City of Victorville
In 1858, Aaron G. Lane came to what is now known as Victorville and founded a way station called "Lane's Crossing." For many years it provided shelter and supplies for people making the journey across the desert from the east to San Bernardino. Lane's Crossing was on the Mojave River on today's Turner Road, two miles north from where Interstate 15 crosses the river. Captain Lane was a veteran of the Mexican-American War who had suffered from malaria during that war. Originally he migrated west to join the California gold rush, but he learned that he could make a better living selling supplies to the miners.
He settled in Ione near Sutter's Mill in northern California during those years, but he migrated to San Bernardino in 1857. He settled on the Mojave River in 1858, where he established his way station. He later sold out to Texan John Fry Miller, who changed the name of Lane's Crossing to Pioneer Station. Miller was a rancher and became involved in Mojave Valley politics, setting up the first polling place in the area at his home. That first year, ten citizens cast their votes at Lane's residence, rather than making the long trip to San Bernardino.
Census records show that ten people lived in two residences on the river by 1860. Listed in Dwelling No. 703 were Aaron Lane, William R. Levick, and the Nicholson family, consisting of George and Frances, and their three children aged 9 to 13. Joseph and Mary Highmoor lived in Dwelling No. 704, with a seven-year-old female named Anna.
The Levick, Nicholson and Highmoor families were Mormon pioneers. Highmoor established a way station called Highmoor's Crossing, which was near today's Oro Grande bridge of the National Trails Highway (known as U.S. Route 66), over the Mojave River at what is called the Lower Narrows. The Nicholson family moved downriver a few miles and established a way station at "Point of Rocks" in today's Helendale area.
In 1867, Lafayette Meacham, a Mormon who ran a way station near today's Barstow area, made a new wagon road from his stage stop to what is now Old Town Victorville. It crossed the Mojave River at today's Sixth Street. This new road, now called Stoddard Wells Road, was a short-cut across the desert and became a popular route for muleskinners and freighters. The river crossing was called Mormon Crossing and the surrounding area became known by that name.
In the 1870s, Heber "Pete" Huntington established a stage stop, Huntington Station, at Mormon Crossing. Also a Mormon pioneer, Huntington was leader Brigham Young's nephew. Huntington later bought out the Stoddard brothers, who had a way station half way to today's Barstow from Victorville, and also bought out the Meachams, who ran the stage stop named Fish Ponds or Mormon Grocery.
In 1885, the newly established telegraph station at the railroad siding of "Victor", named for the California Southern Railroad's General Manager Jacob Nash Victor, was the beginning of what developed as today's Old Town Victorville. The village which sprang up around that railroad facility became known by the same name of Victor.
In 1926, U.S. Route 66 was begun, being marked in many areas on existing roads. In Victorville, US 66 is marked on D and Seventh streets, with a section of Interstate 15 going towards the Cajon Pass. It is the primary street through Old Town Victorville.
In 1940, Herman J. Mankiewicz and John Houseman wrote the first two drafts of the screenplay for the film Citizen Kane in Victorville. They worked in seclusion for 12 weeks while residing at the North Verde Ranch, now called the Kemper Campbell Ranch.:32
The Victorville Army Airfield was constructed beginning in 1941. It was renamed as the George Air Force Base when the U.S. Air Force was established in October 1947. After decades of service to the Air Force, in 1992 George Air Force Base was closed.
Its land was turned over to other uses. Part of it is now the Southern California Logistics Airport. The former Air Force base housing area is now vacant. It forms a ghost town that is used for military training by troops from the U.S. Army's Fort Irwin Military Reservation. The Victorville Federal Penitentiary has been built on another part of the former air base.
The city of Victorville was officially incorporated by the State of California on September 21, 1982.
On August 14, 1977 actor Ron Haydock was struck and killed while hitchhiking near Victorville.
On November 3, 2007, Victorville hosted the DARPA Urban Challenge, a six-hour autonomous robot driving contest through the streets of the Southern California Logistics Airport. The $2 million first prize went to the Carnegie Mellon University team.
Victorville has been used for commercial filming several times:
- It Came from Outer Space (1953), filmed in Victorville and the surrounding desert; Victorville served as the setting for the fictional town of "Sand Rock, Arizona".
- Grand Theft Auto (1977), starring Ron Howard filmed in Downtown Victorville.
- The Hills Have Eyes (1977) by Wes Craven
- The Hitcher (1986), starring Rutger Hauer, C. Thomas Howell, and Jennifer Jason Leigh, was filmed at the Outpost truck stop. Many local residents were used as extras.
- Lethal Weapon (1987) was filmed at El Mirage Dry Lake west of Victorville.
- From Dusk till Dawn (1996), the restaurant scene early in the movie
- Face/Off (1997), portions filmed at Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville
- Breakdown (1997) starring Kurt Russell, filmed in downtown Victorville
- Contact (1997), also partially filmed in Victorville, with some local residents used as extras.
- Play It to the Bone (1999) filmed partly in The New Reflections concert venue in Downtown
- Kill Bill: Volume 2 (2004) was filmed in The New Reflections as well
- The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006) was partially filmed in Victorville.
- Sky (2015) included a dinner scene filmed in Emma Jean's Holland Burger Cafe in Victorville.
- Earl W. Bascom, rodeo pioneer, cowboy artist and sculptor, Rodeo Hall of Fame inductee
- Harold Budd, Los Angeles–born ambient composer
- Matt Chapman, Major League Baseball infielder
- Jesse Chavez, Major League Baseball pitcher
- Patty Jenkins, writer and director of 2017 film Wonder Woman
- Raven, drag queen and performer
- Stevie Ryan, writer, comedian, and star of Stevie TV