Newt’s Paradise – Apple Valley’s Spectacular Hilltop House

(Maynard L. Parker)

(Maynard L. Parker)

A few months ago I did a post on the historic Apple Valley Inn and was delighted with the response it generated from both those who knew and loved the Inn in its heyday and those who had never heard of it until now. I even heard from the granddaughter of “Mr. Apple Valley” himself, Newton T. “Newt” Bass, which was, of course, a real treat and a great honor as well.

Newt Bass and his partner Bud Westlund were the founding fathers of Apple Valley, having purchased 6,300 acres of high desert land during the early 1940’s with the original intention of developing a cattle ranch. Instead they turned it into a real estate development known as Apple Valley Ranchos, a huge success that made both Newt and Bud millions. Unlike some developers who take the money and run, however, Newt and Bud remained committed to Apple Valley from its inception into full maturity like proud parents doting over a favorite child.

King of the Hill. Newt Bass at Hilltop House. (Maynard L. Parker)

Newt Bass was a fascinating man. A self-made millionaire who had been raised on an Indian reservation in South Dakota, Newt moved to California at the age of 18 and became a roustabout in the burgeoning oil fields of Long Beach’s famous Signal Hill and down at Santa Fe Springs. By 31, the enterprising Newt had begun drilling his own wells and by the time he was 40 he’d amassed such a fortune he was able to retire. It was his search for a perfect place to have a cattle ranch that led him to Apple Valley.

(via Craig Skibiski/www.DesertKnollsRealty.com)

Newt was able to watch over Apple Valley’s phenomenal  growth both literally and figuratively from a spectacular modernistic house he built on a 20 acre hilltop site just above the Apple Valley Inn. Appropriately named “Hilltop House,” Newt’s home offered panoramic vistas in virtually every direction with views stretching into hundreds of miles taking in not only Apple Valley itself but the Mojave Desert, Antelope Valley and the San Bernardino Mountains beyond. “A view so vast,” wrote Pictorial California in 1960, “that outer-space high is the feeling when standing within.”

Newt with Francisco Artigas at Hilltop House (Maynard L. Parker)

In choosing an architect for Hilltop House, Newt made a very exciting and “out of the box” decision by engaging an architect not from Southern California, but from down in Mexico. Although relatively unknown in the United States, Francisco Artigas was a very prominent figure in Mexican architecture with many notable designs throughout his country including his work in Mexico City’s upscale neighborhood of Jardines de Pedregal de San Angel. The young Artigas designed a sleek and stunning hilltop house that not only fit into its rugged setting it actually incorporated parts of it into the house itself with a boulder outcropping a prominent feature in the home’s combination living/dining room.

Another spectacular feature was the indoor-outdoor swimming pool Artigas incorporated into the design. “To coax indoors the sunshine by day and the stars by night,” wrote Pictorial California, ” electric push buttons open sliding panels above the pool to become three skylights. At night what a sight it must be – for Apple Valley and the Mojave have the most brilliant of stars.”

Hilltop House was definitely intended as a retreat for Newt himself. There was not a feminine element to be found in either the architecture or the interior design, which was done in combination with Artigas himself, who designed all of the furniture, along with local interior designers Jim Richardson, Fred Miller and Joel Harper of Albert Parvin. Artigas had even lived in Apple Valley for a while in order to get a proper feeling of the area before taking on the design of Hilltop House.

Artigas took as much advantage as possible of native materials using stones found right on the hillside to create a dramatic fireplace wall. The lounge chairs and ottomans are upholstered in a terra-cotta fabric set off by silver legs.

The combination living/dining room with floor-to-ceiling windows on three sides. The ceiling is mahogany. Carpet is caramel-colored wool.

Well, you can’t get much more masculine than a wall of guns within arm’s-length of the bed.  Newt’s enormous Walnut with Ebony inlay Victorian bed was supposedly a prop from Gone With the Wind.

Another view of the master bedroom showing built-in television circa 1957 in the native stone fireplace wall. Pool is just a few steps away.

Bath time was sexy time at Hilltop House with its unique double shower lined with Florient Rose Italian Marble in shades of tan and peach to apricot tones. One end of the bathroom was mirrored from floor-to-ceiling allowing a full view of the valley beyond from within the showers.

(Maynard L. Parker)

Newt Bass’s spectacular Hilltop House was Apple Valley’s most prominent landmark until a fire nearly destroyed it in 1967. It was restored and rebuilt, but from then on it was used largely for office rather than residential space. Over the years, Hilltop House has fallen into disrepair and disuse until it has become a gutted derelict, a skeleton of its former self. This is a real tragedy. As prominent Apple Valley realtor Craig Skibiski has noted  “Depending on who you ask today, the Hilltop House is either up for auction, haunted, being remodeled by the Town of Apple Valley, or being bulldozed soon.” Let us hope this famous home, like the old Inn 300-feet below it, will be restored and again take its place as Apple Valley’s premier residence. This is a modernistic masterpiece steeped in High Desert history that Apple Valley cannot afford to lose.

Photographer NikZane has taken some stunningly beautiful shots of the forlorned but still spectacular Hilltop House ruins that can be found on his Flickr page here.

(NikZane via Flickr)

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87 Responses to Newt’s Paradise – Apple Valley’s Spectacular Hilltop House

  1. Dee says:

    What an ignoble end to a glorious house. Great post, Steve!

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  3. Craig says:

    It has been said that a certain mistress was also enjoying the confines of the Hilltop House in it’s heyday.

  4. Duane says:

    when we first moved to Apple Valley, we were given a touir of the “Hilltop house” by the Apple Valley Ranchos people. It was something else. I will alwas remember it that way.

  5. Christy says:

    I want to cry everytime I see the condition the Hilltop House is in now. I remember the night it caught fire in 1967…we could see the flames from our house across the way….guess the road up had ice on it and the firetrucks had a hard time getting up the hill. But it was restored and to see what vandals have done to it now is just so sad…I hope someone restores it…..Such an icon for Apple Valley, it would be a shame to loose it….

  6. Kelley says:

    Great pictures and history! Thank you for sharing. It really was a wonderful landmark, unique to our Valley. I hope it will be restored one day.

    • Steve says:

      Thanks Kelley:

      I don’t think any posts on my blog have gotten more attention than the ones I posted about Apple Valley. It’s quite clear that so many people love these landmarks and want to see them restored. We’ve got to find some way to spearhead a campaign to see that it happens. They are wonderful pieces of Apple Valley/Southern California that deserve to be brought back and enjoyed by future generations.

      • patti olin says:

        Steve:

        Sign me up to help w/ whatever needs to be done to restore the Hilltop House. Hiked up there last week and was appalled at the devastation, graffiti destruction, etc…a real travesty for Apple Valley. We had a squadron party there in the 80’s, when GAFB was still in operation….what a great place! We’d love to buy and restore it, but it would take more $$$’s than what we have. I feel sick every time I look up at that house in passing. What can we do, and where do we start? I’m in!!!!

      • Steve says:

        Thanks Patti:

        I’ll tell you, if visitors and commentors on this site are any indication, there is a lot of interest in saving both the Aplle Valley Inn and the Hilltop House around. I’ll bet a well coordinated community effort could do it. Anybody know the mayor?

      • Daniel Seagondollar says:

        Problem now is that the Town has sunk all its effort into the country club and the Hilltop and Inn would be competition for that venue so there isn’t any support from town manager or staff.

  7. Madeline says:

    Thank you for posting this. I’ve lived here in Apple Valley for almost 24 years and I remember how my dad would tell me stories when I was young about the hilltop house and how the company he worked for would rent the place out for company parties. He would tell me how nice it was up there and how you could get a great view of the area up there. It’s sad to see how it looks now, and to hear from other young people that are around my age that they have gone up there and have seen how it looks now. I have even been told that if you are not careful walking around the famous hilltop house that you could fall through the unsafe flooring. If only someone or a group of people would get together to raise the money to save the hilltop house and either make it into a house or a place for special events then it would make a great addition to Apple Valley.

  8. Great post! I created a couple YouTube videos of what Hilltop House looks like today. It’s sad to see what has happened to what used to be the most exquisite property in Apple Valley.

  9. Pingback: High Glamour in the High Desert – The Apple Valley Inn | Paradise Leased

  10. RICHARD says:

    WHAT A GREAT PLACE AND VIEW

  11. Anna Basura says:

    I think that those of us who grew up here need to form a committee to make a proposal to restore our Historical Landmark. Dan Harley, I elect you! I will sit on the committee with you.I am sure Barb Stanton will listen.

  12. Daniel Seagondollar says:

    We got married up there in 1996. It was a great place for weddings. I tried to get the Town to buy the place as a event center in 1976 ( could have bought the whole Apple Valley Inn and Hilltop house for $1.2 million) but there was no interest in preserving the cultural history of Apple Valley. Could still be done but since the Town has buried us so deep in debt for the crap they built at townhall and the money pit golf course I guess there is nothing let but scraps.

  13. Daniel Seagondollar Architect says:

    If anyone is interested I would be honored to provide pro bono architectural and engineering services to help resurrect the Hill Top House. If there is ample support to make it happen, buy that I mean a town staff and council willing to work with the people, of that I’m skeptical.

  14. Tim Bolton Seal Beach says:

    Hilltop House was also used as the Board of Director’s Room for the Reserve Oil and Gas Co. after the house was rebuilt. Newt invested in this far flung oil and natural gas exploration enterprise which at one time owned all the Mohawk gas stations across Ca. and Arz. Newt became Chairman of the Board and later Chairman Emeritus up to his death. His office was in Apple Valley (Ranchos offices) as well as the treasurer. The President , I believe, was in Los Angeles. This was a major oil/gas company and I don’t know the status of it now. They had explorations all over the world.

    I was his banker in his last years (Security Pacific National Bank formerly The Bank of Apple Valley which he founded). Then I was CEO of St. Mary Desert Valley Hospital , founded by Newt. He donated the land to the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart.

    I was one of the ones who prospered as the result of this dynamic man’s efforts.

    • Ignatius Sudol, O.H. says:

      Dear Tim:

      I am Brother Ignatius, one of the Brothers of St. John of God. I was reassigned to A.V. Community four years ago. I am on the board of SMMC. If you get this message, and would like to talk about old times, let me know.
      805 798 2154
      broigi@charter.net
      Brother Ignatius

  15. Ted Smith says:

    Thank You Steve for the Awesome pictures and the Awesome comments . I have lived in the desert since 1969 and seen many changes . I would Love to see the restoration of the hilltop house . I have been in Construction since 1978 . I’m a General Contractor here in Victorville and would Love to help with any restoration plans for this Wonderful piece of history . Ted Smith

  16. Matt Bellemare says:

    I was Born and raised in Apple Valley and no doubt about it – that house was an ever present icon and landmark. I had no idea that it had been allowed to fall apart. What a terrible waste!

  17. Bob says:

    I believe that the Hilltop House and surrounding 26 acres were purchased for $6,000,000 by a man living in Palm Springs.

    • Daniel Seagondollar Architect says:

      I understand the property is being surveyed at this time. I’m not sure of the purpose but it seems interesting based on Bob’s post. Was Tinsely Realty and agent in the sale?

    • Steve Richard says:

      My research indicates 20 acre property went to County in 1993-94 via tax default and was subsequently sold by County at auction for $190,000. I believe property has been under same ownership since than. Nice investment I’d say. http://www.facebook.com/AvHilltopHouseForum

  18. Dawn Clift says:

    I have never known the entire story behind the Hilltop house, beyond the basics of it being Newton T Bass’ home, etc. What a beautiful story to a beautiful home. I live in direct view of the Hilltop house and its a meditation focal point for me, its so zen looking from this view. VERY sad to see its in terrible condition due to vandals and tagging. I don’t know if I will be able to get the shocking condition of the pool out of my mind next time I try to ‘zone’ in to it. I am very much in favor of it being restored and being placed on a national registry. Its got great ‘bones’ still and is truly an iconic fixture of Apple Valley, just as Roy and Dale are.

  19. Teresa says:

    I am visiting from North Carolina , originally from Barstow. I can see the house from a family members house and plan to make the hike before I go home. I researched it and now I would like to see it. It is such a shame that something can’t be done to save these places. Best of luck to the community.

  20. Terrie Gossard Flint says:

    My Grandmother was fortunate enough to get to go to a party at this wonderful house. She said it was amazing. I was born and raised in Victorville. I love the history behind this house. I wish someone would take on the project. It could even be an awesome restaurant and bar! Anything would be better than what it is now. Thanks for sharing this. Loved it!

  21. My husband was active duty at GAFB and a mobile DJ on the side. We did the lights and sound for a wedding there in the 1990’s (not sure of the year, but we left Victorville in 1995). I was told Dan Blocker (Hoss of Bonanza) owned it at one time…just urban legend?

  22. Mary Williams says:

    Would Love to see it Restored myself. I have seen cars up there at the house this past week . Maybe we will see some movement up there.

  23. Dan: It is ashame what has happen to the hilltop house. We have memories also, and have seen this desert community grow. I have confronted town counsel members that government does not have the right to spend the tax payers money as they wish. Purchase of the Golf course and there motive behind their reason to purchase was wrong. As a business owner in Apple Valley as yourself, business should be for the private sector to run, not government. Our government officials should read and understand the Constitution and the purpose of it.

  24. laura smith says:

    been to many a Wedding and Halloween party up at the hilltop house, my Father-in law was a realtor with the Rancho’s back in the 60’s and I have heard many a story, would love to see it restored.

  25. Alan Skuba says:

    Alan Skuba
    Newt Bass was an incredible individual. His energy and foresight literally raised a community from the raw, arid climes of the Mojave desert. Mr. Bass hired me to manage Apple Valley’s radio station, KAVR, in 1962. It was an unforgettable experience. I interviewed the Reverend Billy Graham at Hilltop House. Mr. Bass and Bud Westlund were responsible for so much. They developed the Apple Valley Inn and Hilltop House which were the centerpieces of the Valley. They brought western movie greats Roy Rogers and Dale Evans to Apple Valley, along with champion golfers Lloyd Mangrum and Billy Casper and world reknowned opera singer John Charles Thomas. The original A. V. Airport, the bank, the water company, the radio station, St. Mary Desert Hospital were just a few of their accomplishments. Exceptional men with great vision.

    • Dear Alan Skuba; I read your comments on the hilltop house, and Newt Bass. They brought back a lot of memories! I am Wayne Dillard, and I worked for you as an announcer and assistant engineer to Dean Kiner, at KAVR! When he left, they hired me as Chief engineer, following Fred Seeley. Chuck Parnell and I left the station In 1975. I Later worked for KCIN in Victorville, as chief engineer. I would like to get your e-mail address, so that we could communicate. Sincerely, Wayne

  26. Sheriff Al says:

    Lordy do I ever miss the OLD Apple Valley. I got there in 1971 and left for my Homeland (MONTANA) in 1991. Still have a bumper sticker on a cupboard. . . “I Read the Apple Valley News”!!
    My son, Matt, and I photographed Billie Jo’s wedding at Hilltop. Had to fight to be able to drive my truck up the side road.
    After our visit in 2009, I’m not sure I would want to return.

  27. Jolene Smith Coy says:

    The article never once mentions the contractors who built this fabulous masterpiece, Bennington & Smith General Contractors. Hal Smith and Jack Bennington began building homes in Apple Valley in 1947 for Newt Bass. They were premier builders of hundreds of Apple Valley residences and commercial buildings.

    • Steve says:

      You are right and they deserve mention. Thanks for pointing them out as they were major contributors to the development of Apple Valley, literally. Thanks Jolene!

    • Daniel Seagondollar says:

      My father, Bud Seagondollar Architect, worked with Jack Bennington and Smith back in the fifties, sixties and seventies before Jack retired to Hawaii.

  28. Jan Bennigton Wharton says:

    Thanks Jolene, for remember two great men, our Dad’s!

    • Marti McVey says:

      OMG….Jolene AND Jan?!?!? Shades of days gone by! How ARE you guys?!?!? Read this story a LONG time ago, gets all his PARADISE LOST stories and updates on other lost/gone/soon-to-be-gone places, and was sad to see Newt’s house as it is now…..but reconnected with this page somehow on a story about Oro Grande! And saw your recent posts…did not know B&S built it! Built most of AV, but didn’t know about Hilltop House!

      • Mragaret (Maggie) Wilson-Redondo says:

        Hi Jan!! We went to VVHS back in the Day!! Margaret Wilson Class of 1964. I toured this beautiful place back in the sixties

  29. Lisa Zehr says:

    The urban legend I heard was that Adam West once owned the house. While the real story behind the house is wonderful, I am saddened to find out that *my* story is incorrect :(

  30. Bob says:

    Have you noticed that what’s left of the hilltop home was recently painted in 2 or 3 shades of gray? Must be the Palm Springs gentleman that bought the property 4 or 5 years ago wants to peotect his property from the natural elements.

  31. Arlene Barry Snook says:

    Our home was the fifth house built, on then, Rosebud Rd after Newts birth place. My father John Barry owned the Victor Press..We moved to Apple Valley in 1948 and watched the growth, abd dreams of Bud and Newt. My sister and I babysat both families children. Would love to see the Hilltop home in use again. A restraunt would be perfect.

    • David Ruston says:

      My mother worked for the Apple Valley Development Co. in the early fifties. I was in
      the second or third grade. I rode with Newton Bass and his son in a large black Cadillac
      at very high speeds while he smoked a cigar. I think there were square dances at
      a barn near the stables and a hidden gambling room in the Inn. My mother
      was on the cover of the Apple Valley Ranchos magazine. I still have them.

  32. Joe Miller says:

    I moved to AV in 73. I’ve been to a couple weddings there. The place was a master piece of design and engineering. I hike up there now and its tuff to see whats been don to it over the years. The problem with developing it to be a bar/resturant is the accsess route far exceeds the maximum slope for emergency vehicals. There is another route thats been on the board but to my knowledge hasn’t been recorded. It would take a cignificant of work to construct such a road also. Like anything else all it takes is money!

    • allison moye says:

      rumor has it that its for sale and several folks are serious. our hiking may come to a bitter end :(

  33. Thank you Steve for this Article. I am the daughter of Francisco Artigas, the Architect. I want to cry to see the condition the Hilltop House is in now. I remember my father told me about the house was burn in 1967. Such an icon for Apple Valley, it would be a shame to loose it…. Would Love to see it Restored. Any help I can share about my father, let me know I’m in San Diego.

  34. Steve Richard says:

    Its fascinating to see the deep interest in saving such an important landmark. If it is to be, I think the community will need to get behind and start the necessary momentum. The Town is committed in other areas, but if enough of the community came together with a plan and unity of purpose, The Town would have to listen and, at least, support in spirit.

  35. Steve Richard says:

    We are advancing the conversation and looking for community support and ideas. Thanks! https://www.facebook.com/AvHilltopHouseForum?ref=hl

  36. i would love to see it rebuilt we used to hike up there every week :)i would help

  37. HI Steve and all concerned citizens,
    My name is Jennifer Oeschger and I am a graduate student in Historic Preservation through an online program offered by the Savannah College of Art and Design. I currently live at Ft Irwin, (the National Training Center) with my military family. As a class project I would like to nominate the Hilltop House for the National Historic Register. The National Register assists in preserving historic properties in several ways:
    1) Recognition and appreciation for historic properties
    2) Consideration in planning Federal and Federally assisted projects
    3) Making property owners eligible for Federal tax benefits
    4) Qualifying preservation projects for Federal grant assistance
    With the outpouring of community support evidenced above, I think this project would be a great focus for the community. I have a lot of research to do, and I am also awaiting approval from my professor. I’ll be in touch!

    • Steve says:

      Jennifer:

      Sounds like a GREAT idea. There is really an outpouring of support for these treasured local structures. A National Register designation is well deserved. Whatever I can do to help!

  38. MIKE says:

    well the city now says no way will they let anyone do anything there [ just about right ] and the fire marshall says it must be torn down as nothing is up to code and cannot be unless it was started over , it sold a few years ago for taxes and I was the the contending bidder , but was afraid of fighting city hall to give much !! MIKE

  39. Steve Richard says:

    Some more pics of its Glory days.

  40. Shyly says:

    Newton T. Bass is in our family tree. If our facts are correct, this family has a long American history – back to Jamestown. And possibly Indian blood.
    Sometimes families want to preserve buildings their families built.
    Although I am interested in buildings myself, I do not have the extra funds. Does anyone know who owns it now?

    • sharon yost says:

      I lived with my family in AV in the forty’s and loved it. I knew Angel Bass from school and visited their home often. Where is the existing family now.? My brother moved back there in the 90’s but never researched it for me. He is now deceased.

      Thanks so much.

      Sharon Yost

  41. Robin K. says:

    I want to thank you for posting so many pictures of “Hilltop House” the way it was. I am only 24 years old so unfortunately never got the opportunity to see its beauty. I have been amazed by this house ever since I can remember (lifetime desert resident). I am absolutely fascinated and as someone else mentioned in a comment, as far as helping goes, SIGN ME UP! I can’t remember if it was Huell Howser or something on plain ole youtube, but I saw videos of this amazing architectural beauty and have dreamed of owning it ever since! Too bad money doesn’t grow on trees or this house would have been saved a long time ago!

  42. jlbrauch says:

    Hi Steve,

    My name is Justin Brauch, I’m Newton Bass’ great grandson and am very interested in the restoration of Hilltop House. I’d love to talk with you. I’m not sure the family has any idea the state of the house, but I’d love to help out any way I can.

    • Steve says:

      Hi Justin:

      Great to hear from you. Sorry, but I’ve been swamped on a book project, but it seems there needs to be a coordinated effort to explore saving Hilltop House. So many people are interested including the architect’s family. It and the AV Inn are real AV treasures and need to be saved. Maybe we could start a “Save the Apple Valley Inn/Hilltop House” program? I’d love to talk with you. E-mail me if you have a moment @ paradiseleasedblog@yahoo.com.

  43. Lindsey says:

    I went up there yesterday and I didn’t know the history but I went on this website,read and saw the old pictures of what it used to look like. I wanted cry. I had tears in my eyes.With all the graffiti in there. It was very sad

  44. Hold Realty says:

    FYI The historic Newt Bass ‘Hilltop House’ in Apple Valley is on the market right now for an asking price of $750k. It is listed here for your viewing pleasure….http://www.vvmls.com/homes-for-sale/CA/Apple-Valley/92307/Hwy18-Hilltop-House-85235296/popup

    If anyone is interested in making an offer on the Hilltop House property, please call Apple Valley real estate broker Hold Realty at 760-475-0084 to discuss further, or visit our site at http://www.HoldRealty.com

    Thanks Steve!

    • Steve says:

      Thanks SO much for the tip! So many people are going to love that this place is up for sale as there is new hope it will be saved. Best of luck for a quick sale!

      In case you didn’t see, I did a whole post on the sale thanks to you!

  45. Pingback: Paradise in the High Desert – Apple Valley’s Historic Hilltop House is For Sale! | Paradise Leased

  46. allison moye says:

    this poor icon is falling in disrepair daily. I hike up and around it several times a week. the graffiti is horrid, and now people are stealing the iron stair rails too. then a fire was set a while back. but even with it horribly distraught…its beautiful. the views are amazing. im glad I went on here and saw the “hey day” pics..oh my goodness….just stunning. im in to help in any way I can. I would LOVE the city to own it and the surrounding area and make it a walking trail, horse trail and a fantastic restraint at the house….dreams dreams…

  47. Pingback: Happy Trails for the Hilltop House Ruins? | Paradise Leased

  48. Michael Frambois says:

    I feel the need and the urge to take my funds and make this my home, I’ve found it incredibly difficult to find a home of this caliber and style. I think this is my West Hope, this is my Falling Water, this is the Last Jewel of our breathtaking Desert Home, I’m going to make it mine. To see it shining gloriously like a beautiful Diamond in the heart of the desert, this is my dream..

  49. Nicole Bartley says:

    I hike up to the Hilltop house twice a week and have fallen in love with it as well as the history. I also signed the petition about a month ago at Cadillac Ranch to save and restore it. I hope AVLT can proceed with the plans of restoration!

  50. I noticed that there are current posts on this site that my son sent to me, so I’ll add a little of my own history. My name is Donna Johnson, I worked at Apple Valley Ranchos from 1972 until the sale of the company in the late 1980’s by Tom Hrubik and Texaco. At that time, there were only 4 of us left at the company…Laz de la Garza, Joan Willis, myself and Genny Gobar. Apple Valley Building and Development Company was Mr. Bass’ original company..he and Bud Westlund bought the property..the name was changed to Apple Valley Ranchos and was headquartered in the large building across Highway 18 from the Apple Valley Inn and across the street from the bank and post office. They owned Reserve Oil and Gas based in Los Angeles which was sold to Getty Oil Company and after a lot of legal wrangling, became part of Texaco. That was the beginning of the end. I have some items packed away that I haven’t looked at in years, so this will be a tour back in history.

    The reason I mentioned the above names, as well as that of Barbara Davisson, who was Mr. Bass’ secretary for years, is to provide some contacts who may still be in the Victor Valley. My understanding about the Apple Valley Inn, which includes the Hilltop House, was the fact that when the company was sold, it had not quite reached a 50 year span which would have qualified it for a historical mention and provided the context that was important to keep things from disrepair, etc. There were some meetings about that issue, but nothing was done and the Inn became some sort of rehabilitation place. I left soon after that, so it’s interesting and sad to read many of these comments.

    Mike “Tex” Meeken was in charge of the sales department at AVR and that was the era when prospective buyers were given a tour of Apple Valley, including a trip up to the Hilltop House. Reserve Oil and Gas held yearly meetings there, but after the sale of the entire company, everything changed. The entire operation should have been part of a historical context of Caifornia and I fervently hope someone with the money and influence can make that happen.

    • Steve says:

      Donna, thank you so much for the great information and memories! I believe that this is the sort of thing that will help save these properties. If only people knew the history. you have helped tremendously and I thank you. We will keep our fingers crossed.

      • Bob Kraft says:

        Did you read yesterday’s DAILY PRESS? Some “wingnut” hopes to buy the Hilltop House and turn it into an off-the-wall dump.

    • Mragaret (Maggie) Wilson-Redondo says:

      I agree!!!

  51. allison moye (cadillac ranch) says:

    I read the article yesterday..”wingnut” is being kind….this dude is seriously in dreamland…

  52. Pingback: High Above Apple Valley – New Vintage Images of the Apple Valley Inn and Newt’s Hilltop House | Paradise Leased

  53. Mragaret (Maggie) Wilson-Redondo says:

    I visited this place in 1964-65 I lived in Apple Valley, and my parent’s close friend, Real Estate Broker, Wendell Peabody, gave us a tour. It was so beautiful. Did you know the bed in the bedroom was from the movie “GONE WITH THE WIND”? True story. What a shame that was destroyed by the fire.

  54. Steve Richard says:

    What’s your Hilltop House legacy ? Wanted: Storytellers

    http://applevalleylegacytrail.org/2013/11/06/every-picture-tells-story-dont/

  55. Richard McLeod says:

    The “Gone With the Wind” bed may still be around and not destroyed in the fire. I was at an Auction Estate Sale in San Bernardino several years back, and one of the Auctioneers at the time mentioned his family had that bed and indicated it came from the Apple Valley area.

    Let’s hope they find out about this and could possibly make the bed available for the new buyer and restorer. I think that is the bed Scarlett was filmed sleeping in after she and Rhett had made up, and was used as a bed on a Steamboat in the film when Scarlett and Rhett were making a trip to New Orleans, or on their return back to Atlanta. The specific scene is one of the happier times in the tumultuous relationship of Scarlett and Rhett from the film.

    If I remember correctly, the specific scene is a morning one with Scarlett waking up and stretching her arms and in a very good mood. Anyway, that bed just may still be around, and still in the area owned by an Auctioneer’s family somewhere in the Inland Empire area.

    • Mragaret (Maggie) Wilson-Redondo says:

      Never know that was a long time ago. Newt Bass’ bed could have been a replica? Or removed later. I sure hope so!!! Maggie

  56. Richard McLeod says:

    Specifically regarding the “Gone With the Wind” bed, the Auction house employing the Auctioneer claiming ownership of the possibly specific bed from this film worked at what is known locally in the San Bernardino area as “Esther’s” and is located on the lower end of “E” Street in San Bernardino near the Orange Show Fairgrounds. This man was or is well known to the Patrons of this weekly Auction held on Thursday nights in San Bernardino.

    I am sure Esther or another employee (who owns the Auction House) would be able to provide the information as to his whereabouts and this bed. Hopefully, if a new owner is found who is really interested in a full restoration of this house, this man could be located and arrangements made to purchase the bed again for the Hilltop House.

    MGM started selling off its massive array of contents early on with several Auctions being held in the1960’s and early 1970’s. Debbie Reynolds bought a great many of the items and hopefully planned a Museum to house her purchases in Hollywood near the new complex built next to Grauman’s Chinese Theater on its’ top floor. Sadly after many plans and years of trying to establish this Museum housing famous Hollywood artifacts used in primarily MGM (and possibly other Film Studios) films failed in coming to fruition in all of her many efforts. Her large collection was eventually sold off (just a few years back), at an Auction in Los Angeles.

    If this story is true, there is a very good chance this Auctioneer or a family member having connections with such Auctions purchased the bed prior to the fire and could be contacted and agreements made for the bed’s return, if indeed the house is eventually restored.

  57. Dodie says:

    Ah, I was 13, in 1965, when we moved here. I remember being shown around the house and I was complete in awe. A bachelor pad they said, oh my! It was truly a one of a kind house and there was careful thought behind every item in the house. The view itself was thrilling. I did not want to move to the desert but it quickly captured my heart as it did my parents. So much history and what a shame to see it go.
    Dodie Rogers

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