Images of America: Three Valleys of the Tehachapi


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West of the city of Tehachapi is situated a trio of alpine valleys cutting through a landscape where the gods tightened the drawstrings between Central and Southern California. At this meeting place of the Mojave Desert, the Sierra Nevada, San Joaquin Valley, and the Tehachapi Mountains, the Tehachapi Valley tapers into Brite Valley, which then splits westward into Bear and Cummings Valleys. First described in 1854 as “first quality for farming purposes” by state surveyor W. H. Washburn, Brite Valley funneled settlers into the other two valleys so that they accrued a 20th-century population to rival the numbers of bears, deer, and mountain lions. Efforts to preserve the valleys’ heritage have included the renovation of the historic Bear Valley School House, which operated from 1872 to 1900, and is the only one-room school in the area. The proceeds from this book will benefit the school’s preservation.

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