Big Bear, California and Surrounding Areas
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A History of Big Bear
For over one thousand years the popular southern California
resort know as Big Bear was once called Yuhaviat, or "Pine
Big Bear ceased to be known as Yuhaviat back in 1845 when Benjamin
Davis Wilson rode into Yuhaviat Valley with a posse of 20 men.
They were chasing Indians who had been raiding their ranches
in Riverside. As they entered the valley, they found it swarming
Wilson divided his men into two-man teams. Each team went out,
roped a bear and brought it back to camp. They had eleven bear
at the camp all at the same time. This prompted Wilson to come
up with the name Big Bear Lake. However, it should be noted
that Big Bear Lake is a man-made lake that didn't exist in 1845.
The lake Wilson named Big Bear was actually the natural lake
at the east end of the valley, now known as Baldwin Lake.
Wilson is not only remembered for giving Big Bear its name,
but he went on to become an important figure in Southern California
Among his accomplishments, he is remembered as the first mayor
of Los Angeles. He was also a two term California state senator,
and he built the first railroad between Los Angeles and San
Diego. Wilson died on March 11, 1878, but before he died, he
donated land and buildings for the construction of a college.
This new college eventually became the University of Southern
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