The original structure is reported to have been built in 1849—an auspicious year in California history—and it’s been improved upon ever since.
Much of what’s standing today was erected in 1943, as what is apparently the area’s only existing “cord home.” The walls of the structure are made of 10-inch cordwood logs that were embedded in concrete, then sealed and protected from insects and the elements.
The building method may sound odd by today’s standards, but it has stood the test of time, as well as the onslaught of vicious wild fires.
Located in the mountains that tower over Palm Springs and the greater Coachella Valley, the tiny town of Pine Cove is accessed by a winding mountain road that breaks off from Interstate 10 near Banning, CA.
The story goes that after the legendary lawman Wyatt Earp retired to San Bernardino, he rode the stage coach up that mountain road to play poker in this very cabin, a stage stop at the time.
The cabin has served a variety of purposes over the years, as a post office, a general store, and a horse stable. It also had incarnations as the Summit Lodge and the Pine Cove Tavern.
When the parents of the current residents bought the property in 1969, it was their family’s home. Their father used it as an art gallery, while their mother used the parlor for psychic readings.
It’s still in the family today. The second-generation owners are musicians, and have been filling the house with music for years now.
Nestled among towering pine trees, the home has four bedrooms and two bathrooms. It also has a high, stacked fireplace of river stone, and a shingled, second-story addition above the original cord walls.
Clerestory windows and skylights allow for natural illumination, and pine cabinetry and paneling add to the cabin’s rustic Western feel.
There’s also plenty of decking outside, with stone stairs, walls, and pathways on the large lot.
Listed in July for $399,000, for the first time in decades, the property appears to have attracted a buyer at the price of $380,000.
The cabin feels remote, yet it’s only a few minutes away from Idyllwild’s galleries, restaurants, and shops. An authentic piece of the Old West in Southern California, it’s a portal to another time and place.