Digital-Desert : Mojave Desert
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Victor Valley - Historic Portal

Bright Promise: 1973

Modern times in the Victor Valley
Exactly 200 years after Teniente don Pedro Fages, caballero y comandante of His Catholic Majesty's Catalan Light Infantry, first viewed the green oasis at the foot of Cajon Pass, a new river reached the Victor Valley. One of Mankind's' greatest engineering efforts, the $2 Billion California State Water Project, has brought bright promise to this land once again.

Water from the Feather River, far north among the gold fields of the 49ers, has been brought to Southern California. An easterly extension of the California Aqueduct closely paralleling Fages', Garces' and Jed Smith's footsteps is now pouring the life-giving resource into Silverwood Lake, 25 miles south. Backing up behind Cedar Springs Dam on the West Fork of the Mojave River, the project has already brought more than $95 Million in construction and expenditures to Victor Valley, along with a $6 Million increase in annual payroll. The significance of this long-awaited drink has been measured in terms of projected population growth: by 1985 they estimate 156,000 residents will live and work in the Victor Valley area.

In anticipation of this population, the Valley has experienced a substantial economic growth during the past few years that shows little sign of slowing. While assessed valuation of Victor Valley property jumped 20% to $204 Million between mid 1971 and mid 1972, the value of commercial properties in Victorville as an example has trebled in the past few years.

In sharp contrast to the five dozen Scandinavian stone cutters, quarrymen, and mule-skinners who formed the area's first industrial labor force, Continental Telephone Co., the areas largest private employer fields a force of 600 technicians, linesmen and operations personnel. Over 7,000 military and civilian personnel currently man George Air Forces Base, a permanent base of the Tactical Air Command, with additional Air Force units scheduled to be assigned there in the near future. Other Valley residents are employed in the booming residential construction industry, which has seen over 2,000 "starts" since midl970, while many others work in the hundreds of retail and service firms scattered throughout the area.

A new electricity-producing plant, of the Southern California Edison Co. is projected for start by 1975, while the Victor Valley Wastewater Reclamation Project has been voted through by local residents and is expected to receive the $12 million in grants required in the near future.

Inquiries to the Victor Valley Chamber of Commerce from American and foreign firms regarding industrial and commercial sites and other considerations have quadrupled in the last year, presaging even further expansion.

Included in the current expansion are other projects such as Victorville's new $600,000 City Hall, a new branch of the San Bernardino County Library, the new $1,000,000 Hesperia Junior High School, and a new Victorville School District office building and the continued expansion of the 230-acre Victory Valley Junior College campus with a $600,000 Student Center now under construction. The Hesperia and Apple Valley School Districts are experimenting with year-round school programs intended to accommodate the increased number of elementary and junior high school pupils enrolled.

The numbers of houses of worship in the Valley have also increased. There are currently 47 churches serving 29 denominations, some with schools and day care centers.

More than any other facet of high desert life, the facilities for recreation in Victor Valley's clear air and sunshine are attracting not only residents, but also thousands of visitors. In addition to horseback riding and hiking, the surrounding region offers several excellent golf courses, tennis courts and swimming and boating lakes. Mojave Narrows Regional Park in the heart of the Valley, Spring Valley Lake, and even the new Silverwood Lake are among the latter, sharing popularity with mountain lakes such as Arrowhead and Big Bear. Other outdoor fun opportunities can be found within a short drive from the Valley: winter skiing in the San Bernardino Mountains, dry lake sailing, cross-country trailing and a vast selection of sites for camping and desert exploring.

The annual San Bernardino County Fair at Victorville with attendance figures over 100,000, the Annual Lucerne Valley Burro Race, Stoddard Jess Turkey and Trout Ranch, the Roy Rogers Museum and other commercial attractions also bring visitors to share the excitement and pleasure offered.

Forever a portal into other parts of California or the American continent, the Victor Valley now looks confidently forward to the future as a gateway to a better life for those who live here astride the historic trails of the past.

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ecology: wildlife - plants - geography: places - MAPS - roads & trails: route 66 - old west - communities - weather - glossary
ghost towns - gold mines - parks & public lands: wilderness - native culture - history - geology: natural features - comments

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