The Mount Lowe Railway was one of the the late 19th century's greatest engineering acheivements and a world-famous tourist attraction during its 40 some odd year existance. The brainchild of American Civil War balloonist and inventor Thaddeus S. Lowe and engineer David J. Macpherson. The railway began in Altadena at the bottom of Rubio Canyon. From there it climbed 1,300 feet to Echo Mountain, the home of Lowe's magnificent "White City." It sported a observator, hotel, and for a time, the world's biggest searchlight. However, high winds put an end to the city, mostly due to the fact that the observatory kept being obliterated because of them.
From Echo Mountain vacationers would take a 4 mile long trolley passing scenic viewpoints such as Horseshoe Curve, the Cape of Good Hope, and the Grand Circular Bridge eventually reaching the Ye Alpine Tavern at 5,000 feet. Where people could could stay in the main building, annex, or several private cottages.
Despite the fact that the railway, was Lowe's dream, he was bankrupted by the venture, and had to sell it to the Pacific Electric Railway which ran the line until its demise in 1936, when a mysterous (I think it was arson, but the cause was ruled to be a short circut.) fire eruped in the middle of the night, and destroyed the tavern.
The Mount Lowe Railway is a wonderful piece of Southern California history that has gone widely unknown since its demise in the 1930s. Today, all that remains is a trail that follows the railbed and the location of the tavern is now the Mount Lowe Trail Camp. Even beautiful Rubio Canyon, that in its heyday sported bridges crossing its many waterfalls couldn't be spared. During the 1994 Northridge Earthquake, a water pipe was damaged and the subsequent repairs did untold damage to the area from unecssary rockslides that even buried many of the waterfalls (They can be heard running under the rockslides) from the bumbling contractors hired by the Rubio Canyon Water Company. As of 2001, the canyon is rather unstable.