Historic Pioneertown, California

On our recent trip to Joshua Tree National Park, we took a short side trip to Pioneertown. It was about a twenty-minute drive from the town of Joshua Tree, and a very beautiful one, at that.

Pioneertown has some interesting history. Based on the website found HERE:

Pioneertown was established in 1946 when Dick Curtis shared his dream for a “Living Breathing Movie Set”. Shortly after, seventeen investors including Curtis, Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, The Sons Of The Pioneers, Russell Hayden, Frank McDonald, Tommy Carr, Terry Frost, and Bud Abbott each invested $500 and incorporated. The company then purchased 32,ooo Acres of land which would soon be known as Pioneertown.

According to the website, there were big plans for Pioneertown. Eventually the dreams faded due to a lack of water. Hopes of a lake, golf course, airport and shopping center died.


More than 5o films & serials were filmed in Pioneertown during the 194o’s and 195o’s. There have been over 2oo productions in town – the total number is unknown as entertainment production records were not as well documented as they are these days.

And while a demand for western filming locations has died down; the town is still a fully functioning production set where movies, independent films, music videos and commercials are filmed every month.

After doing some previous research, I decided we should eat dinner at Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace. The location originally held the facade of a Cantina set used in multiple western movies. In 1972 Harriet’s mother and husband purchased the building and opened “The Cantina,” an outlaw biker burrito bar. In 1982 Harriet and her husband “Pappy” opened this more family oriented establishment. The bikers still hung around and The Palace quickly became a local favorite with all walks of life getting along under one roof! They have live music, and a happy lively atmosphere.

We were wise to enjoy an early dinner. We missed the lunch crowds and beat the dinner crowds. Wait times can be very long. We got right in and had a wonderful meal. We did have a bit of wait time at the table, but we didn’t mind.

Afterwards we enjoyed walking down the main street of Pioneertown. A lovely way to end the day.

If you want to know more about Pioneertown, check out their website. It really is a fasinating story. And a fun stop along the way if you are in the area.

13 Comments Add yours

  1. Naomi says:

    That was quite fascinating. It would be fun to go and see it in person, and to eat at the little restaurant.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Alice says:

    I love all the pictures and comments on your recent trip!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awww, thank you 😊 Lots more to come, but it takes a lot of time to go through all of them!!


  3. Milena Alien says:

    So well-preserved, it feels like time travel in a way

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it is. Although I’m not a huge history buff, when I’m in the places where it happened, I am!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Ritva!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Toonsarah says:

    Oh, I love places like this! And you can great light for your photography 😃

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Sarah! Yes, it was a perfect evening!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Jeff Flesch says:

    Gosh I’ve always wanted to go here, and haven’t yet. You are inspiring me to do so!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Go! And I read while I was writing this post, that the Post Office is said to be the most photographed PO in the US because it’s on the movie set! If you go, check out the PO! Sadly, I did not. Because if I’d known, I would have! 😲

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Jeff Flesch says:

        Ah! Will do, and thank you!! ☺️

        Liked by 1 person

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