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Santa Barbara Hikes

Los Padres Forest Service VWR Trip Reports

History of the Los Padres


This isn't exactly a volunteer wilderness ranger report but you might find it interesting.

This extensive history of the LPF [is] from our resident historian (Tom Plymale). It was written in 1945 by a long time USFS employee (35 years) and Santa Barbara resident, Billy Brown. I found a scanned version online so I thought I would send it out to the forest. Don’t let the length of it deter you, it is loaded with interesting information not only of the forest but the surrounding areas. Like the note to the reader on the first page states, I feel “you will find it both interesting and helpful”…our forest is definitely one of the jewels of the National Forest system.

Brown_HistoryOfLosPadresNationalForest.pdf 9.01MB

Hi Otis, Thanks for passing this along. I am pleased Tom has passed Brown's history along to the LPNF community. To others whom this was distributed, they might be interested to know I found this rare volume a couple years ago in a locked reference case at the SB City Library and recognizing its importance sought permission of Jace Turner, Sr. Reference Librarian, who allowed me to scan it and created this very PDF file. I then proofed that all pages were there and then uploaded & posted it on my Drop box page and then widely distributed the link. It and Jim Blakey's history have been online for a year or more.

For those who do not have it, Jim Blakley's furtherance of Brown's foundational work can access also access it at my drop box: https://www.dropbox.com/s/ymm59biryo25ltz/19850700_Blakley_HistoricalOverviewLPNF.pdf?dl=0

[I've put a copy here: 19850700_Blakley_HistoricalOverviewLPNF.pdf 7.48MB]

Btw, as you might recall in my Davy Brown October 2013 talk at the SY Carriage and Historical Museum, I said I am convinced it was the William S. Brown history and his research of the namesakes of various Forest features that led to a mistaken cross reference (Burtness Camping Guide, Redmond's 101 articles) of David Brown the nationally famous pioneering hero of the San Rafael Mountains and the respected an authoritative author William S. Brown himself, the historian who wrote about Uncle Davy. I have attached some source material about William S. Brown others might enjoy reading.

In case you are wondering, my Davy Brown Book continues to grow and has new chapters that add further depth to the history of the Los Padres (Santa Barbara) Forest/Reserve.

Best, Roy

PS. BTW, I should mention I credit Tom Plymale's sharp eye and collaborative spirit with bringing Edgar Davison's notes about a "Davy Brown Peak" in the San Rafels to my attention. Taking Edgar's elevation of the peak back in time through the earliest USGS topo maps I found it to match the elevation of a then un-named peak and what is now known as Figueroa Mountain. One of my new chapters is about the local Figueroa Family who some thought might be related to the 1833-1835 Mexican Governor of California Jose Figueroa but from my research the Governor claimed Aztec Indian heritage and did not have any descendants of his own. Locally however, Jesus Figueroa family members (no known relationship to Jose) were living and ranching on the mountain and patented land there in 1891. Davy left the mountain in 1892 after his series of strokes and of course winning his famous mule race (reported in papers as far away as Minnesota and Indianapolis) held at the Lompoc Fair.

As you will recall Davy then lived in Santa Maria & Guadalupe until his death in 1898 with his nurse/caretaker Annie (Keenan) Wyman , the eldest sister of Tobias Keenan, the husband of Lucy Mattei's sister Ameila Fisher. Lucy of course was Felix Mattei's (Mattei's Tavern) wife. It was a smaller world back then, although the family's were a lot bigger.