Frazier Mountain


  • This was the western most area of the Interior Chumash people. It was bordered on the east – in the area of the present Interstate 5, by the Kitanemuk people, which due to their mixed lineage meant “what is it” .
  • Spanish Padres and soldiers came into the area as early as the 1600’s to make conversions to Christianity, keeping an eye open for gold and silver – of which they found a considerable amount.
  • Following the collapse of the Mission System the Mexican Government gifted five Land Grants in the Tehachapi & San Emigdio Mountains which still exist today under the names of Ranchos San Emigdio and Tejon.
  • After the discovery of gold to the north and after California became a state in 1850 an Indian Reservation was established at the base and to the east of Grapevine Canyon with the military post of Fort Tejon built at the top of that same Canyon.
  • Fort Tejon was the headquarters for the U.S. Army unit called the Dragoons – the very colorful “Rangers of the West” . The newly constructed buildings were badly damaged in January of 1857 when the worst earthquake in California history centered there (8+).
  • The many Indian trails soon became dirt roads. With the advent of the motor vehicle the first paved road through the area, the Ridge Route – running on top of the ridges, was completed in 1920. By 1933 it was replaced by a streamlined three lane highway, with the center lane for the purpose of “facilitating the passing maneuver” , down in a canyon to the west. In the 1940’s that very dangerous highway was widened to four lanes and in the 1960’s to the present eight lanes.
  • The communities of Gorman, Lebec and Grapevine grew and prospered along these roadways. Hidden back in the mountains, nestled in the beauty of the Los Padres National Forest, there developed the many weekend and vacation home communities of Frazier Park, Lake of the Woods, Lockwood Valley, Cuddy Valley and Pine Mtn. Club, all of which can trace their early settlement to miners and ranchers.
  • California’s amazing engineering achievements, the Los Angeles Aqueduct of the 1910’s and the California Aqueduct in the 1960’s run through these mountains.

Additional information may be found in “A View from the Ridge Route” series