The story of the “house for sale” on Highway 395
Some of us drive by the old, run-down, and seemingly abandoned building sandwiched between Highway 395 and Crowley Lake Drive, the old Highway, every day. Turns out, it’s more than just a canvas for amateur graffiti artists. It’s story includes the beginning of Dave McCoy’s skiing business, William Mulholland and Fred Eaton of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and a Mayor of Los Angeles who was also a known member of the Ku Klux Klan.
The building gets regularly tagged with graffiti and the doors and windows are boarded up. It’s been through plenty of abuse. The owner, Holbrook Maslen of Boise, Idaho told The Sheet that the building isn’t abandoned, it’s just hard to keep the vandals and thieves out.
The vandalism isn’t a new problem, either. Maslen first leased the rectangle-shaped property in 1960 and bought it soon after, as a place his horses could run around. He lived there in the winter to ski. Every year he came back, there would be damage. First his pair of 1955 skis were stolen, then the furniture and the windows and doors, even bricks from the chimney.
It was impossible to lock the place up, Maslen explained. Vandals would rip the doors off the hinges, or bust out a window, or tear off boards to get in. He would tell the police about an incident and they would answer, “Yes, it was.” And that was the end of the conversation.
The parcel he originally purchased was 80 acres, but he lost about 25 of those acres to the construction of 395. He said he paid $70,000 for the lot in the 1960s and that it was recently appraised at $80,000. He said he lost the water rights, and some value of the property, because of his seasonal occupancy.
Maslen wasn’t living there at the time, but the house is next door to the parcel where McCoy set up his first tow-lines on McGee Mountain in 1938, using Model “A” Ford truck parts. There’s even a marker commemorating the historic business beginnings. McCoy would later find better snow further north.