Wrightwood History

Wrightwood at a Glance

The Serrano people were the first people to inhabit this area. They were seasonal wanderers coming to the mountains in the summer months to gather pine nuts and acorns and settling at the foot of the mountains near the Cajon Pass in the snowy winter months. The Swarthout family came to San Bernardino in 1851 with a large wagon train of Mormon immigrants from Salt Lake City, Utah. They raised large herds of cattle and grazed them on public lands as did other ranchers at the time. The area they used for grazing became known as the Swarthout Valley.

In 1906, Sumner Wright purchased a small cabin and some property in the area from a prospector, Samuel Guffy. Sumner Wright raised cattle and planted apple orchards. He purchased as much land as possible in the valley including Harry Heath’s dairy farm that was located on the eastern edge of what is now Wrightwood. In 1924, Wright subdivided his property to form the village of Wrightwood, but lost the rights to the land in the 1930s. Early plans for the development of Wrightwood positioned it as a year-round resort—the Land of Four Seasons. Many early settlements were weekend cabins, occupied seasonally. In the 1930s and beyond, properties in the area continued to be sold and Wrightwood steadily grew, with both seasonal and year-round residents.

Today, Wrightwood still attracts many people who own weekend get-away cabins and homes in addition to about 4,525 year-round residents. The historic Big Pines recreational facilities are located just four miles west of the village and offer skiing, hiking, picnic areas and fishing at Jackson Lake. Wrightwood is a beautiful place to spend a day, a week or a lifetime!

For more information on the history of Wrightwood please visit www.wwhistory.org or pay a visit to the Wrightwood History Museum