The Pioneertown people don’t want to get too excited yet, but the feeling is building. When the town’s water district is actually formed and functioning, the problem that has held back phenomenal growth will be headed toward a final solution. They absolutely want to keep the Western motif of the town, and many want it to stay small, but with plenty of piped water available the growth will mushroom.
The county Board of Supervisors Monday approved a long-stalled $475,000 property assessment program to finance replacement of the deteriorated water system at Pioneertown, north of Yucca Valley.
Worried that replacement of a water system will spur development and ruin the area’s rustic atmosphere, a half-dozen Pioneertown residents intended to form an area homeowners association and to work to have the town a historical landmark.
The County Board of Supervisors on Monday agreed to join three Morongo basin water districts in a project aims to bring Northern California water into the area by way of a pipeline from the California Aqueduct in Hesperia.
But most of the 69,000 residents choose to live in the arid High Desert communities for the same reasons their predecessors did. Here they find pristine beauty, solitude, clean air and a place to live life the way they want.
Pioneertown, in the “high desert” above Palm Springs, got its start as a permanent set for cowboy-western movies. About 150 were filmed there, including such classics as “Annie Oakley,” “The Cisco Kid” and the Hopalong Cassidy” series.
Pioneertown residents can’t agree whether to cling to their backwater identity or court the entertainment industry, which built and then forgot the high desert town.
When Roy Rogers, Russ “Lucky” Hayden and other Hollywood cowboys pushed a road up to this high desert hideaway in 1946, they found an ideal Western movie-picture set complete with stout Joshua trees, jumbled granite boulders, and miles of sky.