The way we were

The Red Mountain Fruit Ranch, near Tinemah Creek, circa 1920. Photo courtesy the Eastern California Museum.

The Red Mountain Fruit Ranch, near Tinemah Creek, circa 1920. Photo courtesy the Eastern California Museum.

Local Historians Offer Tour of Valley’s Ranching/Farming History

A group of local historians will lead a tour of the Owens Valley’s agricultural landscape on Saturday, Nov. 9, which will inform participants about the history and current status of farming and ranching as it relates to the valley’s economy and cultural heritage.

The public is invited on the trip to explore the valley’s historical farms and present-day ranches that combine to create the valley’s agricultural heritage. Please meet at 8:30 a.m. at the Eastern California Museum, 155 N. Grant St, in Independence, or at 9:15 a.m. at the Tinemaha Campground, between Independence and Big Pine.

The tour will last until about 3:30 p.m., so please bring lunch and water and dress appropriately for the weather. The group will take cars to various sites and locations, where they will venture out to get an “on the ground” view, then drive to the next location. For more information or directions, call 760-878-0258.

The tour will take participants to “dead” or abandoned ranches, and also to ranches that are currently in operation or production. In addition, particular attention will be paid to the towering, concrete silos which dot the valley’s agricultural landscape, as well as water ditches and canals and other historical aspects of the valley’s agricultural heritage.

During the tour, the leaders’ will present well-documented statistics and information on the past and present impacts created by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s 100-year history of water gathering in the Owens Valley. How LADWP’s actions have impacted agriculture, from the turn of the 19th century to today, will be also be discussed.

Leading the tour will be Richard Potashian and Lynn Johnson. The pair have been researching all facets of the Owens Valley’s agricultural history, and have titled their work, Eden Interrupted: Owens Valley Agriculture Then and Now. Their research yielded some interesting facts and figures which present a more subtle and nuanced look at the valley’s agricultural sector before and after the completion of the Los Angeles Aqueduct in 1913. Also helping with the research for the tour itself was Pam Vaughn, a member of one of Bishop’s pioneering ranch families and a historian and author.

The tour is co-sponsored by the Eastern California Museum and the Metabolic Studio. For more information or directions, call 760-878-0258.



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