Palmdale (Images of America)
Norma H. Gurba
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One of the nation's fastest growing cities and a center for the aerospace and defense industries, Palmdale began in 1886 with the doomed colony of Palmenthal in a land plentiful with Joshua trees and jackrabbits but very little water. The gateway to the southern Antelope Valley, Palmdale has enjoyed a rich, diverse, and eventful history while resourceful pioneers created neighboring communities of unique character. Littlerock, a "pearadise," became the fruit basket for the Antelope Valley. Neil Armstrong, before becoming the first man to walk on the moon in 1969, resided in Juniper Hills. Pearblossom's rustic landscape was ideal for early cowboy movies. The crumbling site of Llano del Rio is the location of perhaps the most important nonreligious utopian colony in Western American history. Valyermo owes its existence to the San Andreas Fault, and the Big Rock Creek area became known for Noah Beery Sr.'s Paradise Trout Club, a favorite rendezvous for many Hollywood movie stars and notables.
sandwiches to soldiers as they passed by. Albert Ritter was a soldier in 1917 (Camp Mills, New York). Glen Settle recalled that as a child, it was exciting living next to the railroad during World War I, as troop trains were passing through day and night. When the armistice was signed, Palmdale celebrated most of the night. Residents beat big wash tubs to make loud noises, and those with cars honked their horns as long as possible. George Bones Jr. was born in Littlerock in 1925. He attended
Acme Cement Plaster Company had mills here. One early plaster mill was located at the northwest corner of Avenue R and Sixth Street East. (Courtesy of U.S. Geological Survey.) Located on the slopes of Mount Baden-Powell at almost 7,600 feet in the San Gabriel Mountains is the Big Horn Gold Mine. Its peak period of operation was from 1903 to 1906, when it employed more than 50 men. Supplies for the small community were brought in from Palmdale and hauled as far up the mountain as the road went
settlers. This view of Palmenthal (c. 1895) is looking northward from Joshua Hills. The town’s three streets were Magnolia, Yucca, and Palm. Swiss-born John Munz (1848–1925) and his wife, Amalia (1860–1898), ran the Palmenthal General Store. Water for the settlement came from the Little Rock Creek, and the irrigation ditch ran in front of the store. Munz was also the postmaster and received the mail at Alpine. One time during the walk to Alpine to pick up the mail, he was attacked by coyotes.
as the Ajax “White Knight” in “stronger than dirt!” television commercials. (Courtesy of Jackie Hallgren.) Early female Littlerock pioneers like Mrs. Rosa worked a variety of occupations, including farmers, teachers, boardinghouse cooks, stage drivers, postmistresses, sales people, and bus drivers. August was pear-picking time, and women from all over the Antelope Valley obtained temporary work in the packing sheds. During the mid-1910s, a group of Littlerock women established the Get Together
leader during the 1910s and 1920s. His real estate office (1915), which was located near the southeast corner of Sierra Highway and Palmdale Boulevard, also housed the library and telephone office. A street called Jarvis was named after Phillips but is now the continuation of East Avenue Q-9, a short block west of the railroad track. (Courtesy of Palmdale City Library.) This 1937 aerial view of Palmdale shows that it was still a very small town with many fruit orchards. The Palmdale Inn is