As of June 2008, I have spent 43 of my 60 years in Hesperia. I was born in Dolton, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, in 1948. My family (Mom, Dad and one brother) moved to Duarte, California, in 1955 where my parents had brought a motel. Then they sold it and we moved to nearby Covina. In June, 1964, we moved to our own custom house on Peach Avenue, in Hesperia.


But this was not my first exposure to the Mojave Desert. My parents had mining interests in Lucerne Valley and Randsburg, among others, and beginning in the late '50s or early '60s, came up here almost every weekend. In those days, there was no Interstate 15. Interstate 10 and U.S. Route 66 was the route up the Cajon Pass. In fact, we traveled Route 66 from Chicago, Illinois where it originates, when we move to California. Even in Duarte, we lived on Huntington Drive, which was part of Route 66.


I remember well, the old Devore cutoff which connected (via several roads) from Foothill Boulevard, then and now Route 66 , to Devore at Cajon Boulevard, and thereby enabling one to travel to the High Desert without going through San Bernardino. I can also remember traveling on Cajon Boulevard thought the Pass, when it was still Route 66 and up the Pass to the Summit and thence into Hesperia. I have since, started and stopped, a project documenting U.S. Route 66 from the vicinity of Pasadena as far as Flagstaff. Amazingly enough, most of my life has been spent near Route 66.


In the 1960s Hesperia was just a sleepily little town of less than 5,000 people. We became members of the fledgling Hesperia Community Church, probably the first church in Hesperia, and still going strong at Olive and "C" streets. In those days, we had only one high school, Victor Valley Senior High. I graduated in June 1967, and move on to Victor Valley College, where I joined the staff in 1969 and remained until June 1992.


I can remember when Main Street was transected by the railroad. First as a two-lane road, then four. And when there was still the railroad crossing at Ranchero Road. In those days we had two supermarkets in Hesperia - one, Village Market (formerly K & K Market), at Main and "I" (where Walgreens and Wendy's now stand), and Owens Market (where their "new" building now houses the Salvation Army Thrift Store). I also recall when our first big supermarket came to town. That was Safeway, now Vons, and then the first Stater Bros., at Main and "G," which became (and remains) the highest grossing store in the entire Victor Valley.


I can also remember when Cal Herbold had his nursery (and home) on Main Street. He sold part of the Main Street frontage and now K-Mart, Albertsons and H & E now occupy that shopping center. There were numerous realties along Main Street and most of them are now gone. I can also remember when Old Town was big deal. My barber moved his shop to the Old Town Shops building. I also recall when the Hesperia Senior Campus (where I now live) was the Hesperia Inn. I do regret, not seeing the old Hesperia Hotel, on Hesperia Road which was torn down the year we moved there. But I do seem to remember that Hesperia at that time had its own railroad depot.


So the City of Hesperia, now 20 years old (as an incorporated city) has been my hometown for 43 years, and has grown to over 80,000 people, with the second highest budget in the Victor Valley. A lot of progress has been made during that time. May it prosper well!