The wildest thing happened to us today!
Well, really it happened over about a month. I’ll start at the beginning…
The TTG and I had been looking at property North of us, in the desert, for a few weeks. We were astonished at the fact that one could purchase around 3-4 acres of land for only a few thousand dollars. And we thought to ourselves, hey we should get a piece of property. We looked and looked, mostly for fun until or if we ever found something that was “just right” for us. We found one really beautiful piece that was in this gorgeous canyon but it was right near the aqueduct and had the view of the a big fence and pump station from it. Not so great. We saw another place that was really a neat space but had the freeway too close by with the roar of traffic, there’s no way it ever would have been relaxing.
A few weeks ago, we went for a drive on a Sunday – yes, I guess you could say it was a “Sunday Drive”, but we were off-roading. The TTG wanted to find a new bike trail that he could see on Google Maps but couldn’t figure out how to get there on his bicycle. We drove and drove through the hills and never did find the spot. We ended up on the back side of the mountain, in Acton. As we drove out of the neighborhood, we came across a “For Sale” sign on this tree lined house. If you know the desert and you’ve grown up here, you know that trees are an attraction!
We stopped to see the house. I was so excited as we approached the house because it had a beautiful blue painted fence at the entrance! As we looked past the fence, we noticed a quite unusual house. The fence had a lock on it but was not latched and we walked in to check it out. I was instantly in love with the property! There were little houses, barns, buildings, tree houses, bridges, and what looked like many different types of structures for animals. It was so neat! It was an artist’s dream. Everything was painted red and blue and yellow but not in a “primary color” way but in this beautiful artistic fashion. All of the buildings had windows, even the little ones for the animals. The paths were lined and raised with beautiful desert rocks. Trees shaded lots of the property – and this is winter when the trees and bushes have less foliage than usual. I kept thinking how beautiful it must have been in the Spring.
I took some pictures and marveled at all of the details. The hand built water trough for the horse. The little house for the goats. It was just adorable and I wished that I could live there. We got home from our little adventure and looked up the house online to see what the asking price was. It was really reasonable – almost cheap – for the area. We also noticed that the property was DOUBLE the size we thought it was. We had only seen the front acre of the property, there was another almost full acre back past where we ventured. It made me want to live there even more. It wasn’t realistic that we could purchase the home and property, so I essentially put it out of my head.
But did I? I couldn’t! I couldn’t stop thinking about this cute and quaint house that was so charming and fun and painted all different colors. All of the attention to detail. I even had more than a couple dreams about the house! So last weekend, I told the TTG that I’d love to go back out to the house and see the back acre of the property since we missed it the first time. I couldn’t help feeling drawn to the place and feeling some sort of attachment to it. It was wild. I could sense the love and care that were put into the place but also the sadness of whomever had to leave it behind.
Well, turns out last Sunday the weather was terrible and FREEZING!!! So, we didn’t venture out. When yesterday’s weather turned gorgeous and about 77 degrees, I said let’s go tomorrow (today/Sunday) to see that house again. Of course we woke to a crummy day. Overcast, windy, but not too cold. I thought about it for some time this morning and then said “let’s just do it!” So, we got warm clothes on and headed over the mountain again to Acton.
This time we parked at the back of the property and walked in. The property is in four tiers that go higher as you go from the back to the front. We had only seen the first two (highest) tiers the first time we went there. We could tell that something amazing had been on the back of the property and we walked around trying to imagine what it might have been. We made up stories about what was where and who might have lived there. We just knew there were lots of animals. Our visit today, revealed a really cool bird aviary with a satellite dish for a roof! It was so cool!
We also noticed lots more details on this trip. Remnants of stained glass all over. A large, metal/steel “top” to something. I imagined it filled with stained glass. As we went around the front to see if the “For Sale” sign was still there (it was), we noticed that there was a rock sign that said “Fahey”. Thank goodness the TTG has a better memory than I do!
We returned home and I just kept thinking about the house and wracking my mind for a way to purchase the property and salvage what was left for the sake of whomever had put their time, energy, and heart into building it. The TTG reminded me about the sign out front and we did a search for Fahey in Acton. Wow, were we surprised what we found!
We found, stumbled upon, accidentally happened on… “Phonehenge West”. After looking through the masses of information on the place – note that this is most likely the most famous Acton has ever been – we learned that Kim Fahey was the man who owned this amazing place and built it with his bare hands for over 30 years. Fahey lost the home and the property when he was jailed for building the place without the appropriate permits. YES, that is right, I said JAILED. LA County arrested this man, rushed the issue through court, and jailed him for creating art and structures on his OWN property.
If you can’t tell already, I am outraged at this. It is so sad and so unfortunate that this beautiful place was demolished. It was a work of art and should have been treated as such. But because we are so “married to the rules” in our society and that litigious action is so commonplace these days, instead the space has been demolished and is up for sale. And the man who poured his heart into this project for an entire lifetime was jailed.
It’s hard to express in words how amazing the place is so I’m posting a video so that you too can see what I mean. I have a feeling a LOT of you, my friends out there, are going to love this space too. It is so artistic and fun.
Currently Fahey and his family now live in Tehachapi, CA (Kern County, no longer LA County) and plan to build an even bigger Phonehenge. To that, I say, AWESOME!
Here’s the video:
Here’s a great link to some photos of Phonehenge West also!
All photos above by Blume Bauer (me!). Here are some more photos of the current state of Phonehenge West that I took when we visited: