Lone Pine, California

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Lone Pine
census-designated place
Main Street
Main Street
Location in Inyo County and the state of California
Location in Inyo County and the state of California
Coordinates: 36°36′22″N 118°03′46″W / 36.60611°N 118.06278°W / 36.60611; -118.06278Coordinates: 36°36′22″N 118°03′46″W / 36.60611°N 118.06278°W / 36.60611; -118.06278
Country  United States
State  California
County Inyo
 • Total 19.215 sq mi (49.766 km2)
 • Land 19.034 sq mi (49.298 km2)
 • Water 0.181 sq mi (0.468 km2)  0.94%
Elevation[2] 3,727 ft (1,136 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 2,035
 • Density 110/sq mi (41/km2)
Time zone Pacific (PST) (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP code 93545
Area code(s) 760
FIPS code 06-42580
GNIS feature ID 0277545

Lone Pine is a census-designated place (CDP) in Inyo County, California, United States.[2] Lone Pine is located 16 miles (26 km) south-southeast of Independence,[3] at an elevation of 3727 feet (1136 m).[2] The population was 2,035 at the 2010 census, up from 1,655 at the 2000 census. The town is located in the Owens Valley, near the Alabama Hills. From possible choices of urban, rural, and frontier, the Census Bureau identifies this area as "frontier." The local hospital, Southern Inyo Hospital, offers standby emergency services.[4] On March 26, 1872, the very large Lone Pine earthquake destroyed most of the town and killed 27 of its 250 to 300 residents.


The Paiute people inhabited the Owens Valley area from prehistoric times.[5] These early inhabitants are known to have established trading routes which extended to the Pacific Central Coast, delivering materials originating in the Owens Valley to such tribes as the Chumash.[6]

A cabin was built here during the winter of 1861/62.[3] A settlement developed over the following two years.[3] The Lone Pine post office opened in 1870.[3]


Lone Pine is situated in the Owens Valley with the picturesque Alabama Hills lying to the west. Their unique appearance has attracted many film companies over the years. The hills were named in 1862 by Southern sympathizers, commemorating the victories of the Confederate ship CSS Alabama.[7]

As the crow flies, Lone Pine is 80 miles due east of Fresno. However, there is no road crossing the Sierra Nevada to provide access from Lone Pine to Fresno. As a result, the closest accessible large city is Bakersfield, 160 miles away.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 19.2 square miles (49.8 km²), of which 19.0 square miles (49.3 km²) is land and 0.2 square mile (0.5 km²) (0.94%) is water.


Lone Pine and most of the Owens Valley have a high desert climate characterized by hot summers and cold winters. January temperatures range from the middle fifties to upper twenties. July temperatures range from the upper nineties to lower sixties. Low humidity is prevalent, with average annual precipitation averaging less than six inches (152 mm). Snowfall varies greatly from year to year, averaging only five inches annually. The nearest official National Weather Service cooperative weather station is in Independence where records date back to 1893.[8] The National Weather Service has added an automated weather station in Lone Pine, which provides observations on its website, weather.gov.[9]



The 2010 United States Census[10] reported that Lone Pine had a population of 2,035. The population density was 105.9 people per square mile (40.9/km²). The racial makeup of Lone Pine was 1,334 (65.6%) White, 6 (0.3%) African American, 205 (10.1%) Native American, 17 (0.8%) Asian, 1 (0.0%) Pacific Islander, 376 (18.5%) from other races, and 96 (4.7%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 694 persons (34.1%).

The Census reported that 1,972 people (96.9% of the population) lived in households, 0 (0%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 63 (3.1%) were institutionalized.

There were 831 households, out of which 254 (30.6%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 374 (45.0%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 95 (11.4%) had a female householder with no husband present, 46 (5.5%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 53 (6.4%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 5 (0.6%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 276 households (33.2%) were made up of individuals and 107 (12.9%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.37. There were 515 families (62.0% of all households); the average family size was 3.04.

The population was spread out with 492 people (24.2%) under the age of 18, 136 people (6.7%) aged 18 to 24, 442 people (21.7%) aged 25 to 44, 580 people (28.5%) aged 45 to 64, and 385 people (18.9%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41.9 years. For every 100 females there were 98.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.1 males.

There were 1,004 housing units at an average density of 52.3 per square mile (20.2/km²), of which 452 (54.4%) were owner-occupied, and 379 (45.6%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 2.6%; the rental vacancy rate was 7.1%. 1,030 people (50.6% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 942 people (46.3%) lived in rental housing units.


As of the census[11] of 2000, there were 1,655 people, 709 households, and 448 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 88.9 people per square mile (34.3/km²). There were 867 housing units at an average density of 46.6 per square mile (18.0/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 83.2% White, 0.1% Black or African American, 2.7% Native American, 1.0% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 8.1% from other races, and 4.9% from two or more races. 26.8% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 709 households out of which 29.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.4% were married couples living together, 10.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.8% were non-families. 32.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.29 and the average family size was 2.88.

In the CDP the population was spread out with 24.6% under the age of 18, 6.9% from 18 to 24, 22.5% from 25 to 44, 25.8% from 45 to 64, and 20.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females there were 90.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.7 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $29,079, and the median income for a family was $35,800. Males had a median income of $30,813 versus $22,778 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $16,262. About 16.5% of families and 20.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 30.9% of those under age 18 and 9.3% of those age 65 or over.

Lone Pine Indian Reservation[edit]

The Lone Pine Indian Reservation is home to Owens Valley Paiute and Shoshone members of the federally recognized tribe, the Paiute-Shoshone Indians of the Lone Pine Community of the Lone Pine Reservation.[12] The tribe traditionally lived in sedentary villages in the valley due to the suitable climate and abundant food supply. These people have been living here for several thousands of years. The reservation is along the south side of town on both sides of US395.[13][14]


Lone Pine Peak, just left of Mt. Whitney and the rest of the Sierra Nevada, dominates the views west of town

The town is home to an Interagency Visitor Center at SR136 and US395.[13]

Much of the local economy is based on tourism, as the town is between several major tourist destinations, such as Mount Whitney, Sequoia National Park, Kings Canyon National Park, Mammoth Mountain, Death Valley National Park, and Yosemite National Park; many motels line the main road through town.

Manzanar National Historic Site[edit]

The Manzanar National Historic Site (formerly the Manzanar War Relocation Center), a Japanese American internment camp during World War II, is located on Highway 395 north of Lone Pine and south of Independence. Manzanar (which means "apple orchard" in Spanish) is the best-known of the ten camps in which Japanese Americans, both citizens (including natural-born Americans) and resident aliens, were encamped during World War II. Manzanar has been identified as the best preserved of these camps by the United States National Park Service which maintains and is restoring the site as a U.S. National Historic Site.

Sierra Nevada[edit]

On the way to Whitney Portal and the Alabama Hills visitors will pass over the two Los Angeles Aqueducts, the First Los Angeles Aqueduct (completed 1913) by the LADWP and the Second Los Angeles Aqueduct (completed 1970). These aqueducts traditionally have supplied Los Angeles with about half its water, some 450,000 acre feet (560,000,000 m3) a year. Because groundwater pumping continues at a higher rate than the rate at which water recharges the aquifer, the result is a long-term trend of desertification in the Owens Valley. The Sierra Nevada range and the Inyo Mountains dominate the views from the town.

Film history at Lone Pine[edit]

The Beverly and Jim Rogers Museum of Lone Pine Film History, generously supported by Beverly and Jim Rogers, highlights the area's frequent appearances in Hollywood feature films. The Alabama Hills west of town are frequently used as a filming location for Western movies. Since the early years of filmmaking, directors and their production units have used the Lone Pine area to represent the iconic American West. Approaching the 100th anniversary of The Roundup (1920), the first documented film produced in the area, Lone Pine has played host to hundreds of the industry's best known directors and actors, among them directors William Wyler, John Ford, George Stephens, and William Wellman, and actors John Wayne, Bing Crosby, Gene Autry, Barbara Stanwyck, and Jeff Bridges. The Whitney Portal road was used in the 1941 film High Sierra with Humphrey Bogart, which culminated with a shoot-out between Bogart's character and the police, at the foot of Mount Whitney. The 1955 classic Bad Day at Black Rock starring Spencer Tracy and Anne Francis was also filmed in and around the Lone Pine area.[15][16] Lone Pine is also the location of several scenes in Iron Man depicting Afghanistan filmed in 2008.

The Forum Theater is a theater-cafe that hosts live music, theater, and films on the weekends. The Lone Pine Film Festival[17] has been held every year since 1990 to celebrate the rich heritage that film makers have brought to the area over the years.

The Alabama Hills Recreation Area is directed by the Bureau of Land Management for public recreation.


From 1971 through 1981, Lone Pine was the annual site of the Lone Pine International Chess tournament. Winners of the Lone Pine tournament included world champion Tigran Petrosian, world championship finalist Viktor Korchnoi, and U.S. champions Arthur Bisguier, Walter Browne, and Larry Evans.[citation needed]


Lone Pine Mountain Devil folklore[edit]

A common folklore around the area is the supposed existence of the legendary Lone Pine Mountain Devil. Although no real-life pictures of the creature exist, there are supposedly videos of it on YouTube. This article, however, features no substantiated evidence of this alleged animal, so what follows should be regarded as modern day myth. The animal has been featured in many recent events:


After years in decline, the new millennium has seen a sudden jump in Mountain Devil sightings. California cryptozoologists have stated that they have recorded an exponential rise between 2003 and 2010.

Guardian Of Nature

A popular belief is that the creature attacks any person or animal which disturbs the ambiance and inner peace of its natural habitat. A wider expansion of that is that any person, or animal which disrespects nature, wilderness or doubts the existence of the creature is targeted by it.

Religious Connection

Although there are no significant mentions of the creature, famous accounts of priests describing the creature themselves do exist. One early account by a priest described them “winged demons” sent from the “depths of hell.” He continues by writing: "I took refuge by myself in a small tent on the outside of the convoy watched as “winged demons” swarmed from the trees and attacked the settlers ... My God. My God. They are all gone. The winged demons have risen! What sin have they committed against each other and thy sacred earth. May the forgiving Lord not abandon their souls, which were taken from them into the depths of hell! And through the earthly fires of man, a sole tree remained on the mountain’s peak. And the Devils that spared me, returned to the refuge of the Lone Pine on the Mountain.”[citation needed]


In the state legislature, Lone Pine is in the 8th Senate District, represented by Democrat Leland Yee,[18] and the 26th Assembly District, represented by Republican Connie Conway.[19]

Federally, Lone Pine is in California's 8th congressional district, represented by Republican Paul Cook.[20]


U.S. Route 395 makes up the main street in Lone Pine

Serving the area with a 4,000-foot (1,200 m) runway, Lone Pine Airport (FAA identifier: O26) is located about a mile southeast of town at 36°35′17″N 118°03′07″W / 36.58806°N 118.05194°W / 36.58806; -118.05194.[21][22]

The community is located on U.S. Route 395 north of State Route 136. Owens Dry Lake is just over six miles (10 km) south of town on US395.[22]


Lone Pine has one high school, Lone Pine High School. It is located on the south end of town along HWY 395.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ U.S. Census
  2. ^ a b c U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Lone Pine, California
  3. ^ a b c d Durham, David L. (1998). California's Geographic Names: A Gazetteer of Historic and Modern Names of the State. Quill Driver Books. p. 1179. ISBN 9781884995149. 
  4. ^ Licensed Healthcare Facilities, 2006, California Department of Health Services. This area is defined as being in "California Health Service Area 12."
  5. ^ Bahr, Donald, The Owens Valley Epics, American Indian Culture and Research Journal, v31 n2 p41-68 (2007) American Indian Studies Center at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
  6. ^ C. Michael Hogan, Los Osos Back Bay, Megalithic Portal, ed. Andy Burnham (2008) [1]
  7. ^ Your Pass to Play, pamphlet published by the Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce 2007
  8. ^ http://www.wrcc.dri.edu/cgi-bin/cliMAIN.pl?ca4232
  9. ^ http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/mesowest/gmap.php?map=mtr
  10. ^ All data are derived from the United States Census Bureau reports from the 2010 United States Census, and are accessible on-line here. The data on unmarried partnerships and same-sex married couples are from the Census report DEC_10_SF1_PCT15. All other housing and population data are from Census report DEC_10_DP_DPDP1. Both reports are viewable online or downloadable in a zip file containing a comma-delimited data file. The area data, from which densities are calculated, are available on-line here. Percentage totals may not add to 100% due to rounding. The Census Bureau defines families as a household containing one or more people related to the householder by birth, opposite-sex marriage, or adoption. People living in group quarters are tabulated by the Census Bureau as neither owners nor renters. For further details, see the text files accompanying the data files containing the Census reports mentioned above.
  11. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  12. ^ California Indians and Their Reservations. San Diego State University Library and Information Access. 2009 (retrieved 8 Dec 2009)
  13. ^ a b Inyo National Forest, California 1993, (Salt Lake City, Utah: Forest Service Geometronics Service Center, 1989 (GPO 1994-585-901).
  14. ^ U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer's web site lists California tribal lands.
  15. ^ "Lone Pine Film Database". Lone Pine Film History Museum. Retrieved June 1, 2012. 
  16. ^ Bann, Richard W. (2010). Lone Pine in the Movies: Celebrating Republic's 75th Anniversary. Little Rock: Riverwood Press. ISBN 978-1880756171. 
  17. ^ [2] Lone Pine Film Festival. Accessed July 11, 2007.
  18. ^ "Senators". State of California. Retrieved April 11, 2013. 
  19. ^ "Members Assembly". State of California. Retrieved April 11, 2013. 
  20. ^ "California's 8th Congressional District - Representatives & District Map". Civic Impulse, LLC. Retrieved April 11, 2013. 
  21. ^ U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, Southwest Airport Facility Directory, (unknown year).
  22. ^ a b Lone Pine, California, 7.5-minute quadrangle, U.S. Geological Survey, 1994.

External links[edit]