The San Gabriels are rich in history. One of my favorite stories is about the Brown brothers, Jason and Owen, two of the sons of John Brown the liberator. Owen was the last surviving participant in the raid on Harpers Ferry and with his brother Jason he had homesteaded a place at what is now the top of Rising Hill Road. Owen lived only about five years here before he died suddenly January 8, 1889. His funeral in Pasadena was attended by 2,000 people, and his remains were interred on what is now called “Little Round Top.” You can read more about Owen and Jason Brown in the Altadena Historical Society’s book, Altadena: Between Wilderness and City, by Michele Zack.
Last weekend I spent a lot of time looking at Little Round Top. Because of its proximity to two homes above the Meadows, it was hit repeatedly with fire retardant, and its red slopes stood out. I could only see the hill from below, and I’ve been anxiously wondering about its fate ever since. Now Paul Ayers has sent out before and after photos, and with his permission I am posting the series. The first photo was taken during Owen Brown’s graveside service. The second, taken in 2003, is the contemporary before photo. Finally, Paul sent a photo taken on September 2nd. All three photos were taken from the same vantage point, looking to the west.