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California Fool's Gold -- An Antelope Valley Primer

Posted by Eric Brightwell, May 25, 2011 02:00pm | Post a Comment
WHERE THE DEER AND THE ANTELOPE PLAY -- THE ANTELOPE VALLEY


The Antelope Valley
is a large region located in the western edge of the Mojave Desert situated between the Tehachapi and the San Gabriel Mountains. It is neighbored by the regions of Kern County/The Central Valley to the north, Northwest Los Angeles County to the west, Angeles Forest to the south and San Bernadino County/The Inland Empire to the east. Historically it was home to the Kawaiisu, Kitanemuk, Serrano and Tataviam people. Spaniards invaded in the 1770s and conquered the land.


Pendersleigh & Sons' Official Map of the Antelope Valley

Antelope Valley's name comes from the pronghorns which populated the area until the 1880s. Though more closely related to giraffes and okapi, the are wrongly but commonly referred to as "pronghorn antelopes."


Today, the main industries of the valley's communities are aerospace, agriculture, manufacturing and mining. A population boom began in the 1980s and, in the the last ten years, the principle cities in the area, Lancaster and Palmdale, have passed Pomona to become the fifth and sixth largest cities in Los Angeles County. The population is approximately 50% white, 30% Latino, 13% black and 4% Asian.

And now an introduction to the communities of the Antelope Valley:

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ACTON


Acton is a small community founded above the valley floor in the Sierra Pelona Mountains in 1887 by gold miners. Its first hotel and saloon, The 49er, opened in 1889 and is still open for business. Acton appeared in Army of Darkness, Blood Work, Duel, Little Miss Sunshine and Terminator 3. The videos for Radiohead's "High and Dry," Metallica's "The Day That Never Comes," and Tom Petty's "Swingin" were also filmed in various Acton locales. It's also home to the Polsa Rosa Movie Ranch. Acton is also the least diverse community in the valley, with a population that's 81% white (mostly German, Irish and Canadian) and 12% Latino (mostly Mexican).


DESERT RELIEF

Desert Relief was listed on U.S. Geological Survey maps at least as late as 1934. Nowadays there are about five houses in the area and not much else. Just east are the ruins of the old Llano Del Rio Company of Nevada commune.


JUNIPER HILLS


Juniper Hills (Source: 

Juniper Hills is a small town located in the foothills on the northern slope of the San Gabriel Mountains, just west of the Devil's Punchbowl County Park. The Juniper Hills Community Association was created in 1948 and maintains a community center.


LAKE LOS ANGELES


Tiny Lake Los Angeles is the youngest and poorest community in the valley. The lake of the name is a dry one located beneath the Lovejoy Buttes. Beginning in the 1930s, it was a popular filming location, especially in the TV series Bonanza. The population is 47% white (mostly German), 36% Latino (mostly Mexican and Salvadoran) and 10% black.


LANCASTER


Lancaster is the ninth fastest growing city in the US and is the largest city in Antelope Valley. It was founded by real estate developer M.L. Wicks in the late 19th century. In the 1970s, it was home to the Flat Earth Society. In films, it was a location for Rob Zombie's The Devil's Rejects. The grooved Civic Musical Road, when driven across, plays Gioachino Rossini's "William Tell Overture!" The population is 53% white (mostly German), 24% Latino (mostly Mexican), 15% black and 4% Asian (mostly Filipino).


LARGO VISTA

Largo Vista is small town located at the northern edge of Angeles National Forest.


LEONA VALLEY


Affluent Leona Valley, located where the Sierra Pelona Mountains meet the Mojave Desert, is the wealthiest community in the Antelope Valley. The land was purchased in 1913 by Frank D. Hall who established a dairy farm in the Leonis Valley (which he renamed, "Leona"). The farm failed and in 1922, it was subdivided and sold to new residents. Today, the residents are 80% white (mostly German and English), 7% Latino and 6% Asian (mostly Vietnamese and Indian).


LLANO


Ruins of Llano del Rio, near Llano (source: Center for Land Use Interpretation)


Llano is a small town with a population of about 1200. Just north of town are the ruins of the Llano Del Rio Company of Nevada commune. 


NEENACH


Neenach is a small farm town of about 800 people. It was founded in the 1870s by Danish settlers from Neenah, Wisconsin.


NORTHEAST ANTELOPE VALLEY


Piute Ponds (image source: Bill Cullen)
Northeast Antelope Valley is a sparsely-populated area of the valley. Within its borders is the separate community of Lake Los Angeles. The mostly flat terrain is punctuated with several mountains and buttes. There are several parks and wildlife sanctuaries, including the Alpine Butte Wildlife Sanctuary, the Carl O Gerhardy Wildlife Sanctuary, the Mescal Wildlife Sanctuary, Saddleback Butte State Park, Butte Valley Wildflower Sanctuary, the Phacelia Wildlife Sanctuary and the Theodore Payne Wildlife Sanctuary. It's also home to the Antelope Valley Indian Museum. Since Antelope Valley is a true desert, it is something of a surprise that the largest freshwater wetlands in the county are located there, the Piute Ponds. The ponds are part of the Harley Berhow Recreational Area and support 200 varieties of migratory birds including the Black-crowned night heron, the Great heron, the Great horned owl, and the Western snowy plover. The human residents are 62% white (mostly German and English), 25% Latino (mostly Mexican and Salvadoran) and 8% black.


NORTHWEST ANTELOPE VALLEY


Northwest Antelope Valley is a another sparsely-populated area of the valley. The population is 78% white (mostly German and English) and 14% Latino (mostly Mexican). Its Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve draws many visitors who come to enjoy rolling fields of the California state flower. It's also home to the Arthur B. Ripley Desert Woodland State Park, Desert Pines Wildlife Sanctuary and Fairmont Reservoir.


PALMDALE


Palmdale was established in 1886 by mostly German and Swiss Lutherans from the Middle West. Today its population is 41% white (mostly German), 38% Latino (mostly Mexican and Salvadoran), 14% black and 4% Asian. It wasn't incorporated until 1962. It's been mentioned or featured in the films Mac and Me, Star Trek Generations, Volcano, Bubble Boy, Star Trek Nemesis, The Day after Tomorrow, The Terminal, Pirates of the Caribbean - At World's End and Transformers - Revenge of the Fallen as well as sung about by Afroman and Frank Zappa.


QUARTZ HILL


Quartz Hill is a small town that until the 1970s was largely agricultural, with crops of almonds, alfalfa, as well as turkey farms. With water diverted, alfalfa crops dried up. The almond orchards were destroyed by disease. Nowadays the economy is driven by Lockheed Martin, Northrop Gruman, Staples, Boston Scientific and Starbucks. The population is 74% white (mostly German and Irish), 15% Latino (mostly Mexican) and 6% black.


SOUTHEAST ANTELOPE VALLEY & PEARBLOSSOM


Southeast Antelope Valley is another sparsely-populated area of the valley. Within its borders are Lake Palmdale, the Blalock Wildlife Sanctuary and Pearblossom Park. Its southern portion is dominated by Angeles National Forest. The population is 76% white (mostly German and Irish) and 16% Latino (mostly Mexican and Colombian).


SUN VILLAGE


Sun Village began as one of the few places blacks were allowed to buy homes and it's still home of the Jackie Robinson County Park. With the passage of fair housing and nondiscrimination laws, black residents largely left for other areas. Today the population is 47% white (mostly German), 39% Latino (mostly Mexican and Salvadoran) and 11% black. Frank Zappa's music early music career was associated with the town and he commemorated it with his song, "Village of the Sun."


VALYERMO


St. Andrew's Abbey (image source: Saint Andrew's Abbey)
Valyermo is a small town with a population of about 450. It is the home of Saint Andrew's Abbey, a Benedictine monastery.

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And so Antelope fans, to vote for any towns in the Antelope Valley or any other Los Angeles County communities to be covered on the blog, vote here. To vote for Los Angeles neighborhoods, click here. To vote for Orange County neighborhoods, vote here. And remember, don't squat with your spurs on!
 

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California Fool's Gold -- A Pomona Valley Primer

Posted by Eric Brightwell, May 17, 2011 04:35pm | Post a Comment
BETWIXT THE BLOSSOM AND THE BOUGH -- THE POMONA VALLEY

 
The Pomona Valley is located on the far eastern edge of Los Angeles County -- actually straddling it and San Bernadino County. The towns of Montclair, Ontario, San Antonio Heights and Upland are all located across the San Antonio River, on the San Bernadino side, in the Inland Empire.


Since I've yet to expand beyond writing about towns and neighborhoods of LA County (and Orange County, which was formerly part of LA County) to San Bernadino and Riverside Counties, this Pomona Valley primer is focusing only on the Pomona Valley communities within Los Angeles County: Claremont, Pomona and La Verne. (San Dimas and Diamond Bar, which straddle the border of the Pomona and San Gabriel Valleys, I've chosen to include in the San Gabriel Valley.)

LOCATION OF THE POMONA VALLEY


Pendersleigh & Sons' Official Map of the Pomona Valley

Continue reading...

California Fool's Gold -- A San Gabriel Valley Primer

Posted by Eric Brightwell, April 24, 2011 06:33pm | Post a Comment
GABRIEL'S HORN DOES SOUND -- THE SAN GABRIEL VALLEY

Invariably when one speaks or hears of "The Valley," the valley in question is the San Fernando (despite the fact that there are at least six major and loads of minor valleys in Los Angeles County). For the same reasons that I'm mildly annoyed when people refer to "THE City" or "THE Bay," the notion of "THE Valley" smacks of ignorance at best and unpleasant small-mindedness at worst. This blog entry is an introduction to the San Gabriel Valley, that great and amazing expanse of suburbs, boomburbs, exurbs and enthoburbs (any "suburb" portmanteaus I've missed?) with surprisingly significant history and variety of cultures beneath the seemingly uniform surface of bandage-colored strip malls and homes. That being said, at the time of writing, the San Fernando Valley page on Facebook has 25,519 fans whereas the San Gabriel Valley page has a mere ten.


Pendersleigh & Sons' Official Map of the San Gabriel Valley


GEOGRAPHY

The San Gabriel Valley is bordered by the the Verdugo Hills and San Rafael Hills to the northwest; the San Gabriel Mountains (and Angeles Forest region) to the north; The Pomona Valley and Inland Empire to the east; the Puente Hills and San Jose Hills and, on the other side, Orange County to the south; SELACO to the south west; and The Eastside and NELA to the west.

Continue reading...

California Fool's Gold -- A Verdugos Primer

Posted by Eric Brightwell, April 14, 2011 06:23pm | Post a Comment
THE GREEN GLEN OF GLENTIES -- THE VERDUGOS

 


The Verdugos region of LA County lies between the San Gabriel Mountains, the Verdugo Mountains (or Verdugo Hills) and the San Rafael Hills. The residents mostly live in the Crescenta Valley and the less-developed ranges that surround it. It includes the communities of (parts of) Glendale, La Cañada-Flintridge, La Crescenta-Montrose, La Tuna Canyon, (parts of) Pasadena, Sunland and Tujunga. It's surrounded by the San Fernando Valley to the west, the San Gabriel Valley to the east, Northeast LA to the south, the Mideast Side to the southwest and the Angeles Forest to the north. The inhabitants of the region are approximately 50% white, 23% Latino, 13% Asian and 8% black.

Continue reading...

California Fool's Gold -- An Angeles Forest Primer

Posted by Eric Brightwell, March 29, 2011 02:31pm | Post a Comment
NECK OF THE WOODS -- ANGELES FOREST

Angeles National Forest is a vast 650,000 acre wood that serves as a residence for few humans and mountain playground for a population already spoiled for choice with ocean, desert and urban options… all available to be enjoyed in a single day. The National Forest was established by Executive Order in December 1892. It stretches from the Pacific Ocean to the Mojave Desert along the San Gabriel Mountains, spreading across five counties. 



LOCATION OF ANGELES FOREST


Pendersleigh & Sons' Official Map of Angeles Forest

In the LA County portion, the Angeles Forest is divided into two halves; one in Northwest Los Angeles County and the other, larger section, to the east, separated by the Antelope Valley Freeway and a series of small canyons formed along the seasonal Santa Clara River. This larger area of Los Angeles County's portion of the forest is known as the Angeles Forest District, which includes three sparsely populated neighborhoods, Angeles Crest, Lopez & Kagel Canyons, and the Tujunga Canyons. Angeles Forest is surround by San Bernadino County/The Inland Empire to the east, Pomona Valle to the southeast, Antelope Valley to the north, Northwest Los Angeles County to the west, San Fernando Valley to the southwest, and the Verdugos and San Gabriel Valley to the south. 


LIFE OF THE FOREST

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