The more things change, the more they remain the same: One hundred and fifty years ago, what was to become the city of Hesperia was first a business where travelers would come to recharge.

"That goes back to the 1840s to 1860s," says local historian Gary "Griz" Drylie.

It started with a German immigrant named Hanabier. He opened a stable and general store on the John Brown Trail. Brown had set up toll roads on the Cajon Pass and one near the modern Rt. 138 for the use of the era's gold miners.

"I have no clue what his thinking was, but somehow, he got planted here," Drylie said.

Today, there's a monument to Hanabier off of Muscatel Street.

In 1885, Robert McClay Widney became the first real estate developer to come to town.

"He came from Ohio. He was a lawyer, became a judge in the LA area," Drylie said. And he was a real estate speculator. "As the railroad was working towards us, [people like Widney] were looking for all of the water rights and staying ahead of the game."

Widney made his purchases in the area just in time: The railroad arrived the same year.

And Widney gave the future town its name, when he opened the Hesperia Hotel to serve the needs of railroad passengers and customers.

"Hesperia" is Greek for "Star of the West."

Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article is part of a series running up to the city
of Hesperia's 20th anniversary looking at the history of the community.