Neenach, California

Neenach, California

Neenach is an unincorporated town located in northern Los Angeles County, California. The town has a population of about 850 residents. The ZIP Code is 93534 and the community is inside area code 661.

History

Neenach was founded in the 1870s by Danish settlers from Neenah, Wisconsin. In 1888 a post office was established; spelling errors caused it to originally be designated it as Neech, yet throughout the years, the name has evolved to Neenach.

Neenach’s small but growing population started with the likes of the Barnes Family, who settled on 160 acres (647,000 m²) along present-day State Route 138 and 300th Street West in 1887. Together with the Anderson family – who arrived in Neenach at the dawn of the 1900’s, they helped maintain the Los Angeles Aqueduct throughout the region. The Womersley family, headed by Harry Womersley from England, came to help work on the aqueduct as well. Also of note is the Duntley family – founded by Frank and Sarah – who came to Neenach around 1910.

The Neenach School was established to accommodate the children of the area, including the seven Duntley children and the Womersley girls, Eleanor and Rosamond. Today, the pioneer school building is gone, replaced by the present – yet dormant – Neenach School, operated by the West Side Union School District. The post office continued operations until 1929, and postal service now appears to be provided by the Lancaster office.

Neenach was well-known for its almond orchards. It is said that during World War II, the town’s almond hulls were used in the making of gas masks. It also played a role in the latter part of the California Gold Rush, when W.J. Rogers – an area rancher who owned 80 acres (324,000 m²) in Neenach and intended to use it as a chicken and goat ranch – was deepening a spring on the back of his property and discovered gold.

One of the most well-known stores in the area is the Country Store, started near the middle of the 20th Century, its first profits were made by Christoph Hess and his family. The store still exists now, but under different ownership; much of the original small town feel of the store and surrounding areas still exists today. The Hess family lived in the area for almost half a century, while one of Christoph's sons is still present. Most of Neenach's Arizona Cypress were planted by the Hess Family; it acts as a windbreak in the windy desert community, and can still be seen...lending a modest idea of where land boundaries in the area exist.

A portion of nearby Tejon Ranch will be home to the future Centennial project, a twenty thousand home master-planned community adjacent to Neenach. Parks, shopping malls, multiple elementary and high schools, fire services, police, public library, and other services are proposed to accompany the development. Debates have arisen amongst local citizens and others as to whether the economic influx and population growth will be of valuable benefit to the area or if it will negatively impact the environment and detract from the current rural, small-town feel of Neenach.

Geography

Neenach is located about 30 miles (50 km) northwest of Lancaster in the Antelope Valley portion of Southern California, very close to the Kern County border. A quick drive to one of the last bits of affordable pristine California land, it’s approximately 15 minutes east of Gorman, 35 minutes north of Santa Clarita, and 40 minutes south of Bakersfield. It lies just southeast of Tejon Ranch, one of California’s oldest contiguously run working ranches.

References

References from the Antelope Valley, Ridge Route, and Santa Clarita community historical societies – as well as information provided by private citizens of the area.

External links

  • http://www.MountainEnterprise.com (local newspaper)

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