A Personal Perspective

What began as a simple quest to track down the current owners of Loomis Ranch has now expanded into a mission to identify, preserve, and catalog the history of the Ranch and its namesake founder, Captain Lester G. Loomis. My goal is to make this information readily available to family members, historians, and others who may be interested in knowing more about Captain Loomis and the Ranch.

My own fascination with the Ranch began at an early age. My parents had spent part of their honeymoon at the Ranch in 1945. When I was very young, my parents would take our family to the Ranch to visit with my great uncle Orval Thomas and my great aunt Hazel (Loomis) Thomas. I vaguely recall only the last of these visits when I was six years old - the old log cabin, bidding my relatives farewell, and stopping at the orchards on the way up the narrow road to the Angeles Crest Highway to pick a box of apples.

I hounded my Dad to take us back to the Ranch. Unfortunately, the Ranch had become a burden to Grace Loomis and to my aunt and uncle, and they decided to move to the desert. The Ranch was sold to the Alhambra Council of the Girl Scouts of America in 1953.

Those visits to the Ranch were my first "wilderness" experiences, and awakened in me a love of the outdoors that continues until today.

Since I was so young when the Ranch was sold, I didn't get to spend much time there. But I have always been fascinated by the Ranch and Captain Loomis. I wanted to know more than my Dad could tell me, and I wondered why Captain Loomis, at almost fifty years of age, decided to move his family to the mountains to start a new life. Why did his three grown daughters and two son-in-laws join him? What happened to them? What changes have taken place at the ranch?

The search went slowly at first, but as I learned a little about the Ranch, I began to uncover more sources of information. Bob Gregg supplied the story he wrote for the ANNFLA Newsletter, and pointed me to Odo Stade's 1938 article on the Loomises. Debbie Henderson, archivist at the Sierra Madre Historical Archives at the Sierra Madre Public Library, has provided material from their wonderful collection of mountain history, as well as helpful advice along the way. The Wandalee Thompson Collection located in the archives has proven a most valuable resource; new contributions to the collection are continuing as Wandalee's son, Muir Thompson, continues to catalog her extensive collection. Joan Shanahan at the Inglewood Park Cemetery, who took an interest in researching the beginnings of the cemetery, suggested I consult the ProQuest online database of historic Los Angeles Times articles. The ProQuest collections have been an unbelievable resource, providing close to 300 articles related to Lester's life, almost half of which involved his police career.

For those who share my interest in Captain Loomis and his Ranch, I hope that his web site will answer some of these questions for you, while helping to preserve this family's history.