History of Hesperia
Hesperia's origins began as a Spanish land grant: Rancho San Felipe, Las Flores y el Paso del Cajon, founded in 1781. The first inhabitants were Serrano Indians. They lived in the normally dormant Mojave River bed, but the land was sparsely inhabited desert during Spanish-Mexican rule in the 19th century. The U.S. annexed the region along with Southern California after the Mexican-American War in 1848.
The town site was laid out in 1891 by railroad company land developers of the US & Santa Fe Railroad completed that year. Hesperia was named for "Hesperus", the Greek god of the west. The railroad land developers published pamphlets distributed across the country with boosterism of Hesperia, California, as a potential metropolis: to become "the Omaha of the West" or projections to have over 100,000 people by the year 1900, but only 1,000 moved in.
Hesperia grew relatively slowly until the completion of US Routes 66, 91 and 395 in the 1940s followed by Interstate 15 in the late 1960s. A total of 30 square miles (78 km2) of land was laid out for possible residential development. In the early 1950s, land developer M. Penn Phillips and his silent financial partner, the famous boxer Jack Dempsey, financed the building of roads and land subdivisions, promoting lots sales on television. They built the Hesperia Inn and golf course which attracted a variety of Hollywood celebrities. The Hesperia Inn also housed the Jack Dempsey Museum. But the main wave of newcomers arrived at Hesperia in the 1980s. Suburban growth transformed the small town of 5,000 people in 1970 to a moderate-sized community of over 60,000 by the year 2000.
The Hesperia Unified School District serves the young population of Hesperia, along with the surrounding suburbs of Oak Hills, Marianas Ranchos and Summitt Valley to the south and the southern part of the city of Victorville (known as the "golden triangle") to the northwest. The District consists of three high schools Hesperia High School, Sultana High School, Oak Hills High School, two continuation high schools Mojave High & Canyon Ridge, three junior high schools Hesperia Jr High, Ranchero Middle School, the newly completed Cedar Middle School, and 14 elementary schools. Every year the Hesperia and Sultana High School football teams compete in a game known as the "Key Game," where whoever wins for that year gets the key to the city. The rivalry between the Scorpions and Sultans began shortly after Sultana was completed in 1995, eleven years after Hesperia's first public high school was built. The Sultans currently hold the key to the city, following the team's 34-31 win over the Scorpions in October 2016.Although both Jay Reed Field and Scorpion Stadium have a seating capacity of 5,000, every Key Game since 1995 has drawn a crowd of at least 6,000 fans with a reported 8,000+ fans in 2007 and 2008. And football is not the only highlight of this rivalry. Students, teachers, parents, fans and athletes often crowd the bleachers or sidelines at all activities between the two, whether it's cross country, basketball, baseball, softball, soccer, tennis, volleyball, wrestling, track & field or competitions between the city's elite cheerleading squads. The schools also take pride in supporting their respective drama departments, as well as their bands, pageantry and choir departments.
The district's new Oak Hills High School opened in the fall of 2009 with freshmen, sophomores, and juniors. Cedar Middle School students followed a tradition in voting on their future high school's mascot and colors as Hesperia Junior/Hesperia High and Ranchero Middle/Sultana High did in 1984 and 1995. The top three mascot choices were the Titans, Wolf Pack and Bulldogs. When voting was finalized, Oak Hills High School was home to the Bulldogs and red, black and white were the colors chosen.
Hesperia is also served by several charter and private schools. Mirus Secondary School is a 6- 12 charter school in Hesperia with an independent study program. Hesperia is also served by Hesperia Christian School, founded in 1966 as a K-12 Christian School. Hespeia Christian School was the first high school to have graduates and its football win a CSF championship in 8 man football.