High Above Apple Valley – New Vintage Images of the Apple Valley Inn and Newt’s Hilltop House


For those of you following the blog you know there have been big doings as of late regarding the fate of the once spectacular but now ruined Hilltop House sited 300 feet above the once famous but now shuttered Apple Valley Inn. These two properties constitute the greatest historic treasures in all of Apple Valley and they both cry out for rescue before it’s too late. As it stands now, the Hilltop House and its twenty acres are up for sale. That can mean salvation is on the way or total destruction is around the corner. And there’s also an intriguing third scenario, which would turn the Hilltop House into a public park. Only time will tell as to what will ultimately happen. In the meantime, I wanted to share a beautiful set of aerials taken by Howard D. Kelly on February 3, 1961 of the Hilltop House and Apple Valley Inn. You can see both properties in all their long-gone glory.




These great images were recently unearthed by the Los Angeles Public Library and comprise part of the Kelly-Holiday Collection of the library’s vast holdings.  Thanks to the LAPL for releasing them for our enjoyment!

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7 Responses to High Above Apple Valley – New Vintage Images of the Apple Valley Inn and Newt’s Hilltop House

  1. Pingback: Paradise Leased Update - AVLT

  2. TED HUNT says:

    I recently took the short walk up the hill to see the Bass House. There, hidden in the rubble that the house has become is the memory of what it was and promises of what it could be again.

    Hopefully the thoughtless and irresponsible characters who have wrecked so much damage to the property will stop. Unfortunately the simple minded will never understand what a treasure the house is to the High Desert.

    Another treasure lies just below at the Apple Valley Inn, which is struggling to redefine itself. But old restaurant and bar still retain the charm of its once greatness. The murals are worth the trip. Magnificent!

  3. Robert "Gabby" Gadbois says:

    At the time of the building of the home, I was working at KAVR, the radio station located in the Apple Valley Inn. I worked with and dealt with Newt Bass on a regular basis. I was meeting him in his office one day, when the home was about 1/4 of the way done, and I asked him how much that road to the home cost. His response was a curt, “If I worried about the cost of the road, I wouldn’t have built the home!!”He actually never intended to live in it; the home was to be used for promotional purposes and extremely special guests.

  4. bruce says:

    I have been looking for the house that I was born in for years , and finally found it !
    It took some doing but I finally recognized it by drirving the area and triangulating several landmarks where my older brother and I climbed up the water tower, had a house across the street , had the “bass house” way down the street toward the golf course ( where my father used to shoot jackrabbits in the eveing to save the golf course ) .
    It is depicted in two of the photos depicted from the ” Hill House ” dated 1961 . It is the white roofed house on Chickasaw. Pretty overpowering to see thses pictures of raw desert that matches my memory and then to drive thru a developed community !
    Thank you ,
    bruce g wells / palm desert , ca .

  5. Donna L Johnson says:

    Every now and then, I end up here, so this time I’m leaving a comment. My name is Donna Johnson, I worked at Apple Valley Ranchos from 1972 until 1987 when it closed down. Your pictures are great…only wish that all was the same regarding the Inn, but we knew what was happening. I believe everything needed a 50 year existence to be put on a historic list, there were numerous meetings in order to save it and the entire thing was a big oil company debacle. Very few people at Getty Oil or Texaco had any idea of the history behind it nor did they care, so I hope your website will stay up…thank you.

  6. Dana Company based off Highway 18 in the Village was the construction outfit that built the paved road to the Hilltop house location. My dad Ken Johnson was on the crew at the time as a dozer and blade operator. I have some photographs he took of the construction of the road. One of the dozer operators was nearly killed when his machine toppled over the steep grade near the pad the house was to be built upon. Newt Bass was pretty upset over the accident according to dad. You can still see some scars on the north side of the mountain from its path to the bottom.

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