Newspaper Archive of
The Julian News
Julian , California
August 12, 2009     The Julian News
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August 12, 2009

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8 The Julian News Mountain Meanderings by Albert Simonson and Ed Huffman Julian's Farmer Road had its official beginning in a road survey of 1875 by the county surveyor. We can follow this survey quite precisely. We begin by standing in the middle of the street crossing of Washington and Main Streets, looking up Farmer Road. Try to be more mindful of traffic than the torpid tourists are. There are some very olde- timey places here. At the first corner is a former Chinese laundry, now a cozy art gallery with interesting surprises scattered about outside. The owner likes to dig and plant, never knowing what old relics may emerge. See if you can imagine the steaming kettles and. suds to get you in the mood for history. After the first corner we find the old home of Julian pioneer Drury Bailey. Behind it on the hill repose the mortal remains of other pioneers, drawn to this remote mining camp by the Confederate clan of Baileys and Julians. Following the road up over the hill, you will approach a windmill on the left side. Pull safely off the road at a wide spot past a driveway and look around the windmill. That is the site of pioneer Chester Gunn's ranch house and outbuildings. Chester ran a pony express to the Pacific mail steamer from Julian City's earliest. days. Luckily, we have an 1883 lithograph of his "Summit Ranch" showing fruit trees to the right of the house and cattle on the hillside behind it. Farmer Road makes a jog where it crosses Wynola Road. The area east of Farmer Road and South of Wynola Road was once occupied by the Oberlin School and the Roy "Sy" Miller sawmill. A teacher named Alice spring area. Genevieve Jacobs was teaching at the school in 1924 when she married Franklin Lockwood Barnes and their descendants still live in the Julian area. Sy Miller had a home in the area of today's Menghini Winery, but eventually built another home closer to the sawmill. And speaking of the Menghini Winery, the building was constructed as a packing house by Fred Farmer, for whom Farmer Road is named. He and his wife Margaret Grand Farmer were very prominent, active and respected residents in the Julian area. As a matter of fact, today's Grand Family members held their annual reunion on the property in June of 2009. After crossing Wynola Road to the north a short distance on the right is a gravel road that leads to the Volcan Mountain Wilderness Preserve Gateway. The gravel road is private, but can be used by walking visitors to Volcan Mountain. Volunteers have created a beautiful gateway at the trail head. Park along the photo by Ed Huffman shoulder of Farmer Road and treat yourself to a wonderful adventure on the mountain trail. The artistry of the gateway is itself worth the stop. The gateway is a great place to pause and reflect on the many soldiers and forty-niners, survivors of the desert, who rested at this crest of the Banner Canyon "cutoff" trail, while their animals grazed and drank from an abundant spring. Among those who kept diaries were naturalists in the Audubon expedition, also a journalist, a multifaceted scientist and Fort Yuma's commander. The Durivage party got lucky it was six feet wide, enough for wagons, and stiifused. From the natural-stone viewing terrace at the gateway, look down at the nearby oaks, willows, and a sycamore. That spring was the choice rest stop along the now overgrown; but still visible, forty- niner trail. Rusty water pipes point the way to water. If you follow the present cleared trail 200 nonathletic steps past the gate, you will find a branching of the historic trail. Stay on the safe, cleared trail toward the ridge top, but take note of the overgrown forty- niner trail drifting off left through 49er Road traveling Northwest toward Volcan Valley photo by Ed Huffman here and feasted on a fat buck and a pronghorn antelope by the nearby spring. They lingered a second night and even then they got off to a late start. It must have been hard to leave, but the gold rush was on and they had to catch a steamer north. The panoramic trail up Volcan is itself an historic artifact. Its zigs and zags match exactly a trail visible in a 1928 aerial photograph. That photograph shows also another trail rising out of Banner Canyon, passing above our gateway and descending north northwest toward Volcan Valley. This second trail, still visible in many places, is the forty-niner trail. Forty-niners described it as a narrow "bridal path:" By 1928 rattlesnake heaven to Volcan Valley. Next winter, when the snakes have mellowed out a bit, we will explore fhe northern extent of the trail down the hill. Continuing north on the highway, another spring is found just to the right of present Farmer Road where it begins its steep descent. It is now an abandoned home site, but in 1871 there was an adobe house in ruins here. Later, Julian's first merchant had a house here, indicated on the 1875 road survey. Driving down to the bottom of the hill, we find Dan Price Creek and a pond. When mission padres and presidio soldiers rode past here in 1821, they noted a tidily planted cornfield belonging to mission Indians. Next to it was a village called Guichapa, August 12, 2009 blessed with fertile flat land and dependable water. The padre knew his way around and recognized this area as headwaters of the San Dieguito River. Hereyou can see water wells and a pumphouse for the town of Julian. Early travelers described this valley as splendidly well watered and fertile, able to support large herds. Just before the pumphouse you can see an old foundation. The foundation is a remnant of the house Auguste and Bernardine Grand built in 1917. The house had 6 bedrooms, an inside bathroom and a complete cellar. It was built with lumber from neighbor Fred Jennings sawmill on Volcan Mountain. A very short distance to the north and on the east side of Farmer Road is the site of the "Ober House" built by farmer/ rancher William Ober. Mr. Ober was a Civil War veteran, former blacksmith in Bernardo (Lake Hodges area) and Nuevo (Ramona). The Ober property and house were eventually purchased by Fred Grand and became a home to many of the Grand family members in the early 1900's. Traveling a little farther north, you will see the staging area for hiking, horseback riding and mountain bike riding on the Santa Ysabel Open Space Preserve. Another short distance to the north and you will encounter a locked gate. Beyond the gate is the 100 plus-year old Fred Jennings house on one. of the many private properties of Volcan Mountain. We hope these bits of ,local lore and your own imagination have given you an adventure to remember. Andrew Magee is the only golfer in PGA history to make a hole-in- one on a par four hole during a regular PGA Tour event; ~ ,: : Spectacular, Alpine log home with 3 BR., 2 BA, 3,544sq. ft. on 38 acres with panoramic views. an amazing home with many luxury features. Included are horse facilities and a spring-fed koi pond. $2,950,000 14+ Lovely Acres with many mature trees and views to North Peak. 2 Bedroom, 2 Bath, 2,200 sq.ft. Home with attached 5-Car Garage and a 2 Bedroom,1 Bath Guest House. $1,195,000 $625,000 1934 MAIN 3TI%EET, L=tin Si=e Z967 II COI NER OF MAIN AND C 3TREETS on all homes available in the Julian area. 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