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Mount Lowe Railway & Echo Mountain Resort

Considered to be the Disneyland of its day, the mountain resort on Echo Mountain served by the Mount Lowe Scenic Railway was one of the most popular tourist attractions in turn-of-the-century Southern California. Entrepreneur T.S.C. Lowe built the railway that operated from 1893 to 1937. The narrow-gauge railway was electrically operated and carried as many as 1,500 people in one day. Tourists first rode a trolley from Altadena to Rubio Canyon. There they transferred to a cable car* that steeply ascended Echo Mountain. Passengers then transferred back to a trolley that traversed hairpin curves on its way to the base of Mt. Lowe. This trip provided spectacular views of the Los Angeles Basin. At the base of Mt. Lowe, tourists found quality hotel lodging, fine dining, a casino, gardens, an observatory, a small zoo and horseback riding. By the late 1930s, however, the facilities had declined in use and condition and were closed. All that remains are hiking trails and some of the ruins of the original structures. Some 3.1 million passengers from all over the world rode the railway in its 44 years of operation.

*Built by Andrew Hallidie, builder of the cable cars of San Francisco.

 

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