Saloon, bank, bath house and livery stables on Mane Street, Pioneertown, CA
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Pioneertown, California, is an unincorporated community village in the Morongo Basin region of southern California's Inland Empire Metropolitan Area, approximately 56 miles (90 km) east of San Bernardino.
The town started as a live-in Old West motion-picture set, built in the 1940s. The set was designed to provide a place for the actors to live while using their homes in the movie. A number of Westerns and early television shows were filmed in Pioneertown, including The Cisco Kid and Edgar Buchanan's Judge Roy Bean.
Roy Rogers, Dick Curtis, and Russell Hayden were among the original developers and investors, and Gene Autry frequently taped his show at the six-lane Pioneer Bowl bowling alley. Its construction was credited to A. E. Thompson in 1947 and Rogers himself rolled out the first ball in 1949. School-age children were hired as pinsetters until the installation of automatic pinsetting equipment in the 1950s. According to the Morongo Basin Historical Society, the bowling alley is one of the oldest in continuous use in California.
To retain Pioneertown's Old West flavor and spirit, the reenactment groups Gunfighters For Hire and Mane Street Stampede perform a variety of shoot-em-up skits on Main Street every Saturday and Sunday (all shows are free and family-friendly).
Pioneertown is easily accessed via Pioneertown Road at California State Route 62 in the town of Yucca Valley. The gently winding, four-mile (6 km) drive northwest to Pioneertown has been designated a California Scenic Drive.
Sawtooth Complex Fire
On July 11, 2006, some of Pioneertown was burned in the Sawtooth Complex fire, which also burned into Yucca Valley and Morongo Valley. Firefighters managed to save the historic movie-set buildings, but much of the surrounding desert habitat was damaged. Among the buildings saved was Pappy & Harriet's Pioneertown Palace, a longtime local club and landmark built within one of the original sets, which counts among its regular patrons notable musicians, including Eric Burdon.
- Rafton, Louise. “Pioneertown”, Westways Magazine, March/April 2005
- http://www.pioneertown.com/f-index.htm Pioneertown official website[dead link]
- "Pioneertown Is Ersatz; Its Compassion Is Real". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2009-06-01.
- "Hi-Desert Star - Yucca Valley, CA: Sawtooth Complex Fire". Hidesertstar.com. Retrieved 2008-10-14.[dead link]