March – July 1996 | Re-constructing Inspiration Point

When the Alpine Tavern was enjoying it's greatest years in the early 1900's, often a quarter mile walk from the Tavern to the Point was quite popular. It was an inspiration to look out over Los Angeles, and many times see Catalina Island in the distance. There was no smog in those days. It became known as Inspiration Point.  Herbert the Mule with the One Man and a Mule Railway was part of the attractions. In 1995 and 1996 the group undertook the reconstruction of the Pavilion and Picnic Shelter on Inspiration Point. It had all burned down to the foundation in the 1950's. This area had been constructed sometime in the early 1920's, a little more than 20 years after the Tavern had been built. These structures are historically accurate in their form and design. They were dedicated in a special ceremony in November of 1996. The Forest Service has said that the Pavilion is the largest structure in any National Forest to have been completely built by volunteer labor. Below is a photo taken in the 1920's. At bottom see photos of wind damage in 1997.

On the second picture above, you will see a set of tracks on the left side of the picture. This was the "One Man and a Mule Railway" with Herbert the mule as the engine that ran the railway. Below are very rare photos of Herbert as he is pushing his trolley ahead of him (which was the way it was always done). These tracks lead patrons down about 1 mile into other "non-charted" areas of the mountain which were in the wild. It would probably be considered an "E" ticket ride at Disneyland. Lowe had nothing to do with this enterprise and any money collected was kept by the keeper.

For years, after wind and fire, all that remained of the Pavilion was the basic rock foundation. It was our purpose to re-create the original structure per drawings we had made up from old photos supplied by Robert Wilde. The above photo was taken in 1976. It would be 20 years later that we undertook the project. On March 29, 1996 our volunteer group began the challenging work of re-constructing the Inspiration Point pavilion, 4,500 above sea level. Construction finished on July 27, 1996, this had been the hottest summers we've had in a long time, but all the efforts paid off and it was well worth it.

Update: as of October 2016 (20 years later), the Inspiration Point structure is still intact

Throughout the years we have been maintaining and monitoring the stability of the Inspiration Point pavilion. The wooden frames and posts are as strong as they were 20 years ago and we are very proud of the design and construction team that dedicated their time to help rebuild this wonderful structure.

In the winter of 1997 significant winds of over 100 mph came whipping through the pass, ripping off roof tiles. We had to go back and re-do the job and use double strength applications. Regular roof maintenance is required every few years.

November 16, 1996 the volunteers where honored and recognized by the Forest Service for their contribution in re-constructing the Inspiration Point pavilion.