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Victor Valley - Historic Portal

Last Stop at the Bottom of the: 1920 - 1945

Abandoned by the bustling homesteaders and the land developers for greater adventures Victor Valley languished under the desert sun for several more years. Cattle yet roamed the ranges and foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains, and miners dug valuable minerals from the bowels of the earth. But many factors combined to hold back the promise held out for the area.

The orchardists suffered the effects of a devastating fungus, a continually increasing rise in the cost of operating their electricity-driven water pumps . . . and the arrival of apples and other fruits in California markets from the Pacific Northwest. Finally, during three successive years (1944-45-46) frosts, heat and hail fell upon the survivors and for the next seven years firewood, the only thing they had left to sell, was carried across Cajon Pass for burning in Los Angeles fireplaces.

The schoolhouses proudly built for the littlest homesteaders saw their enrollment dwindle and for years many youths were sent to high schools and colleges in San Bernardino and Los Angeles.

Westbound travelers, turning off the transcontinental highway that followed the historic old trails after the long scorching drive over the desert, tarried only long enough to wonder at the great Joshua trees and to refill boiling radiators. The Great Depression following the stock market crash in 1929 and the Dust Bowl years of the 1930s when "Okies" were turned back at the California Stateline added little to the growth of the valley.

During the years of World War II however, a great many young men came to know the Victor Valley. Thousands of Army Air Corps and other military personnel were sent to prepare for the invasion of North Africa and Europe under the clear blue desert skies. Of these many trained at nearby George Air Force Base and many, many were never to return. Of those who came here during these years, thousands were never to forget the beauty, the peace and healthful climate of Victor Valley.

With the end of the second global war, they began to return here. But for many others, intent on reaching cities along the Pacific shoreline, this was merely the last stop in the desert before one climbed over Cajon Pass. Not until the coastal plains were filled to overflow would the merits of this region begin to be appreciated by the majority of those who emigrated to California following the collapse of Ursula Poates' and Arthur Hulls' earlier booms. Long before then, a maverick oilman named Newton K. Bass would settle in the desert and lay the groundwork for the future now in sight for this gateway to Southern California.

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The Story of Victor Valley

Westward Expansion

The Road Builders

Homesteaders & Hucksters

Last Stop at the Bottom

Starting Again

Bright Promise

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