Happy Trails for the Hilltop House Ruins?

HTH_FP_Befor_After_03_07_2013_11x17_PresentationFor those of you who have been following the saga  of Apple Valley’s once beautiful but now ruined Hilltop House here at Paradise Leased, which has recently come up for sale, I have an interesting update to share. My friend Steve Richard is an Apple Valley architect who has long wanted to see something done to preserve the historic 20 acre site. He even launched a Facebook page devoted to the house with much information and many pictures. When he saw how many others out there shared his interest he began formulating a plan for how this quintessential high desert landmark can once again be a credit to the community. What he came up with is quite exciting and certainly worth considering. While I still cling to the will o’ wisp that someone will come and magically bring the house back to its 1957 origins I am nonetheless most intrigued by his proposal to repurpose the property for the whole community to enjoy as hiking trail/view spots. I was even more impressed when Steve showed me the design ideas, which are far more encompassing and engaging than I at first thought. It really is an amazing concept that not only utilizes literally the whole of Bass Hill it still doesn’t overwhelm the dramatic Hilltop House ruins.



I am fascinated by this bold and exciting idea and it may be the very best of both worlds. After all, in the event someone does buy Hilltop House and let’s say, miracle of miracles, they put it back to the way it used to be, well, we can look at it from far away and be satisfied it’s there I guess. However, a much more believable scenario is that a buyer will not want to put Hilltop House back at all but rather bulldoze the ruins and in its place erect a ginormous and shiny new McMansion, something we will all have to look at from far away for a looong time. Or a big restaurant or such other garish commercial venture. Opening up the site as a public hiking trail is sounding better and better all the time!

Steve has helped put together a grassroots organization to raise the necessary funds to purchase the Hilltop House site called Apple Valley Legacy Trail Steering Committee. Be sure and check out their newly-launched website here. There’s much info/photos and details on how to contribute to make the dream a reality.

As you can see, I’ve been warming to the idea just writing about it. What do you think Newt Bass, that sly genius of a promoter of his beloved Apple Valley would think of it? More importantly, what do you think about it?

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9 Responses to Happy Trails for the Hilltop House Ruins?

  1. Steve Richard says:

    As a footnote, there’s a handful of us who began studying HH last August out of concern with no clue where the effort would lead. We simply wished to allow HH to tell us what it is, as opposed to re-hashing problematic issues that have plagued HH for decades.

    The results of that effort morphed into the AVLT Concept, a rather ‘Ah-hah !’ moment for all of us.

    Thanks to Wendy Cambridge, Donald Tatera, Jonathon Weldy, Rick Piercy, W. Daniel Tate and Mike Beesley… some of our earliest arrivals in shaping the AVLT Proposal.. Since that time, many more have stepped up and taken the Trail with us offering their time, talent or treasure…including the FB Community.

    Thanks Steve Vaught for your mentorship and critical eye. Yours is a valued view for Historic and Cultural Preservationists everywhere.

  2. Robby says:

    I’m excited just looking at those images. I think the “Apple Valley Legacy Trail” is a fantastic idea and I think Newt Bass would like the concept too. What a great way to turn an area landmark into a treasure the whole community can enjoy.

  3. Wendy Cambridge says:

    You captured it Robby! “What a great way to turn an area landmark into a treasure the whole community can enjoy.” Also want to send a HUGE – THANK YOU – to Steve Vaught and Steve Richard! We’re hoping beyond hope that this wonderful vision will soon become a reality for all to enjoy!

  4. Dee says:

    Great post Steve and Steve Richard, the AVLT is a perfectly outstanding and EXCITING plan for that wonderful area.

  5. Sue Brooks says:

    I love this idea! I’ve always been fascinated by this place and it’s history. It would be a shame to bulldoze it. I think it should be considered a landmark.. I’m with ya on this one!!

  6. Alyssa says:

    Very cool! I’ve enjoyed that hike, and it can only get better with thoughtful care.

  7. srk1941 says:

    I’ve been following this all on Facebook, it’s very intriguing. Don’t forget landscape architect Tommy Tomson, and his involvement not only in this house, but also in the planning for all of Apple Valley…

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

  9. John says:

    so say we all

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