“Homestead is where the art is.”

July 19, 2008

Homesteads and the National Historic Preservation Act

Filed under: Architecture, Historic preservation — magicgroove @ 9:26 am

What is the historic importance of the Homestead communities in terms of the National Historic Preservation Act?

Johnson Valley cabin-owner Carl Ripaldi participated in the Cabin Festival, reading his poems at the “Show ‘n Tell” at The Palms.  He’s also an environmental professional, and he has prepared the following relevant comments on the subject (while considering the advisability of the Green Path North project, which would run through Johnson Valley):

“Johnson Valley was founded under the “Small Homestead Act” of 1939, an attempt by the Federal Government to bring residents into the Mojave Desert in which five acre parcels of land were given to individuals who agreed to build a small residential structure within two years of being allocated the land, under which condition they would be granted title.  Under this “Act” Johnson Valley and likewise Wonder Valley and Flamingo Heights were founded as Homestead Communities. 

“Accordingly, Johnson Valley is eligible as a historic community under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.   Note that:

  • It is associated with an historic event.
  • It includes historic structures (currently 50 year old or will be 50 years old by the time the Greenpath North Project is built), the homestead cabins, that were created as a result of this historic act and which remain for the most part architecturally intact.  The Johnson Valley Community Improvement Center is an eligible structure due to its age and architectural integrity.
  • The entire community may be eligible as historic under Section 106 as there has been very little alteration to its architectural, physical and historic integrity since it was founded as a Homestead Community (indeed many of the original homesteaders and their relatives still reside in the community).  To help you understand this, I invite the management of LADWP, the BLM and the County of San Bernardino to experience the uniquely historic and thoroughly “Americana” nature of the Community by coming to the Saturday Morning Community Breakfasts offered to all residents, guests and visitors every Saturday morning at the Johnson Valley Community Improvement Center.”

Learn more about the history of the homestead cabins here.

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