San Rafael Creek
July 21, 2009 § 32 Comments
More explorations of Pasadena’s creeks. This one is known to many Arroyophiles. San Rafael creek still flows through backyards and beneath homes that are dramatically perched over the steep canyon walls of Laguna Road on Pasadena’s west side. A look at the photo below tells us how it got that name.
The creek drains the San Rafael Hills, extending up to the Annandale Country Club, and draining down at the Arroyo Seco. The creek connects via a steep concrete “slide” structure that should warm the heart of any skate-brat.
The stream was dammed to provide a pond, probably for pasture, and other agricultural uses. This photo shows sheep in the distance, and a horseman in the middle ground. As you can also see, the old San Rafael winery was located here as well. Today the pond, called Mirror Lake back then, is fenced from view with homes protected by guard-gate entry.
So, a pastoral tale of sweetness and light (and guard gate suburbanism). Is there more? Probably. In 1906, Charles Holder’s entertaining but very blue-blood hunting exploits include a snippet about a hunt up a steep ravine about a mile from Garvanza:
“The arroyo was from fifty to one hundred feet deep here, its sides precipitous, filled with underbrush and large trees; sycamores and black oaks growing on the banks, cottonwoods, alders, and others in the centre and on the sides, with little meadows here and there above the stream. The wild grape had climbed many of the trees and interlaced them in a radiant drapery of green, forming a natural jungle for the wildcat, raccoon, and fox. The hounds presently caught a scent, and after a short run treed a large lynx, a process that was repeated half a score of times before she was finally captured, proving a most gamy animal.”
My best guesses are that this encounter was up San Rafael creek or one of its tributaries, or up “Eagle Rock” creek – subject of another day’s Creekfreak entry. And as always, if you go in search of this delightful little creek, please respect the privacy of the people who live there.