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July 29, 2017 - Today we returned to the Big Bear Lake area to visit the Big Bear Valley Historical Museum, which is only open during the summer.  Big Bear Lake is Southern California's largest recreational lake that is about seven miles long and about one mile at its widest.  Big Bear Lake was inhabited by the indigenous Serrano Indians for over 2,000 years before it was explored by Benjamin "Don Benito" Wilson, the second mayor of Los Angeles.  The Historical Museum has an extensive collection of artifacts featuring exhibits from the indigenous Serrano Indians, the gold mining era, cowboys and cattle ranching, logging, fox farming and early winter sports in the area.

Fox farming was a big industry up here since the high altitude, over 8,000 feet, produced a thicker coat of fur.

A lot of films and television shows have been and continue to be shot in the Big Bear Valley.

This is a somewhat rare cape and cap for a Gold Star mother during the first World War.

This is an authentic 1875 log cabin.

The tall contraption was used to safely burn sawdust created by the lumber mills.

This is the 1906 schoolhouse from the ghost town of Doble, CA.

This was originally a bunk house that was converted into a mule house.

This is the Shay's Ranch cowboy bunkhouse.

This is an early version of a hand cranked vacuum cleaner.

Among the Chinese artifacts is this pair of women's shoes.

This funeral hearse was made in 1898.

This is a rare working stamp mill.

This is their working blacksmith shop and Jim is making Judy a peanut butter knife from a bar of iron stock.

It's a very nice souvenir.

This is a traditional Serrano Indian house.

This is the Juniper General Store and Post Office that operated in Big Bear Valley during the first half of the 20th century.

When we planned to go here, we thought we would just see a single, small museum.  However, it really is a small village crammed with artifacts.  It was a surprising and rewarding adventure.  We stopped at the Lumberjack Cafe in town before arriving at the museum.  It's a small, family run operation with very good food.  Judy had their Huevos Rancheros with a spicy red sauce and I had their Lumberjack Special, which was a scramble of eggs, onions, pepper, bacon and cheese.  It was another great day!

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Last modified: January 01, 2023