Pioneertown, California

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Pioneertown, California
Saloon, bank, bath house and livery stables on Mane Street, Pioneertown, CA
Saloon, bank, bath house and livery stables on Mane Street, Pioneertown, CA
Pioneertown, California is located in California
Pioneertown, California
Pioneertown, California
Location within the state of California
Coordinates: 34°9′26″N 116°29′41″W / 34.15722°N 116.49472°W / 34.15722; -116.49472Coordinates: 34°9′26″N 116°29′41″W / 34.15722°N 116.49472°W / 34.15722; -116.49472
CountryUnited States
CountySan Bernardino
 • Total420
Time zoneUTC−08:00 (Pacific (PST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC−07:00 (PDT)
ZIP Codes
Area codes442/760
FIPS code06-57358
GNIS feature ID247574

Pioneertown, California, is an unincorporated community of the Morongo Basin region of San Bernardino's High Desert. The historical town was originally incorporated in 1946 and fell into the hands of San Bernardino County in the late 1960s. The winding, 4-mile (6.4 km) drive northwest to Pioneertown from Yucca Valley has been designated a California Scenic Drive and the area is now surrounded by privately and federally protected lands. Homes and businesses in Pioneertown have a Yucca Valley address.


Actor Dick Curtis started up the town in 1946 as an 1880s themed live-in Old West living, breathing motion-picture set. The town was designed to provide a place for production companies to enjoy while also using their businesses and homes in movies. Hundreds of Westerns and early television shows were filmed in Pioneertown, including The Cisco Kid and Edgar Buchanan's Judge Roy Bean.

Pioneer Bowl

Dick Curtis, Roy Rogers and Russell Hayden were some of the original developers and investors, and Gene Autry filmed every episode of his show at the six-lane Pioneer Bowl bowling alley. The Pioneer Bowl's construction was credited to Tommy 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 still using the first Brunswick pinsetters and is open seasonally during the summer.

21st century[edit]

As of 2019, Pioneertown had a population of 420.[1][2]

In July 2006, parts of Pioneertown were burned in the Sawtooth Complex fire, which also burned into Yucca Valley and Morongo Valley.[3] Firefighters managed to save the historic movie-set buildings, but much of the surrounding desert habitat was damaged.[4] Among the buildings saved was Pappy & Harriet's Pioneertown Palace, a longtime local club and landmark built within the town's original and only gas station, which counts among its regular patrons notable musicians, including Eric Burdon and Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin fame.

Mane Street in downtown Pioneertown is open to the public.

As Pioneertown is a working movie set, commercial production & photography is allowed by permit only.

On January 18, 2019, the Kidz Bop Kids used Pioneertown as the set for their music video for the cover of Lil Nas X's song, Old Town Road.


Media related to Pioneertown, California at Wikimedia Commons

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Pioneertown Is Ersatz; Its Compassion Is Real". Los Angeles Times. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Hi-Desert Star – Yucca Valley, CA: Sawtooth Complex Fire". Retrieved 2008-10-14. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)[dead link]

External links[edit]