BIG BEAR HISTORY
Big Bear is Rich With History . . . Centuries ago Big Bear was well known only by the local Indians and the grizzly bears that claimed the area as their own. Until the mid 1800’s, the Serrano Indians hunted and gathered food throughout the Big Bear area. In 1845, Benjamin D. Wilson led a group of rough-riding Californians through the pine forest and into the valley. Once Wilson discovered this “Island in the Sky”, it became home to trappers, hunters and prospectors.
The face of the valley changed markedly with the discovery of gold. The solitude of the mountain-man paradise was forever altered. In 1860, William F. Holcomb discovered gold in a nearby valley, now called Holcomb Valley. Within weeks, the once isolated valley was teaming with activity. New roads were built to accommodate the increased daily passenger stages and the transport of supplies. Within one year, Holcomb Valley’s population was second only to that of San Bernardino.
In 1952, the next major transformation occurred with the development of two major ski resorts. Tommi and Jo Tyndall developed Snow Summit for the winter sports enthusiasts, broadening Big Bear’s recreational offering to year-round activities, summer through winter.
An ever-changing panorama of events is one consistent element in Big Bear’s history. From the Indian and the grizzly bear, to the mountain man and the miner, to the mountain biker and the snowboarder, this beautiful mountain valley, the “Island in the Sky”, continues to give much to many.