The Local History archival research collection came about as a result of numerous inquiries from students, faculty and community members about the history of the area. In addition to the history, people were curious about plants, animals, geology and local sites.
Since the middle 1980s, the Library has collected numerous books, manuscripts, maps, oral histories, photographs, and other materials on the Victor Valley and the high desert.
Local organizations, such as the Mohahve Historical Society, government agencies, and private individuals have donated or loaned materials to this library to help make possible a central place for research.
Materials are organized, catalogued, and preserved so that they will be accessible to everyone in the community and interested researchers, as well as to future generations.
Donations to the collection are gratefully accepted and acknowledged. As it grows in depth and breadth, the collection becomes more valuable to researchers, students, and interested community members.
As newcomers move into the area, many are hungry for more information about their new community. Local agencies, libraries, schools and chambers of commerce send people interested in local information to the library's valuable Local History Room. This unique collection is available to all students, researchers and community members who enjoy learning about the rich heritage of the Victor Valley.
Please make an appointment to use materials in the Local History Room. Volunteers may be available to assist with research projects. Materials must be used in the Library, a photocopier and scanner are available.
The area we now call the Victor Valley was occupied by Native Americans for at least 6,000 years before Europeans came along. Father Garces and other explorers left diary reports of their encounters with local tribes back to 1776. Thousands of artifacts have been found, especially along the Mojave River. Many of these treasures are in museums, including the San Bernardino County Museum and Victor Valley Museum in Apple Valley.
The years from 1870 to 1920 were exciting ones in the Victor Valley. Stage and freight wagon drivers crisscrossed the Mojave River. Way stations, small stores, ranches and mines were established where few people had lived before. Pioneers, cattle ranchers, miners, cowboys, railroaders, and other entrepreneurs discovered the opportunities of the wide-open desert. Colorful personalities, explorations, disputes over land and water, movie making, and struggles for survival added to the rich history of the area. Southern California was beginning to recognize the high desert as a new frontier.
Victor Valley citizens felt the effects of Prohibition and the Great Depression, but because of the small town atmosphere at the time, the feeling of loss may have been lessened for many. By the time World War II began, a military training field had been established that later became George Air Force Base. Citizens volunteered as spotters and USO workers. After the war, many men from the base decided that the Victor Valley was a good place to retire. Guest ranches that flourished in the 1930s and 1940s attracted movie stars and other famous people.
The 1950s saw establishment of the Apple Valley Ranchos, as well as housing tracts in Victorville and Hesperia. Victorville became a city in 1962. By the 1970s, the area had started to grow in leaps and bounds.
We get by with help from our Friends!
Thank you to our amazing volunteers Julia Jackson, Elaine Kendrick and Rick Schmidt.