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Legend of the Eagle Rock
Photo of Eagle Rock valley, about 1890.
The Eagle Rock is a huge "conglomerate" or "puddingstone".
Twelve million years ago there were hot springs just north
of the rock. Lime from the springs cemented thousands of
field stones and boulders together to form this one great rock.
Near the top of the rock, erosion has formed an overhang
which when viewed around the noon hour casts the shadow of
a spread eagle.
The Eagle Rock, in 1784, became a marker of the first
land grant in Californian when the King of Spain
granted it to Don Jose Verdugo.
Indians inhabited the caves of the Eagle Rock for
centuries before its discovery by the Spanish
explorer Portola in 1770. Near the rock's base
they smoked the pipe of peace with Portola's party,
using native wild tobacco which still grows here.
A village of Gabrielino Indians occupied the
little valley at the base of the Eagle Rock,
attracted there by abundant supply of water.
The village consisted of thatched dwellings,
a sweat house, and a ceremonial enclosure.
In 1870, the Eagle Rock caves were inhabited by
the Mexican bandit Vasquez, and at one time
were used by a whole band of desperadoes to
hide their loot. Legend has it that some
of the treasure is still buried in this
area, concealed from seekers.
From a typewritten essay in the archives
of Arroyo Seco Library. Date and Author unknown.