Brothers Jason and Owen Brown were veterans of the anti-slavery fight who homesteaded on a hillside plateau near the Arroyo Seco. In 1885, they built their cabin on a foundation of stacked arroyo stones. Several wood beams were planted against the exterior walls for added support to help resist the area’s strong winds. Fire destroyed the cabin in 1888.
During the 1880s, the “Brown Boys” were welcome heroes in San Gabriel Valley, notably Owen who was present at Harpers Ferry when his father – famed slavery abolitionist John Brown – led a failed attempt to take over the federal arsenal to supply an uprising of slaves to gain their freedom.
Owen Brown died of pneumonia on January 8, 1889. His funeral was reportedly attended by 2,000 mourners, equaling the population of Pasadena and South Pasadena at the time. After Owen died, Jason worked for Thaddeus Lowe helping him to build his Great Incline railroad on Echo Mountain and managed the zoo enclosures there.
Note: Owen Brown was the last surviving member of the raiding party at Harpers Ferry.
Today, the same dirt road is used by mountain bikers and hikers to access Brown Mountain (elevation 4,466 feet), two miles from the Gabrielino Trailhead on the Arroyo Seco.