Wrightwood Papers: Finding Aid

Finding aid prepared by Aubrey Adams, August 27, 2010.
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
Manuscripts Department
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Phone: (626) 405-2129
Email: reference@huntington.org
URL: http://www.huntington.org
© 2010
The Huntington Library. All rights reserved.


Overview of the Collection

Title: Wrightwood Papers
Dates (inclusive): 1922-1929
Collection Number: mssHM 73800-73829
Extent: 30 items in 1 box
Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Manuscripts Department
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Phone: (626) 405-2129
Email: reference@huntington.org
URL: http://www.huntington.org
Abstract: This collection contains 30 items dealing with the development of Wrightwood, California, in the San Gabriel Mountains, from a cattle ranch and apple orchard into a vacation destination by Sumner B. Wright (1858-1944) and his business associates.
Language: English.

Access

Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.

Administrative Information

Publication Rights

The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item]. Wrightwood Papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

Provenance

Gift of Homer D. Crotty, January 1961.

Historical Note

Sumner Banks Wright (1858-1944) began buying up land in the Swarthout Valley of the San Gabriel Mountains at the turn of the 20th century; by the 1920s he had turned his considerable holdings in the valley into the Circle Mountain Cattle Company, which was both cattle ranch and apple orchard. During the 1920s Wright faced financial problems that led him to try and develop the ranch more profitably as a vacation destination for the greater Los Angeles area. By the end of the decade Wright had sold or lost much of the land as a result of his financial problems; despite this, his vision of the Wright ranch becoming a tourist destination was ultimately fulfilled. The completion of the Angeles Crest highway in 1956 coincided with Los Angeles' postwar boom, and brought a new generation of vacation-seeking LA suburbanites to the new tourist-ranches, hiking trails, and ski slopes of Wrightwood.

Scope and Content

This collection contains 30 items dealing with the development of Wrightwood, California, in the San Gabriel Mountains, by Sumner B. Wright (1858-1944) and his business associates. The collection is divided into three main series, all arranged chronologically. All three sections deal with Wright's financially troubled years of the mid-late 1920s, when he and his business associates were taking steps to turn the cattle and apple operation into a vacation destination. The one exception is the first document in the container, which is the earliest and only document dating to 1922 and which deals with water-rights issues that affected the ranch's agricultural pursuits.
The first part of the collection is composed of correspondence between Sumner B. Wright and his business associates in the development of Wrightwood: Los Angeles banker A. J. (Arthur J.) Wheeler and San Francisco attorney James M. Oliver. Also included are letters from specialists hired as consultants to report on the history, climate, and geography of the area as part of the development's progress. Topics include: the environment and geography of the San Gabriel Mountains, water and riparian rights, bills and investments, business negotiations, the National Forest Service, and the development of roads.
The second part of the collection is composed of the legal and business documents or agreements made by and between Wright, Wheeler, and Oliver. These include acknowledgements of trusteeship, negotiation of investment-ownership in the land, and right to sell agreements.
The third part of the collection is composed of documents that describe or report on the Wright ranch, none of which appear to have been published. Some are the reports filed by the specialists and consultants on the meteorological, geological, and environmental conditions of the Wright ranch land, including reports by Ford A. Carpenter and Southern California Edison Company; others are documents that broadly survey and describe the ranch's history, location, water rights, and development potential - usually in a favorable light. One of these reports contains photographs of the landscape and environment.

Arrangement

Correspondence arranged chronologically, followed by two memoranda of agreement.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Huntington Library's Online Catalog.  

Subjects

United States. Forest Service.
Ranches -- California -- Los Angeles County.
Water rights -- California -- Los Angeles.
California -- History -- 20th century -- Sources.
Los Angeles (Calif.)
San Gabriel Mountains (Calif.) -- Recreational use.
Wrightwood (Calif.)

Forms/Genres

Business records -- California -- 20th century.
Letters (correspondence) -- California -- 20th century.
Reports -- California -- 20th century.

Additional Contributors

Carpenter, Ford A. (Ford Ashman), b. 1868.
Oliver, James M.
Wheeler, A. J.
Wright, Sumner B.
Southern California Edison Company.


Collection Contents

Box 1

mssHM 73800-73829

 

1922, Mar. 24. Curtis, J. W. Exhibit “A” in the Superior Court of the State of California, in and for the County of San Bernadino. HM 73800

 

1923, July 20. Surr, Howard. 1 letter to George H. Cuthbert. HM 73801

 

1923, Sept. 24. Oliver, James M. 1 letter to A. J. Wheeler. HM 73802

 

1923, Oct. 4. Oliver, James M. 1 letter to A. J. Wheeler. HM 73803

 

1923, Oct. 31. Oliver, James M. 1 letter to A. J. Wheeler. HM 73804

 

1923, Dec. 17. Wright, Sumner B. 1 letter to A. J. Wheeler. HM 73805

 

1923, Dec. 17. Oliver, James M. 1 letter to A. J. Wheeler. HM 73806

 

1923, Dec. 20. Oliver, James M. 1 letter to A. J. Wheeler. HM 73807

 

1924, Jan. 2. Wright, Sumner B. 1 letter to A. J. Wheeler. HM 73808

 

1924, Jan. 16. Charlton, R. H. 1 letter to Charles F. Stern. HM 73809

 

1924, Jan 19. Wright, Sumner B. 1 letter to A. J. Wheeler. HM 73810

 

1924, Jan. 24. Oliver, James M. 1 letter to A. J. Wheeler. HM 73811

 

1924, Feb, 14. Wright, Sumner B. 1 letter to [A. J.] Wheeler. HM 73812

 

1924, Feb. 24. Wright, Sumner B. 1 letter to A. J. Wheeler. HM 73813

 

1924, Apr. 8. Oliver, James M. 1 letter to A. J. Wheeler. HM 73814

 

1924, May 13. [Oliver, James M.?]. 1 letter to Sumner B. Wright. HM 73815

 

1924, May 17. Oliver, James M. 1 letter to A. J. Wheeler. HM 73816

 

1924, May 17. Oliver, James M. 1 letter to William J. Stratton. HM 73817

 

1924, Oct. 6. Carson, J. D. 1 letter to Arthur J. Wheeler. HM 73818

 

1924, Dec. 5. Dimock, M. H. 1 letter to J. D. Carson. HM 73819

 

1925, Jan. 6. Oliver, James M. 1 letter to [Arthur] J. Wheeler. HM 73820

 

1930, May 1. Wheeler, A. J. (Arthur J.). 1 letter to Homer D. Crotty and Fred Keller. HM 73821

 

1924, July. Memorandum of Agreement. HM 73822

 

1926, Sep. 21. Memorandum of Agreement. HM 73823

 

1929, July 9. Wrightwood: Conditions of Sale. HM 73824

 

1923, Sep. “Wright Ranch”: [report]. HM 73825

 

1923, Oct. Carpenter, Ford Ashman. “Climactic Summary of the Sierra Alta Rancho”: [report]. HM 73826

 

1924, Apr. 5. Carpenter, Ford Ashman. Meteorological Report. HM 73827

 

1929, July 12. [Southern California Edison Company]. “Electrical Infrastructure”: [report]. HM 73828

 

[Between 1923 and 1930]. “Value of Wrightwood based upon the workout of the first 240 acres”: [report]. HM 73829