Antelope Valley Indian Museum State Historic Park | Los Angeles Conservancy
Photo by Adrian Scott Fine/L.A. Conservancy

Antelope Valley Indian Museum State Historic Park

In 1928, self-taught artist and Hollywood set designer Howard Arden Edwards began creating a bit of the Alps in the high desert between the Tehachapi and San Gabriel mountain ranges.

He built a 40-by-60-foot wood-framed structure on a rock outcrop at Piute Butte, to satisfy the Homestead Act requirement that applicants build a house on their claim. Not content with just any building, Edwards crafted his home in the Swiss Chalet style.

Edwards, his son, and some helpers built the house themselves, using salvaged plywood from theatrical sets.

Edwards also worked at the Southwest Museum and dabbled in collecting Native American artifacts. His unique residence housed his collection, and he covered the home in vibrant artwork. Grace Wilcox Oliver bought the property in the early 1940s and converted Edwards’ house into a museum, which she operated for more than thirty years. In 1979, the State of California purchased the museum and surrounding lands as a state park. The museum’s restoration earned a Conservancy Preservation Award in 2011.