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History of this property

Pierce Ranch in Morongo Valley California has been in the Pierce family since the beginning of the 20th Century. A brief history of the property as told by the founders Grandson – Charles Pierce:

My grandfather Thomas O. Pierce hauled freight from North Palm Springs (Garnet siding) to the 29Palms mining district in the late 1890’s.  He grubstaked a prospector, who was going to prospect the upper reaches of Little Morongo Canyon.  The prospector made three mining claims and a mill site claim. The mines did not produce enough minerals for any economic gain, and the prospector lost all his work and investment.  He gave the claims to my Grandfather as repayment of the grubstake.

My family did the required assessment work to maintain the mining and mill site claims until 1964 when my father attempted to patent the claims.  He had the mines surveyed and discovered that the mine shafts were on railroad property.  This of course changed everything. Dad tried to homestead the mill site claim, which was not on railroad property and was told that we could not do that.  He asked to purchase the property and was told that we could not do that either.  He tried one last time to purchase the property and was told that there was a “grandfather” clause in the regulations that would allow purchase if we could prove 65 years of continuous occupation.

Dad was able to do that and the U.S. Government sold the land to my father.  Dad then built a more suitable house for my Mother and himself and they moved out to what we called the “ranch” in 1972.  During the 1990’s a conservation group wanted  our family to grant them a permanent right of way across our property for access to the upper reaches of the Little Morongo Canyon.  We were not going to do this; rather to grant access on a case by case basis.  This group had purchased the six railroad sections up the canyon.  There was no access, water, or power to these sections.

Sometime after this the Government passed the Desert Protection Act and all of the surrounding area became a Designated Wilderness Area.  No vehicles or power tools are allowed in this designated area.   The “ranch” is an island in the middle of the designated wilderness  area and controls access to over 10 miles of the upper Little Morongo canyon.


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