California Valley

PhotographerRichard Gilles
Entry Description

“Beautiful California Valley in the bountiful heart of California, for only $10 down and $10 a month you can own a full 2 1/2 acre Rancho midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles.” This is just part of the pitch made in a 1961 full-page LIFE magazine ad when a developer carved up a dusty alkaline desert into a grid of over 7200 parcels with nothing more than scraping out “roads” and adding some signs. Located 50 miles east of the California pacific coast, in the Carrizo Plain, California Valley is comprised of over 24,000 acres that were unsuitable for farming or ranching. This series of photographs picks up some 50 years later on that California dream.