Llano is a little known unincorporated area of Los Angeles County that has mostly open land. With only 1200 residents it is a place you can drive or hike for long distances before running into any houses. We are one of those places that its elevation is higher then it’s population. It has quite a large area, 112.90 sq. mi. There is no town center or business district, only a Post Office with the name Llano and the zip code.
Many years ago the Los Angeles county supervisors created a law preventing any building in areas with no water or in cases where there is a water district, water that is agricultural only. Which to my knowledge are all the water districts in Llano. This kept Llano from the building boom, and kept our privacy. Some people have wells but they are far and few between. The higher your elevation here the deeper you have to go for water. For us to drill a well at our age would not be cost effective so we have a truck come in with 3625 gallons of water to fill our 5000 gallon water tank. The water in itself is cheap, the trucking charge is not.
Llano’s elevation goes from 5500’ down to 3200’. We sit at 4200’ with the mountains to the south of us and an amazing view of the desert floor to the north of us.
Llano’s most famous resident was Aldous Huxley (Brave New World author). He also wrote ‘Crows of Pearblossom’ a children’s book, which we have. Mr. Huxley also had a residence in Wrightwood, the mountain town to the south of Llano.
Llano De Rio was a socialist colony that started back in 1915. They were able to obtain water from Big Rock creek and that sustained their colony for a few years. Eventually dissent amongst their ranks and not being able to build a dam to sustain their growth dissolved the colony. But you can still see some remnants of the colony as you head west on the Pearblossom Highway. Many residents of Littlerock and Pearblossom used the stones that built Llano De Rio to build their own houses.
Crystal Air is a glider company that gives lessons and glider rides to many people. It is fun to see the gliders. I was hiking up in the mountains once and was standing on a ridge when a glider suddenly appeared very close to me. It really scared me! I hit the deck and even my dog took off running!
There are other ‘airports’ on the desert floor (the low elevations areas). Ultra light airplanes are popular. Some residents down there have their own runways. You generally see them flying in the fall. They are slow but they certainly have a great view of the area from above.
A golf course is also in Llano, right by Crystal Air Gliders. This is also an area, which I would term almost residential. Mostly populated with retired folk they are very involved in their community and have fought for Llano. In one instance they saved us from a very noisy dirty operation that would have destroyed our creek. A gravel company was going to put in an operation right at the creek. With this very vocal and savvy group of people fighting against it, the gravel company lost and we kept our quiet place.
The worlds ‘Smallest Airshow’ is also in Llano. Always during Memorial Day weekend. It features ultra light aircraft and is down at a u-pick orchard and ultra light facility, Brian’s Ranch.
The residents of Llano are an eclectic bunch. From people who have no electricity or water, to middle class individuals with nice houses. Many of Llano’s houses were old homestead places. Back in the 1920’s people were given a chance to basically get free land out here if they built a structure and did a certain amount of upkeep to that structure every year. Our place was on of those homestead cabins. Originally 400 sq. ft. we increased it by 200 sq. ft. Now a 600 sq. ft. one room cabin, it is actually very comfortable and unique! You see many remains of old homestead cabins out here and in surrounding areas.
Working in a town that is 12 miles from Llano, I am frequently asked where I live. When I reply Llano they in turn ask where is that!!! Part of it is pronunciation; they pronounce it with the l sound where it should be pronounced with the Spanish y sound. So it should be yano not lano. The other people who don’t know the town just have never heard of it!
I love the uniqueness of Llano, the quiet and the privacy. I don’t need curtains on my windows, nor do I need to worry about being seen by my neighbors in the morning, LOL! Llano only has two paved roads, and they aren’t very long! So we have a network of dirt roads not maintained by the country. It does keep the tourists away!