Visitors often ask: Who built the cottages at Hidden Passage? The answer is: Dreamers, adventurers, wanderers and those imbued with the pioneering spirit of the West. These brave explorers lived here without electricity, without a ready supply of water, using only Kerosene lanterns for light and fireplaces or wooden stoves for heat.
The High Desert Morongo Basin was one of the last areas of the country to benefit from the federal government’s largess embodied in the Small Tract Act of 1938, also known as the Homestead Act, when the government sought to get rid of “useless” western property. In exchange for building a small home and living in it for three years, an individual could purchase a 5 acre plot plus the house for about $10-20 per acre through a “patent” – a deed granted by the federal government. As Kim Stringfellow – the foremost authority on Homesteads in this area – said: “This highly popular mid-century homestead movement reflects the quintessential American desire to claim territory and own a piece of the land even if the property in question is virtually “worthless” from an economic and governmental perspective.”
A building supply store in Yucca Valley sold kits for homesteads for $1500, which provided the basic structure of the Hidden Passage cottages. All the cottages here were built in the latter part of the 1950’s and all maintain most of their original features, which we’d be happy to describe. Some additional amenities have been added over time (indoor bathrooms, although the original outhouses can still be seen at some of the Hidden Passage cottages). And maintain the spirit and sense of adventure of their pioneering owners. We hope you share this feeling while you’re here.