Littlerock Dam shortly after completion. Photo taken in 1935 from the Bill Ritter Collection.


1772 ­ Captain Pedro Pages is the first white man to cross through the Antelope Valley. Indians told of white people before this time, who they thought were deserters from the Spanish army in the south, but none of their names were recorded.

1776 ­ Father Garces came through the west end of the Valley on his way to the Mission of San Gabriel.

1827 ­ Jedediah Smith and party traveled through the west end of the Valley and Willow Springs.

1844 ­ John C. Fremont and party came through the west end of the Valley.

1857 ­ Lieutenant Edward Beale traveled through the south end of the Valley, heading for Fort Tejon, with his famous camel cavalry.

1876 ­ The Southern Pacific Railroad completed its line through the Valley.

1882­1885 ­ The Valley lost 30.000 head of antelope. almost half of the antelope for which the Valley was named. Unusually heavy snows in both the mountains and the Valley floor drove the antelope toward their normal feeding grounds in the eastern part of the Valley. Since they would not cross the railroad tracks, many of them starved to death. Others were attached by coyotes and wildcats, or became easy prey for hunters.

1886 ­ Palmenthal founded by Swiss­German families.

1896 ­ Palmdale Lake constructed (then known as Alpine Reservoir).

1899 ­ Palmenthal's name changed to Palmdale.

1904 ­ William Barton was the first to use a gasoline engine to pump water from his well. Other farmers were quick to adopt this method of pumping. This new method proved to be a vast improvement over the old reliance on water from artesian wells. This was the beginning of the great Valley alfalfa industry. as the Valley quickly became one of the biggest producers of alfalfa in California.

1905~1913 ­ The Los Angeles­lnyo Aqueduct was constructed across the Valley

1905­1920s ­ The years of the big jackrabbit drives in the Valley. These drives became necessary when the rabbits would become so thick that they would destroy many acres of farmers' crops.

1910 ­ The Corum family homesteaded the west side of Rogers Dry Lake. A small town, Muroc (which is Corum spelled backwards), developed. At the present time, this area is known as Edwards.

1912 ­ Antelope Valley High School was founded to provide facilities for students in this growing area.

1914 ­ The Pacific Light and Power Company brought the first electric power lines into the Valley. This company later sold to the present Southern California Edison Company.

1915 ­ The first Fair held in Lancaster.

1915 ­ Palmdale's first paper, The Palmdale Post, first published. (The first weekly paper in the Valley was the Lancaster News, published in 1885).

1921 ­ Mint Canyon Highway was paved and its name changed to Sierra Highway.

1924 ­ Palmdale Lake reconstructed as Harold Reservoir.

Palmdale Community Church. Circa 1918.


1924 ­ Littlerock Dam completed.

1929 ­ Classes started at Antelope Valley junior College.

1933 ­ U.S. Air Force builds a base at Muroc Dry Lake. In 1950, the name was changed from Muroc Air Force Base to Edwards Air Force, in honor of Glen Edwards, a young captain who lost his life flying an experimental aircraft.

1940 ­ Angeles Forest Highway opened.

1947 ­ Captain Charles Yeager, flying over the Valley from Muroc Air Force Base in a Xl Bell aircraft, was the first man to break through the sound barrier.

1952 ­ U.S. government bought Palmdale Airport, renaming it Air Force Plant 42.

1953 ­ Lockheed opened a plant in Palmdale, and the shift of industry from agriculture to aerospace is completed.

1956 ­ Palmdale High School opens on September 8.

1962 ­ On August 24, 1962, Palmdale was incorporated, making it the First City of the Antelope Valley. The first mayor of Palmdale was Larry Chimbole. The other four councilmen elected then were Pichard Linaher, Marlin Gilbreath, Domenic Massari, and Lester Nichols.

1967 ­ Highest speed ever attained by a fixed­wing aircraft (X­15A­2) was 4,520 mph (Mach 6.7), Piloted by W. (Pete) Knight over the Antelope Valley on October 3.

Early Antelope Valley Sketch by Real Estate promoters - purchasing Antelope Valley Land.


1971 ­ The California State Aqueduct completed.
1974 ­ Completion of the Antelope Valley Freeway.

1977 ­ Palmdale City Library opened to the public. This is the first building constructed by the City of Palmdale.

1980 ­ Palmdale Cultural Center opens.

1981 ­ The first space shuttle lands at Edwards Air Force Base on April 14. This is the Columbia STS­I, the world's first reusable spacecraft.

1987 ­ The old Palmdale schoolhouse, the oldest stillstanding building from the original Palmenthal settlement, finds a permanent home in McAdam Parka. It was officially dedicated to the citizens of Palmdale in 1988.

1987 ­ Palmdale named the fastest­growing city in California.

1988 ­ Palmdale voters elected the mayor (Pete Knight) directly. Previously, the city council chose one of its own to serve as mayor.

1990 ­ The area's first regional shopping center, The Antelope Valley Mall, opened in Palmdale in September.

1991 ­ The Antelope Valley Auto Mall opened.

A videocassette, Palmdale Past and Present, is available in the Audiovisual Department of the Palmdale City Library.


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