Timeline - Antelope Valley


When the Southern Pacific Railroad Company laid its track through what was to be Lancaster in the summer of 1876, many of the early settlers stated the railroad company named the town. Another source states that the town was named by M.L. Wicks when he laid out the townsite in 1884. Wicks supposedly named the town after Lancaster, PA.


Nickolas Cochran passed through the Valley on the train and recognized its agricultural possibilities.


The first groundwater well in the Valley was drilled near the Southern Pacific track for locomotive use. Soon afterwards several business men from Sacramento, purchased land from the railroad company and prepared to develop the area.


ML Wicks purchased 60 sections from the railroad company at two and one-half dollars an acre, laying out a townsite including streets and lots.


William Story, the station agent, built a one-story house which, with a later addition, became the Lancaster Hotel.


In the summer of 1888, ML. Wicks sold the townsite with the exception of a few lots and blocks to James P. Ward for $46,620, or about $20 per acre. The site, approximately a mile square, included two thousand lots at an average price of less than seven dollars each. Van Rockybrand built a much-needed hotel, the Gilwyn, now known as the Western Hotel.


The first church to be built in Lancaster was a Roman Catholic Church. James Ward donated the land and the building fund was obtained by popular subscription among the Roman Catholics of the district. The church was built at Ninth and Cedar Avenue.


Captain Hannah purchased the small one-story house east of the track and erected the Hotel Lancaster.

Late 1890s

For several years business all over the valley came to a complete standstill. Lots along Tenth Street and Antelope Avenue in the main part of town could be bought for $25, but no one wanted to buy. About this time, gold was discovered by Ezra Hamilton, near Rosamond. Mining and Hamilton's Mill provided employment for many of the local residents.


Borax from the Frazier Park area was hauled to Lancaster to be shipped by rail to San Pedro.


G.L. Albertson, photographer from Los Angeles, came to Lancaster, Palmdale, and the Antelope Valley to take photos.

The Bank of Lancaster was started by Mr. J.W. Jeal on the east side of the railroad tracks. One year later, the Farmers' Merchant Bank was organized by George Fuller.


A branch of the County Free Library was established.

The Baptist church was erected at Tenth Street and Herald Avenue. The land was donated by Earl Roberts, and Robert C. Fleisher was the first minister in charge.


Electric power is introduced into the Valley


A volunteer fire department was organized, and a chemical cart was procured as equipment. An election to form a fire district was held in 1926, and when it passed, new equipment consisting of a pump and engine was purchased. The Mint Canyon Highway was completed which gave Lancaster a paved road to Los Angeles.


The Lancaster Woman's Club, devoted to civic welfare, was organized. Antelope Valley Hospital opened its doors to the public.


Movie prices: Adults - 40 cents, children - 20 cents.


The Lancaster Kiwanis Club was organized.


Classes started at the Antelope Valley Junior College on the high school campus.


W. B. Carter gave permission to the town to use 80 acres on the north side of Lancaster for an airport.


The Fernando Milling and Supply built an alfalfa mill providing employment to many residents.


Farming and alfalfa were the Valley's major industries. When the price of alfalfa dropped during the Depression years, many Lancaster and Valley residents turned to working in the gold mines around Rosamond and Mojave. Gold mining began booming in 1934 when the price of gold was raised from $20.67 to $35 per ounce and provided many jobs, which in turn helped support Lancaster businesses.


Jane Reynolds donated the block square of land at Elm Avenue and 13th Street for a Lancaster park, named for her.


War Eagle Field (now Mira Loma) was completed and the Royal Air Force from England started their training there.


Bob Hope's radio broadcast originated in Lancaster. Charles Yeager flew over the Valley from Muroc Air Base in a Bell XI aircraft, the first person to break the sound barrier.


First commercial installation of a television set.


Home U.S. mail delivery started.


The population of Lancaster reaches 3,600. KAVL, Lancaster's first radio station started operation.


Natural gas was supplied to Lancaster.


The Antelope Valley Progress Association, Inc. was started in Lancaster.

The organization is known today as the Antelope Valley Board of Trade.


The Antelope Valley Freeway plan was approved.


The Kern Antelope Historical Society, Inc. was founded.


The census taken showed a total of 29,019. It was the largest increase in a 10-year period, averaging over 2,500 per year.


Classes started at the new Antelope Valley College campus on Avenue K.


California's Gov. Ronald Reagan (former President of the United States) came to Lancaster as the featured speaker for the Chamber of Commerce Installation banquet.


Population of Lancaster reached 40,609.


Warren Dorn announced the dedication of Apollo Park, east of Fox Airport on 56 acres. The 8.7 mile section of the Antelope Valley Freeway between Avenue P-8 and Avenue I was opened.


The Antelope Valley Poppy Park, first conceived in 1948 by the Lancaster organization of The Native Daughters of the Golden West, becomes a reality.


Lancaster, after an overwhelming majority at the polls, officially became a city.

The nation's first space shuttle orbiter, built at Air Force Plant 42, moved through Lancaster on its way to Edwards Air Force Base.

Lancaster's Part 1 crime rate down 11.3%.


Serious crimes fall 10% in the Antelope Valley

Lancaster tops list of least expensive cities to do business in.

Southern California Association of Governments honors city with Compass Blueprint Award for Downtown Lancaster Specific Plan.

Lancaster ranks at the Top for Crime Reduction in Los Angeles County.

Grand opening & dedication of W. J. Knight Veterans Home of California.

City of Lancaster and SolarCity announce one of the largest city-initiated solar projects in California.

Lancaster crime rate drops for first six months of 2010, violent crime rate down 12%

City announces plans to partner with SolarCity to Launch Solar Lancaster.

Lancaster crime rate lowest in more than 15 Years.

JetHawks Open Season in Nation's Most Energy-Efficient Minor League Baseball Stadium.

City of Lancaster launches Crime Mapping Website.

City of Lancaster and KB Homes Partnership launches AV's First Solar Standard Community

Lancaster Partners with Taiwan based US Topco Energy Inc.

City of Lancaster Wins Prayer Case.

Lancaster Museum of Art and History opens.

City of Hope breaks ground in Lancaster.

KB Home Builds 1,000th Solar Home in Lancaster.

City partners with local hotels to form the Lancaster Tourism Business Improvement District (TBID).

City of Hope grand opening

Lancaster named "Most Business Friendly City in LA County for Second Time.


Lancaster becomes first city to mandate residential solar energy.

City of Lancaster hosts Los Angeles County Air Show.

New 100-acre solar farm breaks ground.

City of Lancaster offers housing assistance grants to disabled veterans. State-of-the-Art Kaiser Permanente medical offices grand opening.


Administrative Citation Program launched

Environmental Protection Agency recognizes Lancaster as a Green Power Partner.

Second Los Angeles County Air Show Returns to Lancaster.

Historical Timeline for Bakersfield