History of the Loop

Welcome to June Lake Loop Historical Society
Thursday, July 25 2024 @ 08:27 PM UTC

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WELCOME to the June Lake Loop Historical Society Website.

The JLLHS was founded in 2009 to honor the history of the community of the June Lake Loop in the Eastern Sierra of California.

The Loop's earliest known visitors and inhabitants were the Kutzadika'a people.† When explorers the likes of Jedediah Strong Smith and Joseph Reddeford Walker passed through the Eastern Sierra in the early 19th century, they took little note of this unique canyon at the southern rim of the Mono Basin.† Although recognized for its natural beauty and water resources, the miners and ranchers of the Bodie Gold Rush era found no reason to settle the area either.† Finally though, with the decline of the nearby mining communities and the interest in hydorelectric energy to supply faraway cities, a project was established to build a generation plant and three high elevation reservoiirs upstream from Silver Lake.† The Rush Creek Power Station was established in 1915, and shortly thereafter. one of its employees, Roy Carson, established a fishing camp on Silver Lake.

By the mid 1920's, and with the building of a trans-Sierra highway into Yosemite via Tioga Pass, June Lake became a popular stop for Auto Tours.† Many famous personalities were known to visit the loop and a variety of shops and resorts sprung up to accommodate visitors.† In the 1930's the City of Los Angeles arrived in the area to build the Grant Lake Dam and Mono Craters Tunnel, which would divert water from the Mono Basin into the acqueduct.† With the influx of workers and industrial activity the town boomed, becoming a full service community and by 1940 there was even a ski area established.† Unfortunately due to the water diversions, the agricultural activities of the Mono Basin;s numerous ranches were destined to end.

In the ensuing decades the town of Mammoth Lakes to the south has taken over the role of the most populous and prominent Mono community: but the June Lake Loop, with its rich history, remains resilient and has continued to fulfill the recreational needs of many generations.

The June Lake Loop Historical Society welcomes any contributions relating to the preservation of our history.† We invite you to attend our meetings and programs where the local history is discussed.† It is also our aim to establish a muserum to display area artifacts, and to preserve and memorialize local historic sites.

Thanks for your interest in the history of the June Lake Loop.

The June Lake Loop Historical Society was originally founded by:
Dan Roberts, President
Max Bowlan, Vice President
Lee Vorobyoff, Secretary
Patti Heinrich, Treasurer
Bev Gilmore and Debi Perilman, Board Members -at-large
Nicholas Faust, Ken Willingham, Andy Gilmore, Al Heinrich, Ron Dunn

Thanks to the County of Mono Board of Supervisors and Counsel Marshall Rudolf† for legal assistance.and support.

the June Lake Loop Historical Society is organized as a non-profit corporation in the State of California, and has been granted tax-exempt status by the Internal Revenue Service under section 501(c)-3.

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Norm DeChambeau Speech

June Lake StoriesAt the Fourth Annual General Meeting of the June Lake Historical Society on August 2, 2012, Mr. Norm DeChambeau spoke on the history of the Mono Basin.† DeChambeau was a local Icon who in his retirement had become President and Curator for the Mono Basin Historical Society.† His talk is contained in the video below, and is quite fascinating.† Mr. DeChambeau passed away in May of 2016.

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June Lake Liquor Store

June Lake StoriesMy grandmother, Dolores Stuart, owned the June Lake Liquor Store sometime in the 1930's and 40's.

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Ron Dunn's Slot Machine Story

Back in the 30's and 40's† the state of California allowed some gambling in the state, but left it up to the counties to decide what they would allow. Mono County said that it would allow Draw Poker and Slot Machines, as long as they were not in Bridgeport [the county seat].† Right about 1945, Ron Dunn's father Louis Dunn, Bill Treglown [owner of Bills Grill] and Jim Bowen bought out the small operation of Ted Bloomer, an d started Mono Amusements co.† They built this up to about 150 slot machines and had them in all the places they could in the county.
†† Late in 1940 or early 1950† the powers to be in Sacramento† claimed† that slot machines were no longer legal, so they sent several†Limo's over and conficated all the machines that they could carry.† The rest of the machines were destroyed, dumped into June Lake and the dump.† No monies from the conficated machines were ever returned to Mono County, as required by law. A neighbor of the Dunn's was Chuck Addison, who was 1/4 owner of the Pioneer Club in Las Vegas ,† and also Joanne Ronci's grandfather told Ron's dad† " There's no way that it can be proved, but Nevada interestís wanted to stop gambling in California so we got a lot of cash together and Bought BROWN " who was the Attorney General of California at the time† to clean up the State.

Ron donated several change coin bags that were used for picking up slot change and percentage allowances.

Ron was a slot machine mechanic for about 10 years. The small old building north east of the Sierra Inn was used as a slot machine workshop. Ron said the machines came from the manufacturer set to pay 60%/40%. 60% went to the customer who normally put the 60% back into the machine.

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JLLHS First Annual Meeting

The newly formed Society held its first General Annual Meeting on August 6 at the June Lake Community Center. About thirty interested persons were in attendance as President Dan Roberts gave a welcome address and a brief overview of the origins of the June Lake community. The program consisted of Ron Dunn, longtime summer resident at Silver Lake, who gave a talk on his experiences in the 1940's when there was gambling in June Lake and he and his father were the operators of a slot machine business. Then Igor Vorobyoff spoke about the natural history of the area. Several individuals joined the Society as members and there were some displays of old photos and artifacts, including a mounted Steelhead Trout caught in the twenties by renowned area photographer Burton Frasher. The evening ended with refreshments and sharing of many stories of the past by the participants.