Mt. Lowe  Volunteers

The Scenic Mount Lowe Railway Historical Committee

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Mt Lowe Pavilion

Mount Lowe located above Pasadena, California is part of the San Gabriel Mountains in southern California. It  was originally named Oak Mountain, but was renamed for Professor Thaddeus S.C. Lowe, who built the Mount Lowe Railway to its foot in 1896. The record of the naming was made official by Andrew McNally, the famous Chicago map printer, who promised to print "Mount Lowe" on all his maps.

Mt. Lowe was established as an alternate route for the Mount Lowe Railway when attempts to procure rights of way to the more prominent Mount Wilson had failed.

The Scenic Mount Lowe Railway Historical Committee  the formal name for a group of volunteers who work to preserve the remnants of the Mount Lowe Railway, including structures and artifacts.  The group formed in 1992.

We work under the authority of the Angeles National Forest along with a cadre of many other volunteers who help with various projects to protect the Forest.  We all have monthly meetings with the District Ranger at the Forest Headquarters in Arcadia, CA



 At the turn of the 20th Century, Rail Power was the dominant means of transportation.  Professor Thaddeus Lowe, who moved to Pasadena in the 1880's decided to make use of the rail lines to build a special Railway, a Hotel, and a Tavern in the mountains.  The history of Mt. Lowe can be read in some of the articles contained in these pages. 

     Against many odds the vision of  Mr. Lowe, a former Ballonist  in the Civil War,  (appointed by President Abraham Lincoln), came to reality, and the world witnessed on July 4 of 1893, the opening of the Echo Mountain hotel at the top of the Great Incline.   About 2 years later there would be another building, the Alpine Tavern, built higher up at the foot of Mt. Lowe along a trolley route.  People ventured from all corners of the earth to see for themselves, and take a ride on the "Railway to the Clouds".  This one act created a phenomenon that put Pasadena on the map and became world famous.

    It is our endeavor to preserve what is left of this famous attraction.  Countless hours have been spent working on the mountain at several locations in and around Mount Lowe and Echo Mountain.  For over 25 years we have completed a great many projects, and we wish to share some of those accomplishments in this website.

     As we do our work, such as clearing brush, for example, we learn more about the Railway and its operation by finding artifacts, structures and foundations that are long since forgotten. When foundations, or other items, are exposed they are measured and documented allowing us to discover their place in the Railway’s history.

    Recent work in this area has included the Power Plants and Casino on Echo Mountain.  Over time we hope to document all of the buildings on the Railway  In 1996, our largest endeavor was to re-build the Ramada (Pavilion) at Inspiration Point.  You may see pictures of many of our projects as they unfolded by following the "Projects" links below.


      In 1993 and 1995 the group organized the Centennial Celebrations at both Echo Mountain and Alpine Tavern, respectively.  And every December, with Forest approval, we organize a public  outing up to the Alpine Tavern site at Mount Lowe to honor the anniversary of its opening.


Brian Marcroft and Jim T. Spencer formed the committee in 1992.  

We appreciate the help and inspiration of all our members. Each volunteer brings a different background and knowledge base which gives us depth and ability that  helps us in some way on the mountain.  

We wish to acknowledge the contributions of photos
and memorabilia images:




Want to make a comment, or have a question ? 
OR do you want to be a volunteer ?

Contact Brian Marcroft at (562) 868-8919




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Copyright ă 2002 to 2017  by
The Scenic Mt. Lowe Railway
Historical Committee / Ron Jasinski
  All rights reserved.    Revised: December 09, 2018