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Monday, August 31, 2009

Hidden Springs Cafe Destroyed in Fire

The Hidden Springs Cafe in Angeles National Forest is gone, another victim of the Station Fire. This quaint establishment has been a destination or stop-over point for those traveling through ANF for 38 years, especially the hundreds of motorcycle riders who flood the area on weekends. I have been there more times than I can count and will truly miss this place.

From the son of the owner of Hidden Springs:

Hidden Springs Cafe...on Angeles Forest Hwy.has been taken from us. We have been there for 38 years serving the public and inturn made so many friends. We thank you all the many years of your friendship with us...It is a very sad time.....My brothers made it out within minutes..my mother who lived upstairs, was away on a trip..all of her belongings of our family are gone..everything...all she has is the clothes she took with her. We are all lost at the moment.....The hardest will be when i pick up my mother from the airport..and telling her you have no home.....God bless everyone who is facing this same ordeal as we are.

Also, here is video of the DC-10 dropping flame retardant near Altadena:

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Blogger Charles White (Jet Burns) said:

I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. Also lost is one of the largest collections of Smokey Bear collections in California as well as some other very historic keep sakes. I hope you rebuild, the public needs you up there.

August 31, 2009 8:50 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

No one cares. People from LA don't go these stupid place.

August 31, 2009 9:40 PM  

Blogger Joe B. said:

Well, that's a ridiculous statement 9:40, since this cafe has thrived for 38 years based on visitors from LA.

August 31, 2009 9:46 PM  

Anonymous Ashley. said:

i am very sorry to hear about the cafe. it breaks my heart to think i was up at the cafe and now i cant go back to the warm hearted calming place.

August 31, 2009 9:56 PM  

Blogger Joe B. said:

Can this thread just be about the Hidden Springs Cafe or the Station Fire, please?

August 31, 2009 10:20 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Was this the restaurant that served the LAPD lunches for the Michael Jackson funeral? Karma?

August 31, 2009 10:36 PM  

Blogger Joe B. said:

No it wasn't.

August 31, 2009 10:48 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Whoever said "No one cares" is a very sorry example of the sub-human race. I'm sure we can guess the political leaning of this moron. Enough said. I've visited the cafe on motorbike rides, and while I'm saddened that it has been destroyed, I'm certain it will be rebuilt and be bigger and better. I hope MS covers the reopening.

August 31, 2009 11:20 PM  

Blogger Joe B. said:

I hope it rebuilds as well. I'll keep you posted.

August 31, 2009 11:31 PM  

Blogger merider (M.E.-rider) said:

heart breaking...I'm worried about Newcomb's Ranch too. Does anyone know if that survived. I've been to the Hidden Springs Cafe many times while out riding through that canyon. It was a wonderful spot and many folks appreciated the establishment & those who worked there.

September 01, 2009 8:49 AM  

Blogger Red Spot in CD 14 said:


My prayers to the Lewis Family over the lost of their home and great cafe. My waistline will miss those great burgers. Hopefully they will rebuilt.

Regarding Newcomb's Ranch, fire crews were pulled out from Chilao yesterday due to extreme fire behavior. The fire was real close.

September 01, 2009 9:47 AM  

Anonymous charles said:

i would go to the Hidden Springs cafe once a week with some friends after our off-road trail riding up and around the Angeles National Forest.
we would stop for burgers and a great conversation with Jim.
Jim has got to be one of THE nicest guys.
he knows that forest more than anyone else.
we had even talked quite a bit about the fires in the Angeles National forest, last years Sylmar fire, etc.
my heart goes out to him, Otis, their sister and their mother.
the structure can be rebuilt, but those memories inside are lost.
RIP Hidden Springs Cafe.

September 01, 2009 9:58 AM  

Blogger Tracy said:

Hey Jimmy, I'm crushed about the cafe' this is going to be hard on your mom. I'm sickened by the thought of you and Oat having to live anywhere else but on that mountain. The loss of all the wonderful things in the cafe, the pix of the rattlesnake they found after the 72 earthquake, the Smokey the Bear posters that we all used to collect. The great carvings that Dusty created. I will always remember stopping at the cafe in the 60's on the way to the mine with my dad and later in the 70s' when we lived across the street and would come up the hill for licorice and Bazooka bubble gum.

September 01, 2009 10:12 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Who cares? You ignorant internet troll...a LOT of people care. I for one care...do you know why? Because I grew up there, that was MY home. So as you sit there and type ignorant, stupid, hate filled messages know that MY family is without a home...and NO ONE helped fight the fire that consumed it. You are low, disgusting and though I dont wish harm on anyone...YOU will experience karma.

September 01, 2009 10:23 AM  

Anonymous Billy said:

Don't listen to "Anonymous" that posted at 9:40p.m. Aug 31st.
*Caring* people care! Hidden Springs Cafe was a landmark to MANY people, including me, who has been stopping in there since I was a kid, when my mom would take up to the mountains. In recent years, I would stop there when I was passing through. Loved the grilled cheese. Janice and her family are the nicest people. I am glad they are safe. This is a very sad time, though.

September 01, 2009 10:43 AM  

Blogger DeenaR1098 said:

To the Lewis Family: The loss of the Cafe is second only to the loss of Amos. I'll always cherish my memories of both and be eternally grateful for the years Amos and I got to work together. Please know that we feel for your loss, but find comfort in all our great memories of Hidden Springs Toll Station One, the bears, Dusty's carvings, Gabe and all the others that made for such a unique community. You can feel free to come up here to visit any time and stay as long as you want. Deena

September 01, 2009 12:00 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Hidden Springs Cafe is not just a place to stop and relax, it's a step back in time, when things were simpler. I have memories of stopping there on occasions, but more frequently, being assured of its presence as I flew by in my busi-ness of life. There was always something calming about knowing that it was the survivor of the late 1960's floods from across the highway and a sense of knowing it was always there. Imagine my shock and I'm sure others when the evening news flashed a scorched building and an insensitive comment about the antiquated phone booth! Hidden Springs Cafe gave us much more than a place to stop and grab a bite, it was, and if re-built, will alway be the place to go on Angeles Forest Highway.

September 01, 2009 12:31 PM  

Blogger Red Spot in CD 14 said:

Regarding other historical locations within the forest.

Charlton Flats Picnic Area burned.

Newcomb's Ranch is just north of burn area which is near the Caltrans Yard.

Camp Hi Hill/Opid's Camp still standing.

The historic Loomis Ranch in the upper Alder Creek watershed is in danger of burning.

Mt Wilson enclosed in smoke.

As one who was a former resident, this is a trying time with so much history and beauty going up in flames.

September 01, 2009 12:48 PM  

Anonymous jacob jones said:

I think it is very sad that had to happen, i think the person who made a foul comment should burn In hell for eternity than make a joke about that pal..

September 01, 2009 1:01 PM  

Anonymous wes said:

newcombs has been claimed as well. it's gone, burned around noon on tuesday.

September 01, 2009 1:45 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

God bless the owners, what fun place this was, a historic place, one like no other. I hope we can have a fund raiser to bring this place back. It helped me on my long motorcycle rides, it was a oasis when i ran out of water. Nobody listens to the Anonymous writers, their cowards trying to bring some worth to their lives in wierd ways, creep!

September 01, 2009 1:45 PM  

Blogger Johnny Boy said:

Otis, Jim,
when you're ready... I'd like to offer my time and labor to help rebuild. I've enjoyed every minute spent on your patio with your family and all of the others that frequent you fine establishment. Glad to hear that all got out safely.

Johnny Boy aka Otis's beer buddy

September 01, 2009 1:59 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

is this the shady place that sold the michael jackson lunches to the LAPD?

September 01, 2009 2:52 PM  

Anonymous Pat and Pat said:

We are both very sorry to hear that one of our favorite stops in the mountains is gone. Pat and I will miss your whole family. Now I won’t have a chance to ask for fries anymore. I’ll pass the word on to the other Harley riders and the HOG Chapter in Glendale as soon as possible. I have had to stay by our house in La Crescenta to make sure the same fire does not take it also. We made it OK, I only wish you had.

September 01, 2009 3:37 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

To anonymous with the insensitive,inappropriate remarks:


No one wants to hear from you. Probably, if you would die, no one would even come to your memorial service. Hope you find your humanity before that happens.

September 01, 2009 3:40 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Dear Anonymous,

I'm sorry for the loss of your business and home. I know you're angry and upset now, but you can't really believe no one helped put out this large fire. There were two fire firefighter who sacrificed their lives to fight this blaze. You and your family have a chance to rebuild and live. While there are two families who won't have fathers coming home. Knowing that your family is safe is the most important thing. Good luck to you and your family.

September 01, 2009 4:07 PM  

Blogger Red Spot in CD 14 said:

Speculation is rampant that Newcomb's Ranch went down last night.

September 01, 2009 4:46 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

This is terrible news, and although it's been a few years since I visited the cafe, the knowledge that it's gone (ditto Newcomb's, Mt. Vetter lookout tower) really hurts. I hope that someway, somehow, you are able to rebuild.

September 01, 2009 5:13 PM  

Anonymous Mike C. said:

Jim, Otis, Janice and "Mom", I'm deeply saddened by your great loss. Your cafe was my respite from the pressures of life in the city. And YOU were the ones who made it worth the trip up every weekend, and who made Hidden Springs Cafe my favorite destination. Please post info on your website on how to contact you so we can help. I'm the one on the blue sportbike who paid for his green tea in "gold". Now you'll know who this is...
All the best,
Mike C.

September 01, 2009 5:19 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

The Cafe was not the source of the $50,000 Jackson sandwiches. The lunches were made at Jensen's Finest Foods in Wrightwood, a hamlet tucked high in the San Gabriel Mountain range. Which is irrelevant, anyway, as evidenced by the people who have posted about how much they enjoyed the people that ran the cafe and the tragedy of their loss. All normal people are thankful that the Lewises made it out safely and appreciative of the hard work and sacrifices made by the firefighters.

September 01, 2009 6:40 PM  

Blogger Lee said:

So sorry to hear of the Cafe burning down. What a great little place it was, with the little horseshoe shaped counter, and shaded patio with Hummingbirds buzzing around. Elva, Jim, Janice, and Otis were always good friendly hosts.

I guess this is the chance to update things. I hope you guys can rebuild asap. I miss it already.

September 01, 2009 7:06 PM  

Anonymous Maggie S said:

So sorry to hear about the loss of your unique and special destination place and home...perhaps all of us who visited you and your family's wonderful spot can have a fund raiser after this terrible fire is over, and everyone who visited Hidden Springs Cafe and took photographs there can have a large copy made to put in your replacement restaurant..perhaps an architect who used to come there can duplicate your original design...places like yours and families like yours are truly irreplaceble!

September 02, 2009 1:54 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

I last went by in 2007 and can't believe it is gone! I hope there will be fundraisers or any kind of event to help rebuild it. I for sure would like to be a part of it.

September 02, 2009 3:26 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

The anonymous guy who posted the hateful comment is a clown. May God curse his soul for saying what he did. Jim, this is Chris Keller. Please hang in there.

September 02, 2009 3:52 PM  

Blogger michael said:

On a night in February 2001 my soon to be wife and I were playing around in the creek a little south of your cafe. I lost my pants and locked my keys in the car. We hitchhiked to the cafe, went upstairs, and the nicest lady gave me a blanket to keep me warm until the towtruck came for us. I truly feel for you and your whole family. I don't know if we can do anything, but if you need anything, ask.

September 02, 2009 4:25 PM  

Blogger Roberta said:

Oh I'm so sorry ...I used to live over at Oscar;s house a couple years back. I wonder if he and his dogs are ok? Well, God bless you guys.

September 03, 2009 6:04 PM  

Blogger Roberta said:

Oh I'm so sorry to hear about this. I lived across the street from this cafe a few years back at Odi Springs where Oscar lives. I hope everyone is ok. God bless you all

September 03, 2009 6:08 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. Hidden Springs has been a blessing to so many & I'm sure God will bless your family so you can rebuild. Keep the faith.

God Bless you all.

September 04, 2009 12:27 PM  

Anonymous ALLISON said:



September 04, 2009 1:45 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Hmm, who else finds it a little odd that we have so many new posters? We know it's not all about newbies rushing to the web to look and see what Mayor Sam's bloggers have to say about the Cafe.

So a big hi to Charles White, Ashley, merider, Tracy, Billy, Deena, Jacob, Wes, Johnny, both Pats, Mike C., Lee, Michael, Roberta and Allison!

Not that I believe this is a coincidence but still...

They took the time. Hope Higby really does get money for those "clickety clicks" that MC used to talk about.

September 05, 2009 2:03 AM  

Anonymous Richard Burton Wollenhaupt said:

I have stopped at the cafe numerous times over the years and will truely miss it. Once I bought one of the books about the San Gabriel mountains and had the whole staff autograph it for me so that I could give it to a friend that loved the Angeles National Forest more than me if that's possible. I'm an electrician and will donate my time if y'all decide to rebuild. Thank you for the great memories and I'm very sorry for your loss.

September 06, 2009 10:39 AM  

Blogger vwnate1 said:

I've been stopping in for a bowl of red since 1970 , I am very glad to hear no one was hurt , you can rebuild and I surely hope you do ! .


September 07, 2009 9:44 PM  

Anonymous Kitty said:

So sorry about Hidden Springs Cafe. Did want to mention that apparently Newcombs Ranch is still standing... someone upthread said it had burned.

Hope you guys rebuild... so sorry for your mother losing so many possessions and memories.

September 08, 2009 7:52 PM  

Anonymous Tania Paddock said:

There is a site taking donations for my grandmother's cafe .... http://socalnorton.com/index.html

September 08, 2009 9:34 PM  

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