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Verdugo Views: The circuitous route of the historic Tioga Wolf

March 12, 2014|By Katherine Yamada
  • L.C. Brands Tioga Wolf is pictured in Mono Lake in 1921. Brand and his chauffeur, Fletcher Pomeroy, made the rough trip to his then-remote summer home, Tioga Lodge, for many years.
L.C. Brands Tioga Wolf is pictured in Mono Lake in 1921.… (Courtesy of Glendale…)

L.C. Brand’s custom-made Tioga Wolf has always intrigued vintage car buffs and local historians, including Arlene Vidor, president of Associates of Brand Library & Art Center. In preparation for the grand reopening of the library later this month, Vidor set out to learn more about the vehicle.

Some sleuthing on the Internet put her together with the car’s owner who told her the Wolf is in pristine condition and has completed many Horseless Carriage Club of America tours.

She also learned that it was built around 1913 by Moreland Truck Company in Burbank to Brand’s specifications and used as transport to his then-remote hideaway, Tioga Lodge, in the Mono Lake area.

Now, I don’t believe that Brand ever left a detailed account of his trips, but in 1914, five friends of his made the same trek and on their return, gave the Glendale Evening News a full account, and excerpts were reprinted in a 1955 Glendale News-Press edition, on file in Special Collections.

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Early on July 3, 1914, the men gathered in downtown Los Angeles, packed themselves into two cars and after a brief fueling stop at Brand’s estate in Glendale, were off on a then-monumental road trip.

The drivers were Arthur Campbell, superintendent of the Glendale Consolidated Water Company, and Hugh Blue, of Brand’s Title Guarantee & Trust Company.

A few miles past Saugus they crossed the Los Angeles Aqueduct (opened just the year before) and stopped in Bouquet Canyon to “give their radiators a fresh drink of water for the rather heavy grade to Elizabeth Lake.”

After a night in a place busy with motorists stopping to refuel throughout the entire night, they were out by 4:50 a.m. By the time they reached Mojave they were hot from the sun and from the “fiery wind.” Nearing Big Pine, the roads were better, plus they had a good view of Mt. Whitney.

After Bishop, a mistake in the map led them up an old wagon road complete with deep ruts in the solid rock. The passengers got out and pushed both vehicles to the end of the rock road where they encountered deep sand and another grade. So, they got out the shovel and ax they had brought along and began digging.

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