pancho barnes’ last home

Boron, California… not exactly the place you’d expect to find the last home of a famous aviatrix, stunt pilot and friend of many of the most famous test pilots in American history, but it was where Pancho Barnes lived out her final days.

The house, at the corner of Anderson Street and Kern Avenue, is in very bad shape nowadays. People in the aviation field have talked about restoring it, but nothing has been done yet.

We didn’t go inside the house this time, but we most likely will in the future. Mike would love to see the inside, although we’ve heard it’s been trashed and is crumbling. It’s a sad ending to the life of a woman who would easily qualify as one of Reader’s Digest’s Most Unforgettable Characters. Mike and I both wish we’d been lucky enough to know her.

If you have the time, read about Pancho Barnes and watch the documentary film about her, The Legend of Pancho Barnes and the Happy Bottom Riding Club. She was a very interesting lady.

29 responses to “pancho barnes’ last home

  1. Just had a chance to read through this blog. I am extremely interested in aviation history, and have read much about Pancho before this. But the personal notes below your post really hit me, especially those who knew her personally, or had a friend who did. The last years of her life didn’t do her justice, and I wish she had more fame and comfort then. I’m glad that her property is still standing (rather than being replaced with something unrelated and modern).

    She was such a forceful person. I wish I could have met her. And to know she was even babysitting in her last years…how amazing is that?

    Thank you so much, and those who posted here. This really made my day.

  2. Hi Folks, I read about Pancho, many years ago, but recently my interest was re kindled. I’ve been over to that little house in Boron, and to the museums there also. It’s my understanding that the house was deeded to the Boron Chamber of Commerce. The house is a wreck, and maybe dangerous to enter. The Barn is likewise. Of interest is a small display in the Military museum, and some of the folks in both museums knew her.

    I’ve also been up to the Jawbone Store, and all over the place around Cantil. I could not find anyone who knew where she used to live up there.

    frankie in Apple Valley, CA

  3. I went inside the house today… Not much there… Also had a small cellar or bomb sheltor….. How would someone go about buying this old house I wonder??

    • wanderingseniors

      Thank you for the extra info about the house, Mike. Real estate records would list the owner, but I’m not sure how you could get that info.

  4. I met “Poncho” in the early ’60’s. I was on a Hop from the East Coast going to Coronado and we had to make a stop at Edwards, so the Crew Chief took me to see her. I was in uniform when we met so she made some very colorful comments about sailors, I.E.; All we were good for was Fightin’, F@#%in’ and drinkin’. She was a real “Free Spirit”, reminded me of Jaunita Mussen.

  5. In the late 60’s, Pancho would occasionally babysit me when my regular babysitter was unavailable, I wasn’t even 5 yet.
    Some of the things I do remember were all the cool little airplane models that I wasn’t allowed to play with, her mean dogs, sometimes “Gentlemen” in flight suits would stop by, I wish I paid more attention to who they were. And she always called me “sugar britches”.

    • wanderingseniors

      Hi Richard – Thanks for sharing your memories of Pancho. I got a chuckle out of “gentlemen” and “sugar britches.”

  6. Dominique Ulloa

    Don’t go in there… a man named Larry hung himself in that house…. I live right around the corner!

  7. William Galloway

    The museum in Boron has a nice display on Poncho Barnes.

    • wanderingseniors

      I didn’t know that. I guess we’ll be making a trip out there to check it out. Thanks for the heads up, William.

      Update: I was reading all the comments for this post and discoverd that Nick Spark had told me about the museum when I first posted the story. I know I’m getting old and forgetful, but one would think that I would remember THAT. Hopefully, I won’t forget again and will make the trek up to Boron to see the Pancho Barnes exhibit very soon.

      P.S. Can someone please tell me where the link to this post is from? I’ve gotten over a thousand hits in the last few days, but all it tells is that they’re coming from Facebook. I’ve looked at the Pancho Barnes page on FB and can’t find a link to my post. Wherever and whoever it’s coming from, it is surely appreciated. This has been an exciting week!

  8. I watched the documentary film last nite and am so inquisitive about this special woman. I have travelled thru Boron many times, and have always wondered what secrets it beheld. Thank you, Nick Spark for your lovely film, and to the people who have brought her to the attention of many through this blog. I would love to see ‘Pancho Day’ return and have added it to my life list just in case!

  9. I met Pancho in the 60’s thru my good friend Ted Tate who was close to Pancho in her later years. About the house, she had lived there a while raising dogs. Along with Ted and several others we tried to help as her health failed. She was found dead in the house, it was filled with dog waste and very dirty. I think she died in 1975. I know she was scheduled to speak at the Barn Stormers meeting that was held shortly after she died. I never lived near Edwards AFB but traveled there often with several aircraft programs. Would have loved to have known Panhco better.(she gave me a little Yorkie. we named him Pancho). Thanks for remembering her as many of her early friends did not.

    • wanderingseniors

      Thank you for your nice comment, Jimmy. We love hearing from folks who knew Pancho. Do you have a photo of your Yorkie? I’d like to add it to this post if you wouldn’t mind. Do you still come out here? Do you ever go by her house? Does Ted live out here? We’re planning to get together with Les Cobb (whom we met thanks to this post) and his brother, who worked for Pancho, in the near future. It would be great to have more people show up who knew her.

      • Thanks for the quick reply. I’m sure we have several pictures of our Yorkie, but after 35 years I will have to search! Ted died in 1993, however he wrote a book about Pancho “The Lady Who Tammed Pegasus” Maverick publications.There are some good books about Pancho but Ted’s is from her on words with his flair. They used to have it in the Desert Inn in Lancaster when the Fisher’s owned it. Ted was Gary Fisher’s Father in law. Still keep up with Ted’s Kids, will try to see if any of them can make it to your meeting, they all knew Pancho very well. God Bless……

  10. Hi, thank you for finding my little blog and following me! I love your blogs, in particular, all the aviation material. My dh is part bird and so I get to share in the aerial adventures. I’ve not heard of Pancho before, so thank you for that information, I’ve just finished watching the video. What an amazing woman she was. I’ll look for that video and also for more information on her. thank you so much for this. I’ll follow your blog now! 🙂 Anne-Marie

    • I saw your comment on someone else’s blog about too much trash (rather distressing how much good stuff people throw out) and when I checked out your blog the photo of the repurposed table came up and I knew I would probably like your blog. After reading a post or two I knew I would definitely follow your blog! I like your writing style and what you have to say. I’m glad I found you and thank you for following my blog.

  11. Hello guys.
    My brother Larry Cobb of Los Angeles, no 83 used to work at age 15 for Pancho on here alfalfa and cattle ranch. He would hop a train from L.A. on his own and get off at Mojave as my mom thought he took the bus. He was taken under her wing then and fell in her favor. He worked hard and has lots of tale . One day he saw and old India motorcycle in the barn and asked Pancho if he could buy it, she said “Larry, if you can fix it you can have it” By the end of the work season he did fix it and rode it all the way home to L.A. and baffling our mom, no license of curse but a happy young man. Later season he would work with her son Bill and ranch had to load up cattle to take to L.A. and sell. He has lots of good memories of her and her kindness to him,
    Wondering about the resurrection of the annual BBQ, is there one this year?
    Les Cobb, Palmdale

  12. teresa cravens

    I lived in boron for tweauty years or so, my parents still live there. my dad is 81yrs old retired from edwards air base. he told me many storys of pancho and took me to a few air shows there. i was always amazed of the storys. until just today, this very moment. i always thought panchos house was a diffrent rock house on anderson. just off to side across from post office. I believe someone is living in it, so i was shocked when i seen the photo you have of her home and dont recommend going inside. i had the wrong house all these years i thought and was told from a couple people that has lived there all there life that the one across from post office was hers. seeing the photo you have i now know which house was hers. I live in blythe ca. now but i go to visit my parents as much as i can. I will be going to boron aug.2nd and i will drive by and take a good look. perhaps i will even look inside. I would personaully go in and clean it up and fix what i could. fence it off and declare it as a histortical land site. i know a bit about that. I’m not a perfessional constrution person but I was married to one long time ago. I raised six children never got a dime from there dad, worked two jobs so I learned to work on my own car. When some of the houses i lived in were falling apart, i would get many monthes of free rent for doing all the work. I would love to do pancho barnes little rock house that is apart of history and i love it. Its a four hour drive for me, but if i was able to come up with fuel money every weekend, i would be there cause i have some supplys as far as constrution goes, plus i know people in boron that i could get to help me. Aug.2nd when i go to visit i will be taken a good look and go from there. i most liking needs more than others are willing to do. the biggest part i bet is cleaning it out. It always looks worse than it is if its trashed inside. Ive cleaned out houses that should of been tore down and fixed this or that and owners were amazed when i was done. people still live in those homes. Ive always been a bit poor but could turn a dump into a nice home. i love storys of pancho i am going to look into her house. My name is teresa and im sorry my reply was so long but you hit a spot i have always carried in my heart. i work at loves travel stop in quartzsite, az. live in blythe ca. Thank You for listing

    • wanderingseniors

      Hi Teresa ~ Thank you for your comment. It’s wonderful that you want to fix up Pancho Barnes’ house, but you might want to find out who owns it before you do any work on it. I agree that it should be cleaned out, repaired and noted that it was her house, but the owners might not agree.

  13. To be honest I’ve never heard of her – although have just enjoyed a pleasurable half an hour reading about her life and her court battle! She definitely sounded a force to be reckoned with 😉 x

    • wanderingseniors

      How cool that you looked her up! I’ve been talking to a couple of local people who knew some old-timers who knew her and they said she truly was something else.

  14. I don’t recommend you visit the inside of Pancho’s house. Having been in the interior myself, I can tell you that there is nothing to see in there — it’s completely trashed and filled with the remnants of human habitation, doubtless from homeless people who took up residence there. A better place to visit in Boron is the local museum, which has a small display about Barnes, or the Flight Test Historical Society museum at nearby Edwards AFB.

    • wanderingseniors

      How neat to hear from the man who made the DVD! We’ve watched it twice already and we’ll no doubt watch it again. Thanks for making it. We’ll stop by the museum next time we’re in Boron; we’ve been to the Flight Test museum at Edwards, but don’t remember a Pancho Barnes display (it was many, many years ago so the memory may not be as good as it could be).

      • Yes, the Flight Test Historical Foundation Museum at Edwards has one of the doors of Pancho’s pick-up trucks, and some photographs and other memorabilia and documents. It’s small but that’s pretty much all there is for the public to see right now. Although, there are some other places at Edwards with a Pancho connection. If you can talk your way into the History Office at Edwards you can see some memorabilia on display — on the walls. The modern-day Officer’s Club at Edwards also has a Pancho theme, but you won’t get in there without an escort. The most public expression of the connection between Pancho’s era and the present-day base used to be of course that there was an annual “Pancho Day” with tours of the ruins of Pancho’s hotel and a BBQ. But in the years that have elapsed since we made the documentary these events have been curtailed. While we hope that the event is resurrected in the future, perhaps even this year, we just don’t know.

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