Bob Schotz’s family first brought him to the Mammoth area in 1940. They rented a tent at Twin Lakes’ Tamarack Lodge for $5 a night.
Bob’s beautiful older sister Gloria was a hit with the male college-age workers that spent their summers at the lodge. Through her, he got to know them well enough to be offered a job for the following summer by the owner, Lloyd Austin. Although he was only 15, he stuck on with the 20-something year old seasonal workforce and established his roots in the Eastern Sierra.
A few years later, he met his wife-to-be, Peg. Over the next few years, their lives took different paths that led them apart. But soon, Peg was offered a teaching position in the fledgling Mammoth school system, and she told Bob she was headed back to the mountains. His decision to join her was an easy one and soon they were married and living together in Mammoth.
Peg, who was 22 at the time, became Mammoth’s third-ever school teacher. Back then, the school was south of town at the fish hatchery near Crowley Lake.
Bob’s stories about her job interviews are great, but that will have to come later.
Bob and I became friends when he helped me do an add-on to the small building that later became Main Lodge. Bob was a hard worker but he didn’t stay with us long. His calling was at Lake George and the Lakes Basin, as well in the town of Mammoth, which is where he spent most of his time.
Keep reading on, Bob’s story continues below.
Aside from the add-on to Main Lodge, one of the biggest projects Bob helped me with was the Yodler in 1959.
Bob’s memory of the Yodler construction is as good as anybody’s, so we are lucky to have him to help us with this.
The rumor was that the Yodler was a pre-fabricated building made in Switzerland and shipped here, ready to assemble. The truth isn’t far from that, but most of the structural components of the Swiss-style chalet were made in the US.
The plans came from Switzerland, as well as the the doors, windows, interior paneling, staircase and the furniture. There were 80 crates of materials that were all shipped to Hamburg, Germany, loaded on ships bound for Houston, and then trucked to Mammoth.
The rest of the building was built with domestic lumber and materials.
The problem with combining the Swiss and American parts is that all the imports were labeled in the metric system, and a tape measure that had the conversions was not easy to come by in 1959. They only had one for the job and the foreman wouldn’t let it out of his sight. Without it, they’d have been lost.
The photo above was taken soon after we finished construction. Bob’s mother is in the middle. To her right was Mabel Fobes. Kala McDermott was on her left. Mabel’s family homesteaded some land north of Tom’s Place in 1924 which became the Fobes 40 resort. For some info on that, check out this forum dedicated to the Rock Creek area.
You’ll notice the deck is missing and some beautiful rock work is in its place. The sun deck covered the rock work and those bottom windows.
Lake Mary, with Mammoth Mountain in the background.
Horseshoe Lake and the Mammoth Crest.
Here is a shot of Peg holding a fawn somebody brought down from the Crystal Lake trail, above Lake George. The mother must have left it alone and a hiker thought it would be a good idea to bring it to them. Bob and Peg gave it to Fish and Game.
Bob is a great pilot, and this was taken when he was beginning to fly. Bob had a plane at the airport in Mammoth for many years.
I don’t think you can see it in this photo, but between Highway 395 and the runway there is an old strip of pavement. That was the first airstrip in Mammoth, and was built by the army in about 1941 for emergency flights during the war. Bob says it’s probably still there now.
The original runway for public flight was only 16 feet wide.
The cabin was solid sheeted, but covered in canvas to look like a tent.
Niles lived year-round in a cabin across the lake from Bob with two wives–he and his first wife were joined by common law marriage because of the longevity of their relationship. He met the second several years later and married her traditionally, if you can call it that.
Niles was a war veteran and was given a stipend when he returned from abroad. He took the money and bought these boats and the dock from a Los Angeles park.
That’s all for now. Bob has an extensive collection of old photos of the area and we’ll post more when we can.