Neenach, California: Wikis


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Neenach (IPA:ˈninæk) is an agricultural settlement in northwestern Los Angeles County, California, with a population of about 800.[1] It is facing a massive change with the proposed construction of a 23,000-home planned community to its north called Centennial. [2]


Red dot marks Neenach in Northwest Los Angeles County, California.

Neenach is 34 miles northwest of Lancaster[3] in the Antelope Valley portion of Southern California. It is 15 miles southeast of Gorman,[4] and 74 miles from the county seat in downtown Los Angeles.[5] It lies southeast of Tejon Ranch, one of California’s oldest working ranches.

The past

An early 19th century name for the area was Cow Springs, about a mile southwest of today's Neenach School.[6] Neenach itself was founded in the 1870s by Danish settlers from Neenah, Wisconsin. In 1888 a post office was established, with John A. Coovert as the first postmaster.[7]

James Anderson filed a homestead claim for 160 acres (647,000 m²) at present-day State Route 138 and 300th Street West in 1887. He had a county contract to maintain and improve roads in the Antelope Valley as far as Three Points.[7]

William Mulholland

Construction of the Los Angeles Aqueduct between 1905 and 1913, which brought water from the distant Owens Valley to the San Fernando Valley, was important to the area.

On July 13, 1917, Chief Water Engineer William Mulholland of the city of Los Angeles, the builder of the aqueduct, received word that the line had been broken. He went to Neenach and found a 60-foot rupture. He ordered additional surveillance, which saw the arrest of one man, an employee of the rival Los Angeles Gas and Electric Company. The suspect was later released.[8]

James Anderson became a line rider or patrolman on the aqueduct: He had to shut down the tunnel periodically to check its condition. He also checked the surface to verify that none of the aqueduct’s opponents had damaged it. Harry Womersley, from England by way of Illinois, was another resident who worked on the aqueduct — the 12 miles from Fairmont to Neenach.[7]

Gold was discovered in the hills south of the community in the early 1930s. The “Oh Suzanna” mine produced some $7 million over the few years of its operation.[7]

In the 1970s, Neenach was lively, one resident told a reporter. There were community-wide potluck dinners and almost 80 members in the local 4-H Club. Since then, he said, many of the kids moved away as soon as they were able.[2]

The future

…the truly rural outposts of Los Angeles County — the nation's top agricultural county not so long ago — are withering away. And this one happens to abut the proposed site of the largest planned community in county history.
— Scott Gold, Los Angeles Times.[2]

A portion of nearby Tejon Ranch called Centennial a 23,000-home master-planned community adjacent to Neenach. Civic squares, parks, shops, three fire stations, and other services are proposed. Children would be encouraged to walk to one of the eight elementary schools planned. The promoters have pledged to create 30,000 local jobs. On average, a new house would be erected every eight hours, seven days a week, for 20 years.[2]

The Tucson, Arizona-based Center for Biological Diversity, however, opposes the project — claiming that Centennial would be built on rare ecosystems, including the largest native grassland left in California.[2] The proposal has yet to be approved by county officials.



The school closed a few years back when they ran out of kids, and its rose-painted walls are still the brightest thing on the prairie.
— Scott Gold.[2]
Neenach Elementary School has no students today but is kept in good condition.

Neenach is part of the Westside Union School District of West Lancaster, which also operates Del Sur, Joe Walker, Hill View, Cottenwood, Rancho Vista, Sundown, Valley View, Leona Valley, and Quartz Hill schools, through the eighth grade. [1]

The present Neenach School building was constructed in the 1990s to replace an older building that had stood for decades on a neighboring lot.[7] The school was closed in 2001 because of dwindling population and high heating costs; lack of a natural-gas source meant the school was all-electric. Sixty-six pupils were enrolled the previous year.[9]

The community is within the Antelope Valley Union High School District and the Antelope Valley Community College District.


The Los Angeles County's public library sends its Antelope Valley bookmobile to the Highway 138 Mobile Home Park from noon to 1 p.m. every other Monday.[10]

Neenach Meteorite

The Neenach Meteorite, discovered in 1948 and photographed in 2007

The Neenach Meteorite is a 30-pound mass of stony, ordinary chondrite discovered in April 1948 by Elden Snyder of Neenach when he unearthed it with his plow, in the process breaking it into four pieces. In 1952 it was brought to the attention of Robert Wallace Webb of the University of California, Santa Barbara. Later it was donated to the collection of the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics at the University of California, Los Angeles.


The ZIP Code is 93536, served by the Lancaster post office, and the telephone system is part of area code 661.

A range of lifestyles in Neenach

Click the images to see larger versions of the photos.

See also

External links

References and notes

  1. ^ The U.S. Census does not break out a separate figure for Neenach. The county registrar said in 1991 that the voting district for Neenach, which included the nearby Three Points area and Holiday Valley, had 378 voters. "L.A.'s Outback: Three Points Residents are like a family," Los Angeles Times, June 16, 1991, page 6 (library card required). The 800 figure is from the Scott Gold story, below.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Scott Gold, "Stoic little town faces tomorrow; A massive housing project may mean the end for Neenach, in the Antelope Valley," Los Angeles Times, February 29, 2008 (library card required)
  3. ^ Google page showing distance between Neenach and Lancaster
  4. ^ Google page showing distance between Neenach and Gorman
  5. ^ Google page showing distance between Neenach and downtown Los Angeles
  6. ^ Bonnie Ketterl Kane, A View From the Ridge Route, Volume III, The Ranchos, Frazier Park: Bonnie's Books, 2005 ISBN 0970399235
  7. ^ a b c d e Bonnie Ketterl Kane, A Brief Overview of the History of Neenach. Although Kane states that the post office was originally known as Neenah and it became known later as Neenach, she cites no source. The first mention of Neenach in the Los Angeles Times was on September 4, 1890, reporting a marriage license issued to Uriah W. Pratt, 32, and Estelle Hereford, 24, both "of Neenach." There were no references in the Times data base under any other spelling.
  8. ^ Catherine Mullholland, William Mulholland and the Rise of Los Angeles, University of California Press, 2002, p. 262. ISBN 0520234669
  9. ^ Karen Maeshiro, "Neenach School Won't Open in Fall," Los Angeles Daily News, August 3, 2001.
  10. ^ County of Los Angeles Public Library Antelope Valley bookmobile page

Coordinates: 34°40′47″N 118°12′28″W / 34.67981°N 118.20783°W / 34.67981; -118.20783

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