Independence has been the seat of Inyo County since 1866 and the town still has a number of historic buildings including the courthouse, Winnedumah Hotel, and home of noted author Mary Austin. The town covers 4 square miles and is home to nearly 600 people. Not surprisingly, Independence is an ideal place to spend the 4th of July with a parade, town dance, barbecue, and fireworks.
Lone Pine was founded in the late 1860's to provide services and supplies to local mines including the Cerro Gordo and later to farmers and ranchers. The town was named for a single pine found at the mouth of Lone Pine Canyon, but a flood destroyed the tree before 1900. In 1872 a massive earthquake hit the area. A cemetery for the victims is located at the north end of town. Currently Lone Pine has a population of nearly 2000 people. The town's largest event is the Lone Pine Film Festival which takes place every October. The festival celebrates decades of Hollywood coming to the Owens Valley to take advantage of the unique landscape.