By Beatriz Valenzuela
San Bernardino Sun
A pair of local landmarks — the Earp cabin and an old barn on the Clyde Ranch — can be added to the historical vestiges lost to the fast-moving Blue Cut fire, which has gobbled up more than 37,000 acres of brush and chaparral in the Cajon Pass.
The fire has devastated the West Cajon Valley, decimating more than 100 homes and more than 200 outbuildings, leaving a scarred and blackened landscape in its wake.
“It’s been an absolutely devastating fire in more ways than one,” said Nicholas R. Cataldo of San Bernardino. “We’ve lost bits of history to this fire.”
Cataldo, a Cajon Pass historian, was still dealing with news of the loss of the historic Summit Inn Cafe when he learned two of the oldest structures in San Bernardino County were devoured by the massive blaze.
Thursday, the news began to spread that the Earp Cabin, as it’s known in the community, and an old barn on the Clyde Ranch along Lone Pine Canyon Road were gone.
According to Cataldo, the cabin was built by Almon Clyde with help from Virgil Earp, brother of famous western lawman, Wyatt Earp.
“A couple of the Earp Brothers — and primarily Virgil — was good friends with Clyde,” said Cataldo. “They would go up there and hunt deer. They would be up there a week at a time. It’s a real shame it was lost. If it’s not the oldest building in San Bernardino County, it was certainly one of the oldest.”
The cabin and the barn were built using square nails, Cataldo said.
“I remember Bob Clyde said they were hoping to turn (the cabin) into a little museum but they never did.” Bob Clyde was Almon Clyde’s grandson.
In 1883, Clyde acquired the property on Lone Pine Canyon Road from a member of the Swarthout family, Mormons who settled in the Cajon Pass in 1847, according to historians. Clyde established a cattle ranch and an adjacent apple orchard that is still owned and operated by the Clyde family.
“Some of those apple trees are a century old,” said Cataldo.
The scorched earth was still smoldering Friday morning around a lone, tall chimney standing sentry above the fragments of what once was the old Earp Cabin.
|Clyde Ranch before the Blue Cut fire.|
Still standing on the property is the more modern main house where members of the Clyde family still live and the service station built by Almon Clyde.
“It’s devastating to know the cabin and barn is lost,” said Zack Earp, a descendant of the legendary lawmen. Earp, 68, of Riverside, said he was glad he was able to visit the ranch at least once before the buildings were destroyed.
News of the Clyde Ranch loss was all the chatter at Mountain Hardware in Wrightwood, only a few miles from the ranch.
“It’s a shame to see it go,” Mike Troeger, owner of the hardware store, said Friday morning as he chatted with the trickle of customers who made their way into the business. Most weren’t looking to buy anything but instead wanted to talk about the fire. “Everyone knows about the history of the place.”