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Mount Lowe's Glamorous History Featured in Video Series

Pasadena and Altadena’s Mount Lowe is now a ghost town of what was once a railway to four-star dining, a petting zoo, hotels and more, a new AOL video and interview show.

Hikers who climb Mount Lowe in the Altadena and Pasadena area trek on a place where once thousands gathered to celebrate the opening of Mount Lowe Railway in 1893, a new AOL video in the historically-focused series “What Remains” shows.

The Mount Lowe Railway online video juxtaposes an interview with Michael Patris, President and Founder of the Mount Lowe Preservation Society, with old and current images and new video from Mount Lowe.

This location was once a gathering place for the wealthy and eventually met its decline and is now just remnants of buildings.

Patris describes Railway creator Thaddeus Lowe as an “infinitely brilliant man, [but] horrible business man” in the video profile, noting that the railway was rarely ever profitable and Lowe eventually went bankrupt.

Fire and flooding destroyed other structures that the railway lead to on Echo Mountain and now the area is home to a hiking trail, crumbling buildings and a plaque recognizing Lowe’s railway.

“The [AOL] interview was interesting and the crew was great and enthusiastic,” Patris noted in an email. “They were even excited about the prospect of hiking six miles up and back to Echo Mountain (on their own) to shoot some ‘B roll’ footage. Steve Crise and I met at the Pasadena Museum of History and showed them our current display in the Stork Gallery which runs until January 13th.”

Crise and Patris wrote the book , which is the focus of a Pasadena Museum of History exhibit of the same name that is running through Jan. 13.

See the full AOL Mount Lowe video here.

Do you hike at Mount Lowe? What do you think of its history? Do you think the remaining Mount Lowe structures should be preserved or restored?

ROBERT E. FISHBACK November 21, 2012 at 04:25 PM
Back in the mid 50's, a friend an I drove up the Mt Wilson cut off and parked just down from the buildings and telescope area. We hiked into the brush and found a very rough trail that led to a tunnel. Going on a ways, we came to some ruins. Sections of cement walls still standing and lots of rubble. I wonder if that was a part of the Mt Lowe ruins.
ROBERT E. FISHBACK November 21, 2012 at 04:55 PM
I must add to the above post; On the back to the Mt Wisons rd; one of the funniest event I ever saw happened. My friend had a bad case of chapped.....uh....buns. He waited until we got to the road before he dropped his trousers and put a piece of tissue uuh,,between. Why he waited to do that right on the road, I don't know. Just as he was positioning the tissue, a car came around the corner. He panicked and dove over the side. The people in the car were roaring with laughter as I was.
Rico X Ludovici November 21, 2012 at 10:05 PM
If you pulled off the road and walked through a tunnel it was not the Mt. Lowe ruins, unless you walked for something like a half hour downhill. They you would have come to a left hand turn and walked over to Inspiration Point with a shelter and rock foundation offering views of LA basin through locating tubes (not telescopes).
ROBERT E. FISHBACK November 21, 2012 at 10:51 PM
Thank you, Rico: I do not remember much detail except it was a long walk and the walls that were remainng were fairly high..like at least three story. I do recall alot of rubble and it seems some of it was electrical in nature...like copper fittings..if it wasn't Lowe ruins, I wonder what it was, Where we parked was pretty close to Wilson, like an eight of a mile or so. Bob
ROBERT E. FISHBACK November 21, 2012 at 11:01 PM
One more thing about the tunnel, when I first saw it, I was surprised how big it was Not long, maybe a hundred feet...well built and no hint of pavement on ground. It was big enough for a train to go through. Seems we were not always on a trail, but plowing through brush. I remember we stayed there awhile and a helicopter came over and gave us a look at, then flew away.

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