Wheeler’s Hot Springs Auto Stage Line

Wheeler’s Hot Springs Auto Stage Line by Richard Hoye

Wheeler Blumberg homesteaded property in Matilija Canyon in 1888, and he constructed an access road. He then opened his Hot Springs to the public in 1891, offering a hotel with dancing pavilion, a swimming pool, a briskly running stream, fishing and great scenery.

Travel from the village of Nordhoff to the popular resort was provided by horse-drawn coaches of all types, large and small, carriages, tally-hoes, etc.

Visitors would arrive in the valley by railroad and then be taken to Wheeler’s along a pleasant scenic route. However, after 1900 interest turned to mechanized travel, and auto stages were introduced.

The resort came into the possession of Webb Wilcox after Wheeler Blumberg’s death in 1907. Wilcox had married Wheeler’s daughter, Etta, in 1905, so Wilcox was Wheeler’s son-in-law. The resort thrived under Wilcox’s management, and he continued to manage it until 1935. By 1924, Wilcox was offering auto transportation for the entire distance between Los Angeles and the resort.

In this photograph, an autobus is clearly marked “S.P. Station, Nordhoff, to Wheeler’s Hot Springs.” Guests have been seated, and the driver is ready to embark from the village to the resort. When the weather permitted, the top of the autobus could be removed, and passengers would ride in the open air.

3 Replies to “Wheeler’s Hot Springs Auto Stage Line”

  1. Jackie,
    I looked up Wheeler Hot Springs on the web and look what I found. On the inside of the stage, or car there is a darkened man standing up. Sure would be something else if that’s your Dad, or my Grandfather. Who knows.

    The best of luck to you with the surgery. Our prayers will be going your way.


  2. Jackie, Toni:

    I’m missed the “darkened man standing up”, as you wrote, “on the inside of the stage”. So, I’m pleased that you pointed it out. I’m curious as to why you think the man could be a relative?

    — Drew

  3. I visited the wheeler Springs area last week.The Wheel building”Wilcox cabin resort”on the east side of Maricopa highway is still there. Also worlds smallest Post Office is present. The Wheel building has been added on to.I was told by the present owner this was done in the 70’s by Mary Sullivan.The building is in very bad shape and looks some what different then original building.There was the Wheeler fire in 1985 that was set by an arsonist and burnt most of the Wheelers hot springs area.I found a cabin with rock bar-b-que on the east of the property.The whole hot springs area is fenced off.I walked the creek and got pictures of what is left of cabin and some shots of the main building.Looks like there are foundations and some what of the original building still present.The main building has a rock fire place that looks some what old viewed from the creek.West of the property is a newer naughborhood and posted privite drive.On the east you can see the old cabin that is in very bad shape.I was able to access the creek in this area.Looks like there are two bridges that access the Hot spring area.They are fenced off.You can see some what of the buildings from the highway.As I was parked at The Wheel building Bob Hope/WHEELRESORT@GMAIL.COM showed up and talked to me about the worlds smallest post office and building information.He stated that he perchest property from the Sullivans.IF you would like to see pictures please email me at chriscook.cook2@gmail.com

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