Soon after the dam was built, the community of Big Bear Valley and especially the town of Pine Knot became a resort. A resort is a community where people go for vacations. Usually people do not live there all year round, but go during one season for a short time. The leaders of Big Bear Valley wanted people to come to spend their vacations. They sponsored car races from communities in Southern California up to Big Bear. They advertised. Lodges and cabins were built. People began to come to Big Bear for their vacations, especially in the summer. Few people lived year round in the valley. The winters were very cold and most cabins were not built well enough to keep people warm.

One man who was very important to the valley at this time was Stanbridge A. Skinner, or "Dad" Skinner, as everyone called him. "Dad" Skinner wanted people in Los Angeles to hear about Big Bear Valley. He started the Chamber of Commerce for the valley in 1919. A chamber of commerce is a group of business people who get together in hopes of bringing businesses and tourists to their area. "Dad" Skinner was a high school teacher in Redlands who spent his summer vacations in Big Bear and felt it was his real home. He put ads in newspapers in Los Angeles telling everyone about the beautiful valley. He organized trips for people from Los Angeles and San Bernardino to Big Bear on the Rim of the World Highway. He even did commercials on radio about Big Bear.

Bear Valley Hotel

Another way people heard about the valley was through motion pictures or movies. Many early silent films were made in Big Bear Valley. The valley was close to Hollywood and offered forest scenery and real snow. Some studios in Hollywood even built movie sets in the valley that they used over and over again. Today, at Cedar Lake Camp, the mill and several of the other buildings were actually movie sets at one time. Movies and television shows are still filmed in Big Bear.




Check Your Facts

1. What is a resort?

2. Why did few people live in Big Bear year-round?

3. Why is "Dad" Skinner important to the valley?

4. What is a Chamber of Commerce?

5. Why did motion picture companies like to use Big Bear as the setting for their movies?

Try Something New

Visit, call (909 866-4607), or contact the Big Bear Lake Chamber of Commerce on the Internet and find out how they encourage people to come to the valley today.

Make a poster or commercial to encourage people to visit Big Bear.



The People
About this Site
Teacher Information
Standards and Curriculum
Big Bear Links
Glossary and Terms