John Richardson came to this area in the early 1860s and obtained a patent to 150 acres of federal land. He developed a ranch circa 1864, and built two small dwellings, one of which has been preserved. The Richardson House and adjacent land was eventually acquired by N.C. Carter, was subsequently purchased by the Caley family, and is currently owned by the City of Sierra Madre.
The house has since been restored and maintained by Society volunteers and is furnished with vintage furniture and accessories. This small structure provides an intimate setting for the display of historical documents, paintings, photographs, and artifacts from Sierra Madre's early days.
Beginning about 1890, a lunch stand stood at the foot of the Mount Wilson Trail serving hikers and packers on the way up or down the popular trail. In 1913 the ever-evolving structure was moved to, or rebuilt on the east side of the trail where it continued under the management of various early day entrepreneurs. Operated by Lizzie McElwain from 1925 to 1935, "Lizzie's Trail Inn" became famous throughout the region for its unchanging menu of fried chicken and ravioli (and "distilled spirits" during prohibition).
The Lizzie's tradition was continued by Thelma and Robert Orme until the business closed in 1948. The aging structure was resorted by Society volunteers as a bicentennial project in 1976. Twenty years and four earthquakes later, Lizzie's Trail Inn was near collapse. Society volunteers are again restoring this venerable structure to insure its continued preservation and use as a museum for public enjoyment.
Both Lizzie's Trail Inn and the Richardson House are open on Saturdays from 10am to Noon for tours. To schedule school or special tours, please call the Society at (626)355-3905.