I just finished a long road trip from San Diego, CA to Spokane, WA. I divided the trip into 4 days, spending 5 1/2 to 7 hours on the road each day between driving hours and rest/gas stops. I was led to an eastern route along 15, 215, 395, 95, 84, 90 and a few other numbers thrown in there from time to time.
The first night on the road, I spent at Independence, CA. When I first drove through town, looking for the Independence Courthouse motel, I thought the town looked deserted, with older buildings. But the motel provided a nice Walking tour guide to the town, and the next morning I started out early to walk around some before getting into the car and driving for hours. I’m glad I did as I changed my opinion and valued that the town had decided to maintain its historic buildings and celebrate it rather than tear it down for gloss and tourists.
Independence is the county seat of Inyo county. It started originally north of town as a camp and then Fort, during the pioneer days, It is on highway 395, 41 miles southeast of Bishop, CA. It sits at 3,930 feet, with warm summers, cool winters and high desert landscape. It is a refueling place for those hiking the Pacific Coast Trail from Mexico to Canada, is close to Yosemite and Sequoia National Forest, Mt. Whitney, John Muir Wilderness, all along the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the west, and Death Valley to the east. Hiking, fishing and sight seeing abound here. This town is small with a 2010 population of 669. The town is also close to Manzanar, which was a “relocation” center for Japanese US citizens during World War 2 (ie: internment camp).
Sierra Nevada to the West….
….and Death Valley and more mountains to the East.
So come along and I’ll take you on my walk with me,
The Motel ( a sweet, clean, no frills small town motel) is on N. Edwards street, the main street in town. It is across the street from the Inyo County Courthouse, circa 1922, the 4th courthouse to be used. The first was lost in the 1872 earthquake, the 2nd destroyed by fire, the third outgrown by the early 1922’s.
All photos by Katelon T Jeffereys
I passed this wonderful Victorian looking building. I’m not sure if it is a refurbished historic building or just made to look like one. It was up for lease and it looks like such a great place for a B and B, restaurant, etc.
Turning right onto W. Market street, I passed by these lovely CA Coastal Live Oak Trees.
The next historic site was the home of Mary Austin, circa 1902, still on W. Market St. . In 1903 she wrote the book ” The Land of Little Rain”, a classic collection of sketches patterned on life between the Sierra Nevada and Death Valley.
Across the street from that house stands a giant Sequoia, which gets decorated for Christmas each year.
I continued walking along W. Market and walked by this old Railroad car
….past this sweet little creek, Independence Creek
and took this great shot of Onion Valley Road heading into the Sierra Nevada mountains.
I walked back up W. Market a few blocks and turned right onto N. Webster, then headed east on W. Kearsarge St. to walk by the Camp Independence Hospital building, reconstructed at its present site in 1887. Many of these old buildings are now private residences.
I continued walking east on W. Kearsarge and by the old commercial building now containing the Still Life Cafe. No restaurants were open the night I was there so it was bring along food for dinner for me.
And lastly, I stopped to see the oldest building in Independence, the Edwards house , cica 1865, also on W. Market street. It was originally built with adobe and later covered with siding.
I took this last photo on my way out of town, another shot of the stunning Sierra Nevada mountains.
Hope you enjoyed our walk and your introduction to Independence, CA. Come check it out!
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Thanks for taking the time to visit my blog.
Thanks to Wikipedia and the wonderful “Discover Independence” Walking tour booklet produced by the Independence Civic Club and Friends of the Eastern California Museum.