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Post Posted: Jan 11, 2008 12:03 pm 
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Speaking of that Larry any chance for a spring tour?


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Post Posted: Jan 11, 2008 12:26 pm 
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NHillBilly wrote:
Speaking of that Larry any chance for a spring tour?


Still working on that.

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Post Posted: Jan 12, 2008 12:56 pm 
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Location: and "the flag was still there".
That would be great!

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Post Posted: Jan 15, 2008 3:44 pm 
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Beginning in 1931, a road was constructed to access the site of the statue. In order to minimize blasting and keep the grade manageable, the road started at the base of the hill west of the one on which the statue was erected. This meant that the road had to span Brandywine Gulch, where Brandywine Creek flowed down from high on Mount Logan. My great-grandfather, John A. Bell, assisted by my grandfather, Edward A. Bell, managed the road and bridge construction. The construction was all done manually, with the bridge timbers being hoisted into place by men (and occasionally horses) hauling on ropes to set them in place. Several Rock and concrete piers were built to anchor the supports. The location of the bridge can be seen in the center of this photo:

Image

Here's a close-up of the bridge:

Image


For over 35 years, it provided the only road access to the statue and Phantom Ranch beyond. It was a pretty scary ride and the bridge could be a bit unnerving in a large, modern vehicle - it tended to creak and sway a bit. More than a few people opted to get out and walk across the bridge. I made innumerable trips across it in cars, trucks, on horseback, and on foot.

In 1967, because of fears that the bridge was no longer stable and fears of the liability issue raised when tourists would trespass onto the grounds and drive to the statue, the decision was made to destroy the bridge. I was up at Santa Maria that summer and, although it broke my heart to see it destroyed, felt that I owed to my ancestors to make sure it was done respectfully. I joined the crew that consisted of Andy Anderson, his son Lowell, Paul Wonder, Carl and Denny Gonzalez, and maybe one or two others. The caretaker at the time was Dick Vail, who succeeded my grandfather, who died in 1965. We tried for two weeks to take the bridge down using chain saws, axes, and even fire. Eventually the bridge had to be dynamited - so much for it having become unstable.

While the road is clearly still visible, it is no longer accessible by vehicle. A new access was cut to Phantom Ranch up through Bellford Mountain Heights, joining up with an old stagecoach road that came over from Singleton, and the statue can be accessed only from that road down. Last time I drove the stretch from the ranch to the statue, it was pretty tricky.

(to be continued)

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Post Posted: Jan 15, 2008 4:12 pm 
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(continued)

When the bridge was destroyed, the timbers all fell into the gulch below. The effort to retrieve them, plus the fact that they would be of minimal use, precluded any effort to drag them out. The trail that leads up to the statue and beyond winds up past them through Brandywine Gulch. A couple of years ago the crew working there, led by the current caretaker, Dave Gruber, used the timbers to augment the trail and build a staircase through a waterfall crossing Brandywine Creek. I went up there for the first time last September. It's a beautiful place. My ancestors would be pleased. Here's some of the pictures I took that day.

The trail leading up to the bridge site (one of the support piers can be seen in the center left):

Image

Approaching the waterfall - notice the natural grotto to the left:

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The staircase through the waterfall:

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Looking up at the support pier from the base of the staircase:

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The pier on the east side and one of the charred timbers where it fell:

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Post Posted: Jan 15, 2008 9:31 pm 
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Very good Larry.

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Post Posted: Jan 15, 2008 9:42 pm 
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dieselpop1 wrote:
Very good Larry.


Next time you're here I'll arrange a private tour, if I can.

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Post Posted: Jan 15, 2008 10:24 pm 
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Hey, great.

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Post Posted: Oct 7, 2008 5:53 pm 
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:D I CAN REMBER AS A BOY OF AROUND 12 OR 13 WORKING WITH MY MOTHER WHO DID LAUNRY AT THE CAMP i ALSO DONE YARD WORK FOR RTHEM


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Post Posted: Oct 7, 2008 5:56 pm 
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:razz:i FORGOT TO MENTION THAT i DOONT KNOW IF YOU KNOW IT OR NOT VBUT THERE IS A RANCH BEHIND THE STATUE


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Post Posted: Oct 7, 2008 6:01 pm 
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I need to do a posting about Phantom Ranch. I'm getting some photos together. The ranch (now part of Santa Maria) is originally the site of several homesteads and is bisected by the stage coach road of the Clifford Cutoff.

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 Post subject: Re: Cassells/Santa Maria area Photos
Post Posted: Oct 9, 2017 3:40 pm 
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I know this is an old thread, but how can the photos be viewed? I see it was on Image Shack but still couldn't see the photo's

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