The Center for Land Use Interpretation Newsletter

Hinterland: A Voyage into Exurban Southern California

Exhibit and Bus Tour Program Examines Exurban Environment of Southern California


THE CLUI IS PREPARING AN exhibit and a tour progam about rural Southern California, called Hinterland: A Voyage Into Exurban Southern California. The exhibit, which opens May 29 in the Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE) space in Hollywood, will feature around 100 sites selected for their unusual and expressive qualities. Images and brief text panels will represent the locations, and a large wall map will locate them withing the context of the Hinterland's geographical matrix.

In addition, a series of bus tours will take tourists into the Hinterland to visit some of the sites directly. These day-long guided tours will take place on three Saturdays during the month long exhibit. A guidebook that consolidates all the Hinterland sites is due out this winter.

Organized by The Center for Land Use Interpretation, and LACE, the Hinterland show will be on display at LACE, 6522 Hollywood Boulevard, May 29 to July 6, 1997.

Southern California's Hinterland is the "exurban" area that lies beyond the mountains that ring the urban megalopoli. It is a region that accommodates extremes: proving grounds, heavy industry, waste sites, and recreational sacrifice zones. It tolerates a kind of freedom that expands the margins of society, and is often refuge for truly radical visionaries and rebels, who create inspirational monuments of individual endeavor. This desert landscape is indeed, in the words of land managers,"a land of many uses," and it is also one that engenders a full spectrum of perceptions . . .


Felicity: The Center of the World
Inside the pyramid in the town of Felicity is a time capsule and a plaque indicating the exact center of the world. Though it could be said that the surface of a spherical planet has an infinite number of "centers", this is the only Center of the World officially recognized as such by the Imperial County Board of Supervisors. The town, located on the Interstate west of Yuma, was founded in 1985 by Jacques-Andre Istel, a French financier, who in addition to being an authority on the philosophy of centers, is also known as one of the fathers of recreational parachuting.

Solar Two Experimental Solar Facility
An experimental solar facility operated by the Department of Energy, Solar Two is unique in this country as the only major solar power-generating plant with a central collecting tower. The central receiver is a 200 foot tall tower onto which nearly 2,000 reflectors focus the sun's energy, heating up a nitrate brine which produces steam and then electricity. Each of the reflectors is positioned automatically with a heliostat to track the moving sun.

Rice Army Airfield
A large concrete pad, littered with shell casings and blasted debris, is nearly all that remains of the World War Two training base at the remote desert town of Rice. The rest of the town has been abandoned, and vandalized into nonexistence by passers-by, mostly weekend warriors on the road between LA and the popular recreation areas of Lake Havasu. Rice is also the location of a recent cargo train wreck.

Desert Center
Hundreds of tall date palm trees have been planted in unusual patterns at the Interstate town of Desert Center. The project was started a few years ago by the owner of the town, Stanley Ragsdale, who trucked the trees from a date farm near Indio, 50 miles away. Many of the 70 foot tall trees, which were originally grown by King Gilette, inventor of the safety razor, are now dying due to irrigation problems.