Friday, June 29, 2007

Tangerine Sky in the High Desert...California

The Antelope Valley, about 60 miles north of Los Angeles has some of the most beautiful topography and skies in the West. A valley surrounded by two mountain ranges, The San Gabriels and The Tehachapi, the Antelope Valley has clear skies, warm winds and breathtaking vistas.
Although a politically uber-conservative enclave for many years, the two main cities of Palmdale and Lancaster are embracing diversity with both a yelp and a whimper. The bumper crop of savvy and sophisticated transplants from "down below" (the very smoggy Los Angeles basin) are doing their part to persuade by example, and the result is that Palmdale, especially, offers a growing upscale quality of life, recreation, jobs, and shopping---with all the freedom and privacy normally associated with a more rural locale.
A national publication recently named Palmdale the Top Place to Retire in the country. Homes and land are still affordable, the shuttle can land at nearby Edwards AFB, and word has it that Palmdale International Airport will ultimately become the favored alternative to the busy and overcrowded Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Ok, so, with United Airlines currently the only airline (but, offering flights to many destinations) could take a while for Palmdale to become the departures and arrivals airport of choice for the beautiful people. So? Even Paradise has its growth pains.

Photo By T.T. Thomas


Robin Mizell said...

Does Paradise have antelope?

T.T. Thomas said...

According to information I gathered from various sections of the Palmdale Library site, sometime between 1882 and 1885 the Antelope Valley lost 30,000 head of antelope, which was almost half of the antelope for which the Valley was named. A combination of force majeure and the march of civilization conspired to cause this disaster. Unusually heavy snows in both the mountains and the Valley floor drove the antelope toward their normal feeding grounds in the eastern part of the Valley. However, they would not cross the railroad tracks of the Southern Pacific Railroad, completed in 1876, and many antelope starved to death. Coyotes, wildcats and hunters got the rest.

Interestingly, before there was a Palmdale, there was a place called Palmenthal and a place called Harold. Weird.

Hundreds of years earlier,the Kitanemuk Indians occupied the area. Although they were hunters and gatherers, depending almost entirely on the natural productivity of the land, they did not farm or practice animal husbandry. There is, however, evidence that they had a trade relationship with the Chumash of Santa Barbara. It is also believed that other tribes were in the Antelope Valley at one time or another, including the Yokuts, Shoshone, and Chumash, among other tribes.

On the hot, windy days of 100-degree plus heat of summer, it's hard to imagine that anyone would choose to live here after seeing Santa Barbara. Perhaps then, as now, it all had to do with the price of real estate.