Cobb Estate, native Tongva people hunted deer, bobcats and rabbits in the brush.
According to Robert H. Peterson's book, "Altadena's Golden Years," the first white person to own this acreage at the top of Lake Avenue was an "early settler" (probably 1880s) named Robert J. Forsyth. After Forsyth, Peterson says, "The title changed hands several times before Charles H. Cobb acquired the property in 1916." (You can pick up a copy of Peterson's book at Webster's Pharmacy.)
Cobb, who had made his fortune in lumber and investments, built a home near the gates of the estate in 1917. When he died in 1939, the house first became a Masonic Home, then from 1942 to 1955 it was a retreat for nuns. A developer bought it and didn't develop it. The home was vandalized. In 1960, with no plans to live there, the Marx Brothers bought the property, presumably as an investment. By 1971 more developers lurked, rubbing their hands together and salivating.
This is where the story really begins.
At 7:30 pm on July 25th at the Altadena Community Center, hear Bob Barnes and others tell how 40 years ago a high school teacher, his students, a millionaire and even the developer who bid against them saved the Cobb Estate from becoming another tragedy like La Vina. It's a thrilling tale, and because no one can tell it better than the people who lived it, I'm going to leave that part of the story up to them.
But here's a hint as to how it turned out: although the Tongva no longer hunt there, you can still spot deer, bobcats and rabbits on the grounds of the old Cobb Estate.