Thursday, March 25, 2010

Mystery History -- Solved

I'm awarding this week's fabulous prize to Cindy for her 7:03 a.m. Tuesday answer "WWII (1943) Rose Bowl. The sheep were used to keep the grass short until games could begin again." (Cindy, please e-mail me at with your contact information and I'll tell you about the prize.)

Actually, the photo is undated and there is no cited information that it was shot during World War II, but sure enough, there was a time when sheep were used as natural lawnmowers to keep the Rose Bowl Stadium's field turf at a manageable length.

For many years sheep were part of the landscape in the Arroyo Seco, from the Indiana Colony days until the early 1910s.

In the photo below, a herd grazes at what was known as Sheep Corral Springs on the hillside area at the site of the present-day Brookside Park.

When the Indiana Colony was established, water from the springs was delivered via pipeline to orange groves and homes in the vicinity. The water rights to the springs were owned by the San Gabriel Orange Grove Association, made up of 12 of the colonists.

I feel compelled to write all about water in the early days but I'll save that for another time.


Bellis said...

Oh please tell us more about the water history! I went looking for signs of that spring the other day - I wonder exactly where it was? Tim Brick once showed a slide of a very early map with all the springs on it - there were so many. If you find out where I can see a copy of that map, let me know.

kevin at Time River Productions said...

The water table has been dropped so far that most of the original springs that came out along the Raymond Dike disappeared, but you can still see a couple of them. If you stand on the Eaton Canyon bridge of the Mt. Wilson Toll Road, looking up the canyon, a tiny springs on the west bank drains a trail of water into the stream. John Muir described that very spring in one of his books. Another spring occasionally can be seen above JPL near the catch ponds. Sometimes you can see it drain out onto the road from the rock cliffs east of the road. And hiking on the Tongva Trail (Gabrielino Trail) north of the road coming down from Linda Vista (formerly known as Indian Flats) that crosses Brookside Golf course, you jump across a tiny stream about 12 inches across, that surely is coming from a spring.

pasadenapio said...

Bellis, I haven't seen a map but there is a report on the Arroyo Seco Foundation website that you'll find here that has some information about Sheep Corral Springs.

Cindy said...

The reason why I said it was taken in 1943 is that Google Timeline has a bevy of newspaper articles about the Karakul sheep keeping the Rose Bowl and Pasadena parks tidy. Lots of funny ledes, like "Baas not Hurrahs." Check it out:

In other news: yay!

Pasadena Adjacent said...

Maybe it was sheep that grazed the garbonzo pea out of existence over in the Garvanza Highlands. I hear the critters grazing habits are murder on turf.

Petrea said...

Sorry I missed this one (not that I would have guessed it, but I like to play). Learning the answer in the end is the best part, though.