Hesperia (Images of America)
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Set at the top of the Cajon Pass in the High Desert of Southern California, Hesperia was built on the spirit and strength of character of American frontiersmen. From the time of the first documented travelers through the area in the late 1700s and continuing into the 1900s, the region has been a place of innovation and magnificent feats, where men have traveled through to new lands for a new start, striking it rich or making that big business deal in a new frontier. Named for Hesperus, the Greek god of the evening star in the West, Hesperia has proven to be a place of resilience and perseverance. The second largest land purchase in the western United States became the original Hesperia land holdings. In many areas, the people of Hesperia might be considered trendsetters, and Hesperia a land before its time.
30 (left) and California Department of Forestry (CDF) engine No. 6731. The photograph was taken at the CDF station on Main Street next to the Hesperia Grange Hall in the early 1950s. (Courtesy HRPD.) This landing strip developed into one of 600 airparks in the nation and the third-oldest airpark in the state. Lodging was built at the airstrip, along with a restaurant and a maintenance hangar. One very unique feature of the airpark is its airplane-shaped swimming pool, easily identifiable from
This is the Hesperia Community Center in its humble beginnings around 1955. In 1957, the Hesperia Recreation and Parks District was founded. It was a major benefit to the community to have a district that could respond to Hesperia’s growth and needs. Within a few years, Lime Street Park has grown to include baseball diamonds and additional facilities. The aerial photograph of Lime Street Park below was taken by Myra McGinnis in the early 1960s. According to the original maps, the reservoir for
Chamber of Commerce, art studios, antiquaries, and many other businesses until the second half of the 1990s. (Both, courtesy HOTM.) Here are two photographs of Old Town today. This business district sits hidden in the middle of the residential area built in the late 1950s. The large building on the right is the original Western Arcade building, which has sat dormant since about 1996. Since this photograph was taken, the building has had a facelift, but it remains vacant. The Mobil gas station
have done a great job with these projects and have learned a lot of Hesperia history. (Above, courtesy HOTM; right, courtesy HUSD.) This photograph was taken in 2010 as the rains filled the Mojave River to its lower banks and flooded out Rocks Springs Road. At this flood level, trucks with scrapers could still traverse the road, as shown in this photograph. During the much larger floods of 1938 and 1861–1862, the water would have reached the upper banks, and even modern-day equipment would have
afternoon in the early 1900s, engine No. 56 pulls a string of railcars past the Hesperia Hotel. Two operators are visible in the cab of the locomotive. In the background, on the left, stands the water tower used to service the engines after they pulled into Hesperia. (Courtesy HRPD.) The crew of locomotive engine No. 92 (pulling a short load of a coal car and a caboose) stands and sits for a portrait at the Hesperia rail depot. The depot stood on skids, so it appears in different configurations