Monday, March 16, 2015

Desert View Tower

The stairs wind up the tower to the top deck where you have a panoramic view of the mountains and the desert beyond, in both California and Mexico.

This circular stone tower was built in the 1920's by Bert Vaughn, a real estate developer.  He wanted to commemorate the pioneers who built the first roads and railway in this lonely part of California, but I suspect it was really a desperate move to lure people here.  He had hoped Jacumba would become a major border crossing town but, alas, it was not to be.  Jacumba remains an "off-the-beaten" track sort of place.  If anyone crosses the border here, it's over or under that hideous fence.

If you love quirky architecture, though, and even quirkier gift shops, the Desert Tower is worth the detour.  The interior is part museum, part store.  It is filled with Indian pottery and baskets, folk art, blankets, saddles, books and postcards.  A big German Shepherd was asleep on an old worn leather sofa.
In addition to this crazy tower, there are several stone animals chiseled out of boulders next door (which I will write about later).  The two sites make up one of California's most unusual folk art installations and are Registered Historical Landmarks.

For the traveler who loves surreal scenery, the San Diego-Yuma route along Interstate 8 is a great road trip.  The Desert View Tower and adjacent Boulder Park are about half-way between, making it a perfect pit stop.

 I take it back.  Mr. Vaughn wasn't a failed visionary, after all.  He lured us here exactly as planned, didn't he?

1 comment:

  1. I am keeping this in mind for a return U.S. trip sometime.