“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Arcadia in Los Angeles County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)

Baldwin Lake

History Lives Here

Baldwin Lake Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Baker, June 15, 2021
1. Baldwin Lake Marker
Baldwin Lake casts a long shadow of history at the core of the Arboretum, its four acres bearing witness to a who's who of settlers and owners of note over the years. Before recorded history, Gabrielino villagers called this home place Aleupkigna, roughly and aptly translated as "a place of many waters". Subsequent Spanish occupation was locally centered at Mission San Gabriel (1771), and by 1806 the land was known as Rancho Santa Anita, an agricultural outpost of the Mission. The first private owner of Rancho Santa Anita was a naturalized Scotsman named Hugo Reid who married Victoria, a widow of Gabrielino descent. Possible remnants of the Reid home near the Lake remain, though greatly altered by subsequent owners of this fertile, valuable land.

In 1903, Lucky Baldwin engineered the incorporation of the City of Arcadia and became its first elected Mayor. His lakeside home site included both the transformed Reid adobe structure, fully modernized for his purposes, and a guest house identified variously as a cottage, clubhouse or even "casino." Both the modest Adobe and the elegant Queen Anne Cottage remain today, and both
Baldwin Lake Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Baker, June 15, 2021
2. Baldwin Lake Marker
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are designated historic landmarks, but their setting includes a cultural landscape feature becoming increasingly rare in today's urban setting. Baldwin Lake is a treasure unto itself, recognized on the National Register of Historic Places as a significant contributor to Baldwin's architectural gems (Cottage and matching Coach Barn), but additionally a jewel in today's urban watershed, an important recharge basin, an oasis, in effect, in the asphalt jungle that surrounds the Arboretum.

When Elias Jackson "Lucky" Baldwin purchased Rancho Santa Anita in 1875, the ranch was situated on a 2,000 acre artesian belt, a benefit of the Raymond (Hill) Fault. Sixty percent of Baldwin Ranch irrigation waters came from artesian sources; the remaining forty percent was piped in from nearby Big and Little Santa Anita Canyons where Baldwin had acquired water rights. Lucky Baldwin deepened the natural lake basin in the 1880's, reportedly 12-15 feet, and effectively transformed his natural holding reservoir into a postcard-perfect scenic wonder surrounded by a stone retaining wall capped with signature granite boulders. Irrigation purposes were still served with nearby orchards and vineyards the direct beneficiaries, but tourism and potential land sales came into play as Baldwin looked to transform his prime ranch property into saleable city lots.
Baldwin Lake image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Baker, June 15, 2021
3. Baldwin Lake
The Queen Anne Cottage is across the lake.
2018 by Arcadia Historical Society. (Marker Number 12.)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Native AmericansParks & Recreational AreasSettlements & SettlersWaterways & Vessels.
Location. 34° 8.484′ N, 118° 3.147′ W. Marker is in Arcadia, California, in Los Angeles County. Marker can be reached from Baldwin Avenue, 0.2 miles south of Colorado Boulevard, on the right when traveling south. Located in the Los Angeles County Arboretum, open daily 9-5. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 301 N Baldwin Ave, Arcadia CA 91007, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Cycads (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Reid-Baldwin Adobe (about 400 feet away); American Indian Artifact (about 400 feet away); Queen Anne Cottage (about 400 feet away); Hollywood at the Arboretum (about 500 feet away); Santa Anita Depot (about 600 feet away); Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden (approx. 0.2 miles away); Santa Anita During World War II (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Arcadia.
Hollywood at the Arboretum image. Click for full size.
Arboretum Archive
4. Hollywood at the Arboretum
Filming paddlewheel boat scene on Baldwin Lake for movie Safari (1940). Stars Madeleine Carroll and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. are on top deck.
Queen Anne Cottage image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Baker, June 15, 2021
5. Queen Anne Cottage
Reid-Baldwin Adobe image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Baker, June 15, 2021
6. Reid-Baldwin Adobe
Being restored to original condition.
Credits. This page was last revised on January 30, 2023. It was originally submitted on July 21, 2021, by Craig Baker of Sylmar, California. This page has been viewed 205 times since then and 6 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on July 21, 2021, by Craig Baker of Sylmar, California.

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Jan. 31, 2023