Lake Arrowhead history


Early Accounts of Lake Arrowhead History: The Founding of a Future Paradise

Lake Arrowhead, California, is widely known for the heart-stopping views that encompass the surrounding San Bernardino National forest, as well as the pristine, crystal-clear waters of the lake itself. As a popular real estate, vacation and tourist area, Lake Arrowhead has become a bit of a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts and world-travelers alike. However, there’s something even more fascinating about Lake Arrowhead than many people realize: the history of the lake and its surrounding territory. The rich Lake Arrowhead history has been the topic of numerous books, novels and editorials; and as a result, individuals with a knack for 19th and 20th century American history have invariably found themselves drawn to not only the oasis-type landscape that the area offers, but to the rich history of Lake Arrowhead, as well. So for all of the history buffs out there (perhaps yourself included), here’s a little piece of Lake Arrowhead history that will keep you entertained for days as you hike through the surrounding forests, fish in the natural lake and ultimately escape from the outer world while staying in this exquisitely-blessed, natural Southern California getaway.

The Paiute Indians Clash With White Fur Traders

During the mid-19th century, the Paiute Indians (generally classified as a warlike tribe) used the surrounding Lake Arrowhead Mountains and forest as their hunting grounds, although they typically retired to the high desert area in terms of setting up camp. Unfortunately, as was the fate of many Native American tribes during this time, they eventually met their downfall when a Caucasian fur trader (and partner of Jedediah Smith) set foot in the valley during the year 1826. After a particularly brutal war between the fur trader (supported by his white friends) and the Paiute Indians, the entire tribe was all but completely wiped out. However, the Paiute Indians may have gotten the last word in the battle, as they managed to successfully set fire to many of the white men’s cabins in the area. This, however, was only the beginning of the fascinating and critical Lake Arrowhead history surrounding the area.

A Peacefully Dwelling Tribe: The Serranos

The above historical anecdote is one of the few violent interactions between the Native Americans residing in the area and white settlers, however. A very peaceful tribe of Native Americans known as the Serranos once inhabited an area close to Lake Arrowhead and Bear Valley known as Camp Rock. Situated on the north side of the mountain, this historically peaceful group of Native Americans has no interest in either bothering or interacting with settlers; that is, however, until one of the Caucasian men who had settled around the area made an inappropriate advance towards an Indian maiden; this resulted in a fight that eventually took the lives of several white men and Native Americans, as well. However, this is one of the few incidents in Lake Arrowhead history that reflects any type of conflict between the white settlers and pre-established Native Americans tribes in the area.

The Historical, Healing Powers of Arrowhead Hot Springs

The Serrano Indians resided in the San Bernardino mountain range and surrounding national forest — with important reasons for doing so. The Arrowhead Hot Springs had healing powers to the tribe, and it wasn’t uncommon for the tribe to take their elderly, sick and struggling tribe members to these hot springs with the belief that these blessed waters would provide not only rejuvenation, but healing powers, as well. Living a nomadic, peaceful life, the Serrano Indians make up a large part of Lake Arrowhead history and are a large topic of conversation and study amongst those who frequently visit, work or reside within the area.

The Explosion of Logging, Lumber and Cattle Industries

It wasn’t until the 1850s, respectively, that Lake Arrowhead and the surrounding area began to see a substantial increase in growth, both population-wise and industry-wise. In the year 1852, the first “Mormon Road” was built up the mountain, allowing for a much more convenient and accessible way for travelers to migrate to the area. By the 1860s, many people began to migrate to the area for its golden opportunities in fields such as logging, lumber, cabin building and cattle. And in 1891, three Ohio businessmen decided to build a large reservoir in the area with the end goal of supplying much-needed water to the lower California lowlands. The official name of the reservoir lake was changed in 1920 to Lake Arrowhead; and as you can probably gather, the rest was history.