The area of Blue Jay got its beginnings when William Caley operated his
sawmill there in the 1860’s and ‘70’s.
Art and Nora Wixom operated a store and a few rental cabins there in the early 1900’s. The area was then known as Wixom Corner. In 1934 Stoney DeMent leased Wixom Corner and re-named the area Blue Jay. The DeMent family later owned most of the town when in 1978 H.R. “Rick” Kaufman of Pioneer Chicken fame purchased the DeMent holdings for $3,000,000.00. During his tenure as owner, the Ice Castle and Cinema were constructed.
Adjacent to Blue Jay on State Highway 189 is the small community of Agua Fria.
The Pacific Electric Camp was once located there. The camp was located on the east of State Highway 189 and original remains are still visible today. Quoting from John W. Robinson’s The San Bernardinos, “Less than a mile northeast of Strawberry Flats, along the headwaters of Little Bear Creek, the Pacific Electric Company built a vacation camp for its employees in 1917. ‘PE’ families lived in tent houses and enjoyed the benefits of a dining room, social hall, swimming pool, and various sports activities. By 1920, as many as 150 people per week were living under canvas and participating in recreational activities.”
Click on images below to enlarge!
|Caley’s Saw Mill. Depicted here is William Caley’s Little Bear Valley Sawmill which was located near the center of today’s Blue Jay. The image depicted here is circa 1872. The mill operated during the 1860’s and 70’s.|
|Early Cabin. This image is quite typical of the early cabins that were once common in our local mountains. If you look closely you can see the name “Blue Jay” over the arched entrance to the deck. Cabins like this were made wholly out of local timber and branches.|
|Pacific Electric Camp. This photo is from the cover of the Pacific Electric Magazine from July 10, 1927. The picture is captioned, “The Portal to the ‘Happy Land’ – the Pacific Electric Camp”. The ‘camp’ was located in Agua Fria on State Highway 189.|
|Agua Fria Café. Smart’s Café advertised “Home Cooking: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Hamburgers, Sandwiches, Chili, Ice Cream, Malts and Home Made Pies”. Smart’s is now the hardware store in Agua Fria.|
|Blue Jay Outdoor Ice Skating Rink. This ice rink started as a seasonal rink in the 1930’s. By the 1940’s it became a year-round phenomenon. The rink was a popular gathering place for over 50 years. The Rite-Aid is now located where this rink once stood.|
|Blue Jay Stables. The stables were once located near where McDonald’s restaurant now stands. There are no longer any public stables in the Blue Jay area.|
|Blue Jay Circa 1950. The building in the foreground on the right is now Bills Villager Coffee Shop and Betty’s General Store. The 76 station was moved further down the road; Tips Printing and the library are now located there. Across the street where Jensen’s once was located, is now Coldwell Banker. The building next to Coldwell Banker was the fire station.|
|Blue Jay Ice Castle. The Ice Castle opened in June of 1983. The gala opening ceremonies entitled “Symphony on Skates” raised over $310,000 for the Mountain Community Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit. The rink, also known as the Ice Castle International Training Center, is where Michelle Kwan once trained.|
|Entrance To Ice Castle. A group of happy skaters pose at the entrance to the Ice Castle. The rink, once open to the public for skating or lessons, is now gone. It is the location of a commercial building, but the entrance pillars still remain.|
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