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History of Apple Valley, California

Although we became an official Town in 1988 after citizens voted for incorporation, we have a long history. In Apple Valley, historians discovered evidence of Serrano Indian camps along the Mojave River. When Father Francisco Garces arrived in 1776 to establish the Spanish missions in California, they were already here. The Paiute Indians arrived in this region in the late 1800s. Between 1849 and 1859, over 13,000 people passed through the Mojave River Trail, including trappers, gold prospectors, pack mules, and Mormon wagon trains. Silas Cox built the first cabin in Apple Valley in 1860, and the first road was cut the following year.

There are some theories on how Apple Valley got its name. The name came from the abundance of apple orchards that existed here in the 1920s, according to the late Mary Hampton, a local historian. The Appleton Land Company, which was located in this area in the early 1900s, is said to be the source of the name “Apple Valley.” “There were some apples being grown along the river in those early days, but not by the lot, so I just cut it down and named it Apple Valley!” says Ursula Poates, one of the area’s first settlers. By 1920, award-winning orchards were producing tons of apples.

Many different types of ranches were established in the area due to the pleasant climate and ample land. They advertised the dry desert air as a cure for anything from tuberculosis to asthma. Other ranches served as safe havens for World War I shell-shock victims, while others evolved into guest ranches. People came to Apple Valley to enjoy the western lifestyle, riding horses, attending rodeos, and simply getting away from the big city.

Newton T. Bass and B.J. “Bud” Westlund, who were partners in the oil and gas industry in Long Beach, CA, were the modern pioneers of Apple Valley. In 1946, Westlund and Bass established the Apple Valley Ranchos Land Co., which advertised the region as “The Golden Land of Apple Valley,” a destination resort and high-end residential neighborhood. They designed the Apple Valley Inn and Hilltop House and invited famous Hollywood stars to stay there. There were banks, churches, and a school within ten years, as well as a golf course, hospital, and 180 businesses.

The Town of Apple Valley is more than just a name on a map; it’s a peaceful, sun-drenched city. A family can have a real home here, with clean air and welcoming neighbors. With a population of only 41,000 people when it was established in November 1988, it has nearly doubled in size and is still where you can find A Better Way of Life. Apple Valley is part of the Victor Valley, which has a population of over 400,000 people.

This amazing landmark is just one of the many must-see sights you don’t want to miss in Apple Valley, California:

  • California Route 66 Museum
  • Mojave Narrows Regional Park
  • Victor Valley Museum & Gallery
  • Hesperia Zoo
  • Victorville Mojave Riverwalk
  • Corwin Park
  • Brewster Park
  • Apple Valley Legacy Museum
  • Civic Center Park 

All of these wonderful attractions are located just a short distance from our location located at 15505 West Sand Street in Victorville! Stop by for a visit anytime!

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