The Waning Character of the Victor Valley: A Reflection on Change


The Victor Valley, once known for its vibrant character and idyllic charm, has witnessed a gradual decline in its unique essence over the years. Let us examine the factors contributing to the waning character of the Victor Valley and reflect upon the changes that have shaped its present state.

The Historical Significance:

The Victor Valley has a rich history, deeply rooted in the California Gold Rush and the railroad system development. These historical events played a pivotal role in shaping the valley’s character, attracting settlers, prospectors, and entrepreneurs seeking opportunities. The region blossomed with small communities, bustling industries, and a strong sense of community.

Urbanization and Economic Shifts:

Over time, the Victor Valley has undergone significant urbanization and economic shifts, which have profoundly impacted its character. With the expansion of cities and towns, vast open spaces have been replaced by commercial developments and residential neighborhoods. This rapid growth has led to a loss of natural beauty and a decline in historical landmark preservation.

Furthermore, economic changes have influenced the character of the Victor Valley. The decline of traditional industries, such as agriculture and mining, has resulted in a shift towards a service-based economy. While this has brought economic stability and employment opportunities, it has also contributed to a loss of the valley’s unique identity as small businesses struggle to compete with larger corporate chains.

Cultural Shifts and Loss of Community Spirit:

Another significant factor contributing to the waning character of the Victor Valley is the cultural shifts experienced by its residents. As the valley has become more diverse, the sense of community and shared values that once defined its character has diminished. People are now more connected virtually than physically, and the traditional community spirit has given way to individualism and isolation.

The Impact of Modernization:

The advent of modern technology and social media has further eroded the character of the Victor Valley. The constant connectivity and virtual interactions have replaced face-to-face communication, making it harder for residents to connect and engage with each other. The valley’s unique charm, once fostered by personal connections and local events, now struggles to compete with the allure of the digital age.

Preserving the Victor Valley’s Character:

Despite Victor Valley’s challenges, there is hope for preserving its character. Community-driven initiatives, historical preservation efforts, and a renewed focus on local businesses can help restore the valley’s identity. By embracing sustainable development practices and promoting cultural events celebrating the valley’s heritage, residents and local authorities can work together to attempt to revive the character that once defined the Victor Valley.


The waning character of Victor Valley reminds us of the ever-changing nature of our society. The forces of urbanization, economic shifts, cultural changes, and technological advancements have left an indelible mark on the valley’s identity.

Hilda’s Story

by Alice Hall

The other day I ran a photo of Hilda Wharton Schultz, and I thought a few memories of the area directly from Hilda would be appreciated. The photo, taken from the Blue Cut rock retaining wall, is of the Carlo home she mentioned.


By Hilda Wharton Schultz

Stories of Devore? Anyone who’s lived there could come up with pages of stories. My memories contain lots of stories of the Devore area.

My mother, Cora Wharton, was widowed young in West Virginia, and raising three daughters alone was difficult. We moved from a relative’s home in Arkansas to Fontana and from Fontana to Lenhardt’s 80 acres (now shown on Forestry maps as Ruddell Hill). We stayed there and took care of his many goats. After the 1938 flood, which trapped us on the hill for three weeks, we moved to Holcomb’s place in Verdemont. When we left in 1941, we lived for three years at the Obst place to watch their son Artie and care for the many goats. That place later became known as Anna Mill’s Freedom Acres across the canyon from Lenhardt’s, set back from Highway 66. Mr. Obst was the manager of Harris’s Department Store. (And Dr. Lenhardt, a veterinarian, had married Norma, the daughter of a Devore poultry farmer.

During the war (WWII), my sister Joanna and I used to go up to Clyde Ranch on Lone Pine Canyon Road. There was a tower there, and we used to spot airplanes for civil defense. I remember a little schoolhouse below Carlo’s big house that was washed out in the flood of 1938.

I remember election polls at Blue Cut. I remember that Kaylen’s place, the green house at Keenbrook, used to have a post office in it (that house has been replaced by a modular), and I remember the little post office on Cajon Blvd. later on. I remember hiking through the hills near Blue Cut (behind Gem Ranch up near the Heby place) and having my hackles rise when I realized something was following me. I never saw it, but I’m pretty sure it was a cougar.

I remember when Minnie Bradley, who bought my Keenbrook place, got her car stuck on the railroad tracks when it ran off the road a little. I could flag down the engineer, and he stopped in time and helped us move the car.

I remember the wide spot where the helper train engines could turn around to go back to town after making the grade. The turn-around was way past Cozy Dell, but on the other side of the wash. It was a big flat place where lots of tracks intertwined.

I remember when there were holding pens for cattle at the Summit and Ed Barnes’ unusual way of killing rattlesnakes- Fire probably is not the best tool for that job.

Hervey Bailey used to tell me some pretty interesting stories about living at Keenbrook. He used to ride the stagecoach from Keenbrook up to Victorville to eat at the Harvey House. He also enjoyed riding the 20-mule-team Borax wagons. He’s the one who homesteaded the Keenbrook area that included the place where I lived for a time.

I remember, after leaving Keenbrook for Verdemont (I lived at the Houghton place at the top of Palm), coming back to Devore almost every day to clean houses for people or care for their livestock while they were away. I worked for Kendall and Mary Rose Stone and Roger and Alice Hall. That’s where I learned never to trust a ram. I also worked for Superior Court Judge Edward P. and Jane Fogg in north San Bernardino.

Editors note: I met Hilda at my dad’s feed store in 1961. She started working for us during holidays and judging junkets in 1962. She was completely reliable and trustworthy and knew her livestock unbelievably well. We visited her both at her little bungalow tucked between the railroad tracks at Keenbrook and the Houghton place in Verdemont. I’ve always said that everyone needs a Hilda, and I miss having that kind of help since she retired.