Thursday, September 10, 2009

Mystery History -- Almost Solved

Well, I have some of the answer but not the full answer!

Here's what I know for sure: In the photo above, a horse is receiving an award for heroism in 1930 at Pasadena City Hall. (I know this from the caption on the photo.)

Here's an excerpt from a local newspaper article from 1930 titled "Celebration Honors City Pet Heroes":

A beautiful brown horse that mounted the city hall steps to receive an honor ribbon for his now dead rescuer aroused great interest. Billy Watkins is the steed's name, and his loving mistress, 10-year-old Marcia Luckie, was represented at the ceremony by Mrs. W.A. Boucher, widow of the Pasadena veterinarian and former owner of Skeezicks, Billy Watkins' rescuer.
The question is: Does the article correlate directly to the photo? And what were the circumstances of the rescue?

Or is the horse in the photo named Wolf?

Here's another article from 1930:

"Clue" Chivvis, former cowboy, who resides in La Canada, narrowly escaped death today when a pack mule, which had been tied to the pummel of the saddle of Chivvis's horse, stumbled on a mountain trail and dragged horse and rider over a fifty-foot precipice.

"The mule was walking behind," related Chivvas, "and he either stumbled or else the outer edge of the trail caved in. The pack animal shot out into space and the jerk on my saddle caused the horse to rear backward into the canyon. I was thrown into space also but my fall was broken when I landed on the horse's belly."

The horse and mule escaped serious injury due to he fact that their backs were protected by the saddle and pack. "Wolf," the horse, was cited for bravery in an animal-hero contest last summer. The citation was based on Wolf's heroism in bearing victims of the St. Francis Dam disaster to safety.

Today's accident took place on the trail from Pine Flats to Mt. Wilson.
So the mystery continues. Our research team at Pasadena Public Library is working on getting more detailed background. I'll be sure to post it here.

In the meantime, I promise I'll never post a historic photo again without knowing the full story behind it in advance!


altadenahiker said...

Oh I don't know. I think it worked. The photo was great and some of the comments were even better.

(I had my money on Seabiscuit too)

Jean Spitzer said...

I like the continuing mystery. And the animal hero concept is great.

Margaret said...

This is a mystery. Very fun.

Miss Havisham's Tea Party said...

It just goes to show they blamed the donkey for everything in Pasadena back then!

Petrea said...

I'd have to see the photo up closer, but this looks like an English saddle, meaning, no pommel ("pummel"). Could be a clue as to what it's not, as opposed to what it is.

Some folks still blame the donkey, Miss H.

kevin at Time River Productions said...

I still think that horse is Meriweather.

pasadenapio said...

I may have to become an advocate for donkeys and mules now. I'm feeling their exclusion from a free and equal equine society.

Cafe Pasadena said...

PIO, you need to visit the Adams Pack Station in Chantry Flat when it reopens - sooner or later. Plenty mules, donkeys, and history there for you.