Firm Proceeds With Pioneertown Plans


PIONEERTOWN – Publication of a new 12-page information brochure and the completion of the blueprints for Mane Street and the Pioneertown-to-be are the latest steps taken in the development of the 30-square mile Golden Empire, it was announced by J. C. Van Horne, resident manager of the project.

The initial groundbreaking and first-phase construction program will get started in about two months, he reported, but total completion of the Golden Empire will take 10 years.

The color brochure, similar in style and production to Arizona Highways Magazine contains colored and black and white pictures, maps and text spelling out the history and future plans of the area

Will Hanson, Hollywood Western set designer and decorator, kept the Old West motif alive in his blueprints and architectural design for the enlarge and projected Pioneertown. Present – day Pioneertown, serving as the heart and nervous system of the Golden Empire, will be turned into a family-style amusement and shopping center.

Businesses and buildings already in existence, which will become the nucleus of the “new” Mane Street, are the Golden Stallion Restaurant, the Red Dog Restaurant, Pioneer Bowl bowling alley, the U.S. Post Office, the Townhouse Motel and the Old Corral, which recently reopened under the management of head wrangler Bob Landreth.

A partial listing of new buildings and businesses on the blueprints include a Bank of America building, a dance hall, a theater, a western wear store, a newspaper and printing office, a penny arcade, an ice cream parlor and a stagecoach terminus.

Also planned are an Old West barber shop, a beauty parlor, a shooting gallery, a Mexican restaurant, a feed store, an antique shop, a boarding house and, significantly, a church.

Benton House, the residence of Benton Lefton, president of the Golden Empire Corp., will be located nearby. No cars will be allowed to drive over Mane St. or the other streets, but parking spaces for 1,716 cars will encircle the whole amusement center.

Work on the Master Plan for the project has been completed, Van Horne stated. Residential sections of large and small lots will be laid out as well as acreage lots and retirement communities. Shopping centers, churches, theaters, large and small parks, golf courses, swimming pools and other recreational areas will be available, he said. Van Horne also indicated provisions have been made for industrial parks designed for electronics and space-age plants.

The vast acreage involved is presently owned by the Pana Mortgage Corp. but will ultimately become the Golden Empire Corp., headed by Lefton, presently senior vice president of Lytton Mortgage Corp., Los Angeles.

Lefton, himself a graduate architect from the University of Virginia, has drawn upon the experience of Dr. Warren O. Wagner, Ferdinand Iwasko, Van Horne and others to help steer the project to its final goal.

Dr. Wagner, the consulting hydraulic engineer, reports his studies of the snow and rainfalls on the drainage basins of the project areas indicate the land may be developed for up to approximately 20,000 families.

Iwasko, who drew up the Master Plan, is one of the most reputable city and real estate planners in the country, Van Horne stated. He drew the master plans for the cities of Redlands, Covina and Upland, in California; Yuma Ariz.; the University of Vermont; and the National Sports Center in Washington, D.C.

Van Horne, a Canadian-born lawyer and six-year Parliament member, came to this country in 1962. Prior to that time he had been engaged by Webb & Knapp, New York real estate developers, to head the leasing and building corporation for Montreal’s Place Ville Marie, the largest office building in the British Commonwealth.

Oct. 18, 1964 - The San Bernardino County Sun article clipping