Yesterday's photo was taken at the Cobb Estate, 107 acres at the top of Lake Avenue in Altadena. The land sits across Las Flores Canyon from the beginnings of the Sam Merrill Trail. The best information I've found about the estate is in a book called Altadena's Golden Years, compiled by Robert H. Peterson. You can get it at Webster's, and some online sellers.
There were once gold mines in Las Flores canyon, but by the time Charles H. Cobb came along they'd been "worked out." Cobb purchased the estate 1916, built his home there the following year and raised a family. He was a Mason, and contributed to the building fund for the Scottish Rite Cathedral in Pasadena. When he died in 1939, the home was converted to a Masonic Home. Later the Sisters of St. Joseph used the house as a retreat. The Marx Brothers (yes, honk honk!), Groucho, Harpo and Gummo (Chico was busy?), acquired the property in the late 1950's, but soon vandals ravaged the house and it was torn down in 1959.
Eventually developers got the bright idea that 107 unused wooded acres would look just fabulous once they were paved and covered with houses. The community was up in arms, but who had the money to stop the development? After a fundraising campaign involving conservation clubs, citizens and schools, it was philanthropist Virginia Steele Scott who swooped in late in 1971 and made it possible for the Cobb Estate to become a wildlife sanctuary (see wildlife in yesterday's post).
I wonder if these steps led to the front door of the Cobb house. Perhaps they're modest kitchen steps, or they led to an outbuilding. As you wander the paths and roadways of the estate, you come across several ruins peeking from the weeds, and wonder what they might have been.