Volcan Mountain Foundation

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San Diego County, California

Grand Family Donates Logging and Ranching Tools to VMF

[1/7/2021] The Volcan Mountain Foundation received a gift this week of objects used by the Grand family in their logging and ranching operations on Volcan Mountain.  Fred N. Grand and his son Phil Grand donated two vintage lumbering saws and a branding iron used by Phil’s grandfather, Fred A. Grand, on Volcan Mountain during the 1940’s and 50’s.  The artifacts will be on display as part of VMF’s permanent cultural collection at The Keith and Priscilla Webb and Family Education Center, and used in support of VMF’s outdoor education classes.  The foundation’s classes reach youth and adult students year-round, exposing them to the importance of preserving our area’s pristine and biologically diverse habitat, as well as celebrating the rich human history spanning thousands of years.

The Grand family came to Volcan Mountain shortly after August Grand Sr. immigrated from France in 1871 with brothers Fred (yet another Fred!) and Emil. He homesteaded Arkansas Canyon above San Felipe Valley, planted grape vines and olive trees, and raised cattle.  The brothers were successful, and within 15 years owned more than 6,000 acres westward across Volcan to what is today the County of San Diego Department of Parks and Recreation’s Santa Ysabel East Preserve.  Fred A. Grand, third generation to own the land, was one of three loggers who harvested about 20 million board feet of lumber from the mountain between 1945 and 1956.

In 1990, recalling the practices of those last loggers on Volcan, Grand was quoted, “Look around this mountain and you'll be hard-pressed to find two stumps that aren't separated by several mature trees. Fact is, until you get into the forest under the trees you might not know that any logging had gone on at all.”  He continued, “When I started logging in 1945, I had two-man teams of lumberjacks. It took a team half an hour to fell a 30-inch tree with a 6-foot crosscut saw – one man on each end of the saw and on opposite sides of the tree. Along came the chain saw and it took two or three minutes.”  Grand operated a saw mill and planing mill on Volcan, and at one point in time had as many as 40 lumberjacks cutting trees for lumber and poles.

The Volcan Mountain Foundation works to protect our area’s essential rural and natural character, and is proud to be entrusted with the care of these objects that tell the story of an important period of Julian’s history.

[Image 1] L->R Fred N. Grand, Phil Grand

[Image 2] Circa 1900, “Volcan Ranch Survey Crew”, Fred Grand (on right)