Barker Ranch

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For the community in Yuba County, California, formerly named Barker Ranch, see Woodleaf, California.
Barker Ranch
Coordinates: 35°51′34.57″N 117°5′18.76″W / 35.8596028°N 117.0885444°W / 35.8596028; -117.0885444Coordinates: 35°51′34.57″N 117°5′18.76″W / 35.8596028°N 117.0885444°W / 35.8596028; -117.0885444
Country  United States
State  California
County Inyo
Built 1930s
Founded by Butch and Helen Thomason
Elevation 990 m (3,247 ft)
Time zone Pacific (PST) (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
Barker Ranch is located in California
Barker Ranch
Barker Ranch
Myers Ranch
Myers Ranch
Barker Ranch (California)

Barker Ranch is infamous as the last hideout of Charles Manson and his "family" after the gruesome Los Angeles murder spree. It is located inside Death Valley National Park in eastern California.

The Inyo County sheriff department, California Highway Patrol, and National Park Service law enforcement captured the group in raids on October 10 and October 12, 1969. Manson was caught hiding under the bathroom vanity. At the time of his arrest they were unaware of the magnitude of their find. They wanted to prosecute the persons responsible for vandalism within Death Valley National Monument (the monument and additional surrounding area was taken over as a National Park 1994) further north, unaware that they had a mass murder suspect and his followers.

Barker Ranch is located in a rock and boulder filled valley in the Panamint Range. It is only accessible by sandy, primitive and rugged roads. Streams feed this little valley and provide much vegetation. There is a small one room guest house located to the side of the main house. There is also a makeshift swimming pool (this was probably a cistern to store water from the spring) made from cement and rock boulders towards the back of the property.

Today the remnants of the ranch belong to National Park Service. Due to a fire in May 2009, most of the structure has been destroyed with only the concrete and rock portion of the cabin still standing.

Barker Ranch was built by "recreational ranchers" who moved to the desert to enjoy the solitude and simplicity of living far from civilization.

Butch and Helen Thomason moved to the area in the 1930s to try their hand at gold mining. Around 1940 they constructed a small cabin and out building, with electricity provided by a windmill and generator, and drinking water from a nearby spring.

In 1955 the ranch was sold to Jim and Arlene Barker, who moved to the desert from Oklahoma. To accommodate their family gatherings, the Barkers enlarged the house and constructed more out buildings.

Subsequent events[edit]

In early 1970, members of the Manson Family were filmed by Robert Hendrickson at their Barker Ranch hideout, sorting through, and taking evidence left behind by detectives, for the making of the Oscar-nominated documentary "Manson."

In early 2008, after decades of persistent rumors of additional Manson family murder victims, forensic investigators performed testing at the ranch for possible buried human remains. Using state of the art technology not available 40 years ago, investigators located several sites consistent with possible clandestine graves. In May 2008, investigators conducted a "dig" at the sites; however, further searching by authorities was called off due to finding no evidence or victim remains during the search.[1]


  1. ^ Rowland, Ted (May 9, 2008). "Authorities to dig at old Manson family ranch". CNN. Retrieved 2008-05-09. 

External links[edit]