Looking Back, Jan. 22, 2020

The Jan. 21, 1944, issue of The Grizzly featured stories on a War Bond drive, a Scout waste project and post-war development of San Bernardino National Forest.


   1944: A story in the Jan. 28, 1944, issue reported about Victor Valley Union High School District’s plans for new Big Bear High School as part of a post war construction plan. Included in the plans were an auditorium, shower rooms, gymnasium and kitchen.  

   1947: The Jan. 24, 1947, issue of The Grizzly reported that a fire destroyed the home of Wilson and Dawn McEwen, which was located a “considerable distance outside the Big Bear Lake fire protection district on Jeffries Lane.” The tenant, Pat Henry, who was manager of the Hotel Navajo Cafe, suffered two broken toes during the incident. Another tenant, Jack Rice, escaped uninjured. The McEwens were on vacation. The cause of the fire was a suspected faulty installation of a floor furnace.

   Celebrity sightings: In September 1947, billionaire Howard Hughes flew into the Big Bear Airport to visit the Peter Pan Club, arriving in a B-23 airplane, the largest ever to land at the Big Bear airport at that time.

   Elizabeth Taylor was spotted in Big Bear in January 1951. She stayed at the Shangri-la, attended the local movie theater to catch a screening and was scheduled to take a skiing lesson with Tommi Tyndall.

   Both reports were printed in the Big Bear Lake Limelight News and the Mountaineer.


   1969: Four days of snow and rain hit Big Bear Valley in February of 1969, destroying a grocery store, Star Market, and a portion of the roof at Iceland Skating Rink. Flood gates were opened at the dam for the first time since 1938. One power outage was reported during the storm, lasting about two hours.

At the end of the four-day deluge, the Big Bear Lake Fire Department reported a 32.4-inch snow measurement. Roads were the biggest casualty. Big Bear lost a total of 300 of its 360 miles of roads because of the storm.


   2001: Plans to develop a swimming pool and recreation center complex in Big Bear City and a sports field complex in the China Garden area were unveiled in the Feb. 28, 2001, issue. Cost of the proposed projects was $12.5 million with an annual special parcel tax proposed. But the projects were put into limbo in April when county Supervisor Dennis Hansberger called a halt to the process, asking for more public meetings to discuss financing alternatives.

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