December 2015 – First published in July 2006
This photo was taken in the 1930s in Three Groves, a 3-acre estate between
La Verne and Montford. Sixteen people are sunbathing, but four men are in street clothes. The man sitting on the old fashioned glider with the striped awning is wearing a suit and a hat. The sandy beach is separated from the water by a concrete curb. Up on the steep bank behind the beach is part of the bridge above the dam. The shadows indicate it is midday.
You can visit this exact location. Go to Three Groves, which today is a public park behind Stolte Grove at the west end of Homestead Valley. Near the eastern end of the park is a fairly new wooden stairway that leads from a lawn down to where the beach used to be. Sit on the bench near the bottom of the stairway on a bright sunny summer day. You will look out over a beautiful lush meadow. Even if it is noon, you will be in the shade. There is no sandy beach, no concrete curb, and no lake.
In 1930, George Sandy bought Three Groves from the original owner, Lillian Ferguson. He built a dam on Reed Creek and created a concrete lined lake for swimming, boating and fishing. He imported beach sand from Carmel. In the winter of 1965, mud from the Flying Y ranch on Sequoia Valley Road near the headwaters of Reed creek silted in the lake. The redwood trees have grown quite a bit in seventy years — the “beach” now gets no sun.
If you have comments or questions about this article or other topics
pertaining to the history of Homestead Valley,
please feel free to e-mail Chuck Oldenburg.