Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Baker, CA

From friend of the blog, Cuntrytrash:

"Manson pumped gas here in ‘59 before he went back to prison, in Baker, California. He said his mother worked as a waitress at the cafe next door. This building is the remnants of what was the Dad Fairbanks (who founded Baker and Shoshone, California) Big Blue Baker Service. A very small part of the service station still stands, but is some weird head shop now. 

When Charlie was there, he said it was called "Standard Oil". 


He said he lived in a cabin out back with his mother: some foundations of the cabins still exist, but they are long gone. The road that is visible towards the right of the "now" aerial photo, below, goes to Tecopa/Shoshone. So, he was in the area long before ‘69. 


Big Blue was a gas station, cafe and cabins all in one. In the beginning it was the only business there.

Fairbanks founded three places Manson went: Baker (A on the map at right), Shoshone (B) and Ash Meadows (C, where Devil's Hole is at).  Fairbanks learned they were putting in a highway and gave Shoshone to his son-in-law Charles Brown, and moved to what he named Baker to capitalize on the highway... which is 58 miles from Shoshone. Kind of cool."

Yes, Cuntry! That is really cool. Thanks for sharing what you have learned with our readers.


Max Frost said...

Fascinating stuff Patty.

I believe I was on a greyhound once that stopped at that store...

Cuntry Trash said...

Yes, it was many things - cafe, gas station, cabins, greyhound station and not far away (until the 40s?) was the T and T railroad.

orwhut said...

A guy who went around establishing businesses that became communities. I don't think that happens much back east.

Robert Hendrickson said...

OMG, in 59 two buddies and I headed out across country in a 49 Chevy. We stopped in Baker for gas, as it was the half way point to Vegas. Everyone going or coming to or from Vegas stopped there. Talk about a "money pit" and the gas station: The saying went: "Don't break down in Baker." BUT for Charlie, he might have though of the area as some kind of "home." In a way you can now think of the Barker Ranch as part of Manson's neighborhood.

In one of one of those little cabins may be where the FBI almost caught B. Davis. As the FBI were coming through the front door, Bruce went out the back window and disappeared into the desert - according to the agents. They told Merrick: "We will never be able to catch this guy. When we get close - HE just disappears."

Patty is Dead said...

Patty was in the desert last weekend and meant to get to Baker but was thwarted by bad Mapquest directions. Mapquest wil have you believe that Baker is 100 miles to the west near a town called Boron. Upon her return, she re examined Cuntry's aerial map and corrected the post. Other things of interest she saw were the Trona Pinnacles where Cappy was interviewed by Bill Nelson, the ghost town of Rhyolite near an abandoned Federal Prison, and the town of Ballarat, her 'spiritual home' (LPAO).

She and Stoner Van Houten spent some quality time there drinking beers with Rocky Novak, the video evidence of which can be viewed on Stoner's Youtube channel. Stoner and Patty did attempt Barker again but the waterfall was too formidable. Patty cannot get enough of the desert, especially in the winter when its 50 degrees at home but 80 in Inyo County.

Cuntry Trash said...

Before this business, Baker was nothing. I know a guy (forgot his name) tried to start a gas station about 10 miles North of Baker near where the old town of Silver Lake (not the LA town) was, but it burned down. I think Fairbanks tried to capitalize on that fella's success because Fairbanks first built in that area, then when he realized that the highway was being built a wee-bit far away, but still adjacent to his land, he moved every building closer by hand.

Robert, I never heard that story of the Feds closing in on Bruce in that area. But it may have been those cabins. I think the last of them burned down in the 70s, and some were torn down in the 50s as well. At one time there were a couple dozen and by the 60s only a small handful.

The problem with going to Baker FROM Barker is that if Panamint Valley Road is washed out (and it always is) that you have to take a 150 miles (added on the distance to Baker) detour through Lone Pine, or down and around through 138 way (150 mile detour as well). When PVR is NOT washed out, Barker to 190 is about 30 miles, then about 50 miles to Furnace Creek, 55 to Shoshone, and 60 to Baker.

But on Dunebuggy, you can go from Baker and cut through Satatoga Springs, down Furnace Creek Wash, and cut out 2/3 of the milage on the pavement. That leads you right to West Side Road that goes the back way to Barker.

Manson told me they road back roads from Barker to Tecopa all the time, that it would take them half of the day and they would get there and night and swim naked at the hot springs until morning.

Jenn said...

Baker: former home of Bun Boy and the world's largest thermometer.

Mr. Humphrat said...

Thanks for the informative fun post Cuntry. I never heard either about Bruce escaping the FBI there. He must've been very slippery (slippies) to pull that off.

toocrowdedinthishouse said...

This is the kind of post with comments that I love to read and reread. The old postcards of the property are amazing, particularly compared to the aerial view. I believe my dad stopped at least twice, over the years, to gas up there. The kids were never allowed to disembark at that particular stop from our station wagon, LOL. I believe we pestered him to be allowed to go into a store or a cafe because one of my brothers wanted a Ding Dong, something like that. Thanks so much for this post.

Unknown said...

i lived in baker 1988.worked at the texaco station.never heard about manson living there.there was a man living there at that time who was once a biker and testafide at the manson trial.