According to stories passed down from those before us, Newton T Bass, at the age of 40 and a recently retired and very wealthy oilman from Long Beach was looking for a place to unwind and raise cattle. It’s said when he was driving past a rocky outcropping, where he thought he could get a better view of things, he climbed to the top (where the Hilltop House was built) and proclaimed, “This is where I want to build a town.”


As he stood on that hill (now called Bass Hill) it was as if he could see and hear the voices of those who had traveled the trails and roads long before him. He could feel the history and see the promise of a bright future.


In 1945 Newt and his partner Bud Westland purchased 6300 acres of land from the Southern Pacific Railroad and started the Apple Valley Ranchos Land Company. Until it burned in 1967, Newton Bass and Bud Westlund used the Hilltop House for entertaining, bringing the Hollywood elite to the house for a dip in the pool that extended inside the living room, for a panoramic view of the surrounding desert landscape, and to let them witness a showcase for modern architecture. The house was a place to sell Bass and Westlunds vision for the future of Apple Valley, land as far as the eye could see.