A long road through Swansea, California on the way to Lone Pine with the Sierra Nevada in the background. This place was particulary intetresting to us as we live in Swansea, South Wales. Very little left of the Californian version unfortunately, not much more than an historical landmark and a wooden sign.
Swansea CA was named by Welsh copper workers who travelled here in search of work. Copper was big business in Swansea, Wales in the 18th and 19th century. An abundance of coal, water and shipping port meant it was the ideal spot and became a global producer of copper, taking ore from mines all over the world and exporting copper as far as Asia.
As other sources of coal were found, in the USA and elsewhere, the smelting of copper starting to move away from Swansea and by the late 19th century it had all but gone. As the industry started to shrink, the workers started to look for alternative demand for their skills. Some ended up here, naming it Swansea as a small town developed, no doubt to make themselves feel at home.
Quite how they dealt with the distance, isolation and lack of contact with home is hard to imagine in our world of 24/7 communication. This place is really isolated even now but travelling this far across land from the east coast way back them must have been extremely arduous and harsh.
Lone Pine is an amazing place, parts of it like a western movie set. If you ever get the chance to go you must have lunch at the Alabama Hills Café.