Roundup: April 11, 2018

Almansor Court – 700 S. Almansor, Alhambra, CA.
Social Hour: 5:00 PM
Dinner: 6:00 PM

Our Speaker: Michael Patris, Past Sheriff, Serious Historian and Witty Raconteur
His Subject: Thaddeus Lowe and the Civil War Balloon Corps

Thaddeus Lowe is known by many to be the builder of the Mount Lowe Incline Railway in the San Gabriel Mountains. However, his fascination with flying balloons and an early attempt to cross the Atlantic Ocean in one brought him to the White House lawn near the outbreak of the American Civil War. Lowe convinced President Abraham Lincoln the future of warfare would include aerial components, contributing to the fabrication and deployment of seven balloons for the Union Army. Michael Patris will tell the story of how Lowe came to the White House, deployed balloons and held several records for flight, with rarely seen images from iconic Civil War photographer Matthew Brady and other materials from the Mount Lowe Preservation Society Collection.

Will Michael mention Lowe’s drop-dead gorgeous wife, Leontine, a French actress whom he married a week after meeting her?  Instead of discussing dreary battles between ir0n-clad boats, will he discuss how Lowe was responsible for the construction of America’s first aircraft carrier?  Will Michael discuss that Lowe was an early student of the science of meteorology?  (Can you picture Ben Franklin holding his key at the top of his kite instead of holding the string at the bottom?)  Will he tell how Leontine rescued him from behind Confederate lines by driving a team in a buckboard wagon in and back before the Union Army could save him? Are any of these teasers true or just Fake News?  You’ll never know unless you come to Michael’s dynamic and entertaining presentation!  You won’t want to miss this Roundup!  Bring your children, your neighbors and your friends! We already have a guest coming from Texas!

Michael Patris is no stranger to most of our members and other residents of the San Gabriel Valley!  He was Sheriff of the Corral in 2010, has been a speaker at earlier Roundups and authored articles in The Branding Iron.  Michael is a third generation native of Southern California and has always had an interest in history.  Whether collecting antiques, collecting and working on antique cars, or restoring a 1923 California bungalow in Alhambra with his wife Mudd, pieces of the past always seemed too important to brush aside.

One of Michael’s most well-known projects is a Mount Lowe trilogy, beginning in 2007 with Mount Lowe Railway, part of the History of Rail series for Arcadia Publishing.  Both Michael Patris and Steve Crise authored Pacific Electric Railway, Then and Now in 2011 and Mount Lowe, Then and Now in 2012. Michael’s current project is a hardbound book on Los Angeles Union Station, with photographer Steve Crise, for its 80th anniversary in 2019.

Michael is the President and founder of the Mount Lowe Preservation Society, Inc. and President of the Pacific Electric Railway Historical Society.  He has written numerous articles for publications other than our own Branding Iron. Michael is also President and owner of Golden West Books, a publishing company focusing on the history of trains, trolleys, railroads and locomotive material.

Posted by Jim Macklin, Deputy Sheriff.


Future Los Angeles Corral Events

May 9th, 2018 — Celebrate E Clampus Vitus Night at the Corral!
(Clampers respectfully requested to wear their full honorable regalia!)

Abe Hoffman — The Secret Behind the Hidden Secret of Southern California

June 16th, 2018 — Fandango at home of Vicki and Gary Turner

July 11th, 2018 — Autry Fellow — Challenging the Veracity of Civil War Era History in California & Nevada

August 8th, 2018 — Jeff Lapides — Passage to Eldorado: The First Photos on the Mojave Road by Rudolph d’Heureuse (1863)

Dinner Fees, Reservations & Meal Choices

The Roundup Dinner Fee is $40 including ample, convenient and free parking. The dinner choices for this Roundup are beef, chicken and vegetarian.  This month, that includes Kalbi Top Sirloin with a Sweet & Spicy Sauce, Chicken Roulade Stuffed with Vegetables and Italian Cheeses and Topped with a Spinach Cream Sauce or a healthy but lamentable Fresh Vegetable Bouquet for those who feel they must choose it.  Dessert consists of a Seasonal Lemon Cake.

Please choose your entrée and make out your check for $40 to “Westerners, Los Angeles Corral,” or submit your payment online as EARLY AS YOU CAN but no later than one week before the Roundup date.  Just log onto our website ( and go to the Members Only tab.  Click on the Roundup Store option and follow the instructions.  Walk-ins can be served, but entrée choices will be limited to what is on hand.  The “late price” is now $45.00.

If you are paying by check, mail it to Ms. Therese Melbar, Registrar of Marks and Brands at 549 South Aldenville Avenue, Covina, CA 91723-2909. Late reservations or questions may be addressed to Therese via Email: or by telephone (661) 343-9373.

Travel Assistance to Our Fellow Members

Please keep in mind that some of our members can no longer drive or are uncomfortable about driving on the freeways at night.  If there are such members living in your area, please get in touch to see if they would come with you to the Roundups.

 Contact Jim Macklin, Deputy Sheriff, at 1221 Greenfield Avenue, Arcadia, CA 91006-4148, at or (626) 446-6411 with any questions or news items.