Some Anecdotal Notes on Mr. Stade Garnered from Letters 2006.

From: Steve Thomas
To: Chris Rubel
Sent: Saturday, November 04, 2006 1:55 PM


There are a couple of additional entries by Odo in the Loomis guest register, and many by others, but none are more eloquent that this one.

I am wondering if you might be able to help me find additional information about Mr. Stade’s life. I have the biography written by Scott that appears on the internet, a brief bio from John Robinson’s “The San Gabriels,” and a couple of small items related to Loomis Ranch that Scott sent from a paper that he had which apparently is a another Stade biography. In particular, I am interested in the time that Odo spent in the local Los Angeles mountains from the 1910s thru the 1930s. It seems that Mr. Stade spent a lot of time hiking the local mountains and visiting the mountain resorts. I can't help but think there is more to know about this part of Mr. Stade’s life.

According to Robinson’s book, Odo worked at Colby’s for some time:

In his book “The San Gabriels – Southern California Mountain Country,” 1977, John W. Robinson included the following information on Odo B. Stade on page 173, note 4:

“Odo B. Stade, an Austrian by birth, came to Mexico and then California in 1916. Someone told him of “Colby’s Mountain Gem,” and he hiked in, became a friend of the Colbys, and worked there off and on for 10 years. Later, he was employed by the Forest Service. After retirement, he lived in Glendora, California, rich with memories and surrounded by photographs of the San Gabriel Mountains, until his death in 1975. The author interviewed him on April 24, 1970."

Mr. Robinson also included several photos of Colby’s and the Loomis Ranch in his book that were apparently supplied by Odo. I am curious about what may have happened to Mr. Stade’s photo collection.

During my research on the Loomis Ranch, I have found other information that suggests Mr. Stade spent a lot of time at Colby’s. See photo below, one of several of Odo that I found in Eleanor Opid’s photo albums (used with permission of the Sierra Madre Public Library). In his 1938 article on the Loomis Ranch, Odo mentions spending a winter at the Ranch (probably during the 1920’s) while the Loomises were away. The information provided by Scott indicates that he and Maria spent six months with the Loomises in 1932 after they sold the bookstore, although I don't know what period in 1932 this may have been. It may be that this is the period that Odo referred to in his article. (Do you or Scott happen to know more specifically when the bookstore was sold?)

If you have any knowledge of this period in Mr. Stade’s life, or know of any additional sources of information, please let me know.


Steve Thomas
sdthomas at

From Chris Rubel

Dear Steve, There’s so little I know besides the stories Odo used to tell. I know the Hollywood book store was a grand endeavor. Also, Odo and Maria lived in Topanga for a time and I think that is when he owned the book store.
I recall that Odo was shot in the knees and had TB after being with Pancho Villa. He came to a sanitorium in Los Angeles where a doctor told him he had a better chance of surviving if he could go into the wilderness and forage until he regained his strength. He journeyed into the High Sierras, I think from Bishop or Lone Pine, with two mules carrying his gear. He told me he was hobbling, but able to get around pretty well. Three days into the Sierras, a lightning storm scared off his mules and he was left with what he had on his back, including a book that told him what wild plants he could eat in the Sierras. He came out during the dead of winter near Lake Tahoe, as I recall. He looked like a wild man, beard and all. He had gained his health back.

He told me the story once about going to Germany as a stunt man for the movies, around 1927-29. He had been a wing-walker here and one of the theaters was making a movie, I think, about WWI. While there, he and some friends were in a cabaret one afternoon or evening. In came Adolph Hitler with some of his retinue. Odo said the place went absolutely quiet until Hitler and his bunch began to be served and started talking and joking. Hitler was just getting started in politics at that time.

Odo, as the U. S. Forest Service dispatcher, knew the Angeles National Forest well. He also was helpful in placing the hidden Nike missile sites in various locations in the Angeles Forest.
Wish I knew more. Odo was a wonderful man to know. His wife, Maria, had been a draper for Cecil B. DeMille and had worked on a number of big movies. She came to this country from Germany when she was 12 or 13. She was a good-looking woman and feisty, too.

I'm sure Michael Rubel has lots of tales about Odo. Odo was one of his godfathers.

Good luck. Chris

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