Structure Type: built works - dwellings -public accommodations - hotels

Designers: Downs, G.A., Architect (firm); Gibbs, Charles Hugh, Architect (firm); Tomson, Tommy, Landscape Architect (firm); G. A. Downs (architect); Charles Hugh Gibbs (architect); Albert Parvin (interior designer); Thomas Tomson (landscape architect)

Dates: constructed 1947-1948

20601 California Highway 18
Apple Valley Inn, Apple Valley, CA 92037

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Building History

In the mid-1940s, Long Beach oilmen Newton Thornbury Bass (1903-1983) and Bernard John 'Bud" Westlund (1916-1978) bought 22,000 acres of Southern Mojave Basin land in San Bernardino County following World War II, with an eye to developing a comprehensive leisure community calculated to cater to Depression/World War II weary urbanites. To begin the process, they formed the the Apple Valley Mutual Water Company in 1945, (later known as the "Apple Valley Ranchos Water Company"), pumping water from an ample aquifer that has stored runoff from the San Bernardino Mountains and Mojave River for millenia. Bass and Westlund, at the same time, formed the Apple Valley Ranchos Land Development Company to sub-divide desert home sites, and commissioned fellow Long Beach resident, C. Hugh Gibbs (1905-1990), a prominent architect to masterplan the development and design a resort hotel, the Apple Valley Inn. Gibbs's desert landmark began operations on 11/24/1948, and became a success, attracting wealthy clients and Hollywood stars.

Interior designer, Albert Parvin, who produced the interior designs for many La Vegas hotels of the postwar era, worked on the Apple Valley Inn's restaurants and public areas.

Two movie stars drawn to the area were Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, noted for their cowboy films of the 1930s-1950s, signed a 25-year lease on the hotel facility in 1964, renaming it "Roy Rogers' Apple Valley Inn." (Apparently, Dale Evans did not deserve equal billing.) The inn ceased operations in 1987, but the Lakritz Partnership bought the property in 11/2003. It has remained in less than stellar condition for years following this acquisition.

Building Notes

Apple Valley Inn had a large main building containing 3 restaurants, 2 bars--the Blossom Room and the Western Bar-- and its lobby and registration desk. The main building was a short distance from the outdoor swimming pool and tennis courts. Individual guest rooms were located in small, separate blocks scattered over the property, some located on the other side of Highway 18. Horseback riding and hiking trails led off into the nearby hills.


An 1953 addition to the inn by architect G.A. Downs won an American Institute of Architects (AIA) Award of Merit in 1954.

PCAD id: 11420