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chris in redlands

So, in Robinson’s book, he writes this, in a section of the book about hydroelectric efforts in the San Bernardinos:

Perhaps the saddest story in the hydroelectric saga of the San Bernardinos involved Cyrus G. Baldwin’s 22-year struggle to develop power in the Mill Creek watershed. Right after completing his power plant in San Antonio Canyon, Baldwin visited Mill Creek Canyon and envisioned using the 2,133-foot fall of the north fork (now called Falls Creek) to generate electricity. In 1892, Baldwin associate Arthur W. Burt filed on water rights to the north fork. A survey was undertaken and it was discovered that the north fork alone had insufficient year-round flow for power generating purposes. So Baldwin expanded his project to include the waters of all the north side tributaries of upper Mill Creek. In 1898, engineer W.B. Sanders surveyed a line for a gravity flume and pipeline from High Creek to Vivian Creek, Falls Creek, Alger Creek, and Lost Creek, then a penstock down to the proposed powerhouse on the north side of Mill Creek opposite Forest Home. Baldwin hired John and Will Dobbs to tunnel through the west ridge of Falls Creek and to dig a flume westward to Alger Creek, and preliminary work got underway. Not only would Baldwin’s grandiose project generate electricity for communities as far away as Riverside, but he would also provide irrigation water for the San Jacinto and Hemet valleys. For several reasons, Baldwin’s power and irrigation schema never got off the ground. 

What confuses me about that is his list of drainages from west to east, from Falls Creek to Lost Creek. Unless there’s something I’m missing, Lost Creek is on the other side of the mountain, nowhere near Alger Creek, and I can’t find any indication that there was a Lost Creek on the south side of the mountain anywhere, including 1900’s era forest services maps. It wasn’t a typo, as a caption of a photo on the previous page restates the plan in summary and includes Lost Creek as the westernmost drainage. I wonder where that tunnel/flume was meant to be located, and if it’s possible that some remnants of the efforts are still out there to be found.

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