dispatches & explored

Station to Station No. 2: Happy Hollow

“In hollow halls beneath the fells …”


Happy Hollow Guard Station, 1961. Image courtesy and © Robert A. Burtness

There was once a happy hollow. But the story of the station atop Little Pine Mountain isn’t as happy as the name implies. It neither enjoyed the near-mythic status of Madulce nor did it see out the Twentieth Century as have Santa Cruz, Bluff, Thorn Meadow, or South Fork Stations.

Little Pine Mtn. 028b
Happy Hollow as we know it today (post-Zaca Fire); image courtesy and © Marc Briggs

Happy Hollow was a CCC project, constructed during the push that saw the Camuesa and Buckhorn Roads connect the Santa Ynez and the Cuyama. During its construction (it was also known as Little Pine station), the stations at Bluff and Alamar Saddle were also built. (The Camuesa/Buckhorn route is what saw Madulce and Mono-Pendola stations fall into obscurity, as discussed in the first “Station to Station” entry.)

Happy Hollow Guard Station

Burtness_Happy Hollow 1972 002

Blakley’s history relates how Alamar Station met its end as a result of bears’ intrusions. This is — to me — an acceptable death for any building man should erect in the forest. Bears have every right. But Happy Hollow was the victim of repeated vandalism by that least noble of creatures, and — despite having been refurbished by a group of Youth Conservation Corps workers only a few years before — was razed by the Forest Service in the mid-1970s.

So much for happy endings.

Burtness_Happy Hollow 1972 001

Burtness_Happy Hollow 1972 003

1972 Youth Conservation Corps project photos courtesy Robert A. Burtness.

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2 Responses to Station to Station No. 2: Happy Hollow

  1. Bob Burtness says:

    Keep up the good work. What a great way to “get the word” out. Beats crank telephones, but we still maintain a couple of them at home.

  2. Nico says:

    Thanks for sharing Craig. I had no idea what the guard station up there looked like. Too bad about the vandalism and ultimate removal of the structure.

    Think about how neat it would have been to have been able to do a long thru-hike of the forest, hiking from station to station, much like many of the treks in NZ, cooking on the wood burning pot belly stoves and what not. It would have been a neat opportunity to get a sense for what trips through the forest circa 1930 would have been like.

    I always get a kick out of coming across the various historical cabins, ranger stations, etc. that dot our NPS and NF lands. It’s fun to even stay inside some of them for a night or so. Too bad all other visitors don’t share the same appreciation for these structures. I reckon at least some of them would qualify as being historic landmarks at the state or federal level were they still standing.

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