Lost Valley Online History History

The Bergman Cabin

Phil Brigandi

For over 75 years now, one of Lost Valley’s best known landmarks has been a small, tin-sided cabin. It was built in 1915 by Arlie Bergman (1892-1948), an Aguanga cattleman, while he was homesteading on 120 acres along what is now the eastern side of camp.

Back in about 1898, Arlie’s father, Henry Bergman (1863-1930) had purchased an earlier homestead in Lost Valley to use for cattle grazing. On the eastern end of his land stood a three-room wooden cabin that had been built in the 1880s. Henry used this cabin until it was burned down in 1911. (This cabin was located just a few hundred feet west of the present cabin.)

Hoping to avoid a similar fate, Arlie built his cabin with galvanized tin on the roof and outside walls. He built the chimney from the same stones that had been used for the chimney on the older cabin. Almost all of the other materials were packed in over the Lost Valley Trail on burros -- even the glass windows.

Not long after completing his cabin, Arlie proposed to his childhood sweetheart, Annie Mendenhall (1895-1999). At first, she said “no”, but Arlie persisted, and in February of 1917 the couple were married.

For the first months of their married life, Arlie and Annie lived in this cabin. To help meet the homesteading requirements, Arlie was doing some farming in the valley, including several plantings of potatoes and feed crops. Today, the two apple trees in front of the cabin are the only surviving reminders of his efforts. [Both trees sadly have since died. -- PB, 2002]

Mostly the Bergmans used Lost Valley for summer cattle grazing, bringing in as many as 200 head some years and leaving them here from around mid-April to early November. It was originally a three-day trip from their pastures below, but later they were able to use trucks part of the way. Arlie’s son, Ray, followed in his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps, bringing Bergman cattle into the valley on into the late 1950s.

Originally, there was a log barn out behind the cabin, but it burned down in 1944. A little ways below the cabin to the northwest is the cistern where Arlie drilled into the hillside to get water.

Arlie’s family sold their property here to the Boy Scouts in 1959, and Lost Valley Scout Reservation was ready to open in 1964. For many years, Arlie’s old cabin stood unused, but since 1981 it has been the home of Lost Valley’s Hiking Program. It is hoped that some day it can be fully restored.

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