Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The ARROWHEAD Landmark ~ Fact or Fiction

As I was driving home the other day, heading up HWY 18 toward Lake Arrowhead, I decided to stop at the little softball field in Wildwood Park (intersection of Waterman and 40th St) in San Bernardino, to snap a couple of pictures of the mysterious ARROWHEAD LANDMARK. The giant Arrowhead always  greets visitors to the San Bernardino Mountains, which can be seen for miles around.

FICTION? .... For centuries, The ARROWHEAD LANDMARK has been a symbol to the Native Americans and early settlers to this area. Supposedly, it is a natural landmark, consisting of light quartz which supports a growth of short, white sage.  Indians who lived in the San Bernardino Valley  long, long ago, believed that the arrowhead pointed the way to the hot mineral springs below (and IT DOES). They thought the springs held great healing powers, which made them view this land as holy ground. Even though there have been numerous forest fires throughout the years, which have caused erosion to the arrowhead landmark, it still holds its uniqueness and remains "our" symbol of the 'pioneer spirit' of time gone by.

FACT? Scientist think that the Arrowhead was formed millions of years ago when an earthquake struck the area (SAN ANDREAS FAULT) causing the mountainside to shift/slide, leaving the shape of an Arrow pointing downward.

I like to believe the first version...     

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Sometime in the mid 1800's, famous Mormon leader, Brigham Young, sent 400 plus of his followers to the foot of the "arrow-marked mountain" after he had a "vision." (More about that in another post). " Years later, David Noble Smith built the first structures below the arrow, a "hot springs infirmary," (sanitarium) and opened them to the public.  Since then, three hotels with spas have been constructed.

The most recent hotel, built in 1939, remains in tact. The Art Deco design closely mimicked the legendary Beverly Hills Hotel. The grand- opening brought dozens of movie-stars: the Marx Brothers, Judy Garland, Al Jolson, Rudy Vallee and Jimmy Durante and many more. During the 40's & 50's, other Hollywood Stars of the time made  the resort a hot-spot when they'd flock to it for a little R & R. Some of those celebrities were Humphrey Bogart, Lucille Ball, Susan Hayward, Clark Gable, just to name a few.

My family and I drove thru the grounds years ago, and it felt as though time had stood still. The pool and the cabanas especially sticks out in my mind. I could easily visualize the "Movie Stars" of the hey-days, lounging around this fabulous place.

Other tidbits about the Hotel:

  • Elizabeth Taylor, age 17, & Nicky Hilton (of the Hilton Hotels) spent their honeymoon in the penthouse.
  • Arrowhead Springs has some of the hottest geothermal springs in the world; 212 degrees.
  • Of the 1,916 acres at Arrowhead Springs Resort 1,400 acres, or 70%, has been set aside as protected watershed and nature reserve
  • Famous "Ester Williams, Million Dollar Mermaid" filmed her movie shots in the swimming pool, which was heated by geothermal springs.
  • The Arrowhead measures 1,375 long, 449 wide & approx.  7.5 acres.
  • Since 1894, this area has been home of Arrowhead's (Arrowhead Water) first cold-water spring.

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