The Elsie Corwin Stories

On June 20, 1952, Elsie Corwin and three other representatives of the Alhambra Girl Scouts visited Loomis Ranch for the first time. A year later, on August 12, 1953, the Alhambra Council of the Girl Scouts purchased the Loomis Ranch and renamed it Camp Loomis.

Elsie Corwin was the Executive Director of the Alhambra Council, and was very involved in the purchase of the Ranch. The Corwins had a place in Aliso Canyon near Acton, and possibly met Grace Loomis through their mutual friends, the George Blum family.

Elsie, a prolific writer, was interested in preserving the history of the Ranch and its founders, Lester and Grace Loomis. She researched the history of the Ranch and spent time talking to Grace Loomis, who was then 87 years old, and Orval and Hazel Thomas, about their recollections. So that the girls who attended the camp would understand and appreciate the hard work that went into the development of Loomis Ranch, she wrote this set of stories in 1954 about the history of Camp Loomis.

Due to concerns over escape from the Ranch in case of fire, the Forest Service required that the Scouts build a second access road into the Ranch. Even if funds had been available, building a second route into the Camp did not seem practical. So, on October 3, 1962, after only nine years of operation, the Girl Scouts sold Camp Loomis.

Eleven stories are listed in the table of contents. There are, however, only ten stories in this collection. The first chapter, “The Story of a Dream”, is missing. It is not known at this time what happened to this chapter, or if was ever completed by Ms. Corwin.

Mountain historian Wandalee Thompson received a copy of the stories from Ms. Corwin in 1966. Wandalee's son Muir Thompson has been working to contribute her substantial collection of historical material to the Sierra Madre Historical Archives.

I have transcribed the stories here without change or correction. Where an error may create confusion about historical facts, I have noted the correct information in bracketed italics. The dates noted in the titles of several of the stories are those associated with the events in the story, not the date the story was written.

[These stories are from the Wandalee Thompson Collection of the Sierra Madre Historical Archives (2006.38.01). The Archives are located in the Sierra Madre Public Library, 440 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre, CA 91024, Tel. 626-355-7186.]