San Gabriel Valley Tribune

San Gabriel Valley Tribune
Article Published: Saturday, October 23, 2004 - 8:58:31 PM PST

Getting Lowe down' on railway
Mount Lowe Alpine Tavern painting on display
By Kimm Groshong , Staff Writer

ALTADENA -- For Altadenans taken with or curious about the story of Professor Thaddeus Lowe, his railway into the San Gabriel Mountains and the numerous structures he built there just before the dawn of the 20th century, a new addition to the Altadena Community Center should be particularly exciting.

A framed photograph, roughly 12 feet long and 4 feet tall, showing the Mount Lowe Alpine Tavern around 1915 will permanently adorn the western wall of the center's largest room, which is unofficially named the Mount Lowe Meeting Room.

Huntington Hospital's collection donated the large photograph, hand-painted in color, to the Altadena Historical Society in May. Huntington acquired it as part of the estate of Pasadenan George Bandas, who had owned it for more than 50 years.

"We're very grateful to the people at the Huntington Hospital," said Sara Carnahan, the society's president.

She invited Mike Manning, a Mount Lowe aficionado and town council member, to present his slide show, entitled "Mount Lowe: The Big Show," at the society's fall meeting Monday.

Manning originally created the show as part of a 1993 centennial celebration of the Mount Lowe Railway, which is listed on the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places. He plans to use about 40 slides, which he obtained from the Pasadena Museum of History, to illustrate the tale of the railway from its construction through its ruined state.

Manning said it has been estimated that about 3 million people traveled on the railway during its 43 years of operation.

Manning's interest in Lowe lore stems from his childhood, growing up "literally, in the shadow of the Echo Mountain promontory." He made his first trip up to the ruins of the railway when he was 12 and has been hooked ever since.

Now, with the other Mount Lowe memorabilia in the community center, Manning says public interest in Mount Lowe seems to be growing. So it seemed appropriate to present the slide show for those who never had the opportunity to view it and for those who simply want a refresher.

The Monday meeting is open to the public and will begin at 8 p.m. in the Altadena Community Center at 730 E. Altadena Drive. Refreshments will also be served at 7:30 p.m.

-- Kimm Groshong can be reached at (626) 578-6300, Ext. 4451, or by e-mail at

Copyright 2004 San Gabriel Valley Tribune
Los Angeles Newspaper Group