Through the Decades

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In commemoration of 20 years of incorporation in 2008, enjoy this journey "Through the Decades".  Each photo highlights a significant achievement or theme for the time indicated.

1900 Indians

1900s - Indians

The 1910 Census lists Serrano and Paiute Indians living in the area of Apple Valley. Two Serrano Indian camp sites have been excavated, uncovering ancient petroglyphs. The Paiutes are believed to have arrived in the 1860s.

1910s - Apple Orchards

In 1915, Max Ihmsen, publisher of the Los Angeles Examiner newspaper, developed 320 acres of prize winning apples and pears that made Apple Valley famous for its fruit orchards.


1910 Ihmsen Apples

1920 Yucca Loma

1920s - Yucca Loma Ranch

The Yucca Loma Ranch drew the rich and famous as a getaway with as many as 19 buildings on 1300 acres. Clark Gable and Carole Lombard were frequent guests. David Manners, a 1920s movie star, later moved to the ranch permanently. It is his home that still stands today at Rincon and Eyota Roads.

1930s - Jess Ranch

Starting as a health retreat in 1910, Stoddard Jess bought the area from his uncle in 1932 to raise turkeys. From 200 turkeys, the ranch grew to the largest integrated turkey farm in the Western United States, producing nearly one million pounds of turkeys a year. Jess Ranch Marketplace and a gated retirement community now stand in its place.

1930 Jess Ranch

1940 Newt & Bud

1940s - Bass & Westlund

Newton T. Bass and B.J. “Bud” Westlund founded Richland Oil Company in 1939 and that partnership took them to what they called the “Golden Land of Apple Valley,” where they acquired the first 6300 acres from Southern Pacific Railroad for $2.50 per acre. Apple Valley Ranchos, their real estate company, sold their first lot in February 1946.

1950s - Hollywood

Shown here, Dean Martin, Newt Bass, Janet Lee, Bud Westlund, Jerry Lewis and opera star John Charles Thomas host one of the frequent parties at Apple Valley Inn. A popular film location since the 1920s, Apple Valley drew even more stars when the Apple Valley Inn opened Thanksgiving Day of 1948.

1950 Hollywood

1960 Roy & Dale

1960s - Roy Rogers & Dale Evans

Our most famous celebrities were Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, who were so taken with the area they moved here in 1965, leasing the Apple Valley Inn for a short time, and opening a museum across the street where the bowling alley stands today. In this picture they are wearing their “Apple Valley” attire. They are laid to rest in Sunset Hills Memorial Park in northeast Apple Valley.

1970s - Pow Wow Days

Community events have a long legacy in Apple Valley, with records of “Pow Wow Days” dating back to a steak fry in 1947. Having grown to include parades, carnivals and pancake breakfasts, it later became Happy Trails Round Up, Round Up Days and, today, our new Anniversary Celebration and Fall Festival.

1970 Pow Wow

1980 Incorporation

1980s - Incorporation

It started as a project for a graduate course taught by Dick Pearson – would cityhood be feasible for Apple Valley? The draft study was completed in 1983 and presented to the executive director of the Local Agency Formation Commission for critique and comments, and the conclusion was positive – this was an attainable goal. A formal study was completed in 1986 and the Apple Valley Incorporation Drive (AVID) got to work selling the vision. Signatures were gathered to place “Measure K” on the ballot for November 8, 1988. With 10,683 yes votes to 2,117 no votes, 83% of voters approved the incorporation of the Town of Apple Valley. The official incorporation date, when the County Resolution was approved, is November 28, 1988. From a field of 30 candidates, Nick DePrisco, Heidi Larkin (Reed), Dick Pearson, Carl Coleman and Jack Collingsworth were elected to the first Town Council.

1990s - Lewis Center for Educational Research

Having opened in October 1990, LCER offers a unique educational partnership which includes NASA and Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Besides being a top-ranked charter school, the facility includes a full observatory, television studio and the Goldstone Apple Valley Radio Telescope, to which schools from around the world can connect and perform radio astronomy observations.

1990 Lewis Center

2000 Civic Center

2000s - Civic Center Development

After leasing space in a strip mall at Central and Highway 18 from 1988 - 1993, Town Hall moved to the northeast corner of Highway 18 and Dale Evans Parkway, originally built in 1948 as the sales office for Apple Valley Ranchos Development Co. In 2002, the current Town Hall was opened in the Apple Valley Civic Center, which now also includes the San Bernardino County Newton T. Bass Branch Library, the Police Department and Civic Center Park. Construction of the Town Hall annex was completed in 2010 which houses expanded services to the community.