The Barker ranch

The Barker Ranch is located inside Death Valley National Park in eastern California. Used as a mining and recreational property from the 1940s to the 1960s, it is infamous due to its association with Manson and his Family.

The Barker Ranch was built in the 1930’s by Butch and Helen Thomason. Looking for Gold they left the city to mine in the Panamint Range. Often times homesteaders during the early 20th century would move to the desert for the dry air, solitude, and pleasant winter weather.

Sometime during the 1950’s the Thomason’s sold the ranch to Arlene Barker who moved to California from Oklahoma. The Barkers added additional structures to the ranch property. This included a concrete swimming pool, fences, and an array of other comforts.

In 1968, Charles Manson learned about the isolated Myers Ranch from Gillies. Agreeing that the ranch would likely meet their needs, the Manson Family began a move to the ranch. The buildings at Barker Ranch being in better condition, the Family ended up at Barker Ranch, approximately half a mile down the road from Myers Ranch.

The Inyo County sheriff department, captured the Manson Family in raids on October 10 and October 12, 1969. Manson was caught hiding under the bathroom sink. At the time of the arrest the cops were unaware of the magnitude of their find. They wanted to arrest the persons responsible for vandalism within Death Valley National Monument further north, unaware that they had arrested the persons responsible for the Tate/Labianca murders.

Due to a fire in May 2009, most of the main structure has been destroyed with only the concrete and rock portion of the cabin still standing. Today the remnants of the ranch belong to National Park Service.

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