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Summit Signatures

12H Mount Harvard

Location: Los Angeles County, California

Named in honor of Harvard University when, on April 7, 1892, the university's president, Charles W. Elliot, visited this point below where the Harvard 13" photographing telescope had stood (1889-90).

This peak was formerly known by many other names: Californios called it "El Picacho" (The Peak), during the 1870's San Gabriel Valley residents knew it as "The Hogback", in the 1880's Hiram Reid named it "South Gable Promontory"-Robinson explains this as the result of imagining it as a giant gable on the south end of an imaginary Mount Wilson roof.

Abbot Kinney (1850-1920), who built Venice and helped found the conservation movement while serving ably as the first Chair of the State Board of Forestry. Robinson notes that "his efforts, more than anyone else's, saw the creation of the San Gabriel Timberland Reserve!" (1892). This was the first such area in the country after Yellowstone. He tried but failed to get this peak named "Kinneloa!" after his Altadena ranch.

The 'Mount Harvard' designation came from Elliots distinguished escort of Pasadena citizens with a little larceny in their hearts. Due to a misunderstanding, the Harvard 13" telescope had been removed and sent to Arequipa, Peru. It was still hoped that with a little courtesy (and peak-naming), a new 24" telescope might soon arrive to replace it-but this too was sent to Peru. There had even been plans for the purchase of a 4o" instrument that would have been the largest in the world at the time. But the benefactor died that year with no provision for such a purchase in his will. The Mount Harvard name was a genteel bribe that just didn't "pay off". Despite this, when it made its choice, the USGS looked no further than at names such as Lowe, Raymond, and Eaton as endorsements of this now empty but prestigious-sounding name.

Since then it has been climbed as though it were public land, but this peak was never transferred from private ownership after the surrounding National Forest was created. The USFS recently ruled that the requirements of cellular phones are a legitimate public need. So this summit has been bulldozed for Sigma Corp communications towers, a cement block building and a barbed wire fence.

Original Sierra Club Register and much else were lost in the process (1990).

Name first appears on USGS Pasadena topo (1900)

Peak was on the original 1946 HPS Peak List. Weldon Heald climbed this peak in 1933.

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