Joe Ditzel’s Revisionist History: Apple Valley, California

Apple Valley, California

Apple Valley is located at the southern edge of the Mojave Desert. Hesperia is the Serrano Indian Tribe word for “It is So Hot My Eyeglasses are Melting.”

Three different incorporated towns, along with city of Adelanto, are commonly known as the Victor Valley. The primary thoroughfare through Apple Valley is State Route 18, which is known locally as the “Happy Trails Highway,” named after the theme song of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans:

“Happy trails to you, you are on your way to Vegas
Happy trails to you, don’t you know its called Lost Wages
Who cares about the gambling odds when we’re together?
Just give me some new chips, I’m a happy bettor

“Happy trails to you, ’till we meet again
Some trails are happy ones
Others are blue
If you can’t pay for your markers
We have a jail cell for you”

Apple Valley History

Pedro Fages came through the area in 1772, looking for deserters. Father Garces spent time in the area in 1776. He was on good terms with local tribes. He killed one of his mules to feed a group of starving Vanyumes. Later he opened the first Applebee’s in the area.

The area was explored by various Spanish gold seekers in the 18th and 19th centuries. Later they called the gold seeking expeditions The California Lottery.

Jedediah Smith established the Old Spanish Trail through the southern Mojave and Cajon Pass. Smith was in the area in 1826 and again in 1827. Throughout the 19th century, Apple Valley became a thoroughfare of people traveling to Southern California for various reasons. Ute horse thieves, led by Chief Walkara, brought through an estimated 100,000 horses from their raids on the Lugo Rancho and San Gabriel Mission. These days, the only thieves in the region are the gas stations.

The naming of Apple Valley is usually associated with Ursula M. Poates. One account claims Poates planted three apple trees in her yard in the early 20th century to help convince prospective land-owners that fruit could be grown in the desert and is single handedly responsible for the name. The city is just glad she didn’t grow marajuana plants. Pot Valley, CA does not have the same ring.

But by 1902 the area was already known for its apples. Various orchard owners sold apple juice at stands with signs advertising “Apple Juice from Apple Valley.” Now all you are signs that say “Palin in 2012!”


Source Material Courtesy Wikipedia,_California