WE ENTERED the central compound of Pioneertown with caution, expecting a fight to tumble through the saloon doors any minute, or the “fastest gun in the West” to make a fast draw. It was soon evident, though, that our fears were unfounded—this town is only a fascinating echo of the West’s wild past.
The long bar was used as an interior shot in countless western movies, filmed here in years gone by. The back portion of this bar, an authentic antique, was reported to have come from France via sailing ship to New Orleans in the post-Civil War period. From there it was dismantled, crated and shipped by wagon train to California. It, too, was destroyed.
The Golden Stallion restaurant sustained $50,000 damage from a blaze Sunday, the California Division of Forestry said, following a blaze two days earlier that cost $45,000 damage to the Red Dog Saloon.
The third fire in a week in tiny Pioneertown in Yucca Valley burned actor Jack Bailey’s Golden Stallion restaurant to the ground after an employee fell asleep smoking, causing more than $50,000 damage, officials reported. Friday a $45,000 fire destroyed the Red Dog Saloon a block of the street, and a third fire last Monday caused $3,500 damage. Officials said the fires were apparently unrelated.
The third fire in a week in tiny Pioneertown burn the Golden Stallion restaurant to the ground yesterday, causing more then $50,000 damage, the California Division of Forestry reported.
Pioneertown will be the setting for the Western Roundup square dance next Saturday evening at 8. Yucca Valley Hi-D Squares will sponsor the big dance under the stars. Max Normando, La Habra, has been engaged to call the squares.
Santa Claus came down Pioneertown’s Mane Street in a covered wagon on December 25, 1947. Pioneertown wasn’t a year old yet, but it was bustling with building and plans. The population had almost reached its peak… there ‘were about 300 people, 68 horses, 43 dogs, 29 cats, 4 canaries, 2 Love Birds and 1 parrot. Eight shops had been built along Mane Street and half a dozen homes had been completed around town. There were a few more homes and a motel in Rimrock.
Pioneertown was built in 1947 as a set for western movies, according to Hester Guinan, who has lived in the town for 22 years and has been its Postmaster for 17 years.
Among the many cowboy sagas shot there were “Jeopardy” with Barbara Stanwyck, most of the Gene Autry and Cisco Kid films and recently “Tell them Willie Boy is here,” starring Robert Redford.
The first public hearing, concerning a requested zone change in Pioneertown, will take place before the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors tomorrow at 3 p.m. The hearing, requested on petition of actor Russell Hayden, one of the original Pioneertown developers, is for consideration of a zone change from rural residence (RR) to desert living (DL) in portions of section 20, Township 1 North, Range 5 East. The portions lie both north and south of Pioneertown Road and in the vicinity of Skyline Ranch Road.
Use of an 80-acre site west of Pioneertown for development of a trailer and camper park was approved by the county planning commission last week on condition that an improved road be built to provide adequate access.