Palmdale (Images of America)
Palmdale (Images of America)
Norma H. Gurba
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One of the nation's fastest growing cities and a center for the aerospace and defense industries, Palmdale began in 1886 with the doomed colony of Palmenthal in a land plentiful with Joshua trees and jackrabbits but very little water. The gateway to the southern Antelope Valley, Palmdale has enjoyed a rich, diverse, and eventful history while resourceful pioneers created neighboring communities of unique character. Littlerock, a "pearadise," became the fruit basket for the Antelope Valley. Neil Armstrong, before becoming the first man to walk on the moon in 1969, resided in Juniper Hills. Pearblossom's rustic landscape was ideal for early cowboy movies. The crumbling site of Llano del Rio is the location of perhaps the most important nonreligious utopian colony in Western American history. Valyermo owes its existence to the San Andreas Fault, and the Big Rock Creek area became known for Noah Beery Sr.'s Paradise Trout Club, a favorite rendezvous for many Hollywood movie stars and notables.
and then taken to the mine by a pack team. The highly active San Andreas Fault forms a straight, trench-like fault, running through the mountains and hills along the southwest margin of the western Mojave Desert. One of the best places to view the fault is on the Antelope Valley 14 Freeway, just north of Avenue S. On June 29, 1925, the Santa Barbara Earthquake struck, causing the large depot clock in Palmdale to stop exactly at 6:44 a.m. Paul Schoeller (right), a surveyor, and another man are
Valley Fair and Alfalfa Festival was enjoyed by all valley residents. Presented at the end of summer, residents would come together to celebrate the valley’s agricultural heritage. Floats such as this one carrying Palmdale Grammar School students and the Alfalfa Queen were built for the fair’s parade. (Courtesy of WAVHS.) Sometimes circus trains would pass through the Antelope Valley and stop at Palmdale for the engines to take on water. There was always a mad scramble by the excited children to
combat pilot, test pilot, astronaut, and politician. In 1984, he was elected to the Palmdale City Council and four years later became the city’s first elected mayor. In 1992, he was elected to serve in the California State Assembly, representing the 36th District, and later as a state senator representing California’s 17th Senate District from 1996 until his death in 2004. Early travelers and miners entered the Santa Clarita Valley gateway to the Antelope Valley through Beale’s Cut. Beale’s Cut
is often called the “father of the local pear industry,” also had a blacksmith shop in the 1890s. (Courtesy of WAVHS.) This scene of Sierra Highway in Palmdale shows two garages. The road is in good condition due to proper road maintenance. Evan Evans came to the Antelope Valley in 1889. In 1906, he was hired by Los Angeles County Road Maintenance and became a supervisor in 1909. In 1936, there was a county road maintenance yard in Palmdale with 49 employees. It was the town’s largest employer.
in 1911 in the Palmdale railroad section foreman’s house. It had a kitchen, a living room, and two bedrooms. It was very crowded with eight children running about. Currently located at the Tropico Gold Mine, Dayle DeBry (Lancaster cemetery manager) and the board of directors are in the process of having this structure moved to the cemetery to become a museum. A solitary, young Myrtle Tinkham stands near the Palmdale Southern Pacific Railroad depot around 1913. The station is on the left side