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The Julian News
Julian , California
July 17, 2013     The Julian News
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July 17, 2013

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July 17, 2013 Tcttcred Tidbits No. 30 On weekday afternoons, city traffic approaching Ramona is so bad that you may as well relax and take I-8 to Descanso instead. That name means relaxation. Or you can go farther to the Sunrise Highway exit for a more scenic route. Or, having gone that far, why not take the frontage road east a bit, 'til you see ruins of a stone building between I-8 and the frontage road. This is what remains of the Buckman Springs Hotel. Just northwest of it are foundations of the store and first bottling plant for Buckman Springs Mineral Water. The stuff was sold in graceful wine bottles with high-class labels and wired-down stoppers, like champagne. A rooftop sign promised "Everything to Eat". If you shook up the orange- brown muck at the bottom of the bottle it was good for your constipation and mental disorders. I drank some and have had no problems with constipation. Linda Brockett, great, great granddaughter of Amos Buckman, spenthappy childhood Buckman Springs Mineral Muck days there and she says there is feminine energy in that valley. Around milling sites, there are cupules pecked into boulders. Anthropologists associate those small cavities and other Symbols with fertility cycles. Native people used to celebrate the resurgence of nature from the summit of Viejas Mountain where they saw the winter solstice sun rise over Buckman Motain. There was song and dance and footrace in homage to In'ya, creator of life. The oaks here have decidedly voluptuous trunks and graceful limbs. A guy has to be quite dead inside or possibly Lutheran not to notice this. A fountainhead of female energy here was Winifred, the daughter who ran this and far- flung investments for years after Amos died. She did not wait for any social movement of liberation or even for her roving- eyed husband to return from "business" in Mexico. In 1911, she built a new concrete bottling plant and ran her various enterprises from an upstairs office. Nearby are a pair of pertly salient low. hills which Amos affectionately called "chichis de The Buckman Spring Hotel looking a little worse for wear. las Indias." He wanted to be buried in the comforting cleavage of the eternal maternal hills, but his wife thought otherwise. His 1898 tombstone is in dry prickly brush beyond the interstate, a disquieting place even for the tranquil dead. Originally the place was called Indian Meadow. In an 1870 map, it was shown just as "Soda Spring," part of Captain Emery's ranch and stage stop at Valle de los Pinos (Pine Valley). There,. drovers and prospectors could look forward to seafaring tales and a glass of Dublin Stout by the stone fireplace. Reporters from the San Diego Union on August 11, 1870 wrote of a visit and bear hunt there. The bear had a sheepherder up a tree. The captain was married to a Spaulding girl of the sporting goods family. In 1875, Amos Buckman, a Vermont master carpenter, came and planted the usual pioneer crops and he saw clearly the potential of his fizzy mineral laced water. With medical practice being what it was then, you might as well go "take the waters" at Bath or Baden or Saratoga or Warner's or Amos Buckman's springs. The stuff looks a bit turbid, not like the crystal clear mountain stream of the bottle labels which Linda has conserved. It was certainly good enough for the teamsters who drove ten-mule teams to and from Campo and Mexico. To me, it tastes much better than radiator water or Coors in a can. Linda says that analysis of the water confirmed a high mineral content. A key ingredient was lithium, useful for manic depressives and people who vote the wrong way and marry odd people. No doubt you know someone who needs to drink this stuff, but it's too late. A deep well downhill has drawn off the spring water, leaving only a bit of mucky residue. That's too bad, however, because the elaborate colored label assures us that this was the cure for dropsy, bladder trouble, rheumatism, gout, calculus, gastritis, and evil effects of over- indulgence. It even had its own natural gas: "Guaranteed under Food and Drug Act," stated an ad. It may well have been better than whatever that stuff is that you're drinking right now. The stone foundation curves around a remaining source, like a Roman mineral spring. The spring had a resurgence of popularity after the Depression, but then people got hooked on sugary "soda pop" instead. Dentists prospered: Diabetes beat out TB. Guests stopped coming to the little hotel, and campers drifted off. The word "pop" is understood only by those of us for whom the brashness of youth has been burnished by years of living. It fell out of use sometime after the Eisenhower years. Even in Winifred's later years, you could call Sunset 4807 at The Julian News 9 by Albert Simonson The Buckman Spring Hotel in its 'prime the business office downtown in the Union Building and order up your laxative elixir. Winifred introduced new flavors of that elixir, strawberry, orange, and cherry. Linda lingers in the tiny hotel lobby. Many years of weathering have washed away the soot from the fireplace mantle. The chimney never did draw well, she says, as she looks up at scudding clouds in a bright blue sky. No trace of roof remains to shelter tender girlhood memories. The sun is mercilessly high. She shares with me pictures of bottling machinery, belting and shafts, and of Amos, and of her family in that long ago. Linda gives me a detailed a(count of her family history, including relationships with other pioneer families like the Flinns of Flinn Springs, Camerons of Cameron Corners, even the Serra Museum, the Pickwick Stage and the adjacent ranch where child film star Jackie Coogan ran around between movies. You may remember him as Uncle Festus in the "Addams Family" series toward the end of his fascinating life and career. For more on the pioneer Buckman family, read the booklet "Buckman Springs", published by the "Ancient and Honorable Order of E. Clampus Vitus." Carl Calvert, who directed the restoration of the Julian motor stage, has identified a truck pictured in front of the store as a smaller version of our motor stage, a Mack Junior. Next to it was a spindly runabout of pre- war type. Linda still remembers the house to the northwest, and an orchard, now gone. Native shrubs have reclaimed the land. Even remains of the Winifred's caf and service station are hard to find. The spring and stone hotel walls are painted with sloppy broad-bruShed Christian crosses. I was lucky to be let into Linda's fragile world of days long gone. That is why we must pass it on to others, so they will not just drive past and say, "Oh, look, there are some old walls out there." In fact, there is a microcosm of California history out there. At the nearby interstate rest stop, you will find a historic marker honoring Amos Buckman. You will find his carpentry tools in the San Diego History Center, and bits of broken bottle glass scattered around old Buckman Springs. Albert Simonson is a frequent contributor to the Julian News and an active member of the Julian Historical Society. (760) 765 0192 OPE RTIE.s TREET We have our own private parking lot behind office... C O RN E R O F .rAI N & entrance off 'C' Street www.j ulian-prop erti es. corn Est. 1967 P.O. Box 1000 Julian, CA 92036 CA DRE Lic #00859374 SOPHISTICATED 2 bedroom/3 bath home with spectacular Cuyamaca views. 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