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Mojave Desert Communities -
Palmdale, CaliforniaPalmdale, located approximately 60 miles northeast of Los Angeles, is the offspring of long-defunct Antelope Valley communities Palmenthal and Harold. Palmenthal was founded in 1886 by westward Swiss and German settlers who in 1888 named their new community Palmenthal after mistaking the local Joshua trees for palm trees; initially prospering as grain and fruit growers, many settlers abandoned their homesteads after drought decimated their crops and land scams prevented them from clearing their property titles. Harold-also known as Alpine Station and Trejo Post Office-was founded at the junction of the Southern Pacific Railroad and what is now Barrel Springs Road; but it too went under after the railroad moved the site of its booster engine station north of town. Both abandoned communities blended into Palmdale, so-named in 1899, when residents jointly relocated to a new site near the Southern Pacific railroad station and the stagecoach line between San Francisco and New Orleans.
During the first quarter of the twentieth century, irrigation systems and dry farming techniques allowed Palmdale to flourish as an agricultural community known for its alfalfa, apples, and pears. After World War II, Palmdale’s economic base shifted to aerospace and defense industry with construction of Air Force Plant 42 and the Federal Aviation Administration’s Air Route Traffic Control Center. Palmdale became incorporated in 1962 as the Antelope Valley’s first city and in recent decades has experienced astounding growth: its geographic size increased from 2.1 square miles in 1962 to 102 square miles today, and its population soared tenfold from 12,227 residents in 1980 to about 122,400 people today, making it one of the country’s fastest-growing cities.
from; Antelope Valley Library
History of Palmdale, CaliforniaDraft/Notes
Located in the Antelope Valley, Palmdale is a city in northern Los Angeles County, California. With a rich history dating back centuries, Palmdale has played a significant role in the development and growth of Southern California.
Palmdale has a long human history. Native American tribes settled in the area, including the Tataviam and Serrano. They thrived on the fertile land and abundant resources of the surrounding mountains and the Mojave Desert.
In the 18th century, Spanish explorers entered the region, establishing missions and a presence in California. However, it was not until the mid-19th century that the area began to see significant settlement by European Americans.
In the late 1800s, the Southern Pacific Railroad extended its tracks through the Antelope Valley, including Palmdale. This marked a turning point for the region, opening up trade and transportation opportunities and attracting new settlers and businesses.
Palmdale was officially incorporated on August 24, 1962. Before that, it was a small unincorporated community known as Palmenthal.
Throughout the 20th century, Palmdale experienced periods of growth and development. The arrival of aerospace and defense industries in the area brought new job opportunities and contributed to the city's economic prosperity. Companies like Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Northrop Grumman established a presence in Palmdale, further solidifying its status as an important hub for aerospace technology.
Today, Palmdale continues to grow and evolve. It is home to a diverse population and offers many amenities and attractions. The city boasts numerous parks, recreational facilities, and cultural institutions, providing residents and visitors with ample opportunities for leisure and entertainment.
In conclusion, Palmdale, California, has a fascinating history that spans centuries. From its Native American roots to its role in the aerospace industry, the city has played a significant part in the development of Southern California. With its rich heritage and promising future, Palmdale remains integral to the region's history and identity.
Palmdale, CA - Area Feature Tours
Ripley Desert Woodland
Tropico Gold Mine
Saddleback State Park
Devil's Punch Bowl (Natural Arches)
Little Rock Reservoir
Llano del Rio
Roads and Highways
Country Life Realty
Links to Desert Museums
These items are historical in scope and are intended for educational purposes only; they are not meant as an aid for travel planning.
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