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Mojave Desert Cities, Towns & the Rest
Owens Valley - Inyo Co.
Independence, CaliforniaIndependence is the county seat of Inyo County, California. The population is under 1,000. Independence is home to the Eastern California Museum. The former home of author Mary Austin is preserved in Independence.
Independence is located is approximately 40 miles south of Bishop, California on U.S. Route 395, the main north-south artery through the Owens Valley.
Charles Putnam founded a trading post at the site in 1861. It became known as Putnam's, and later Little Pine from the Little Pine Creek.
Independence began as a US Army camp (two miles north of the current town) established by Colonel George Evans on July 4, 1862. Col. Evans established the camp at the request of local settlers who feared Indian hostilities. The camp was soon closed, but was re-established as Fort Independence when hostilities resumed in 1865. The fort was finally abandoned in 1877, and it is currently a reservation for Native Americans.
Independence became the Inyo County seat in the late 19th century when its chief competitor for the site, a camp called Kearsarge, disappeared under an avalanche.
The first post office was established at Independence in 1866.
Mary Austin House
"A land of lost rivers, with little in it to love; yet a land that once visited must be come back to inevitably. If it were not so there would be little told of it." -- Mary Austin, Land of Little Rain