Pearblossom (CA) ruins

Somewhere on the Pearblossom Highway (138) there are some ruins. IIRC there was a commune (Communist settlement?) established in the 1920s. I used to take 138 to get up to Wrightwood to go skiing when I was in high school. By that time (late-1970s) little was left but for a foundation and a couple of chimneys. I heard a couple of years ago that they were going to widen the highway and people said the ruins would be demolished. IIRC, the highway widening was accomplished without harming the ruins.

What was the name of this commune? Where exactly is it, so I can locate it on a map? Were the ruins in fact saved from demolition? Does anyone know the history?

And are there any photos online?

Johnny, are you thinking of Llano Del Rio? I know they have been excavating out that way in preparation for the widening of the 138 (finally).

That’s the place. Thanks! :slight_smile:

Edit: I was hoping you’d see this thread, Queen Bruin. :slight_smile:

:slight_smile: Thanks.

A little more info: I recall that it was Caltrans operating the excavation. A tidbit from the Environmental Impact Report:

ISTM that some of it, at least, will be preserved.

I just asked my FiL (he’s out that way often) if he recalled the chimneys still being around but he wasn’t sure. I’ll do a little poking around on the DBs I have access to through school. I’ve been trying to comb the AV Press site, I *know *I remember something about some recent finds out there. Unfortunately their site sucks.

I found two Llano Del Rio references of note:

“Two Utopian Feminists and Their Campaigns for Kitchenless Houses”.
Author(s): Dolores Hayden
Source: Signs, Vol. 4, No. 2. (Winter, 1978), pp. 274-290.

This one had some pretty interesting pictures of the planned layout of the community. Evidently a lot of it was spearheaded by an activist architect, Alice Constance Austin. There are pictures of her in the article as well, with a model of her kitchenless house plan.

“Westward, Utopia: Robert V. Hine, Aldous Huxley, and the Future of California History”
Author(s): Kerwin Lee Klein
Source: The Pacific Historical Review, Vol. 70, No. 3. (Aug.,
2001), pp. 465-476.

This was kind of an overview. Both articles are not very recent and are pretty short. You could probably access them from JSTOR ( at either a public or college library. I’m heading out to Palmdale this evening to take my MiL out for her birthday; I will drop by the local history section of Barnes and Noble and see what I can shake up. Now I’m all curious!

Nice research!

Meh, not really. I know there’s more going on. A look at the local B&N didn’t turn up anything in specific on Llano. I’ll bug a prof at AVC sometime before I shuttle off to warmer climes for the winter. I’d guess that anything that turned up in the last year or so would take a few years to publish; even then, it’s not like a lot of fresh-faced, newly minted archaeologists are rushing off to excavate a 19th/20th century socialist commune.

I need* to head out soon to get some snausages from the Hungarian place. I’ll poke around and see what comes up.

*yeah, sure, I *need *them. My life is incomplete without a surplus of andouille. Uh huh. :wink:

Lots of info, including a photo archive:

(Or maybe this is only for Louisiana’s colony? Not sure.)

I guess this is what it looks like today:

To get a (not really clear) look at the ruins, go to and enter “165th st and pearblossom highway, llano, ca” in the search box.

When the map comes up, click on Aerial.

X out of the instruction/suggestion frame on the left side of the screen.

When the aerial photo is displayed, look to the East (right) of the intersection. There are three sets of roads/images North of (above) the highway. The first includes an oval like a reacetrack. The second is mostly rectangular. The third or farthest East is irregular in shape. Click your mouse on the irregular shape then drag it to the location of the intersection. This will center the map on the ruins.

Then click on Bird’s Eye to get an oblique view of the ruins. You can even magnify them a little bit, (not much). (If the magnifying icon is not working, the scroll wheel will allow a bit of Zooming.)

here’s a link

Thank you for this information,

Family folk lore was that my Great Grandfather, Great Grandmother and Grandfather had lived there.

I had been searching for information on it under an incorrect name that someone I met gave me.

I was told by my Grandfather (deceased) that he lived there as a boy and that when they water ran out of water. my Great grandmother said she had had enough and they moved back to Los Angeles.

I haven’t been there in about 10 or so years. but we would stop whenever we drove out to Las Vegas. the two facing chimneys are probably 15 feet high or so. the meeting hall is much bigger then the the pic (below) shows.

thanks again for a direction for my research.

I believe, but do not know with certainty, that this community was established as a Fourier Socialist Community by my grandparents, Eddy Milford “Ted” Humphrey and Myra Alice Humphrey. If so, its date of founding would have been sometime between 1915 and 1920, closer to the former than the latter. The community would have been underwritten by funds my grandfather and grandmother received from the sale of the last trainload of saddle broken wild horses purchased from my grandparents by the U.S Cavalry, at least that is the family mythos. I have at least one picture of the children who were brought to the community by their parents, children who were educated through the sixth grade by my grandmother, who had been a teacher in a one-room school house near Bison, South Dakota. My father, Charles Bradley Humphrey, asserted on at least one occasion I can remember clearly, that this was the location of the community in which he spent his early years. According to the testimony of my grandmother, the community folded within five to seven years of its founding because “people did not want to work.” Her claim was that the money she and her husband, who died before I was born, simply ran out and the community dissolved.

My grandparents came initially to the Beaumont area between 1911 and 1913, where they bought a farmstead for themselves before setting up the community. They were at least that cautious. My grandfather was both socialist and atheist. My grandmother, who affiliated with the Latter Day Saints after his death in c. 1938, was neither, though she did avow some form of socialism.

I have reason to believe that at least some parts of the foregoing are relatively accurate, but others may not be. I put this out more to see responses (and corrections) from others than for any other reason. One might want to refer to the novel by Susan Sontag, Coming to America for her take on this movement in California.

I hadn’t heard the about the water issues from any member of my family, father, his sister or grandmother, but, given the area, that seems quite plausible to me. Incidentally, my grandparents and their children move to the Los Angeles area after the community folded. They went to Long Beach and my father and his sister graduated from Long Beach HS.

Thanks for the comments. Johnny L.A. asked the question some years ago but he’s still a very active poster. Welcome.