Recognizing the 50Th Anniversary of California Cityby Representative Kevin McCarthy
Posted on 2015-12-15
in the house of representatives
Tuesday, December 15, 2015
Mr. McCARTHY. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in recognition of the 50th
anniversary of the incorporation of California City, a residential
nexus for mining, aerospace and desert tourism in Eastern Kern County.
California City began with a dream worthy of its namesake: the foundation of a suburban metropolis to rival Los Angeles. Sociologist and developer Nat Mendelsohn found in the wide spaces of Kern's High Desert the chance to build a completely planned community from scratch, free of parochial interests. He bought 80,000 acres of desert in 1958, carved out a gigantic Central Park featuring a 20 acre lake, and by 1965 had arranged for the incorporation of a massive, 203 square mile township. Overnight, California City became the third largest city in the state.
For generations before Nat Mendelsohn ever gazed upon the High Desert, mule teams carted the bounty of stranded mines to the railheads at Mojave. This traffic expanded in the 20th century, as neighboring Boron grew to produce half the world's supply of borax. Meanwhile, huddled around ancient dry lakes just a dozen miles from town, America's premier jet aircraft test center--Edwards Air Force Base-- began to expand into a permanent institution, with hundreds of employees needing homes and services. Even tourism brought jobs to California City, as the surging popularity of dirt bikes and off- roading drew thrill-seekers through town on their way to the wonders of the interior: Jawbone, Death Valley, Red Rock Canyon, and the Trona Pinnacles. California City grew by leaps and bounds, fed by the steady currents of desert commerce.
Today, as the city celebrates its Jubilee, we have a chance to draw lessons from its history. California City would never have existed without the vision and drive of one entrepreneur, willing to bet everything on a dream. In Kern County--as in America--we are dependent both on the enterprising spirit of our people, and on the power of our communities to persevere when they are united. I am proud today to congratulate the people of California City on this 50th anniversary, and look forward to California City's next 50 years.