There are many relics of our remarkable local history hidden across the high desert, and with some help from the Mohav Hist Historical Society, you can explore the area and find these little-known gems.
MHS has recently identified and listed 14 unique and interesting monuments that provide information about the history of Victor Valley. The group is renovating several monuments, and some will be moved for better visitor access.
A booklet describing the monuments and their location has been published by MHS, and can be used as a driving tour for marking inspections.
MHS was founded in 1964 by a group of Victor Valley College history students. Since then, the group has expanded, and they continue to organize monthly meetings, and field trips to the area’s historic landmarks. The MHS adopted the unique Mohahov spell from the journal of the famous explorer John C. Fremont, who explored the region in 1843-44.
Since its inception, MHS has played a key role in researching, recording, teaching and publishing the history of the people and communities of the Mojave Desert. The group has been involved in the installation and maintenance of monuments in the area for many years and the projects usually collaborate with a city, conservation group or aggal scout.
Here is a sample of the details you can find in the MHS booklet (some spelling, punctuation, and historical accuracy can be found in the monuments):
No. 2 Mosaic River Crossing (Granite)
Location: Turner Road, south, one mile west of National Trails Hui, Victorville
Monument Lessons: From prehistoric times to the 1800s, here was the main crossing of the old Indian Mozave Path. Padre Garces (1776), Jedediah Smith (1826-27), Kit Carson (1840s) have passed here. The Westward Migrant, Mormon, Army Camel and Mule Path (1850) also crossed the site.
Once known as Lane Crossing (1857), Wells Fargo and Pony Express were stations here. Early Victorville called it Turner Ranch (1883).
Note: This site has a new concrete and granite monument commemorating the lane crossing. It was dedicated in 2014 by the Billy Hallcomb chapter of E Clampus Vitas.
No. 3 Mormon Springs (Granite)
Location: Northwest corner of 8th and C streets, Victorville
Freshwater springs in the area were created by Mormon freighters in the 1800s, making the springs and the surrounding cotton fields a popular campsite.
1998 Troop # 28 Seek in collaboration with Jonathan Oliver’s Aggall Scout Project, Mohav Hist Historical Society, Mormon Trails Associates, Victorville Hist Historical Advisory Committee.
No. 7 John Brown Road 1861 (Granite)
Location: Ridgecrest Road, a block north of Bear Valley Road, east, Victorville
Near this monument is the historic John Brown Road. In 1611, John Brown, a hill man and Mormon pioneer, narrowed the Mozave River through the Kazan Pass and built a toll road. This road was once part of the main road to Utah, used by miners, mules, and pioneers. Today this dirt road is found along the tracks of the nearby railroad, just west of here.
John Brown was born in 1817 in Massachusetts
Russell MacDonald’s Aggall Scout Project, April 1995, Screaming Aggall Patrol 356 Apple Valley, historian John Bascom, with a letter from the Sutter Sign Company.
# 10 Hallcomb Valley Road 1861 (with granite, new aluminum plaque)
Location: Arrowhead Lake Road, west side, .25 miles south of Rock Springs Road (along the golf course fence), Hesperia
A free graded road is crossed here to join the Brown Toll Road via the Cajon Pass from Holcombe Valley. The citizens of Belville collected 1, 1,500 in 1861 to hire local blacksmith Z van Dujen to build the road.
A new aluminum plaque with the text above has been fitted to this granite monument, and the monument’s credit was omitted. However, the original credit text reads:
The monument was erected in 1990 by Stephen T. Novotny, a Mohavev or historical member. Support by Hesperia Amusement and Park District Mohahve or Historical Society
To buy the booklet “Mohahov Hist Historical Society Monument” and to learn more about MHS, visit the Apple Valley Legacy Museum at 15602 7th St., Victor Valley Legacy Museum in the former Apple Valley Inn, 20601 Highway 18.
Additional historic monuments have been erected in the high desert by Hesperia Recreation and Park District. There are 15 of these monuments, and the Park District has created a brochure to help visitors identify the markers (2 of the Hesperia monuments are also shown in the MHS booklet).
Mark Landis is a freelance writer. He can be reached at: [email protected]