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American Flags Reveal Mount Lowe Railway Timeline

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This 46 star American flag is part of Altadena Historical Society’s  Mount Lowe Railway legacy. 

Forty-six star American flag in AHS collection
flew over Ye Old Alpine Tavern sometime 

between1907 and 1912.

The scenic mountain railroad attraction imagined by Thaddeus S. C. Lowe opened on July 4, 1893, when the U. S. flag boasted 44 stars.  In the photo below, the blur on the back of the incline car is the flag. The man in front of the car looking at the camera is Professor Lowe.

Was this photo taken opening day, July 4, 1893?

The Alpine Tavern, a Swiss chalet style lodge, opened in 1896, the same year the flag was reissued with 45 stars, when Utah was made a state.  During its 40 years in operation, the Tavern traditionally flew the flag outside the main entry as shown in the photos below.

That looks like a 45 star flag so the picture
was taken sometime between
1896 and1907.
Photo: Los Angeles library
When Arizona and New Mexico received
statehood in 1912, the flag flew with 48 stars.  
So this flag indicates the photo was taken 
after 1912. The Edwardian dress suggests 
it’s pre-World War One.
Forty-eight stars again – this could be anytime 
between 1912 and 1936, the year the resort burned 
down. (The flag didn’t change again until 
1959 when Alaska acquired state status.) 
Photo: Los Angeles Library

AHS’ 46 star American flag flew at the Tavern sometime between 1907 and 1912.

The Society is still looking for a photograph of the Tavern with this flag.  If you’ve got one, let us know. We’d be delighted to see it.

Read more about Alpine Tavern and The Mount Lowe Railway in George Wharton James’ 1905 book, Scenic Mount Lowe.

The book is made 
available by 
 Project Gutenberg 

Or drop by and visit. AHS is open Monday, Tuesday and Friday, 9:00 am to noon and by appointment 
730 E. Altadena Drive, Altadena, CA 91001
Phone  (626) 797-8016
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