Wheeler Ridge, Calif. is located in the heart of Southern California. Unfortunately for visitors and residents alike, it isn’t near the beach but it is in the middle of earthquake territory. In 1952 the area was the epicenter for a 7.5 magnitude earthquake.
Just south of Wheeler Ridge lies Fort Tejon, established in the 1850s to protect and control the Native Americans who were living on the Sebastian Indians Reservation.
The fort also served to stop raids on white settlers by other Native groups like Paiutes, Chemeheui and Mojave who had not yet been forced onto reservations. The U.S. army first occupied Fort Tejon in 1954, abandoning it 10 years later.
Area Native Americans, known as the Emigdiano, were encouraged to settle in a reservation at the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley in the 1850s to avoid conflicts with California’s gold rush settlers. Many of those who settled served Fort Tejon as guides and traded fresh fruit with the army.
Today the fort serves as a museum and hosts Civil War re-enactments, as well as a center for ecological and earthquake study.
Next stop: Ontario, CA
Travel Centers of America (West location)
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