July 2008 Issue Explore Historic California - Magazine for Enthusiasts











Room 8-The Most Famous Cat in Los Angeles




Click on the 4Runner or contact us at info@explorehistoricalif.com for tour information.


Fat Hill Fandango

July 19-21, 2008

LOGO T Shirts Available


Explore Historic California with our tour logo depicting the California backcountry and its rich history both true and farce.

We now offer shirts, sweats, jerseys and cups with our logo.

Click the shirt for details!


Friends of Last Chance Canyon is a new organization interested in sustaining and protecting areas within the El Paso Mountains, near Ridgecrest, California. The main focus is preserving and protecting historic sites like Burro Schmidt's tunnel and the Walt Bickel Camp.

Please click on either logo to visit the FLCC site.


We support


Support Room 8's charitable legacy by donating to the Room 8 Memorial Cat Foundation or adopting one of their cats.

Click on Room 8's photo or phone

951-361-2205 for more information.

Friends of Bodie Day

August 10, 2008

Celebrate Bodie's history in costume. Click on the poster for more information or phone (760) 647-6564

Mules can taste the difference--so can you




It's always FIRE SEASON! Click the NIFC logo above to see what's burning.



Click on the bag to find out how.

The #1 Source for Desert News Now Has A Forum.  Come Chat!


Visit Michael Piatt's site, www.bodiehistory.com, for the truth behind some of Bodie's myths.

Terri Geissinger is a Bodie area Historian, Guide and Chautauquan. A long time resident who lives in Bodie and Smith Valley, she is dedicated to preserving stories of the pioneer families, miners, ranchers and teamsters. Click the photo to visit her site.


Back to the past in California City--Wimpy's!

8209 California City Blvd.,
California City, 93505



Explore Historic California!

     Not too many years ago, the family station wagon was the magic carpet to adventure. Today, that family station wagon is likely to be a four wheel drive sport utility vehicle or pick up truck. SUV's and other 4x4's are one of the best selling classes of vehicles. Ironically, industry statistics show that once purchased, few owners will dare to drive their vehicles off the paved highway.

     Click your mouse through the website and enjoy our armchair adventures and the histories behind them. If you are interested in taking one of our guided tours with your vehicle, please contact us at: info@explorehistoricalif.com.

     Several years ago, we bought our first SUV. We went to a one-night class at a local community college entitled "How to 4-Wheel Drive" by Harry Lewellyn. The following weekend we attended the hands-on day tour. We liked what we were doing so much that we began going out nearly every weekend and learned how to negotiate a variety of dirt roads. Our spare time was spent doing research on the history and ecology of our favorite areas. A one-day outing turned into 16 years of leading others on mini-vacations throughout Southern California and the Owens Valley.

     Our 4WD outings involve driving on easy to moderate dirt roads and are ideally suited to novice and intermediate level drivers. All tours are suitable for stock vehicles in good condition, although some tours do have vehicle size restrictions.

     Our tours are operated under permits issued by the Bureau of Land Management, and other authorities.

     We share our knowledge of the backcountry over the CB radio with our guests. We frequently stop to explore mining areas, old and new, and ponder the rocks, plants and animals we may encounter. We'll occasionally visit an old cabin or deserted mountain lookout.

     California has a fascinating history, from geologic unrest and prehistoric petroglyph scribes to the "Radium Queen of the Mojave" and the "Human Mole of Black Mountain." Load up your 4X, fasten your seatbelts and get ready to explore historic California.

Roger, Cecile and Marty

The Last Affairs of Prudent Beaudry
by Cecile Page Vargo

Following an active professional and civic life, Los Angeles pioneer, Prudent Beaudry, retreated to quiet and excellent health. Suddenly one day in the middle of  May 1893, Beaudry suffered from  a paralytic attack. Although every modern means of medical science was availed to him, Prudent Beaudry  rapidly grew worse. At 9 p.m.  May 29, Prudent Beaudry, the former mayor of Los Angeles, passed away in his home at 607 Temple Street.

Prudent Beaudry, 1884

Los Angeles Public Library

Prudent Beaudry left behind a substantial  estate under the terms of a his last will and testament dated June 20, 1891. In addition to land and houses throughout the city of Los Angeles, notes, contracts for sale of real estate, 1,062 Temple Street Railway Company shares, jewelry,  household goods and personal belongings with a combined worth of  $356,604.39 were appraised by A. Gibson, G. S. Safford and I. N. Moore. Real estate properties were located primarily in the western part of Los Angeles near the vicinity of the Sisters' Hospital, and along the Temple street cable line. All property was left in trust to his manager and executor F. W. Wood, H. Nadeau, J. M. Elliott of Los Angeles, and Prudent's brother, Joseph Beaudry who resided in Montreal.

In accordance to the will, Prudent Beaudry's body was embalmed and conveyed to Montreal where he was buried beside his brother Victor in the Catholic Cemetery "Cote des Neiges."


Meantime, let's travel back in time a bit further to September 13, 1851. We are at No. 13 Rathborn Place London, W. C. where the cries of a new born baby can be heard. Mary Froom Beaudry has just given birth to a son. Edward Aldophus was christened Catholic like his mother. Three months later, as Mary succumbs to complications from childbirth,  the infant was left in the care of Mrs. Bunyon, his nursemaid. The nursemaid, a dissenter, re-christened the child in the Protestant faith.

As the child reached school age, Mrs. Bunyon registered him in the French School on Denmark Street, also in London, W. C. where he received his early education. Up until he was seven or eight years old, Edward was well taken care of financially in a mysterious manner, with little concerns. By the time he was nine years old Mrs. Bunyon passed away, leaving Edward an orphan without knowledge of his paternity.

Edward Aldophus Beaudry, now 12 years old, went out to find his own way in life. Sir Lord Smart of Bedford Square, London, W. C. hired him as a page. He worked faithfully under liberal compensation until Lord Smart's death. At the age of 16, Edward found himself on board a steamship to Canada, upon orders of English authorities, for reason's unrevealed to him. He traveled from a dock in Scotland across the ocean to Quebec, where he was then bundled on a railcar to Montreal, apparently under the direction of an unknown benefactor. Edward found employment in various positions while he was in Canada.  His resume would include that of steward at the St. Lawrence Hotel. He was always thought highly of by employers and he was  often noted as "a man of frugal instincts, energetic, and trustworthy."

Somewhere along in time, Edward Beaudry eventually earned a reputation as a fresco artist, decorating the homes of elegant mansions in Gotham, New York. When he wound up in San Francisco, California searching for the identity of his father, he took up the brush as well. There he discovered he had an uncanny resemblance to Prudent Beaudry, the successful merchant who went on to become the mayor of Los Angeles.

1896 line drawings of Edward Beaudry (left) and Prudent Beaudry (right)                                                Los Angeles Times archive

On a quiet afternoon in the middle of October 1894, Edward Aldophus Beaudry found himself in Los Angeles on Temple Street. Now in his 40's, Edward appeared a neatly dressed man, wearing a tall silk hat, with a neat chinless beard, brown eyes, and a rather full face. He was short in stature, no more than five feet four or five inches tall. As he strolled up the street he came across a local couple also out and about, and asked if they knew which house was the residence of Prudent Beaudry. As it turned out they were just across the street from the home. The lady was well acquainted with the former Mayor. She pointed it out to Edward, stating that Mr. Beaudry had been dead for some time. Edward nodded, as he was aware that the man that he now knew to be his father, was indeed dead, and he was here to look after his estate.

Edward knocked upon the door of the former Beaudry residence on Temple Street, where the housekeeper was now leasing the place and running it as a lodging house. She was told that he was looking for a room for he and his wife. After a few moments of interchange, Edward inquired if this was the home of the late Prudent Beaudry.  Upon confirmation that it was his alleged father's home, Edward informed the housekeeper that he was the former Los Angeles mayor's son.

According to the housekeeper, Edward proceeded to tell her that the well known Los Angeles bachelor had gone to London in 1855 and married his mother. At this point he did not reveal his mother's name, but he did declare that she had died not long after he was born.

 Upon her death, Edward's father,  Prudent, left him in the capable hands of another woman. This woman died when he was nine years old. From that point in his childhood, Edward claimed to have lost all contact with his father.  

The housekeeper continued to listen as Edward explained that most of his life had been spent in and around London, but for an unspecified number of years he had been in America. While living in San Francisco he followed a string of clues that lead him to understand that his father was Prudent Beaudry. Edward also told her that two years before he had sent a letter to his father at this Temple Street address,  but received no reply.

More recently, however, a relative of his father approached him and noticed the striking resemblance that Edward had to Prudent. This prompted Edward to gather all of the information he had obtained proving his theory, and head to Los Angeles. At this point in time, he had been in the city for a couple of days. Edward told the housekeeper of his intentions to prove the legality of the marriage between his mother and his father, and that he knew of a living witness to the ceremony. He also had engaged attorneys in Los Angeles and San Francisco that could help establish his claims.

On October 22, 1894 the story Edward told to the housekeeper hit the streets of the thriving Southern California metropolis. Headlines in the Los Angeles Times shouted in bold print:


Another Heir to the Beaudry Estate


A Man in the city Who Claims That

Prudent Beaudry Was His Father


He Says He Was Born In England

And That he Can Prove The

The Legality Of His Claim.

Fred Wood, Prudent Beaudry's long time confidential advisor and business manager was left in charge of the estate. When approached by a Los Angeles Times reporter about the housekeeper's unusual visitor and his tale, he replied that he had not been contacted by the man who claimed to be his long time employer's son. To the best of  Fred Wood's knowledge the late Mr. Beaudry had never been married, and considering the relations between the two of them he most certainly would have been told about any marital relationship and possible heirs.

The months pass by and nothing else is heard in the newspapers about the new heir to Prudent Beaudry's estate.  Then on April 5, 1896 the headlines of the Los Angeles Times shout out even louder than they had before:



A Contestant Appears For Prudent

Beaudry's Estate


Incidents in the Lives of the Claimant

And the Dead Capitalist

Which Seem to Support

This Late Contention

 The time had approached for the final distribution of Prudent Beaudry's estate, and Edward Beaudry was back in town with a birth certificate proving that he was born at No. 13 Rathborn Place.  The date of his birth was September 13, 1851, and he was telling the romantic story of his mother, Mary Froom and Prudent, including her death three months after he was born.

Yet it's interesting to note, that the story that appeared two years before in the same newspaper as told by Edward Beaudry himself to the housekeeper, has the date of Prudent Beaudry coming to London in 1855. The details of Edward's own life and travels had also changed a bit. The Los Angeles Times made no reference to those changes, but the differences jump off the page as this modern historian compares the two articles.

The April 5, 1896 Los Angeles Times discusses the details of formally presenting the claims of a new heir to the Beaudry estate, and that they must be made on or before the probate proceedings would come to conclusion on May 20. It was also noted that since the claimant, Edward Adolphus Beaudry, was not a citizen of the United States, he would have two years in to present his chain of evidence to the courts and that the matter could remain in the courts for twice twelve months, should it be needed.

At this point in time,  documents in Edward's possession proved his mother's death not long after his own birth, as well as other stories about Mrs. Bunyon, the nursemaid that took charge of him, and his early education at the French School on Denmark Street in London. The family of Edward's first employer, Lord Smart, also sent acknowledgements that the man of 45 claiming to be the Prudent Beaudry heir was one and the same  as the  faithful page to the head of the Smart house, and that the life of this man could be traced back to his nurses arms from the day his mother died when he was three months of age.

More evidence of Edward's birthright was said to be waiting in London, which would mean a trip would be in order back to his home town. As there was no money available for the journey, the newspaper states that these funds were soon to be secured, with the help of the ex-attorney general of California, W. H. H. Hart.  Even if Hart didn't follow through as expected, Edward Beaudry apparently had others who would back his cause.

At this time, it was also announced that there were witnesses regarding Edward Beaudry's parentage. In addition there were witnesses who would swear that Prudent Beaudry, who was well known in California to never have been married, actually made statements that he had a son years ago. These witnesses would attest to the fact that when asked why he hadn't married, Prudent Beaudry would reply,  "I can never bring myself to the assumption of the relations with a woman which might cause her to suffer as did that woman who bore to me a son."  Reputable lawyers, and others enjoying the confidence of Prudent Beaudry over the years, also claimed they had been told the story of child whom he had supported for six or seven years in his life.

A look at the portraits of Prudent and Edward, according to the Los Angeles Times, show "them to be certainly like enough to be father and son…." Complexions are said to be the same, features and figure almost identical. Even those who knew Prudent Beaudry "are not adverse to admitting that the younger man has something more than parchment on which to base his parentage."

Reportedly, Edward was thought of sincere in thinking he was the child of the dead capitalist, and made no overtures for money to those administering to the Prudent Beaudry Estate. He was however, asking for help in gaining employment until he could prove his birthright and take proper measures for securing his inheritance. As of the date of the April 1896 newspaper article, it did not appear any attempt had been made by Beaudry executors to help Edward in his search for a job. In spite of discouragements, Edward Beaudry held on tenaciously, and was prepared to prove his case.

F. W. Wood, as executor of the Prudent Beaudry estate, and life long confidant, looked with suspicion on the claims of Edward Beaudry, and continued to carry out the very full instructions of his friend and associate.. Wood contended that Mr. Beaudry would have talked of his romance with Mary Froom at some time over the course of the years, and expressed surprise that a contest of the will was possibly in the making.

Formal notification of Edward Adolphus Beaudry's right to the estate of Prudent Beaudry as his son, were expected to be filed in Superior Court within in a matter of days.  The Los Angeles Times would announce further details of the case as they became available. Apparently, it was never taken to court, as no other newspaper articles on the subject have been found, at least by this Explore Historic California reporter.  A small notice did appear on May 17, 1899:

The Beaudry Estate
Confirmation of Sale By the Administrators
by Judge Campbell

      Prudent Beaudry died in May 1893, and now the Estate is rapidly closed out by the administrators, F.W. Wood, H. Nadeau and J. M. Elliott. Yesterday Judge Campbell confirmed the sale of a number of Pieces of property, but bids were reopened in the Courtroom on three lots.
      Mrs. Hannah Ellen Haynes has bid $3000 for the "Kimball Mansion," situated on the bluff on Buena Vista Street, and one of the landmarks of the city, but when bids were re-opened the Price was run up to $4000 at which figure Mrs. Haynes became the purchaser.
      Another piece of Property on Buena Vista Street brought $2603, And 66.21 acres bounded by Alhambra Avenue, The lands of Mari Ybarra de Ruiz, and the Mission Road brought $20,000. In all, the sale aggregated About $50,000.




City-Makers: The story of SouthernCalifornia's First Boom
by Remi Nadeau
Trans-Anglo Books (Out of Print)

Sixty Years in Southern California 1853 - 1913, Containing the reminiscences of Harris Newmark
by Harris Newmark; Maurice H. and Marco R. Newmark
(Out Of Print)

Los Angeles Times archives via Pro Quest

Los Angeles County Biographies
Prudent Beaudry


The Library of Congress Map collection


The David Rumsey Historical Map Collection


The Los Angeles Public Library Photo collection

The Piute Fire 2008

The Piute Fire has consumed more than 26,000 acres (as of 7/7/2008) in the Piute Mountains near Lake Isabella. The blaze of undetermined origin started June 28. More than 1200 firefighters from the Kern County Fire Department, U.S. Forest Service, CAL FIRE, and Bureau of Land Management are on the lines. The goal is to:

  • Keep fire west of Kelso Valley Road.
  • Keep fire south of Highway 178.
  • Keep fire north of Walker Basic Road.
  • Keep fire east of Caliente Bodfish Road.

Click here for an interactive Google map of the fire area

Click here to visit the Kern Co. Fire Dept. Piute Fire info page

Here are some selections for our past visits to the Piutes. These areas are presently threatened by the fire or have already been burned. It was good to have been there.


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