaheim was the first city, incorporated in 1870 when the region was still part of neighboring Los Angeles County. Whereas most population centers in the United States tend to be identified by a major city with a large downtown central business district, Orange County has no single major downtown / CBD or dominant urban center.
Santa Ana, Costa Mesa, Irvine all have smaller high-rise CBDs, other, older cities like Anaheim, Huntington Beach, Orange have traditional American downtowns without high-rises. The county's northern and central portions are urbanized and dense, despite the prevalence of the single-family home as a dominant land use, its southern portion is more suburban, with limited urbanization. There are several "edge city"-style developments, such as Irvine Business Center, Newport Center, South Coast Metro. Orange County is part of the "Tech Coast"; the county is a tourist center, with attractions like Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farm, several popular beaches along its more than 40 miles of coastline. Throughout the 20th century and up until 2016, it was known for its political conservatism and for being a bastion for the Republican Party, with a 2005 academic study listing three Orange County cities as among America's 25 most conservative. However, the county's changing demographics have resulted in a shift in political alignments.
In 2016, Hillary Clinton became the first Democrat since 1936 to carry Orange County in a presidential election and in the 2018 midterm elections the Democratic Party gained control of every Congressional seat in the county. Members of the Tongva, Juaneño, Luiseño Native American groups long inhabited the area. After the 1769 expedition of Gaspar de Portolà, a Spanish expedition led by Junipero Serra named the area Valle de Santa Ana. On November 1, 1776, Mission San Juan Capistrano became the area's first permanent European settlement. Among those who came with Portolá were José Manuel Nieto and José Antonio Yorba. Both these men were given land grants—Rancho Los Nietos and Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana, respectively; the Nieto heirs were granted land in 1834. The Nieto ranches were known as Rancho Los Alamitos, Rancho Las Bolsas, Rancho Los Coyotes. Yorba heirs Bernardo Yorba and Teodosio Yorba were granted Rancho Cañón de Santa Ana and Rancho Lomas de Santiago, respectively. Other ranchos in Orange County were granted by the Mexican government during the Mexican period in Alta California.
A severe drought in the 1860s devastated the prevailing industry, cattle ranching, much land came into the possession of Richard O'Neill, Sr. James Irvine and other land barons. In 1887, silver was discovered in the Santa Ana Mountains, attracting settlers via the Santa Fe and Southern Pacific Railroads. After several failed attempts in previous sessions, the California legislature passed a bill authorizing the portion of Los Angeles County south of Coyote Creek to hold a referendum on whether to remain part of Los Angeles County or to secede and form a new county to be named “Orange” as directed by the legislature; such referendum required a 2/3 vote for secession to take place, subsequently on June 4th, 1889, the residents south of Coyote Creek voted 2,509 to 500 in favor of secession. After such referendum, Los Angeles County filed three lawsuits in the courts to stall and stop the secession from occurring, but such attempts were futile. On July 17, 1889, a second referendum was held south of the Coyote Creek to determine if the county seat of the to-be county to be in either Anaheim or Santa Ana, along with an election for every county officer.
In the end, Santa Ana defeated Anaheim in such referendum and elected right leaning officers, with some, including one of the primary lobbyists for the creation of the county, Henry W. Head, elected to the Board of Supervisors while being a member of the Ku Klux Klan, with Head’s son, Horace Head, elected as District Attorney of the soon to be county, known to, as stated by the OC Weekly, threaten “...any Mexicans who walked in front of their homes with shotguns when not burning crosses on front lawns,” along with Horace Head supporting and defending his fathers affiliation with the Ku Klux Klan. With the referendum taken place, the County of Orange was incorporated on August 1st, 1889, as prescribed by state law. Since the date of the incorporation of the county, the only geographical changes to have occurred which affected Orange County was when the County and Los Angeles County agreed to trade land around Coyote Creek to adjust the border of the two counties to conform with city blocks.
The county is said to have been named for the
Thaddeus S. C. Lowe
Thaddeus Sobieski Constantine Lowe known as Professor T. S. C. Lowe, was an American Civil War aeronaut and inventor self-educated in the fields of chemistry and aeronautics, the father of military aerial reconnaissance in the United States. By the late 1850s he was well known for his advanced theories in the meteorological sciences as well as his balloon building. Among his aspirations were plans for a transatlantic flight. Lowe's scientific endeavors were cut short by the onset of the American Civil War, he recognized his patriotic duty in offering his services as an aeronaut for the purposes of performing aerial reconnaissance on the Confederate troops on behalf of the Union Army. In July 1861 Lowe was appointed Chief Aeronaut of the Union Army Balloon Corps by President Abraham Lincoln. Though his work was successful, it was not appreciated by all members of the military, disputes over his operations and pay scale forced him to resign in 1863. Lowe returned to the private sector and continued his scientific exploration of hydrogen gas manufacturing.
He invented the water gas process by which large amounts of hydrogen gas could be produced from steam and charcoal. His inventions and patents on this process and ice making machines made him a millionaire. In 1887 he moved to Los Angeles and built a 24,000 sq. ft. home in Pasadena. He founded Citizen's Bank of Los Angeles. Lowe was introduced to David J. Macpherson, a civil engineer, who had drawn up plans for a scenic mountain railroad. In 1891 they incorporated the Pasadena & Mount Wilson Railroad Co. and began the construction of what would become the Mount Lowe Railway into the hills above Altadena. The railway was met with quick interest and success. Lowe continued construction toward Oak Mountain, renamed Mount Lowe, at an exhausting rate, both physically and financially. By 1899 Lowe had gone into receivership and lost the railway to Jared S. Torrance. Lowe's fortunes had been all but lost, he lived out his remaining days at his daughter's home in Pasadena where he died at age 80. Thaddeus Lowe was born August 20, 1832 to Clovis and Alpha Green Lowe in Jefferson Mills, Coos County, New Hampshire.
Lowe's grandfather, Levi Lowe, fought in the Revolutionary War, his father was a drummer boy in the War of 1812. Both Clovis and Alpha were native New Hampshirites, of pioneer stock and descendants of 17th century Pilgrims. Clovis was a cobbler, but became a merchant in Jefferson, he dabbled in politics and was elected to state legislature at one time. His politics and opinion were well respected in the state. Versions of the life of young Thaddeus vary, he was the second child in a family of five and was named Thaddeus Sobieski Constantine, more than after the character Thaddeus Constantine Sobieski in an 1803 novel Thaddeus of Warsaw by Scottish author Jane Porter. It is confused about his life around the age of ten whether his mother had died and Clovis married Mary Randall, or if Lowe was sent away to another farm during which time his mother died and his father remarried, he did work for another farm owned by the Plaisteds, but whether or not he lived there is uncertain. Clovis and Mary had seven more children, but there is a timeline confusion that may indicate she had children when she married Clovis.
What is consistent in the stories of Lowe are accounts of his insatiable appetite for learning. He could not read enough material, he had questions beyond the answering of his father or teachers. Lowe was limited in the amount of time he had for school, his farm chores only allowed him the three winter months to attend Common School at Jefferson Mills, two miles away. The school had no books, but like Abraham Lincoln Thad would spend his evenings in front of the fireplace reading books loaned from his teacher's personal library. By age fourteen Thad had ventured out on his own first to Portland, Maine back to Boston where he joined his older brother Joseph in the shoe cutting trade. At eighteen Thad returned home. While he was still recuperating, his younger brother invited him to attend a chemistry lecture by one Professor Reginald Dinkelhoff featuring the phenomenon of lighter-than-air gases hydrogen; when the Professor requested a volunteer from the audience, an eager Thaddeus jumped to the fore.
Dinkelhoff could see the interest in his eyes and after the show offered to take him on the road with him as an assistant. Lowe did so and after two years, upon the professor's retirement, bought out the show using the appellation "Thaddeus Sobieski Counlicourt Lowe, Professor of Chemistry." The lecture circuit business proved lucrative enough for Lowe to seek out the education he so lacked as a child. He tried studying medicine to fulfill his grandmother's wish, but the boredom redirected him to his first interest, aviation with the use of lighter-than-air gases. American balloonists used coke gas to inflate limp silk bags, as opposed to the original French balloons which were cotton weave over rigid frameworks that were stood over fires to collect hot smoke. By the late 1850s Lowe had become a foremost balloon builder and continued his lucrative business as a showman giving balloon rides to passersby and funfair attendees. In 1855, at one of his lectures, he was introduced to a pretty Parisian actress, 19-year-old Leontine Augustine Gaschon.
A week on February 14, 1855, Thaddeus and Leontine wed. Their union would produce seven girls and three boys. Lowe continued with his scientific