A grouping of trees in the midst of flat fields marks the future location of the Auto Court in CC Pierce's 1908 panorama. (ERVHS)
Eagle Rock Springs Auto Court is visible in the lower left corner of this map from the 1930s.
Routing the former springs underground has greatly increased the number of mobile homes the property can hold. (Googlemaps)
THE AUTO COURT
The sign still reads, "Eagle Rock Springs..."
Mrs. DelFosse and her husband had arrived in Eagle Rock in 1912, and soon became owners of "approximately one acre of tree covered grounds with a small artesian lake supplied by several flowing artesian wells." Water from the springs ran all the way to Eagle Rock Boulevard and then on to York Boulevard, with watercress and willows lining the way.
At one time, the pool was a watering place for livestock. Bob Cota described seeing 30-40 head of cattle drinking from the pond, eating the grass at the pond's edge. Grass grew year-round: it was on the north side of the hill.
The DelFosses began the Auto Camp in 1922, since auto tourists regularly had sought permission to camp at the site. Tenthouses were provided to accommodate tourists. Later, these were replaced by framed structures. By 1943, the Auto camp offered 17 furnished cabins and 9 licensed trailer spaces.
The pond was the swimming hole of a generation long gone. At least one married couple met there, and it was a favorite place for adventurous boys. The pools were flanked by oak trees, willow, and cattails. Fraleigh says, "To get to [the pools], you had to push through the underbrush." At one time, there were even catfish in the water. "I know," Cota says, "because I went down and fished out a couple for myself once."
Powell Greenland described a stream emerging from the North end of the Auto Court, flowing west, before turning toward the Southern end, where it filled a pond with ducks. "I had a Saturday Evening Post route. I made a point to go there to get a drink of water on my route. It was very good on a hot day."
By the late 40s, the pool was encased in concrete, the brook that Greenland described was diverted through underground pipes, and the "spring" was now an iron pipe jutting out from the same pool.
Yet, the water was as good as ever. In the 1940s, Max Norris used to get his regular drinking water at the spring, and remembers all the other locals did as well-- from Hill Drive down to Chickasaw. The supply was plentiful enough that if a truck from one of the bottling plants came up short before finishing their delivery route, they would stop at the spring and fill the rest of their bottles there. Norris remembers trucks from one of the water companies on Figueroa regularly pulling up for refills.
In 1952, Scott Wilson moved into a house on Hermosa whose backyard was adjacent to the spring. At that time, the spring was simply water coming out of a hole in the ground, and the amount of water less than a sink faucet. The flow was constant, year round. He remembered a new owner of the trailer park attempting to reorganize and regrade the land. These efforts resulted in water flowing where he didn't want it. The wall he built to remedy this only caused water to flow onto the neighbor's backyards, turning them into swamps. Scott was obliged to install a 4" pipe to drain his backyard.
Though the pond must have been long gone by 1961, water still ran down the side of Chickasaw to the storm drain, allowing moss to grow. Today, the stream continues to flow, though 6 feet underground. The only visible evidence of the spring is an array of pipes in the parking lot and the water spurting out of the sump pump across the street twice a day.