Cabin 40 - 'SFAR'SWEGO


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                                The Cabin as it looked in 1930

The History of Cabin 40 - 'SFAR'SWEGO

G. Harold Powell of Pasadena built Cabin 40 as Cabin 68 in 1917.   At that time, all lumber and other construction materials had to be packed in five miles from Sierra Madre on mules and burros.  It was used as a family cabin, particularly by the eldest son Clark, who also used it as a base of operations for trips into the back country, even as far as Chilao.  (This, of course, was before Angeles Crest Highway was constructed, so Chilao was truly in a remote area.)

In 1922, Lawrence Powell, the youngest of the three sons, was spending the weekend at the Cabin when a friend hiked in to give him the sad news that his father had passed away.  In 1924 Clark Powell moved to South Africa to begin a career there, and so in the late 1920s the Cabin was sold to a Pasadena High School fraternity.

 The Cabin was sold for $250 on a payment plan, but the fraternity didnít make the payments and the Cabin reverted back to the Powells.  By this time the Cabin was in a complete state of disrepair, and there was no one in the Powell family with sufficient time and interest to restore it, so they turned it over to the Forest Service.  In the fall of 1930, the Forest Service put it up for sale by sealed bid, with the successful bidders required to bring it up to their standards.

 Meanwhile, Patricia and Muriel Carr, twin sisters, had developed an interest in Big Santa Anita Canyon.  They were both secretaries in Los Angeles area businesses and members of YGBI, Young Girls in Business and Industry.  This was a group sponsored by the YWCA, whose purpose was to help young women in their business careers.  They had monthly meetings and field trips, and one of these field trips was to Big Santa Anita Canyon.  Their first trip to the Canyon was in 1928, and Patricia and Muriel fell in love with the place and made numerous return trips.  They were able to stay at the Bearís Lair (at the mouth of Bear Trap Canyon) which was owned by Wilson High School in Long Beach, and at Jackrabbit Burrow (near First Water) which was owned by Poly High, also of Long Beach.  So when Cabin 68 was put up for bid, Pat and Muriel and two friends went together and submitted a bid.

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 They submitted a bid of  $65 and were the winning bidders!  When they bought it, the Cabin was named The Bookstall, but they changed the name to íSFARíSWEGO.

                  The Cabin as it looks in 2001

After the horrendous flood of 1938, when many cabins were destroyed, the Forest Service renumbered the cabins, and Cabin 68 became Cabin 40.  Of Pat and Murielís two friends, one died at an early age and one moved away years ago.  Pat and Muriel went on to get married and raise families.  And the two families often got together at Cabin 40.  Many were the times when the ten from the combined families would spend a weekend or longer at Cabin 40.  Looking at the small cabin now, itís a wonder how they did it!  In many ways, it is Cabin 40 that has been the glue that has kept Pat and Murielís children together, both as siblings and as cousins. 

 Both Pat and Muriel fiercely resisted any thought of ďmodernizingĒ Cabin 40.  We still haul water out of the creek in buckets; we donít have a propane refrigerator; and we still use kerosene lamps.  At one point, concerned about the advancing age of Pat and Muriel, Dennis suggested that a phone should be installed at Cabin 40 in case of emergencies.  The firm answer from Pat and Muriel was: ďNO!Ē

 Pat and Muriel both hiked in to Cabin 40 in 1999 at the age of 90.  Pat has passed away, but Muriel celebrated her 94th birthday last March, with all of her and Patís children in attendance.



                                            Last Updated on May 6, 2017