Research: South of Los Banos

“There must be now about 10,000 acres of the Miller and Lux property, under irrigation for pasture, much less than formerly; and I was told that just as soon as old man Miller, now about 80 years old, dies, the whole thing will be cut up for colonization. So that this famous feeding ground for…

Research: Fresno

In 1911, the San Joaquin River was a 10 mile journey from the city of Fresno. Today, the bluffs are topped by golf courses, outlet malls, and houses. Very large, expensive houses with fancy trimmings and yards full of every manicured ornamental plant you could think of. It’s always a little awkward walking through a…

Research: Tipton and Sequoia

“To the north and northwest [of Tipton] the country is pretty closely farmed, up to the Tule River; but a belt thru Tipton and to the south and east is largely grazing land yet, tho there are pumps being put in and it is only a matter of a few years until every inch of…

Research: San Emigdio Creek

Over the past century, the hills around Bakersfield and McKittrick have been filled in by houses and oil drills. The mountains just to the south have also changed dramatically, but in a very different way. When Joseph Dixon and Halstead White visited San Emigdio Creek in 1918, the canyon was already being settled, and trees…

Research: McKittrick

Over the past few weeks I’ve spent hours pouring over Google maps, scrutinizing every shape and shadow in the satellite imagery of my sites and imagining what they will look like when I finally visit them. But no site captured my imagination quite as unimpressively as McKittrick. Tiny town just a few blocks long. No…

Research: Bakersfield

In 1912, Stockdale Ranch stretched along the Kern River west of Bakersfield. A walk along the wash could turn up the expected Yellow Warblers or Bullock’s Orioles amidst the riparian trees. The surrounding pasture land was home to Savannah Sparrows and Western Meadowlarks, with perhaps a Great Blue Heron stalking amidst the irrigation ditches. A…

Research: Central Valley 2015

“The whole country is being settled up, since the L.A. Aqueduct has brought water within reach; and even the stony washes are mostly cleared of cactus and brush and set out to fruits or track-gardened. It looks as tho the desert fauna and flora of San Fernando Valley were entirely doomed; it must be studied…