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Chapter #366: Thompson Springs, Utah - History - February 19, 2019


Now abandoned, this wood frame house in Thompson Springs, Utah had a rail car addition tacked on at one time - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)

Bob Robertson's Boyhood Memories of Thompson Springs, Utah

Some say, “History repeats itself”. In Thompson Springs, Utah, it simply vanishes.

Exiting Interstate I-70 at “Thompson”, as the locals call it, is like entering a time warp. Approaching the town on a desolate two-lane road, it feels like you are entering Thompson in the 1890's. In those days “Old Man Thompson” still ran the lumber mill. These days, there are no more trees to fell. There are no
All the storefronts in Downtown Thompson Springs, Utah now stand abandoned to the weather - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)more Thompson's listed in the phone book. No more steam trains linger at the railroad depot, taking on passengers, coal or water. The nearest passenger station is now miles away, at Green River.

In the past ten years, I have written nine blog articles that mention Thompson or Thompson Springs. I physically revisit the place every year or two. For some reason, Thompson, as a place resonates with me. In 2018, I heard from Mr. Bob Robertson, who was once a resident of Thompson. Since then, Bob has shared with me many details about the history of “Thompson”, as many call the place. Therefore, the rest of this article is in the words of Bob Robertson and his mother, Dorothy (known as Tods).

Bob Robertson (left) and his older sister Maurine pose near their home in Thompson Springs, Utah, circa 1940 - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)“Your blog prompted many memories and thoughts about the area I’d like to share, so bear with me as an old man reflects (while he is still able)!

Thompson Springs began its life in 1883 as a station stop on the D&RGW Railroad. A post office was established in 1890, under the name “Thompson’s," named after E.W. Thompson, who lived near the springs and operated a saw mill, to the north, near the Book Cliffs. The town became a community center for the small number of farmers and ranchers who lived in the inhospitable region, and it was a prominent shipping point for cattle that ran in the Book Cliffs area.

The town gained importance with the development of coal mines in Sego Canyon, a few miles north of town. Entrepreneurs built a railroad there in 1911 to connect the mines with the Denver & Rio Grande Western railroad at Thompson. The spur line operated until about 1950.

This abandoned miner's rock home used a railroad track for its doorway header - Click for larger image (http://jaqmesmcgillis.com)One added aspect of interest is the actual community of Sego, where the mines were functioning through the 1940s. I remember as a kid in school in Moab, there was a carload of kids driven from Sego to Moab daily to go to school. Education was Grand County's responsibility, until the mines closed around 1948 or 1949. The internet tells of how the community included specific ethnic groups, housed in separate locations in the canyon, which was typical of the times. There was a Japanese section, different European sections, etc. There is very little indication of old home sites now, but there is a cemetery.

It was much like Bingham Canyon Mine in northern Utah, where my wife was born in 1940. Her dad and his brother worked in the mine there during the The Thompson Springs passenger railroad depot was abandoned in 1997 and torn down in 2016 - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)Second World War, but the uncle was an accountant and her dad drove heavy machinery. Therefore, they had to live in different locations within the canyon.

Construction of Interstate I-70, two miles south of Thompson, drew traffic away from the town, since the former Old Cisco Highway (US-6 & US-50) was no longer maintained. In 1997, the passenger train station closed and moved to Green River, twenty-five miles to the west. The loss of railroad passenger service led to further economic hardship for Thompson Springs.

My Dad (Maury Robertson) ran a gas station in Thompson Springs, beginning in 1935. He lived in a tent with Mom and sister Maurine until they moved the abandoned small one-room Valley City schoolhouse to Thompson, which became their bedroom on their house next to the service station.

A 1935 image of the Robertson Service Station in Thompson Springs featured UTOCO Oil Products beer for sale, inside - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)I was born in 1937. Later, my Mom made the following comments for my own son about my arrival:
“Dear Dan, Your Dad was born when we lived in Thompson. We hadn’t planned to have more children, for Maury was afraid there would be problems of health because of Maurine (Bob’s sister). In addition, we were very poor and living conditions were bad in Thompson. During pregnancy, I got big & miserable with hay fever & also the gnats landed & mixed with my hay fever drink. At that time, Maury had the hired man drive me to Moab two weeks early. The nights in Moab were so hot I about melted – the nights on the desert in Thompson were cool.

Dorothy and Maury Robertson (parents of Maurine and Bob Robertson) sit for a portrait in 1942 - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)When Bob was born, my Dad (Cap Maxwell) drove out to Thompson to tell Maury & he was so tickled with a boy that he told the truth. Maury thought it was a girl all the way to Moab, for he did not think Dad would tell the truth. Cap was a great tease. We argued about what to name the boy. I wanted Vincent Clark & Maury wanted Jim after his father. We already had one Jim in the family. Maurine came to the hospital & said let us name him Bobby & so that was it.

He had a rough upbringing with the hired men that we had at the station in Thompson. Collin Loveridge used to throw him in the air so high I’d nearly flip & Albert Brown, who was a big “roughy” used to get him up in the morning & feed him & let me sleep in. When Bob would not eat his toast for me Albert said, “Oh, I put sugar & Jelly on it, he likes it.”


This abandoned storefront once served as a grocery store in Thompson Springs, Utah - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)My Uncle Curt (Dad's brother and business partner in Moab tacked that old schoolhouse onto a storefront that old Doc Williams bought. It became living quarters for my folks, moving Mom & Dad and sister Maurine out of the tent. That was where I got my start. The two-pump service station has the name labeled on the front "Robertson Service," It’s kind of hard to make out in the picture. The brand was Utoco (Utah Oil Co.). Dad also drove the gas truck servicing the towns in the area, Cisco, Moab, Monticello, Blanding, and Bluff).”

Since I-70 became the main east/west route across Utah, lost are locations and memories of road trips from Moab to Grand Junction, Colorado or Price, Utah. Crescent Junction became the first stop after the interstate opened. Then as kids, going west, there was the thrill of the cold-water geyser at Woodside. Traveling east, after Thompson came Cisco, Harley Dome, and then Fruita.

This vintage bumper tag once advertised the now defunct cold-water Roadside Geyser in Woodside, Utah - Click for larger image (htp://jamesmcgillis.com)Valley City was home to enough people at some point to warrant a small schoolhouse (that became our home in Thompson Springs, as mentioned earlier). This is where we would drive from Moab in the winter to ice skate on the Valley City reservoir. It was not much of a spot for skating, but to us kids, it was great.

At age 21, Maurine Robertson (1930-1953) was named Grand County, Utah Queen of the Rodeo - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)Sis (Maurine Robertson), who was born with a congenital heart defect, died in 1953, during my sophomore year in high school. She had lived twenty-three good years and had brought much joy and happiness to all who knew her. Two years earlier, she had been crowned Rodeo Queen and received much deserved recognition for the beautiful person she was.”


In 1955, Bob Robertson went on to graduate from Grand County High School in Moab. In 1961, after earning a BS Electrical Engineering at the University Of Utah, he joined the “U.S. Space Program” before it even had a name. After
active military time at White Sands Proving Ground, New Mexico and Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, Bob launched a distinguished career in electronics and Author Bob Robertson and his sister, Maurine in 1952 - Click for full Robertson family portrait (http://jamesmcgillis.com)engineering.

While working for such premier corporations as Intel, Fairchild, AC Spark Plug, Astrodata, Standard Microsystems, Mini-circuits and Motorola, Bob and his family lived in Singapore, Indonesia and Russia. After a later stint teaching at Great Basin College, in Elko, Nevada, Bob moved to Boise, Idaho, where he retired working for Micron Technology. He and his wife (grandparents of twenty-two) now live comfortably in northern Idaho.

Although he has not visited Thompson recently, Bob Robertson's recollections of bygone locations and events in the old ranching and railroad town are as sharp as ever. Thank you, Bob Robertson for sharing your personal history with us all.

This is Part 2 of the Thompson Springs Story. To read Part 1, “Thompson Springs, Utah - From Boom Town to Ghost Town”, please click “Here”. To read Part 3, "Sego Canyon - Land of the Ancients", please click "Here".

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By James McGillis at 03:23 PM | Travel | Comments (0) | Link


Chapter #365: Visit Historic Thompson Springs, Utah - January 18, 2019


Along old Highway 6 & 50, an abandoned home stands in Thompson Springs, Utah - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)

Thompson Springs, Utah - From Boom Town to Ghost Town

In May 2008, when I made my first visit to Thompson Springs, Utah, I had no idea what to expect. Before that, I had never heard of the place. While in Moab that year, someone had suggested that I visit the old Indian Rock Art panels in nearby Sego Canyon. After wending my way from Moab, north on U.S. Highway 191, I referred to my Utah Atlas & Gazetteer. By following a few simple turns, I soon connected to an unpaved strip of dirt named Valley City Road. According to my map, that road ran on a diagonal, straight to Thompson Springs.

Old U.S. Highway 6 & 50 is no longer maintained through Thompson Springs, Utah - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)On that dusty track, I thought about the name, originally called “Thompson”. Someone later added the word “Springs” to the official place name. The 1961 book, “Five Hundred Utah Place Names”, has no mention of either Thompson or Thompson Springs. Although almost every source now labels it as Thompson Springs, the locals in Grand County have shortened the moniker to “Thompson”. For the sake of brevity, I shall henceforth call the place Thompson.

Indeed, Thompson had once been a thriving town, located on old Highway U.S. 6 & 50. In the first half of the twentieth century, the town featured a hotel, a motel, a diner, a grocery store, several filling stations and a passenger railroad depot. Up past the ancient rock art in Sego Canyon ran a standard gauge railroad, which serviced a low-grade coalmine at its terminus. In the days of steam locomotives, the fresh water springs at Thompson created a In the early 20th century, Thompson Springs was a mandatory water stop for the steam locomotives of the time - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)mandatory stopping place for all trains traveling along the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad mainline. By the 1970s, diesel-electric locomotives had replaced steam power, making a water-stop in Thompson irrelevant.

Simultaneously, the newly completed Interstate I-70 bypassed Thompson entirely. The old Highway 6 & 50, while skirting the southern edge of the Book Cliffs, had bisected Thompson. On its stretch between Green River and Cisco, the new route for I-70 lay several miles to the south. The widowed owner of the Crescent Junction service station had lobbied hard to have the new highway to pass adjacent to her business. In deference to her desires, the chief highway engineer at the time changed the final I-70 route to suit her needs. That Crescent Junction gas station still stands today, now known as Papa Joe’s Stop & Go.

For the first half of the 20th century a railroad was used to transfer coal from Sego Canyon, in the Book Cliffs to Thompson Springs, Utah - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)The realigning of I-70 that far north necessitated a major road-cut just west of Crescent Junction. Eastbound from Crescent Junction, highway engineers saw no way to include Thompson in their plans. As was the story with many towns built along earlier highways and rail lines, running the interstate through Thompson would have destroyed the place. Instead, they skirted Thompson, thus creating an eastbound route with an unexpected descending curve. The softhearted chief engineer had foregone a more logical and less difficult route in deference to the owner of one small business in Crescent Junction.

After the complete bypass of Thompson, only a single new service station was visible from the interstate highway. Although a highway interchange allowed By 2018, the closed Silver Grill at Thompson Springs displayed broken windows and other signs of vandalism - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)access to Thompson from both eastbound and westbound I-70, few travelers visited the town. For almost forty years, from around 1970 until the Moab tourism boom beginning in 2010, Thompson continued to wither and die.

In recent years, the Desert Moon Hotel and RV Park and the Ballard RV Park and Cabins have sprung back to life. The Ballard RV Park stands on a site that housed hundreds of trailer homes during the construction of the interstate highway. Recently refurbished, the Ballard now houses many seasonal workers recently “priced out” of Moab, thirty-eight miles away. As the new working class suburb for Moab, the Ballard rarely has a seasonal vacancy for overnight travelers.

The road north from Thompson Springs to Sego Canyon first crosses Old Highway 6 & 50, and then the Union Pacific Railroad before entering the canyon - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)Despite the success of the Desert Moon and the Ballard, by 2015 no other publically identified businesses functioned in Thompson. The Thompson Motel, The old brick-front Silver Grill and the railroad depot had all shut down for good. One of the few functioning landmarks was the namesake Thompson Springs waterworks. There, local residents and trucks from the nearby Utah Department of Transportation yard could fill their water tanks. Other than the gas station and minimart located near I-70, there were few signs of economic vitality.

By 2018, after extensive damage by vandals, the Union Pacific Railroad had torn down its defunct passenger rail depot. One after another, as abandoned homes or businesses became a danger to the public, they disappeared, An old Lake Powell pontoon boat serves as a dwelling in Thompson Springs, Utah. Note the stovepipe and water slide - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)seemingly without a trace. Within the town, the last census indicates that thirty-nine hardy souls dwell in the alternating heat and cold of the desert. Other sources claim up to ninety-three people reside in Thompson.

Recently, a landlocked pontoon boat somehow made its way from Lake Powell to Thompson, where it sits up on blocks. With its waterslide still intact and a stovepipe running up the side of the cabin, I wondered if it was a remote retreat or someone’s permanent home. Could this be the beginning of a new housing boom in Thompson?

Despite sporadic signs of life, Thompson appears to be transitioning to ghost town status. In the past decade, many former landmarks have disappeared. Each time I visit Thompson, I try to take pictures of the remaining structures.
When local residents spot a visitor in Thompson Springs, Utah, they come running - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)Upon my next visit, there will surely be fewer of them still standing.

This is Part 1 of the Thompson Springs Story. In Part Two, Bob Robertson, a native of the area born in 1937 reminisces about his childhood in Thompson and Grand County, Utah.

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By James McGillis at 02:47 PM | Travel | Comments (0) | Link


Chapter #364: Santa Susana Field Lab Contamination - November 18, 2018


Sixty Years After a Nuclear Core Meltdown, Half a Million Residents Are Still At Risk

In California, the hills are alive, but not with the sound of music. On Thursday, November 8, 2018, a small fire started near the top of Woolsey Canyon Road, in the Simi Hills. The location was on the grounds of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL). Both famous and infamous, the facility once owned by the Rocketdyne Corporation, was used for development and testing of liquid fueled rocket motors from 1949 to 2006.

This pyrocumulus cloud arose from the Santa Susana Field Laboratory near Simi Valley, California on November 9, 2018 - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)The Atomics International division of North American Aviation once used a separate and dedicated portion of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory to build and operate the first commercial nuclear power plant in the United States. The Sodium Reactor Experiment (SRE) was an experimental nuclear reactor that operated at the site from 1957 to 1964. It was the first commercial power plant in the world to experience a core meltdown. The reactors located on the grounds of SSFL had no containment structures. During a series of events, thousands of pounds of radioactive nucleotides dispersed into the ground and air.

In 1996, The Boeing Company became the primary owner and operator of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory, which it later closed. Today, more than 150,000 people live within 5 miles (8 km) of the facility, and at least half a million people live within 10 miles (16 km). As of 2018, the Boeing remains as Smoke rises over the closed Highway 118 in Simi Valley as hills near the Santa Susana Field Laboratory during the Peak Fire, November 11, 2018 - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)the site owner, with NASA and the Department of Energy (DOE) liable for several parcels within the larger facility. On August 2, 2005, Pratt & Whitney purchased Boeing's Rocketdyne division, but declined to acquire SSFL as part of the sale.

In 2005, wildfires swept through northern Los Angeles County and parts of Ventura County. The fires consumed most of the dry brush throughout the Simi Hills where the SSFL is located. Since that fire, allegations have emerged that vast quantities of on-site nuclear and chemical contamination vaporized into the air. More recently, Los Angeles County firefighters assigned to SSFL during that fire received medical testing to see if they ingested or inhaled any harmful doses while protecting the facility.

As seen from the corner of Cochran Street and 1st Street in Simi Valley the Simi Hills were ablaze on November 9, 2018 - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)The small fire that broke out at the SSFL in the afternoon of November 8, 2018 was sadly reminiscent of the 1959 meltdown and the 2005 wildfire. Ground crews from Los Angeles City and County raced up the long and winding Woolsey Canyon. Upon arrival, they found a scorched and inoperable Southern California Edison (SCE) electrical transformer near the point of origin. The resulting brushfire had raced off the property to the south and west.
The Alpha, Bravo and possibly the Coca rocket test stands received substantial damage during the recent Woolsey Fire.

On the first afternoon of the fire, the ridges of the Simi Hills, including areas near the former nuclear reactor sites were fully involved in flames. The Los Angeles County Fire Department dispatched its two “Super Scooper” firefighting airplanes. After dropping their 1,600 gallons of water, the pair of “flying boat amphibious aircraft” headed for Castaic Lake, near Santa Clarita. There, at airspeeds approaching 100 mph, each plane took only twelve seconds to scoop up a new load of water and The Canadian "Super Scooper" firefighting aircraft can drop 1,650 gallons of water on a wildfire - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)return to the fire scene. At least six times, before darkness curtailed their activities, the two airplanes attempted to douse the spreading wildfire. With Santa Ana Winds gusting to 70 mph, it was a valiant, yet futile endeavor.

By Friday, November 10, 2018, the flames had swept through portions of Thousand Oaks, Westlake, Agoura Hills, Calabasas and Bell Canyon. most of that territory was downwind of the SSFL. By nightfall on that second night, the flames had reached Malibou Lake and the City of Malibu. Only the Pacific Ocean stopped the further spread of flames.

Over the next few days, the unexplained small fire at SSFL had grown to almost 100,000 acres and burned almost 500 homes. At 98,000 acres and still climbing, the Woolsey Fire had consumed well over eighty percent of the Santa Monica National Recreation Area. On two separate parcels of private property near Agoura Hills, three lives were lost during the fire. From our vantage Vast areas within the Santa Susana Field Laboratory near Simi Valley, California burned for up to three days in November 2018 (http://jamesmcgillis.com)point, on the north side of Simi Valley, we observed two nights of active flames. On the third day, we could still see wispy smoke emanating from near the fire’s point of origin. With Santa Ana winds still gusting to 60 mph, the smoke plume traveled south and east, away from our home.

On Sunday, November 11, 2018, we watched on local television as a DC-10 air tanker and numerous helicopters dropped water and fire retardant on the slopes above Malibu Canyon. Since spot fires can occur up to half a mile from active flames, we had stationed our travel trailer at our home in Simi Valley. Although there had been no active fire near our storage yard in Simi Valley, if one coach were to catch fire at that yard, hundreds of recreational vehicles could have burned.

A Los Angeles County Firehawk helicopter descends for a water pickup in Simi Valley, California - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)As of that afternoon, hundreds of thousands of residents downwind of the SSFL remained evacuated or had returned to scenes of destruction and despair. Other than some mental stress watching fires spread live on TV, we remained safe at home. Our hearts go out to those who lost friends, pets, homes and property. Although not every home that burned was a mansion or a faux Tuscan villa and vineyard, a mobile home in a canyon setting can be just as dear. Many of the lower priced dwellings had no fire insurance.

To an eyewitness, it is disconcerting to see how quickly everything you own could go up in flames. As humans, we are at the mercy of wind, weather and nature. Some politicians and some who lost homes blamed land managers or first responders for the scope of destruction. Others recognized that there is risk associated with living adjacent to wildlands. With high winds and embers aloft, there was no way to protect every home. First responders had to change priorities, electing to save as many lives as possible.

This DC-10 tanker aircraft can deliver 12,000 gallons of fire retardant on each pass over the flames - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)In Butte County, near Chico, California, almost the entire town of Paradise recently disappeared from the map. Prior to outbreak of the “Camp Fire”, around 27,000 people lived in that area. Almost nothing of the built environment in Paradise or nearby Concow withstood the flames. Over 10,000 structures burned, including homes, schools and the entire downtown district. Scores of people died in their homes, or while trying to escape on foot or in vehicles. As of this writing, nearly one thousand people remain missing.

The scope of these tragedies is hard to comprehend. Where will 27,000 homeless people go? Over twenty-five percent of those displaced were senior citizens, living on fixed or minimal incomes. With cold and rainy weather expected soon, a tent encampment in a Chico, California Walmart parking lot will not provide sufficient shelter. Here in Ventura County, less than one year ago, we lost almost 1000 homes to the Thomas Fire. In late 2017, an The only portion of Leo Carrillo State Beach that was left untouched by fire was the beach itself - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)additional 2,900 homes burned in Santa Rosa, California. As a result, tens of thousands of California residents are now actively seeking shelter.

Over the past ten years, Carrie McCoy and I have visited Malibu many times. One of our favorite restaurants overlooks Zuma Beach and Point Dume. During the Woolsey Fire, many homes near that seaside restaurant burned to the ground. While returning from our various trips to Malibu, we would often traverse Decker Canyon, Encinal Canyon, Mulholland Highway and Kanan Road. Those interconnected roadways snake through myriad canyons and rise over windswept ridgetops. Amidst the huge swaths of chaparral, are homes both lowly and grand. Many of those dwellings now consist of little more than a roadside gate or a mailbox. Our next visit to Malibu will likely include views of destruction not seen for decades, if ever before.

During the Peak Fire in Simi Valley on November 12, 2018, it looked like "business as usual" as firefighters rushed to the wildfire - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)In 1980, I lived in Agoura Hills, near the intersection of Kanan Road and U.S. Highway 101. One afternoon, from my hilltop home, I saw a fire ignite on the south side of the freeway. Within minutes, it swept westward along Kanan Road. By nightfall, it reached the same stretches of Malibu that burned again in the Woolsey Fire. That day, almost forty years ago, I learned firsthand that it is not safe to live anywhere in the windswept canyons of the Santa Monica Mountains.

By the early 1990s, the Kanan/Malibu fire had faded into distant memory. The allure of living large, with nature all around was too great. What followed was a population boom in the canyons of the Santa Monica Mountain. When the Woolsey Fire struck, most of those residents had never seen active fire in their area. Living in the Santa Monica Mountains is a speculative investment. If one can afford to take the risk to both property and personal safety, then building
The Erickson Skycrane dumped thousands of gallons of water on the Peak Fire, near the Santa Susana Field Laboratory, Simi Valley, California in November 2018 (http://jamesmcgillis.com)or buying there should be a personal choice. Since no property in that area is immune to destructive wildfires, self-insurance and private fire protection should be the rule, not the exception.

Returning to the origins of this most recent and destructive wildfire, the SSFL is now an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) superfund site. To this day, Boeing Company, NASA and the DOE administrate various parts of the property. Although there has been some minor cleanup, there has never been a complete remediation of the nuclear and chemical contamination caused during the second half of the twentieth century. With "scorching" of the remaining rocket test stands in the Woolsey Fire, it remains to be seen if any of that infrastructure is salvageable.

The public never heard a definitive answer regarding the firefighters' exposed to possible contamination during the 2005 wildfire at SSFL. After the Woolsey Fire, the California Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC) claimed, “There was no discernible radiation in the tested area.” As one of the 500,000
Pretty as a picture, eighty-five percent of the Santa Monica National Recreation Area was burned in November 2018 - Click for large image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)people who reside within ten miles of the radiological and chemical nightmare known as the SSFL, I believe that everyone in the area has the right to know exactly what our environmental exposure was and continues to be.

After the Woolsey Fire, Los Angeles County banned the removal of any fire rubble until completion of toxicity surveys of each affected property. Neither Ventura County nor Los Angeles County has plans to test beyond the SSFL for possible radioactive contamination. It is time for the public and our elected officials to demand nothing less than full testing, cleanup and remediation of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory.

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By James McGillis at 03:07 PM | Environment | Comments (0) | Link


Chapter #363: Classmate Bob Lovejoy (1948 - 2018) - August 21, 2018


Bob Lovejoy (1948-2018), Burbank High School Class of 1966 - Click for larger image of Bob and his son Clay (http://jamesmcgillis.com)

Bob Lovejoy (1948-2018), Burbank High School Class of 1966

There is an inscribed plaque on the wall of a building in Old Chinatown, Santa Barbara, California. Placed by the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation, (SBTHP), the plaque reads: In the late 1800’s, ten percent of Santa Barbara’s population was Chinese, who formed a community along the first two blocks of Cañon Perdido Street and parts of Anacapa and Santa Barbara Streets. Flourishing within China Town were grocery stores, import-export businesses, a laundry, Chinese Junk maker, Joss House, herbalists, restaurants and private social clubs with adult entertainment. Chinatown also housed the Nationalist Chinese Party, Koumintang, the Hop Sing Tong, the Chee Kung Tong and the Bing Kong Tong.

A painting of Jimmy's Oriental Gardens, Santa Barbara, California - Click for larger image of a painting by BHS '66 classmate John Klippinger (http://jamesmcgillis.com)Around 1895 the Chung family arrived here, and in 1947 descendant, Jimmy Yee Chung opened "
Jimmy's Oriental Gardens
" on this site. The Chung family is the last to remain in Old Chinatown. Dedicated this 15th day of March 1997.

Few were as excited to find that garden, as was local resident
Bob Lovejoy, who first stumbled upon Jimmy's in 1976 while working nearby. Stepping out of Jimmy’s thirty years later for some fresh air, Lovejoy noticed a "For Lease" sign on the building next door - today home to Handlebar Coffee - and decided that was where he and his son Clay, would realize their long-standing dream of opening a deli.

Classmates Bob Lovejoy, Carrie McCoy, James McGillis, Sharlean Magid and Phil Gieselman await the opening of The Pickle Room in September 2013 - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)In spring of 2006, they christened it Three Pickles. At that time, Bob and Clay were thrilled that Jimmy's Oriental Gardens was literally steps away. "I thought I'd died and gone to heaven," said Bob. Jimmy's Oriental Gardens was a longtime favorite for locals and tourists alike, before closing its doors in 2006, with the retirement of operator Tommy Chung.

As the driving force, Bob Lovejoy vowed to see Jimmy's open once more, serving food and drinks to both the neighborhood and the populous at large. After seven years of diligent efforts, Longtime Jimmy's regular Bob Lovejoy and his son Clay succeeded in remaking the historic bar into
The Pickle Room. In September 2013, several of Bob's Burbank High School Class of 1966 classmates attended the reopening
of the historic establishment. It was a fun and nostalgic afternoon for all. But Regulars, friends and former classmates of Bob Lovejoy attend the opening of Lovejoy's The Pickle Room in September 2013 - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)first, Bob hosted an excellent deli lunch at The Three Pickles, next door.

As 4:30 PM approached, classmates and old-timers waited patiently outside for Jimmy's Oriental Gardens to reopen as
The Pickle Room. When the big red doors swung open, the stylishly redecorated room filled immediately with happy patrons. At sunset, Bob Lovejoy, his wife Dawn and son Clay presided over the revelries. "This building deserves it," said Bob, but he also believes in the people making it happen, namely bartender Willy Gilbert
. "Willy is the key to this whole place," Bob told the Santa Barbara Independent.

The chauffeur's hat in a Rolls Royce symbolizes Bob Lovejoy's longstanding service to his Santa Barbara, California community - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)Less than five years after achieving his dream of resurrecting his favorite place in Santa Barbara, Bob Lovejoy passed away on July 7, 2018. He had a massive stroke on Friday, July 6. Lynn (Lovejoy) Volgraff (BHS 1965) was with Bob and his family when they took him off life support and he passed away quickly. No pain. "We are all in shock and now the real work will begin since he had two delis, the Three Pickles and the Pickle Room in Santa Barbara". He leaves wife Dawn, son Clay and daughter Athena, along with three grandchildren.

Bob Lovejoy will be missed by all who knew him and thousands more who enjoyed the hospitality and ambiance of both Three Pickles and The Pickle Room. At the newly revived Jimmy's Oriental Gardens in Old Chinatown, Santa Barbara, California, everybody knew Bob's name.

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By James McGillis at 04:42 PM | Current Events | Comments (0) | Link

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Navajo Power Plant Heat Island Effect
Of Mudflats and Methane Volcanoes
Metrolink Anti-Derailment Blade Failure
Metrolink to Spend $338 Million
The Glenn Steele Memorial Overpass
5th & Rice - A Deadly Railroad Crossing
The One, the Only - Plush Kokopelli
Metrolink Train Crash, A Personal Story
Moab, Utah - Lions Club Park - Part 2
Moab, Utah - Lions Club Park - Part 1
Deadly Crude Oil Trains Coming Soon
Metrolink Oxnard Train Collision Report
2015 Rare California Rain Barrels Help
So. California Lakes Soon to Disappear
C.Proietto - Cattolica, Cafe Eden Roco
Hollywood: "Violence is the New Sex"
2014 Spanish Valley Vineyards
Durango & Silverton Railroad Story
Is it Too Late to Save Moab, Utah?
BLM & SITLA - URLEA Subterfuge
Moab Pile to be "Moab Pit" - 2029
Moab in Springtime - May 2014
Old Mesquite, NV - Gone For Good
I-15 North - Mojave Desert Tour
Grand Co. Plans to Desecrate Site
Moab - County Plans Fail the Test
2014 - Quantum Leap in ATM Theft
Moab Kiley - Peaceful BLM Protest
Stop The BLM-SITLA Land Swap
Utah Recreational Land Exchange
Burro Cranes - A Complete History
Moab Burro at Seven Mile Canyon
Brightsource Solar's Flawed Design
Trend - Horsepower Mitigation Fees
Moab Rim Campark Sold in 2014
Durango, CO - Engine #478 - 1965
Durango, CO - Engine #476 - 1965
Red Lake Trading Post, Tonalea, AZ
Deconstruction at Cow Springs, AZ
Cow Springs, Navajo Art - 2013
Navajo/Hopi, New Energy Dilemma
Peabody Coal Stripmine Disappears
An Arizona River Dies in the Desert
Black Mesa Coal - Water & Power
2013 - The Great Western Drought
Homolovi State Park, AZ - No Ruins
C.Proietto Paints at Lago Maggiore
American Bison Herd Threatened
I-40, Twin Arrows - Both Old & New
Interstate I-40 E. Highway Robbery
Simi Valley Brush Fire - Air Power
I-40: Highway Tax Dollars At Work
Kristi Frazier - World Citizen Award
Sierra Nevada, CA - 2013 Drought
Desolation Canyon Wilderness Area
The Holbrook Basin Potash Project
Moab - Revisit Seven Mile Canyon
Moab - Greater Canyonlands N.M.
Thomas Kinkade - Yosemite Valley
C.Proietto Paints Lugano, Gandria
Paso Robles, CA - Wine Adventure
Colorado River Dine & Unwind Moab
Kodiak 100 --> Moab Charter Flight
The True Cost of Mineral Extraction
Moab Truck - 1950 Chevy 3100
Disappearance --> Reemergence
Edward Abbey - His Spirit Returns
Edward Abbey - Monkey Wrenching
Edward Abbey - Lake Powell 1965
Edward Abbey - Desert Solitaire 65
A New Message From AAMikael
C.Proietto Paints Bad Kreuznach
New Jersey - The New Atlantis?
Moab - A Rare Beech B-45 (T-34A)
Howell Mountain, CA - Winemaking
Oakville, CA - Robt. Mondavi Wines
Crescent Junction, UT - in 1955
Craig Childs - Apocalyptic Planet
Mammoth Lakes, CA - 1st. Snowfall
Mesquite, NV - A Disappearing Act
The Mystery of Hovenweep Road
Moab Airport - Canyonlands Field
Moab, UT - Save Ken's Lake Puddle
Jeeps & Downtown Abbey in Moab
Moab Valley vs. Spanish Valley, UT
Moab, Utah - Go Behind the Rocks
Moab Adventure Xstream Race '12
Face on Mars - Is it John Lennon?
C.Proietto - Paints The Dolomites
Moab Tower - The Wireless Story
Brendel, Utah - A History Mystery
C.Proietto - New Mystery Painting
Tsunami Risks Up in Crescent Bays
"Moab Native" Potash Comments
C.Proietto - And The Glory of Rome
L.A. to Australia, by 34-ft. Sailboat
Interstate I-70 East through Utah
Mesquite, NV - Opportunity Lost?
Las Vegas, NV "Drive-by" - I-15N
Ivanpah Valley, CA - Mega-Solar
Pearblossom Hwy. - Palmdale Road
C.Proietto - Venice Sunset, Sunrise
24-Hours of Moab 2012 to Happen
C.Proietto - A Portrait of the Artist
AOL & Yahoo Mail Getting Hacked
ATM Retail Technology - New & Old
C.Proietto - Solving An Art Mystery
Mulholland Drive, Los Angeles, CA
Hollywood - To The Sign & Beyond
Hollywood - Legendary Paul Pink's
Kokopelli Credit Union - New ATM
#1 Google Ranking & How to Get It
C.Proietto - Two New Oil Paintings
LACoFD Truck 8 at Hollywood Bowl
I-405 Golden Crane Air Hazard
Beware: Hoax/Scam Phishing Sites
A Quantum Leap in Super PAC $$$
I-405 Mulholland Bridge Update
Moab Skydiving Video - May 2011
Tonopah Desert, AZ Thunderstorm
Anticline Overlook - Ancient Spirit
ATM Bank Robbery Now Easier Still
Ronald Reagan Presidential Library
Chaco Canyon - Kin Klizhin Sunset
Chaco Canyon - Kin Klizhin Ruin
Chaco Canyon, Spirit of Lizard Man
Chaco Canyon, NM - Campground
White Mesa, Utah - Uranium Mill
Hidden Costs in Biofuels Revealed
Arches National Park Threatened
Moab Rail - The U. P. Potash Local
Toxic Purple Dust Covers Moab, UT
U.S. Highway 191 in Moab, Utah
Kindle Fire Tablet vs. Nook Tablet
Ken's Lake 2011 Update, Moab, UT
24-Minutes of Moab Kids Bike Race
24-Hrs. of Moab, The Final Sunset?
24-Hours of Moab 2011 Race Start
24-Hrs. of Moab Race Live Webcam
The Long Run - Eagles Tribute Band
Petrified Forest, Going, Going, Gone
Nuclear Dust Storm Hits Moab, UT
Moab Rainbow - August 1, 2011
C.Proietto - The Man From Amalfi
I-405 UCLA Rampage - 11/22/66
Moab Rim RV Campark - 2011
C.Proietto Paints the Amalfi Coast
C.Proietto - Modern Impressionist
I-405 Mulholland Drive Bridge
Moab Pile - Countdown to Disaster
Wigwam Village - Holbrook, AZ
New Live Webcam from Moab, UT
Kathy Hemenway - World Citizen
Desert View Mobil - Needles, CA
Mojave Desert Transit in May 2011
Colorado River Basin At Risk - Ch.4
Holbrook, AZ Water Crisis - Ch. 3
Holbrook Basin, AZ Potash - Ch. 2
Little Colorado River Basin - Ch. 1
Port Orford, Oregon - Tsunami
Hope for Atlantis - Chapter 4
Future of Atlantis - Chapter 3
The New Atlantis - Chapter 2
Atlantis, Myth or Fact? - Chapter 1
Kevin Rutherford - Freightliner RV
WindSong - Ericson 35 Sailboat
Moab Pile - The Mill Tailings Train
Moab Pile - Here Comes the Flood
24-Hours of Moab 2010 - The Race
24-Hours of Moab 2010 - The Start
24-Hours of Moab 2010 - Pre-Race
Moab, Utah - Winter Snowstorms
Happy New Decade - 2011
Save Ken's Lake, Moab, Utah 2010
UPS Air - Moab, Utah Style
Crescent Junction & Brendel, Utah
Green River to Floy, Utah - Video
Moab Ranch - The Movie & Webcam
An Oregon Cascades Range Sunset
The Port at Port Orford, Oregon
Simi Valley, CA Two Live Webcams
Two New MoabLive.com Webcams
Ave. of the Giants, Humboldt, CA
Port Orford, OR - Of Bears & Deer
Goodbye Arizona - We'll Miss You.
Port Orford, OR - Home For Sale
Sun, Moon and the Chakras of Gaia
2010 Super Bowl Advertising
Navajo National Monument Sunset
California Redwoods Elk Herd
A New Decade - The 2010's Begin
Moab - Could Floods Happen Here?
Spanish Valley, UT - Wine & Water
24 Hours of Moab Race - 2009
CA - Rainforest or Dustbowl?
Edward Abbey House, Moab, UT
Kayenta, AZ to Blanding, Utah
U.S. Highway 89 N. to Navajoland
Quartzsite - Black Canyon City, AZ
Simi Valley, CA to Quartzsite, AZ
Phoenix, Moab, The Grand Canyon
Colorado River - A New Challenge
Moab, Utah - The Shafer Trail
2009 - Moab Live Webcam Update
Moab, Utah - Potash Road, Part 2
Moab, Utah - Potash Road, Part 1
SITLA Deal Threatens Uintah Basin
Wildfire Near La Sal Mountains, UT
Moab Ranch - Plasma Flow Event
Mill Creek Canyon Hike - Part Two
Mill Creek Canyon Hike - Part One
Memorial Day 2009, Burbank, CA
A Happy Ending for the Moab Pile?
The Old Spanish Trail - New Again
Mesquite, Nevada - Boom or Bust
Larry L. Maxam - An American Hero
Winter Camping in the Desert 2009
Theory of Everything - Part Four
Theory of Everything - Part Three
Theory of Everything - Part Two
Theory of Everything - Part One
Canyonlands Field, Moab, Utah
Access New Energy Now - 2008
The Four Corners States - Part 5
The Four Corners States - Part 4
The Four Corners States - Part 3
The Four Corners States - Part 2
The Four Corners States - Part 1
Moab Wine - Streaming Webcam
Elton John T-shirt, Now Available
Arches National Park Threatened
BC Buckaroos Are Heading South
San Francisco, A New Energy City?
Seven Mile Canyon, Craig Childs
Matheson Wetlands Fire, Moab, UT
24-Hours of Moab Bike Race Finish
24-Hours at Moab Bike Race, Start
It is Time to Follow Your Passion
New York - The New Atlantis
Translate to Any Language Now
Marina del Rey, Summer Weekend
Seattle Shines in the Summertime
Oregon Battles With Itself - 2008
The Motor Yacht, Princess Mariana
Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park
The Mojave National Preserve, CA
Navajo National Monument, AZ
La Sal Mountains Loop Road, UT
Meet Krista and Mrs. Tipperwillow
The Moab Rim, Above and Below
Colorado Riverway Recreation, UT
Hovenweep - Twin Towers Standing
Aztec, New Mexico - Ancient Ruins
Kin Klizhin Ruin at Chaco Canyon
The Spirit of Pueblo Bonito, NM
Chaco Canyon, NM Sand and Rain
Homolovi Ruins State Park, AZ
Quartzsite-Salome-Wickenburg
ATM Bank Robbery Made Easy
Outstanding World Citizens, Fiji
Planning an Archetype Party
Sir Elton John - The Lost Concert
Start Writing Your Own Blog
My Unification Theory - 2008
Frito-Lay Beach-Trash Explosion
The Great Attractor, Revealed
Vibrational Thought & String Theory
The Long Run - Eagles Tribute Band
2006 Midterm Elections, Revisited
The Lost Mural of Denis O'Connor
Fiji Islands Paradise 2001 -Part 10
Fiji Islands Paradise 2001 - Part 9
Fiji Islands Paradise 2001 - Part 8
Fiji Islands Paradise 2001 - Part 7
Fiji Islands Paradise 2001 - Part 6
Fiji Islands Paradise 2001 - Part 5
Fiji Islands Paradise 2001 - Part 4
Fiji Islands Paradise 2001 - Part 3
Fiji Islands Paradise 2001 - Part 2
Fiji Islands Paradise 2001 - Part 1
MedIT Search Website, New eBook
Save Natewa Bay, Fiji Islands
The Fiji Islands - Paradise Lost?
Face on Mars - Is it John Carter?
How Water Helped Make The West
Yahoo! - Fighting Its Last Battle?
Helium Gas, Neither Earth nor Mars
Megatrend vs. Meganiche - 2007
German Hydrogen Bomb Ready
Passing The $100,000 Bill
Google Wins - Microsoft Withdraws
A.Word.A.Day, You Ought to Know
San Fernando Valley Winemaking
WindSong - The Book - Updated
Divine Inspiration, Or Nearly So
Going Down to the Depot
Japanese Win The "Space Race"
2007 eCommerce - Made Easy
Discovering The Great Reflector
Navajo National Monument, Arizona
Moab, Utah Memories - 2007
Fall Color, Silverton, Colorado
Autumn Equinox in the Rockies
Hasta la Vista, Taos, New Mexico
Megatrends 2010 - The Book
The Quantum Leap, New Mexico
Chaco Canyon Memories 2007
Flame-Out in Phoenix, Arizona
Annals of Homeland Security '07
Quartzsite, AZ - RV Camping
WindSong eBook - Now Ready
The Quantum Leap Celebration
Welcome to my new weblog 2007!

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