Where Is Bedrock in 'The Flintstones'?

In a world that's fast becoming "The Jetsons," "The Flintstones" is a true pioneer many times over. It is a prehistoric family, after all. 

When it premiered in September 1960, it became the first animated series to be broadcast on primetime television. It would go on to become the longest-running network animated TV series, a record broken only by "The Simpsons." 

It's easy to forget how The Flintstones rank among the best TV families ever, animated or not. For decades, you can just drive to recreations of Bedrock, the fictitious Stone Age "city" where the Flintstones live, in amusement parks from America to Canada. That's how its heyday was. 

Now Bedrock theme parks have gone extinct. One, the Flintstones Bedrock City in Arizona, put up a good fight, outlasting all other Flintstone-themed parks from its opening in 1972 until its closure in 2019. In Kelowna, British Columbia, new generations of Flintstones fans would have loved the Bedrock City theme park, unmistakable from the highway for its 40-foot effigy of Fred Flintstone. It shut down in the 1990s. 

A running gag of the show is to replace names of places and objects with puns related to geologic materials. Fans have used these names to triangulate where is Flintstones' Bedrock city at, since makers Hanna-Barbera never mentioned any state where Flintsones is set. If we go by that logic, then "Bedrock" must be wordplay on Red Rock, the famous formation in Wyoming. No one lives there though. 

What was The Flintstones address in the first place? Granted, the show does mention it, but there is no real "301 Cobblestone Way, Bedrock 70777." 

A widely accepted fan theory is that Bedrock must be somewhere in the midwest of the US. It took the characters just two days to drive to "Rock Vegas" (the prehistoric Las Vegas) and a few more hours to Indianrockolis (Indianapolis), while a trip to Hollyrock (Hollywood) required a plane, er, pterodactyl. 

Many epochs later, the Holocene version of Hollyrock would turn "The Flintstones" into a live-action 1994 movie starring John Goodman and Elizabeth Perkins as Fred and Wilma Flintstone and Rick Moranis and Rosie O'Donnell as Barney and Betty Rubble, plus Elizabeth Taylor in one of her final film appearances as Pearl Slaghoople. The filming location for "The Flintstones" 1994 was Vasquez Rocks, an alien-looking park with spectacular sandstone formations close to Agua Dulce Springs or just a one-hour drive from Los Angeles. 

The Welcome to Bedrock sign as seen on 'The Flintstones,' 1960-1966 (above) and 'The Flintstones' movie, 1994 (below)

The real-life Flintstones would probably have lived in Idaho, where archaeologists discovered the Paleolithic site known as Cooper's Ferry. Dating back to 15,000 or 16,000 years ago, Cooper's Ferry offers a preview into real Late Stone Age lifestyle, but there's no word yet if they've unearthed Fred's footmobile. (Somebody gave one to a sultan in Malaysia though.) 

A likely real-life equivalent to Bedrock is the settlement found at the Cactus Hill archaeological site in Sussex County, Virginia. Discovered in the mid-1990s, the dig should be aged around 18,000 and 20,000 years, making it one of the oldest archaeological sites in the US. 

Either way, the Flintstones and Rubbles were probably part of the Clovis culture, brought by humans who arrived in the Americas some 13,000 years ago. 

"The Flintstones'" influence goes beyond North America. It has inspired fans as far as Europe to recreate the family's prehistoric-looking freestanding homes, with varying results. 

The Casa do Penedo between Celorico de Basto and Fafe in northern Portugal has been compared to 'The Flintstones' house. Photo via Feliciano Guimar√£es 

Take a look at northern Portugal's Casa do Penedo ("the House of Stone" or "Boulder House"). The dwelling, built in 1972 as a family retreat and currently owned by one Vitor Rodrigues, is squeezed between four colossal boulders on the Fafe mountains. Look closer and you will find a swimming pool and fireplace, suburban comforts that would resonate with Fred and Wilma no doubt.

The Flintstone House in Hillsborough, California lives up to its name, too. This 2,700-square-foot house recalls the quintessential Bedrock home with its undulating domes, created by pouring concrete over large balloons and wire mesh. Architect William Nicholson built the house in 1976, not because he was inspired by "The Flintstones" in particular, but as homage to the Blue Mosque in Turkey. Yet the current owner of the house really doubled down on "The Flintstones" association, which only grew when it was repainted orange in 2000. 

The Flintstone House, Hillsborough, California. Taken with a Canon EOS 20D by Sergei Krupnov

So who owns the Flintstone house in Hillsborough now?

Media mogul Florence Fang bought the house in 2017 for around $3 million and proceeded to make the house the talk of the town. It only took the sight of Fred and Dino on TV to inspire her to decorate the house in the style of "The Flintstones," complete with sculptures of triceratops, woolly mammoths, and brontosauri. It has at least two Fred statues, as well as the likenesses of Dino, Wilma, Barney and Betty. Even the Great Gazoo, the cartoons' prehistoric alien, has his place of honor in the residence. A truly yabba dabba good time to retire, indeed.


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