Date of interview: January 30, 1992
Interviewed by: Jean M. Schwafel
SUBJECT(S):Cascadel Woods & N.F. Civilian Conservation Corp.

Muriel Encinas was born April 28, 1919 in Martinez, California. She was first brought to North Fork in 1963 by her husband, Andy. They purchased a lot in Cascadel Woods on June 4, 1963 from Dev-land Corp. and built their home on this lot in 1965. Between them they have 3 children, Ronald and Janet are hers and Gary is his. Gary and Janet attended and graduated from Sierra High School. Ronald graduated from Benning High School in Georgia. None of their immediate family presently resides in the area.

They came to North Fork because Andy had spent his younger years here in the Forest Service and C.C. Camp and he loved the area and Muriel had grown up in the mountains of Georgia and she loved the area too. Andy had seen an ad in the Oakland Tribune describing the lots in Cascadel Woods. The lots were going for $2,900.00 even tho the salesman told him $3,600.00 (but) they would be given a discount. At that time, there was only one house being built on Loma Linda by a contractor by the name of Holly (from Fresno). Holly was hired by the Encinas' to build their house when he was through building the other house.

There were a lot of lots for sale and, at that time they would give you a second lot free if you would build on it within a year. They had to be adjoining lots and the Norwood's and Wilson's took advantage of this offer. (to the best of their knowledge, there was no written paper work on this offer -- it was just common knowledge from the people who got the lots)

Wes Wilson should be asked about this. He and his wife, Marge, presently live in the big, 2-story house behind the library. They had lived in Cascadel for 12 years when Encina's bought their lot. Wilson is the one who originally dug the hole for the swimming pool. Wilson built and lived in the house where Jan & Bob McKee now live and also built the block house for Les & Katherine Miller.

One big lot, down by Whiskey Creek, was owned by Looney's. He divided it and someway or another he picked up another water share.

Les & Katherine Miller bought their lot in January of 1963 but Encinas' lived here a year before Miller's.

People living here at that time (1963-65): Wilson, Morgan, Hassage, Looney, Robinson, Millett, Norwoods (across from Curtis), Butterfields (built and lived in Curtis house).

Homes on Cascadel South (known as Doctor's row):

There was Wes & Marge Wilson. Other houses built on that side but mainly weekenders on Cascadel South: Masten, James, Liggatt. Then there was Butterfield's (now Curtis), then brown house that Charlene Owen rented all the time (had no insulation), one in between (owned by Adventist when painted yellow and now owned by Arvance), shacky brown house next to it (Lee & Lorraine Hoagland), no house in between, then a Doctor or Dentist where Stellings live and then no houses until Whittikers at end of cul de sac on Cascadel South.

Corner of Cascadel Drive & Cascadel South: Millett (Fongs), block house at falls owned by Adventist, Youngbirds built across creek (Castle).

Above where Quistad's live, now Kinser-Hill home, was Elizabeth & Stanley Harris (he was a preacher) and was built by Adventist.

Now, past the clubhouse, Cascadel North: Looney, his sister (Nell Marie Reinfert) [now Chipman], log cabin (Turrell), next to it the Russian house (one falling apart and owned by Russian lady), next house built by Edna Barnett who was an Adventist (now Roger Tucker's). She divided lot next door where Horn's now live. She also built a little place, closer to Whiskey Creek, and still on her property, which she rented to an Adventist preacher.

Gossip: Basil Robinson and Katherine Looney, who was Priestess in Adventist Church, went to Edna requesting the preacher move as there was adverse gossip about the two of them so he had to move.

Two other houses on creek side of Cascadel North were Malolly's (need spelling) before Waterfall Way (Lefebvre) and the present house of Rich's (Muriel did not know who owned this before Rich's) but it is located on corner of Cascadel North and Waterfall way. Across from Waterfall Way on Cascadel North, Eichmann (presently Saylor), then Day's home (across from Kullrich). This site was owned by Dunn's. [ed.note: was this rebuilt by Day's or Dunn's?]

Cascadel Ranch Properties:

Millett and Robinson bought, what was to become Cascadel Ranch Properties from the Dunn's. Millett was the money-man and had some apartments in the L.A. area. Basil Robinson was his apartment manager. Basil came to look and wanted this property but had no money even tho he had his own masseuse shop and apparently was a masseuse to some 'stars'. Basil's wife, Marie, was an alteration and dressmaker for one of the big department stores in North Hollywood.

Millett brought Cascadel Ranch and made Basil the manager. Basil would take no money but after a number of years he took the property away from Millett.

Millett moved up with his son, Glenn, (who was paraplegic from polio). They owned and operated the Cascadel Telephone Company (old switchboard style) out of their home which is the old block house (now Fong's) on the corner of Cascadel & Cascadel South. Glenn Millett ran the phone operation and he used to listen in on everyone's conversations, sometime's even butting in to the conversations. All phone lines were above ground and would connect with the outside world even tho you had to go through Millett's switchboard. There weren't too many phone connections as there were only 28 homes (only 12 were used as full time residences) in 1965 and not all of them took this party-line service. Encinas' did not have a phone put in to their home as they had two teenagers and there were already some problems with other families with teenagers and their continuous use of the phone.

In late 1965 or early 1966 Ponderosa telephone came in with underground lines and you could also subscribe to a private line. Encinas' don't know whether Cascadel Telephone Co. was sold to Ponderosa or that it was just disconnected and dropped by Millett since the original Adventist Retreat plan had been abandoned.

Cascadel was originally set up to be an Adventist community ... an Adventist Doctor's Retreat ... A hospital was to be built over in the vicinity where the Vining's live (SW of dirt road by pond).

Little known fact: Muriel used to do Millett's banking. Glenn used to call Muriel, knowing when Andy would get paid by the sawmill, and ask her if she was going to Oakhurst to the Bank of America. He did not want Basil to know that he had any money. (She never mentioned this until all the partys involved left, this area.)

Swimming Pool, Clubhouse & Golfcourse:

First year Encinas' moved up here Robinson closed the swimming pool and clubhouse. He did open it one year, during summer months which was basically from when school was out in June until it started again after Labor Day [need year, Ed.], by borrowing $12,000. All residents were assessed $121.00 (on a voluntary basis) if they wanted to use the facilities.

Clubhouse & Swimming Pool:

The clubhouse was opened from 9 am until 8 pm. Anybody could go in to the clubhouse. Wes Wilson dug the hole for the swimming pool. Marge Wilson kept the swimming pool open one summer but some adult had to be there. In order to use the pool you had to sign a release form as there was no lifeguard. Everyone would take turns, on a voluntary basis, cleaning the clubhouse, the bathhouse, and the swimming pool. In 1968 or 1969 Laura Morgan opened the swimming pool. Had to go to Madera to get permits, and was told how to run it, how to chlorinate it. Muriel's daughter, Janet, vacuumed the pool that year. They had a very good year that year with the pool open and the men kept the golf course open. This was the last year the pool and golf course were open.

Golf Course:

Even tho Andy worked nights at the sawmill, he would get an 8 AM call to go mow the greens and fairways of the 9-hole golf course. That way the Encina's did not have to pay the $121.00 that was assessed to the homeowners by Robinson. This assessment was paid directly to Robinson, not through the Association or anything else.

Youngbird used to be a manager of a golf course in Fresno and he would call up Muriel (who had played a little golf as a teenager) and say he and Flo were going to play a round and would she like to come along. He taught her how to play a pretty good round of golf. Golf course closed in 1969 or 1970.

The golf course was let go because this was a very dry year. The golf course was getting its water from Whiskey Creek and it was running very low that year. The ranchers down below started complaining that the golf course was taking too much of their water out of Whiskey Creek as they needed water for their cattle. It came about that "they" told Cascadel they couldn't use any more of that water so the golf course was just let go. There was a lawsuit against Cascadel by a lady rancher by the name of Pryor, who had property along Whiskey Creek down by Mammoth Pool road (on the up side). She passed away just before the hearing that was to be held in Madera and apparently the suit was then dropped.

When the golf course was open, people would even play in the snow, using orange golf balls. They even had a big, old dog they would send to find their golf balls.


For about 10 years after they moved in here there were good snow packs in Cascadel ---up to about 3 feet and the rain totals would run 40" to 60". Snow would last in to May and sometimes June.

Mr. Looney had a snowplow that was as big as his little tractor. He would get up at 4 or 5 AM and plow so they could get their kids down to Mammoth Pool road by 6:45 AM to catch the school bus.

At one time, the people who lived here had red tags on their vehicles and those were the only vehicles that were allowed up here because of the fire hazard during the summer time.

Also, at one time, Warren Morgan had 4 snow mobiles that he would fire up right there at the back of his house and go all the way up to the back country.


There were no paved roads up to, or in Cascadel so kids had to be driven to Mammoth road where they were picked up by Bill Wilson who drove the school bus. The school bus would go up to DeMaster's on Mammoth Pool road (which was paved) and on his way back would pick up the kids at the bottom of the hill.

The road to Cascadel had been changed since the arrival of the Encina's. It used to traverse the hill across from the Sheeps Landing area and had a spot that used to be called Inspiration Point as you could view all of the Central valley and everything in between from there. The logging operations were instrumental in changing the road as their trucks could not negotiate that curve. The steep grade right outside the CW arches is the result of this road change. There has always been a question why the present horseshoe bend wasn't taken out at the same time.

Cascadel Mutual Water Co:

Working for the water company was done on a volunteer basis. Andy would help Curley Gerlach when needed and would take care of the water system when Curley was away on vacation or for whatever reason. After a while they started paying Andy gas money for use of his car. Sometimes mice would get into the covered reservoirs and they had a dipper that was used to pull them out. Mouse traps around the reservoirs helped alleviate this problem. Black ABS pipe (that still is predominately in use on the west side of Whiskey in Sub. #2) was used throughout the system. Some of the pipe ran on top of the ground but most was put down to a depth of where it resides today -- 6" to maybe 18". The pipe was laid in ditches that had mainly been dug by hand --- Barney Rohrbaugh and Wes Wilson probably know more about this. Water only came from the spring located on Forest Service land. This spring was producing almost 120gpm at that time. There were no wells --- at least not legitimate ones. Apparently three "dummy" wells had been dug to satisfy the requirements set forth by the county or the state. These wells never were on the water system as they were set up to create an illusion but never were deep enough to produce water (about 35'?). The present #1 well started out as one of these "dummy" wells. Vince Goodwin did the water shed [ed.-what shed?]. He also engineered and laid out the roads.

Andy served once on the water board sometime in the late 70's. Some of the people serving with him: Hansen, Morgan, Youngbird.

Subdivision #3 was never filed because around that time the county changed the restrictions and you could no longer have a septic tank and leach lines on 1/3 acre lots. Cascadel Heights was the same way. This was around the last part of 1965. That is why Subdivision #3 was broken into larger than 1/3 acre parcels and sold as "outlots."

There were picnic tables along the west side of Whiskey Creek, near the bridge. There were 3 cabins on the same side. Barney & Zella Rohrbaugh lived in the one closest to the road. The next two cabins were closer to Whiskey but before you get to the ditch that carries the water from the pond to Whiskey. On the other side of the ditch is where part of the golf course was located. These cabins were rented to people who came up to the Lodge. Our clubhouse used to be a lodge and stables were located next to the lodge (around the burn pile area). Vince Goodwin's niece was a waitress at the lodge. There was another cabin on the clubhouse side of Whiskey but downstream in the area where the old footbridge went across Whiskey. This is where Marie & Basil Robinson lived when they first came here. It burned down and under some possible suspicious circumstances.

Right beside clubhouse (on left-hand side) there was a home. It was close to the road right there like you were going to Looney's (Heisig's). Goodwin said it had the most beautiful fireplace made of rocks and arrowheads that the house should have been made into a museum. Instead Robinson and Millet tore it down a couple years before Encina's moved here. Also gone were the stables.


Sold Cascadel property to Millet & Robinson. Their home was directly across from Kullrichs. Mr. Dunn got drunk and burned it down. The Days(?) built the present day house right on top of that site.(who owns it today?). Muriel found an ink well, made of marble, from that fire. As the story goes according to Basil Robinson, the Dunn's were alcoholics. One time Mr. Dunn got mad at his wife and buried some silver and all the expensive stuff they had in barrels in the apple orchard. When he sobered up he could not remember where he buried the two barrels.

Apple Orchard:

Many of the trees have died since the Encinas' arrived. The trees were never properly cared for yet they produced (and continue to do so) enormous crops of delicious apples. Elizabeth & Stanley Harris told Muriel that Chinese workers were brought in over 100-125 years ago and their labor was used to plant those apple trees. (Ed. note - Other research indicates Chapin planted those trees. Could he have brought in the Chinese labor?)

Indian burial ground out by arches: W. Morgan said that was a store and not a burial ground. Also, possibly a post office.Artifacts collected in this area by Encina's:

Whiskey bottle, "Kellogs Nelson County Extra Kentucky Bourbon," (picture?). This bottle is different because the screw top grooves are on the inside of the neck at top of bottle. Have quite a few 'blob'?-type beer bottles which have cork and wire in it.

Indian soap beads - found down by falls, across road from their house, Kinsman Flats. (she has put them on a string to keep them together).

Gallon fruit jar - found by stream by clubhouse. Has little crack on lid and has 1884 on it. A number of arrowheads in their collection were found in various areas around Cascadel.


Need to ask W. Morgan about this but there was a High Line logging operation from up on top to down where the spring is. Across the road from Van Amburgs was a mess hall where the loggers ate. There was one up by the spring along with some sort of blacksmith shop and barn.


There are quite a few holes left from mining tungsten up in that same area (now Sierra Nat'1 Forest). One in particular was called the old Morgan mine. The fellow working the Morgan mine used to walk to and from North Fork to get his groceries. After he shot his daughter (thinking she was a bear), he left the area. There was also quartz mines that were located going out toward Cascadel Point.

NAMES OF PEOPLE TO TALK TO WHO ARE STILL HERE: Al Lichti, Warren Morgan, possibly Chuck Hassage, Katherine & Les Miller, John Knorr, Wes & Marge Wilson.

There is a strip of land, 20 feet or so wide, that runs along the west side of Whiskey Creek all the way up to the cul-de-sac on Hillcrest. The Forest Service has a right to some of that property (do not think it is an easement) right along the edge of Whiskey. Bud Klette & John Knorr have found many arrowheads in that area along the creek.

There was an old road that came down from Whiskey Falls road. It came down right by Joe Balog's place, crossed over between Dominic Ballanti and Eunice Griffen lot and then hit Cascadel down by the mail boxes at the corner of Cascadel and Loma Linda roads. It went on down to Sheepman's flat and then down the back side to the mill. This was a wagon road and at one time you could still see the wagon tracks.

The name MONO means doll, or figurine, in Spanish. (ed. had read that spanish word for monkey was mono). According to Andy, Chango is the spanish word for monkey.

At the time when Encinas' first bought their Cascadel lot Andy was working in Manteca for Libby-Owen Ford. It was decided that Andy quit his job and see if he could work at the mill which was owned at that time by American Forest Products. He started out as a roustabout (doing all sorts of odd jobs) and ended up as a Tally Man. A Tally Man is the person who estimates the board foot on a unit after it has been planed, dried and graded. A unit is about 3' to 4' wide and so many courses high. He worked there from 1966 to his retirement in 1985.

Andy was born August 2, 1923 in Los Angeles. His family moved to Madera. His Dad passed away in 1937 leaving his Mother with two girls and two boys to raise during the Depression. At that time there was no welfare or any type of public assistance so Andy had to drop out of high school to help support the family. In Madera he joined the C.C.Camp in 1939, at age 17, and was sent to the camp in North Fork. He served for two years, leaving when he was 19.

CIVILIAN CONSERVATION CAMP - This camp was located on Road 222 just up a few turns from the present post office complex. It was on the right hand side of the road down a gravel road. Presently, there are a bunch of trailers sitting on that location, near the fish hatchery. Andy has pictures of mess hall and this camp. Crews from this camp cleared firebreaks, fire trails and cut up downed logs for firewood. When called upon they also fought fires. There were about 250 young men in the camp. The equipment they mainly had available to do all this work was a McCloud, axe, and shovel. At that time they did not have access to bulldozers and/or chainsaws. But the work was not too hard, when cutting a firebreak or trail, because there would be 30-40 men working together with each man only taking a few chops in the soil and then moving on. By the time all of them had done this, it made a pretty nice firebreak and took very little time. There were several sub-stations around the area, one at Reddinger, but Andy did not remember where they all were. You could not be in the C.C.C. after age twenty-five.

Andy was at this camp for about six months and then was transferred to a Substation near O'Neals (CSUF Experimental Range). Professors worked at this complex and experimented with cattle, horses and other domestic animals. They also brought in various grasses from all over the world for experimental purposes. Wild animals were trapped, tagged and released in order to learn the ways and habits of these animals. Andy and his 25 fellow workers helped the Professors with all of these tasks. The Professors would catch rattlesnakes and tie a thread around the last button in their rattles and then let them loose.

A member of the C.C.Camp was always on call for fighting fires. They were also used to help when there was an automobile accident, whether it be directing traffic, putting out an automobile fire and/or cleaning up the mess caused by the accident. Because of people throwing lighted firecrackers out of their cars on Hwy. 41, Andy would be with the crew that would take a fire truck and park by the fountain (on 41) so they could be at the ready in case any of these firecrackers started this hills on fire.

FOREST SERVICE - In 1946, after World War II, Andy came back to the North Fork area and worked for the Forest Service for two to two and one half years. At that time they thought the Gooseberry was emitting a pollen or something that was killing the Fir tree. Of course, that was not so. It was a beetle. But, one of the jobs was to dig up the gooseberries. After that, Andy drove a truck, containing 2-4D that had four hoses on each side. He would drive it along the road and spray any gooseberry bushes that were within reach. He also was involved with maintaining different roads within the forest service area. One of the main ones was Whiskey Falls road. There was also a big camp, with mess hall and tent cabins for sleeping quarters at Whiskey Falls. He stayed there when they were eradicating the gooseberry. There was also one of these camps up on Gertrude Creek.

Being a single man, Andy grew restless and left, moving to the Bay Area where he got married, divorced and married Muriel. With the passing years, Andy never forgot about North Fork and when he saw the ad in the Oakland Tribune, in 1963, he knew it was his chance to return and raise his family in the area he loved so much.






North Fork Journal
Thurs. September 27, 1973
Vol. 6 # 12
Cascadel Woods Women
Take Up Fire Suppression

The Cascadel Woods Property Owners Association have owned an old but serviceable fire truck for the past several years and on a few occasions have utilized it to combat fires which have threatened the area. Usually the crews were made up of the men in the community, but during the day few if any men remained in the subdivision. To remedy this problem, lady residents have begun to take over some of the firefighting responsibilities.

Muriel Encinas and Kathryn Miller were instrumental in calling attention to the fact that women can be of great help in fighting fires. They received instructions in fire suppression from retired Fire Captain Alex Rinne and also learned to drive the fire truck which is a 1936 Dodge with the old fashioned clutch, a four speed transmission, and noisy square cut gears. According to Rinne, it is a thrill to see them work so earnestly and they drive the truck with a "go, go, go touch.

The girls deserve a pat on the back and eagarly encourage others to follow their example with the promise that they will do all they can to assist them.