5 Historic Women of Big Bear

I am woman, hear me roar! We’re going to honor and celebrate the historic women of Big Bear, many of which are instrumental in shaping a town that so many flock to for peace and quiet, skiing, boating, hiking and more. Listed below are the names of the historic women of Big Bear we all owe a shout out to at the top of Big Bear Mountain as we’re skiing down the slopes or hiking the trails this spring during National Women’s History Month.

historic women of big bear
The grizzly bear that Big Bear is named after were held in high regard by the first women of Big Bear: The Serrano women. They never wore bear fur out of respect for the big bear.

Serrano Women had Deep Big Bear Respect

For starters, if we’re going to recognize women of Big Bear, it all starts with the Serrano, a peace-loving Shoshonean descent Native American tribe that migrated to Big Bear from the San Bernardino Mountains and Wyoming more than 3,000 years ago. The Serrano held the grizzly bear in high regard and treated the animals as their great grandfathers. Bear meat was never eaten and bear fur was never worn by Serrano women out of respect for the big bear.

Freda Jakobi Spurred Merchant Development

When Big Bear was being shaped in the late 1920s, developer D.P. Terry of Beverly Hills was charged with building Big Bear’s first merchant store at the location where the Community Services District offices now sits. The store was leased to merchants willing to operate it as a market. One of the first merchants of Big Bear was Freda Jakobi and her husband, Frank, who ran the Big Bear City Community Market in the 1930s. The Jakobis later built a new Community Market at Greenway and Big Bear Boulevard in 1940. We have Freda Jakobi and her husband to thank for helping to start a successful merchant community in Big Bear that includes great restaurants, places for coffee and shops to visit.

historic women of big bear
We all owe a shout out to at the top of Big Bear Mountain for the historic women of Big Bear .

Jo Tyndall Helped Start Big Bear Snow Skiing Craze

We already know snow skiing and all sports involving snow are huge to Big Bear and its economy. We owe that growth to the entrepreneurship of Jo Tyndall and her husband Tommi. The Tyndalls contribution to Big Bear helped turn the area into a ski resort mecca. In 1952, the Tyndalls formed a small investment group and constructed Snow Summit. Drought, fire and flood setbacks didn’t deter the Tyndalls in the 1950s. In the early 1960s, the Tyndalls rounded up financing for the first major commercial snow-making system in California, which paved the way for other snow-making operations to help keep ski lodges busy when Mother Nature didn’t cooperate. Today, Snow Summit has increased its snow making area to more than 200 acres of ski runs that can hold approximately 7,000 skiers.

historic women of big bear
Enjoying all that Big Bear has to offer helps celebrate the lives of the historic women of Big Bear.

Eleanor Abbott Helped Found Big Bear Historical Society

How important is Eleanor Abbott to Big Bear? The Big Bear Valley Historical Museum is named in her honor for starters. Abbott was part of a small group of people that wanted to preserve Big Bear’s past in November 1967. In August 1971, the Big Bear Historical Society was born. The Big Bear Valley Historical Eleanor Abbott Museum opened its doors in June 1982 and is open to the public each year from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays, Sundays, Wednesdays and Mondays for observed holidays from Memorial Day weekend in May through the second weekend of October.

Winifred Marrone Instilled Historical Society Roots

There wouldn’t even be a Big Bear Valley Historical Society without the contributions of Winnifred Marrone and her husband Charles. The Marrones donated the historic Cienargo Largo Log Cabin to the historical society in June 1978. The society later moved the cabin to the north shore of Big Bear Lake to the current museum grounds.

Now that you know which women we owe a debt of gratitude to this month, it’s time to enjoy all the Big Bear has to offer. Make sure you have a reservation for a comfortable cabin or luxury hotel room at Big Bear. Make your reservations today.

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