Hesperia, California

Hesperia is a city in San Bernardino County, California, United States located 35 miles (56 km) north of downtown San Bernardino in the Victor Valley portion of the Mojave Desert. Due to the relatively high elevation, and the unique and moderate weather patterns of the region, Hesperia is part of what is locally known as the High Desert. The name Hesperia itself means "Western land".[8] The 2018 census report estimates that the City has a total population of 95,274.

Hesperia City Hall
Location of Hesperia in San Bernardino County, California.
Hesperia, California
Coordinates: 34°24′46″N 117°18′22″W
Country United States
State California
County San Bernardino
IncorporatedJuly 1, 1988[1]
  TypeGeneral Law City
  City councilLarry Bird (Mayor)
Cameron Gregg (Pro tempore)
Bill Holland
Brigit Bennington
Rebekah Swanson[2]
  City ManagerNils Bentsen[3]
  City TreasurerVacant
  Total73.21 sq mi (189.61 km2)
  Land73.10 sq mi (189.32 km2)
  Water0.11 sq mi (0.29 km2)  0.15%
Elevation3,186 ft (971 m)
  Density1,303.34/sq mi (503.24/km2)
Time zoneUTC-8 (PST)
  Summer (DST)UTC-7 (PDT)
ZIP codes
92340, 92344, 92345
Area codes442/760
FIPS code06-33434
GNIS feature IDs1652720, 2410751


Hesperia 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, and 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.

In 1869 Max Stobel purchased 35,000 acres (14,000 ha) from the United States Government Land Office for $40,000. While there were several attempts to subdivide and encourage colonization, the land was primary used for agricultural purposes, with raisin grapes the primary product.[8]

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 city with a population of over 60,000 by the year 2000 and an estimated population of over 95,000 as of July 1, 2018.[7][9]


Hesperia is a city in the Mojave Desert, and the California Aqueduct traverses the area (Earth Metrics, 1989). Much of the native flora of Hesperia is classified as California desert vegetation, dominated by junipers, joshua trees and sagebrush. The elevation rises from 3,200 feet (980 m) in the north to about 4,000 feet (1,200 m) above sea level to the south. The San Andreas Fault, a major tectonic plate boundary of the Pacific and North American plates a few miles south of Hesperia in the Cajon Pass, has occasional seismic activity.

Hesperia is located at 3,186 feet (971 m) above sea level and is a neighbor of Victorville, Oak Hills and Apple Valley. The Mojave River flows northerly through the east side of the city, while the California Aqueduct splits the city from north to south en route to Silverwood Lake. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 73.2 square miles (190 km2), with 73.1 square miles (189 km2) being land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) (0.15%) being water.

On the southern edge of Hesperia, where the city meets the desert by the airport to the east, is a somewhat pronounced mesa which the locals refer to as "The Mesa".


According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Hesperia has a Cold Desert Climate, abbreviated "BWk" on climate maps.

Winter days are cool with high temperatures averaging around 60 °F (16 °C). However, temperatures get cold overnight, as the average low temperatures for December and January are around freezing. It is also the area's wet season.[10] The rain shadow caused by the mountain ranges to the south and west shields Hesperia from the majority of winter rainfall,[11] but heavy rain is not uncommon.[12] Winter snowfall is sporadic - the average yearly snowfall amount is 4.4 inches.[13]

Summer days are very hot, with high temperatures nearing 100 °F (38 °C) on average. This excessive heat is typical of the Mojave Desert as a whole.[14] However, the large diurnal temperature variation provides substantial relief overnight. In the later part of the season, sporadic summer thunderstorms associated with the North American Monsoon can bring power outages and local flash floods.[15][16][17]

Climate data for Hesperia, California
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 80
Average high °F (°C) 60
Average low °F (°C) 32
Record low °F (°C) −1
Average precipitation inches (mm) 1.09
Source: The Weather Channel [18]


Historical population
Est. 201895,274[7]5.7%
U.S. Decennial Census[19]


As of the 2000 census[20] there were 62,582 people, 19,966 households, and 15,773 families residing in the city. The population density was 929.3 inhabitants per square mile (358.8/km²). There were 21,348 housing units at an average density of 317.0 per square mile (122.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 74.3% White, 4.0% African American, 1.3% Native American, 1.1% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 6.5% from other races, and 4.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 29.4% of the population.

There were 19,966 households out of which 42.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.9% were married couples living together, 13.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 21.0% were non-families. 16.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.1 and the average family size was 3.5.

In the city, the population was spread out with 32.8% under the age of 18, 9.3% from 18 to 24, 27.4% from 25 to 44, 19.6% from 45 to 64, and 11.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females, there were 97.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $40,201, and the median income for a family was $43,004. Males had a median income of $39,776 versus $25,665 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,487. About 11.1% of families and 14.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.2% of those under age 18 and 6.4% of those age 65 or over.


The 2010 United States Census[21] reported that Hesperia had a population of 90,173. The population density was 1,231.7 people per square mile (475.6/km²). The racial makeup of Hesperia was 55,129 (61.1%) White (41.1% Non-Hispanic White),[22] 5,226 (5.8%) African American, 1,118 (1.2%) Native American, 1,884 (2.1%) Asian, 270 (0.3%) Pacific Islander, 22,115 (24.5%) from other races, and 4,431 (4.9%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 44,091 persons (48.9%).

The Census reported that 90,145 people (100% of the population) lived in households, 22 (0%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 6 (0%) were institutionalized.

There were 26,431 households, out of which 13,175 (49.8%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 14,797 (56.0%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 4,219 (16.0%) had a female householder with no husband present, 2,130 (8.1%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 1,997 (7.6%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 182 (0.7%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 4,036 households (15.3%) were made up of individuals and 1,660 (6.3%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.41. There were 21,146 families (80.0% of all households); the average family size was 3.76.

The population was spread out with 29,156 people (32.3%) under the age of 18, 9,465 people (10.5%) aged 18 to 24, 23,243 people (25.8%) aged 25 to 44, 20,157 people (22.4%) aged 45 to 64, and 8,152 people (9.0%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30.5 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.0 males.

There were 29,004 housing units at an average density of 396.2 per square mile (153.0/km²), of which 17,688 (66.9%) were owner-occupied, and 8,743 (33.1%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 3.6%; the rental vacancy rate was 8.4%. 58,320 people (64.7% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 31,825 people (35.3%) lived in rental housing units.

According to the 2010 United States Census, Hesperia had a median household income of $46,027, with 23.1% of the population living below the federal poverty line.[22][23]


Top employers

According to the City's 2013 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[24] the principal employers in the city are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Hesperia Unified School District 1,931
2 County of San Bernardino 501
3 Stater Bros. 408
4 Arizona Pipeline Company 255
5 Super Target 233
6 City of Hesperia 184
7 Hesperia Recreation & Park District 137
8 Robar Enterprises/Hi-Grade Material 127
9 In-N-Out Burger 124
10 Wood Grill Buffet 110
11 Double Eagle Transportation 100
12 Golden Corral 100
13 Del Taco 94
14 Walgreens 85
15 Pilot Travel Center/Wendy's 80
16 Standard Abrasives 80

Arts and culture

Hesperia has its own manmade lake (Hesperia Lake Park) on the southeastern edge of the town. This lake is where various town activities are held, including the annual Hesperia Day activities. Camping and fishing are permitted here, as well as Day Kamp and various junior leagues for sports.

Just south of Hesperia Lake Park is the Radio Control Model Aircraft Park, located at 1700 Arrowhead Lake Road. Home of the Victor Valley R/C Flyers, the R/C Park is open on a daily basis by its members. Saturdays and Sundays are the best times to enjoy watching and flying radio-controlled miniature aircraft. Admission is free and the public is welcome.

Hesperia's golf course is known for its narrow fairways and fast greens. During the 50s and 60s, this course was a stop along the PGA Tour. The course runs from the rift between the "mesa" and the adjoining land on the other side.

On the southern tip of Hesperia, there are several miles of barren desert. To the east of Hesperia, the Mojave River runs from south to north. The Mojave River mainly runs underground, and it surfaces in Victorville. Although the river bed is usually dry, it will fill up if Hesperia experiences a rare heavy rain. Hesperia is bordered to the north by the city of Victorville, and to the east by the town of Apple Valley.

Hesperia is the home of Cal-Earth, a nonprofit organization demonstrating and teaching a method of home construction, particularly for arid hot areas, called Superadobe.

Parks and recreation

Hesperia Recreation and Park District serves the recreational needs of the citizens.[25] Established in 1957, Hesperia Recreation and Park District has facilities, both indoors and outdoors. The Southern California Hardball Association is a 28 & over adult baseball league that serves Hesperia residents.[26]


State and federal

In the California State Legislature, Hesperia is in the 21st Senate District, represented by Republican Scott Wilk, and in the 33rd Assembly District, represented by Republican Jay Obernolte.[27]

In the United States House of Representatives, Hesperia is in California's 8th congressional district, represented by Republican Paul Cook.[28]


Larry Bird is the Mayor of the city, with Bill Holland as the Mayor Pro Tem. The other two council members consist of Cameron Gregg, and Rebekah Swanson.[2]

According to the city’s 2010 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the city’s various funds had $92.1 million in revenues, $98.7 million in expenditures, $520.5 million in total assets, $284.5 million in total liabilities, and $44.4 million in cash and investments.[24] The structure of the management and coordination of city services is:[29]

City Department Director
City Manager Nils Bentsen
Assistant City Manager - Management Services Mike Blay
City Clerk Melinda Sayre
Assistant to the City Manager Rachel Molina
Development Services Director Mike Blay
Economic Development Manager Rod Yahnke
Fire Chief Ron Walls
Police Captain Mike Browne
Director of Finance Casey Brooksher

Hesperia also has the following advisory committees: a City Council Advisory Committee, a Planning Commission and a Public Safety Advisory Committee composed of citizens tasked with providing advisory resources to the City Council of Hesperia.

Discrimination Lawsuits

In 2016, the Victor Valley Family Resource Center sued Hesperia and the San Bernadino County Sheriff for closing transitional houses that the Center operated in Hesperia. The Center had operated houses in Hesperia for the homeless starting in 2012. The suit alleged that, after the Center opened a house in January 2015 to provide housing for felons on probation, the city and sheriff discriminated illegally against the Center's tenants and houses.[30] After a district judge issued a preliminary injunction against the city, the City Council altered or repealed several of the laws in dispute. The suit was settled in April 2018 for $484,831.[31] On December 2, 2019, the United States Department of Justice filed suit against Hesperia and the San Bernadino County Sheriff's Department[32] for "discrimination against residents and prospective residents of Hesperia because of race and national origin."[33]


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 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.



The city's main thoroughfares include Ranchero Road, Main Street, Eucalyptus Avenue, Bear Valley Road, Escondido Avenue, Maple Avenue, Cottonwood Avenue, 11th Avenue, 7th Avenue, 3rd Avenue, Hesperia Road, C Avenue, I Avenue, Peach Avenue, and Arrowhead Lake Road. Several of the major streets feature bike lanes and there are also several recreational trails within city limits. The city is located on Interstate 15, directly north of the Cajon Pass.[34] Public transit operations are controlled by the Victor Valley Transit Authority.

Public safety

The City of Hesperia contracts with the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department for law enforcement services. The new 43,000 sq ft (4,000 m2) substation opened Oct 13, 2010 is located at 15840 Smoketree in the City's Civic Plaza, across the street from City Hall. The old 7,600 sq ft (710 m2) substation which served for many years was on Santa Fe Avenue next to the BNSF railroad tracks. The station provides full service law enforcement for the City and the southern suburbs of Oak Hills and Marianas Ranchos. Additional deputies can respond as necessary from the nearby Victorville Regional Station.

Shortly after Hesperia incorporated as a city in 1988, it created its own fire protection district which lasted through 2004. The city now has a contract with the San Bernardino County Fire Department for fire and emergency medical services.

Notable people


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  19. "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Archived from the original on April 26, 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  20. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
  21. "2010 Census Interactive Population Search: CA - Hesperia city". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2014.
  22. "Hesperia (city), California".
  23. Rubin, Joel (September 14, 2016). "A desert town's extreme crackdown on outsiders blamed for crimes: Mayor compares the effort to killing roaches". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
  24. "City of Hesperia - Comprehensive Annual Financial Report 2010". City of Hesperia. Retrieved September 18, 2011.
  25. "Our Mission". Hesperia Recreation and Park District. Retrieved August 2, 2018.
  26. "Parks & Facilities". Hesperia Recreation and Park District. Retrieved August 2, 2018.
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  32. "Hesperia, San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department sued for allegedly using ordinance to evict black, Latino renters". ABC7 Los Angeles. December 3, 2019. Retrieved December 4, 2019.
  33. "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff, v. CITY OF HESPERIA, COUNTY OF SAN BERNARDINO, and SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT. Complaint and Demand for Jury Trial". United States Department of Justice. Retrieved December 3, 2019.
  34. Vives, Joseph; Serna, Joseph; and Mather, Kate (May 6, 2014) " Bridge fire leaves Hesperia plan for economic boost in ashes" Los Angeles Times
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