Mount Baldy’s Ice House Canyon Lodge

Ice House LodgeThe area around Mount San Antonio, also referred to as Mt. Baldy, saw its first significant development during the time of the Civil War, shortly after Mormon settlers set up ranches in nearby Lytle Creek.
The area’s resources were of some value to those in the populated lowland areas. A tributary of San Antonio Creek flows through what is now known as Icehouse Canyon, where along its north-facing slope snow is retained late into the spring and early summer. As early as 1859, Damien Marchessault and Victor Beaudry, later Los Angeles mayor, built an icehouse there. The ice was brought down from the mountains to Los Angeles by mule and wagon and sold door to door, as well as being used at Beaudry and Marchessault’s ice cream saloon, the only one in the city.
Oranges were grown near what is now Mount Baldy Village by Madison Kincaid in 1865. A sawmill was built in 1870 upstream from the village, but was destroyed, most likely in the flood of 1884.
Beginning in 1882, the San Antonio Water Company took control of the water rights in San Antonio Canyon, including its three hydroelectric plants.
In 1880, W.H. Stoddard, brother-in-law of railroad baron Collis P. Huntington, built a resort in what is now called Stoddard Canyon. This precipitated the area’s popularity as a resort destination. Frank Keyes converted Dell’s Camp from a mining support station into a rental resort, and by the turn of the century Dell’s Camp attracted as many as a hundred guests in a weekend. Charles Baynham built a second camp nearby in 1907, and in the following year the canyon became accessible by automobile. By the early 1920s there were numerous trail camps and resorts such as the Icehouse Canyon Resort, Bear Canyon Resort, Eleven Oaks, Baynham Camp, Alpine Woods, Trail Inn, Snow Crest, and Kelly’s Camp, the latter of which was originally a logging camp. When the area became a national forest in 1908, the U.S. Forest Service began offering 99-year leases on plots of land in Icehouse Canyon for vacation cabins. By 1938 there were 105 cabins and additional cabins at a resort owned by the Chapman family.
By the 1960s, the Ice House Lodge, at an elevation of 5,280 feet and roughly a mile north of Mr. Baldy Village proper, had become a popular Friday and Saturday evening night spot for those risking the drive up from the flatlands below. In March 1988 it burned down.

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