Palmdale, California: Wikis


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City of Palmdale
—  City  —


Motto: A Place To Call Home
Location of Palmdale in Los Angeles County, California
Coordinates: 34°34′52″N 118°6′2″W / 34.58111°N 118.10056°W / 34.58111; -118.10056Coordinates: 34°34′52″N 118°6′2″W / 34.58111°N 118.10056°W / 34.58111; -118.10056
Country United States
State California
County Los Angeles
Settled 1886
Incorporated August 24, 1962
 - Type Incorporated City
 - Mayor James C. Ledford Jr.[1]
 - Mayor Pro Tem Tom Lackey [1]
 - City Manager Steve Williams[1]
 - City 105.1 sq mi (272.2 km2)
 - Land 104.95 sq mi (271.8 km2)
 - Water 0.15 sq mi (0.4 km2)  0.13%
Elevation 2,657 ft (810 m)
Population (2009)
 - City 151,346
 Density 1,440.0/sq mi (556.0/km2)
 Metro 476,845
Time zone PST (UTC-8)
 - Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP code 93536, 93543, 93550-93553, 93590-93592, 93597-93599
Area code(s) 661
FIPS code 06-55156
GNIS feature ID 1652769

Palmdale is a city located in the north-central reaches of Los Angeles County, California, United States.

The first community within the Antelope Valley to incorporate as a city (on August 24, 1962), Palmdale is separated from Los Angeles by the San Gabriel Mountain range. As of the 2000 US census, the city population was 116,670, and as of January 1, 2009, the California state department of finance estimates Palmdale proper has a total population of 151,346.[2] According to the Greater Antelope Valley Economic Alliance report[3] of 2009 the Palmdale / Lancaster, CA Urbanized Area (a US Census Bureau defined term) has a population of 476,845.


Palmdale today

City of Palmdale
Population by year
1900 112
1910 195
1920 284
1930 347
1940 1,419
1950 2,886
1960 11,522
1970 8,511
1980 12,227
1990 68,842
2000 116,670
2009 151,346

Over the last 25 years this city has consistently been ranked in the top 25 fastest growing cities in the United States (based on percentage change). As of January 1, 2009, the population was estimated at nearly 151,346 according to the state department of finance (which issues the population number on May 1 of each year) making Palmdale the sixth largest, and fastest growing city in Los Angeles County. For most of its existence it has had a small population; however it now is the largest "desert city" in California. With 104.59 square miles (271 km2) of land in its incorporated boundaries, the city is in the top 100 largest cities in the United States in geographic area. Palmdale is also one of the largest cities in the United States that is not currently served by either an Interstate Freeway nor a U.S. Highway.

Looking south from the hills near Tierra Subida Avenue, late January snow can be seen at the higher elevations.

The city is known as a family-oriented community with a high quality of life. A first-class medical campus called Palmdale Regional Medical Center is under construction (expected to open in 2010), which will include an emergency department, a helipad, medical office towers, and a senior housing complex. A new multimodal transportation center, serving local and commuter bus and train services, opened in 2005. A voter-initiated and approved tax has funded major park and recreation expansions, including the Palmdale Amphitheater (capacity 10,000), two new pools, other recreation buildings, satellite library and DryTown Water park. Downtown revitalization includes hundreds of new senior housing units, a new senior center, which will open in November 2009, and expanded open space. A new 48,000 sq ft (4,500 m2). sheriff station opened in July 2006, the largest in Los Angeles County. Two additional fire stations have been built, one on the east side and one on the west side.

While Palmdale is still a part of Los Angeles County, the urbanized centers of Palmdale and Los Angeles are separated by the San Gabriel mountain range, which is about 40 miles (60 km) wide. This range forms the southern edge of the Antelope Valley portion of the Mojave Desert. Palmdale is the largest and principal city of the Antelope Valley, and the fourth largest city overall in the Mojave Desert by population, outstripped only by Las Vegas, Henderson, and North Las Vegas, Nevada.


This satellite image, looking toward the west, shows the Palmdale / Antelope Valley area in relation to Los Angeles with the San Gabriel Mountains separating them.

Palmenthal, the first European settlement within the limits of Palmdale, was established as a village in 1886 by westward Lutheran[4] travelers from the American Midwest, mostly of German and Swiss descent. According to area folklore, the travelers had been told they would know they were close to the ocean when they saw palm trees. Never actually having seen palm trees before, they mistook the local Joshua trees for palms and so named their settlement after them. (Palmenthal is German for Palms Valley.)[5] According to David L. Durham Joshua trees were sometimes called yucca palms at the time, that was the reason for the name.[4] The village was officially established upon the arrival of a post office on June 17, 1888.

By the 1890s (soon after the last of the indigenous antelopes, which the valley was named after, had died) farming families continued to migrate to Palmenthal and nearby Harold to grow grain and fruit. However, most of these settlers were unfamiliar with farming in a desert climate, so when the drought years occurred, most abandoned their settlement. By 1899, only one family was left in the original village. The rest of the settlers, including the post office, moved closer to the Southern Pacific railroad tracks. This new community was renamed Palmdale and was located where the present day civic center is. A railroad station was built along the tracks there. This railroad was operated by Southern Pacific and traveled between Los Angeles and San Francisco. There was also the Wells Fargo stagecoach line that ran between San Francisco and New Orleans that stopped there as well.[6] The only remaining pieces of evidence of the original settlements of Palmenthal and Harold are the old Palmdale Pioneer cemetery located on the northeast corner of Avenue S and 20th Street East, recently acquired and restored by the city as part of a future historical park, and the old schoolhouse now relocated to McAdam Park.

As the population of Palmdale began to increase after relocation, water became scarce, until November 5, 1913 when the California – Los Angeles Aqueduct system was completed finally by William Mulholland, bringing water from the Owens Valley into Los Angeles County. During this period, crops of apples, pears and alfalfa became plentiful.[7][8]

In 1915, Palmdale’s first newspaper, the Palmdale Post, was published. Today it is called the Antelope Valley Press.

In 1921, the first major link between Palmdale and Los Angeles was completed, Mint Canyon/Lancaster Road, later designated U.S. Route 6. Completion of this road caused the local agricultural industry to flourish and was the first major step towards defining the metropolis that exists today. Presently this road is known as Sierra Highway.[9]

In 1924, the Littlerock Dam and the Harold Reservoir, present day Lake Palmdale, were constructed to assist the agricultural industry and have enough water to serve the growing communities.[9]

Picture of Lake Palmdale with the California Aqueduct in the foreground.

Agriculture continued to be the foremost industry for Palmdale and its northern neighbor Lancaster until the outbreak of World War II. In 1933, the United States government established Muroc Air Base (from an original founder name, Effie Corum, spelled backwards) six miles (10 km) north of Lancaster in Kern County, now known as Edwards Air Force Base. They also bought Palmdale Airport in 1952 and established an aerospace development and testing facility called United States Air Force Plant 42. One year later, in 1953, Lockheed established a facility at the airport. After this point in time, the aerospace industry took over as the primary local source of employment, where it has remained ever since. Today the city is even referred to as the “Aerospace Capital of America” because of its rich heritage in being the home of many of the aircraft used in the United States military.[6]

In 1957, Palmdale’s first high school, Palmdale High School, was established, making it easier for youths to not have to travel to Antelope Valley High School in nearby Lancaster.[10]

In August 1962, the township of Palmdale officially became the city of Palmdale with the incorporation of 2 square miles (5 km2) of land around the present day civic center.[6]

In 1964, the Antelope Valley Freeway, or State Highway 14, was completed as a link between Palmdale and Los Angeles. The freeway at this time ran all the way to present day Technology Drive. It was at this time that talk about the future Palmdale Intercontinental Airport was seen as the way of the future. By 1965 the new city had annexed an additional 20 square miles (52 km²) of land and industry was thriving. Talk of the future commercial airport had many investors buying up large quantities of land.[9]

Antelope Valley Freeway southbound in Downtown Palmdale with unusually sparse traffic.

In 1970, the city of Los Angeles went forward with buying 17,750 acres (71 km²) of land east of the city for its proposed intercontinental commercial airport. However, the United States Air Force desired to put a hold on the construction of this new facility until the existing airport reached its commercial capacity. So under a joint use agreement with the military, the Los Angeles Department of Airports, now called Los Angeles World Airports, built a 9,000 square foot (800 m²) terminal on leased land that opened in 1971, creating present day LA/Palmdale Regional Airport which the City of Palmdale has taken control of in an effort to establish reliable air service in the region.[11]

By 1974, the Antelope Valley Freeway construction ended at the southern border of Mojave in Kern County. In 1977, Palmdale built its first municipal building, the Palmdale City Library. This was the same year that its northern neighbor Lancaster incorporated itself into a city. Since the 1920s, Lancaster had been the much larger and principal community of the Antelope Valley, as well as the rest of California's Mojave Desert.[12]

Central Palmdale looking north along 10th Street West toward Rancho Vista Blvd.

The 1980s and 1990s were the decades that really started to define the two Antelope Valley cities. Affordable housing in the area caused a dramatic spike in the population. The city became a bedroom community for those employed in Los Angeles. Palmdale's population continued to approach Lancaster's. Throughout the eighties and even the nineties, Palmdale was the fastest growing city in California and second fastest growing city in the nation. In 1980, Palmdale's population was 12,227.[9]

By 1990, it had soared to 68,842. During that same year the Antelope Valley Mall opened at Avenue P (present day Rancho Vista Blvd.) and 10th Street West, presently the busiest intersection in the entire Mojave Desert. In 1991, the Palmdale Auto Center complex opened. Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, central Palmdale has become the commercial center of the California High Desert. In 2000, the city's population was 116,670. In 2002, Palmdale's population finally eclipsed its northern neighbor Lancaster. With over 150,000 residents today, the City Planning Commission continues to attempt a form of managed growth in the early part of 21st century. The recent subprime mortgage crisis has affected the city with a tremendous number of foreclosures, much like other cities in California.[9][13] However, even with the high number of foreclosures, the city remains the fastest growing city in Los Angeles County, and the fastest growing large city in the State of California.[2]



Kindergarten – Grade 12 schools

The City of Palmdale has three separate elementary school districts and one high school district:

  • The Palmdale School District is one of the largest elementary school districts in the nation consisting of 29 schools with about 28,000 students. This school district covers the majority of the city’s Kindergarten through 8th grade students. One of the unique parts of this school district was its practice of naming schools after desert flora and fauna. For instance, there are Tumbleweed, Juniper, and Sage schools.
  • The Westside Union School District covers the schools on the far west-side of Palmdale and its western suburbs. This school district has over 8,250 students and 11 schools for K-8 education.
  • The Keppel Union School District covers the schools on the far east-side of Palmdale and its eastern suburbs. This school district has 6 schools and nearly 3,000 students for K-8 education.
  • The Antelope Valley Union High School District covers nearly all of the 9-12th grade education for the entire metropolitan area, with the exception of private high schools. It has 12 schools with over 25,000 students.

Colleges and universities

Law and government

Local government

Palmdale is a charter city governed under the council / manager form of local government. The mayor is elected every two years for a two-year term. Also every two years, two of the four council members are elected to serve four-year terms. Palmdale does not have term limits for council and mayor. The current mayor James C. Ledford is serving his tenth term in office. The City Council appoints the City Manager and City Attorney.

The city also has an appointed Planning Commission divided into four separate districts. The Planning Commission was organized to help with the planning, zoning, and development of various city areas in different districts and to give the residents of those particular districts a greater voice in local land use decisions. There is also an appointed Board of Library Trustees, and Youth Council.

On November 3, 2009, local residents voted in favor of a measure to change Palmdale's general law city status to that of a charter city. This will allow Palmdale to draft a city charter and constitution, enabling it to make more decisions at the local level without interference or rules from the State government.

Municipal services

The city provides a number of municipal services, including a Planning Department, Economic Development Department and Redevelopment Agency, Building and Safety Department, Public Works Department, Parks and Recreation Department, and South Antelope Valley Emergency Services. The city also operates the Palmdale Transportation Center which serves as the hub for public transit services including Metrolink trains, Antelope Valley Transit Authority, Amtrak California's Thruway Motorcoach and Greyhound.

Recreation and Cultural services include the Palmdale City Library[15] , the Senior Citizens Center, Larry Chimbole Cultural Center, Palmdale Playhouse and Art Gallery, Dry Town Water Park, Palmdale Amphitheater, Best of the West Softball Complex, Hammack Activity Center, Palmdale Oasis Park Recreation Center, Marie Kerr Park Recreation Center, Joe Davies Heritage Airpark at Palmdale Plant 42, and four swimming pools.

Public safety

The city is policed by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department under a formal contract with the County of Los Angeles and has its municipal judicial system intertwined with the Los Angeles County Superior Court.[citation needed]

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department (LASD) operates the Palmdale Station in Palmdale.[16] Palmdale has the largest Sheriff's Station in Los Angeles County. Palmdale's innovative Partners Against Crime (PAC) Program, a cooperative effort between law enforcement, landlords and community members, has successfully focused on quality of life issues and crime suppression, reducing the crime rate annually. Recently, the Partners for a Better Palmdale program was initiated by the City Council, to further engage residents, schools, community groups and law enforcement in improving community quality of life. The city pioneered the use of municipal Community Service Officers for low level incidents to free up Deputies for higher priority matters, and employ high-tech tools, such as Automated License Plate Recognition Systems on patrol cars, to increase officer productivity.[citation needed]

The city is served by the Los Angeles County Fire Department for its fire and paramedic services through the Consolidated Fire Protection District. Palmdale downtown Station #37 is one of the busiest fire stations in the United States. Two new fire stations went into service in late 2008 on the east and west sides of Palmdale.[citation needed]

Public utilities

Utility services within the city are provided by several public and private agencies. Water service is primarily provided by Palmdale Water District (separate public agency) and Los Angeles County Waterworks (part of the County Public Works); sewer service is provided by the County Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County (separate public agency); electrical service is provided by Southern California Edison; natural gas service is provided by Southern California Gas; cable television service is provided by Time Warner Cable; telephone service is provided by AT&T and Verizon; refuse pickup and disposal service is provided by Waste Management, Inc of the Antelope Valley under a franchise agreement with the city. The city is actively pursuing state licensing towards construction of its own hybrid natural gas and solar steam turbine power plant.

County representation

The Los Angeles County Department of Health Services operates the Antelope Valley Health Center in Lancaster, serving Palmdale.[17]

State and federal

In the state legislature Palmdale is located in the 17th Senate District, represented by Republican George Runner, and in the 36th Assembly District, represented by Republican Steve Knight. Federally, Palmdale is located in California's 25th congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of R +7[18] and is represented by Republican Buck McKeon.


According to the latest U.S. Census report released in Sept. 2009, Palmdale has the longest average commute time in the United States at 41.5 minutes. This commute time exceeds that of even New York City. [19]

Area highways

The Antelope Valley Freeway (SR 14) is the major North-South highway connecting Palmdale to Los Angeles and Mojave.

State Route 138 (SR 138) is the major east-west highway connecting Palmdale to the Inland Empire and Frazier Park.

State Route 18 (SR 18) heads eastward out of the Antelope Valley connecting it to Victorville and via I-15 the Barstow area. This road is commonly used as a route to Las Vegas, Nevada.

Future Highways:

Cash-strapped Caltrans only recently began upgrades to SR 138 (nicknamed "Blood Alley"). CalTrans has had plans on the table for several years for SR 138 and SR 18 to create an east/west freeway between Palmdale and I-15. Due to State funding constraints, this expressway will probably not be completed until near 2020 as the planning, design and construction process can take as many as 10–15 years. There has been discussion of creating a the High Desert Corridor tollway in its place. There is also a long-lost plan to continue the freeway from Palmdale along the southern foothills of the Antelope Valley to I-5 in Gorman. [20]

State Route 48 (SR 48) is a planned east / west freeway connecting from the Antelope Valley Freeway (SR 14) at Avenue D, the current segment terminus for the western SR 138 branch, to Interstate 5 in Gorman. This freeway is planned to come after SR 138 has its new southern realignment through Palmdale completed, and will follow the existing SR 138 right of way.

State Route 122 (SR 122) is a planned north / south freeway from eastern Palmdale, passing east of Edwards Air Force Base to SR 58 near California City.

State Route 249 (SR 249) is a planned north / south freeway from southern Palmdale to I-210 in La Canada Flintridge, near Pasadena.

Public transportation

The Palmdale Transportation Center serves at the regional transit hub for the Antelope Valley.

The Palmdale Transportation Center, completed in March 2005, is the central mass transit center for the Antelope Valley. It serves as the transit hub for the Antelope Valley Transit Authority, the city's public bus system, as well as an Amtrak, Greyhound Bus, and commuter rail Metrolink station. The station is also designated a stop on the proposed California High Speed Rail System and the proposed Orangeline Maglev rail from Irvine.


The LA/Palmdale Regional Airport/Air Force Plant 42 (PMD) has two runways, each over 2.25 miles (3.5 km) in length, although there is currently no commercial airline service at the airport. PMD's commercial terminal is owned and operated by Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), a municipal department of the City of Los Angeles, on leased land from the U.S. Air Force. Airline service has been sporadic since commercial flights were first offered in 1971. Most recently, United Express/SkyWest Airlines flew between PMD and San Francisco from June 7, 2007 to December 6, 2008. The city of Palmdale is presently moving forward to control the facilities and the lease with the USAF, to better develop regional air service in the High Desert.

LA/Palmdale Regional Airport Terminal

LAWA also owns 17,500 acres (71 km2) of land adjacent to the existing airport. The land was acquired between 1970 and 1983 to be developed into "Palmdale Intercontinental Airport", intended to surpass the air traffic of LAX. The land remains undeveloped. LAWA is currently developing a Master Plan for Palmdale that will guide airport land use and development decisions through 2030.

The FAA's Los Angeles Air Route Traffic Control Center is located adjacent to the airport.


The City of Palmdale is developing a network of bike lanes and bike paths throughout its boundaries. The backbones of the system are a new, grade separated Class A bike path on Avenue S, between 5th Street East and 25th St East, that was included as part of a $20 million highway improvement project, and a similar path on Sierra Highway, that runs from Technology Drive (Avenue P-8) north to meet with the Lancaster segment up to Avenue J. There are also bike lanes on some local streets, leading to parks and schools, as well.

Cycling in certain areas of Palmdale carries an increased risk due to higher speed limits for vehicles and also due to the presence of large vehicles.

Sites of interest

Neighborhoods and districts

The area in and around Palmdale is unofficially divided up into 11 separate areas: Downtown or Old Town Palmdale (civic center), Trade & Commerce Center (the main shopping district near where the Antelope Valley Mall is located), Desert-View Highlands (old county area), Anaverde (west end-formerly City Ranch), Rancho Vista (old Bolz Ranch), Ritter Ranch (far west end), Sun Village (far east end-part County), Harold (old settlement near Lake Palmdale-part County), Quartz Hill (northwest end-part County), Lake Los Angeles (farthest east end-part County), and Leona Valley (farthest west end-part County).

Unlike nearby Santa Clarita or Los Angeles, the residents of Palmdale usually do not use the name of their particular areas to have their mail addressed to for the most part. This is mostly due to the very easily navigated local street system, which is almost completely alphabetized and numeric.

Street system

The street system is set out in a grid. Each lettered east-westbound avenue is one mile (1.6 km) from the next letter. (Example: Avenue R is one mile (1.6 km) north from Avenue S.) In between each whole letter avenue, there are 15 sub avenues labeled -1 through -15. Along with the whole letter avenues, the -8 avenues are also major thoroughfares. (Example: Avenue R-8 is a major road just like Avenue R and Avenue S). Sometimes the -8 avenues are renamed to other names (Example: Avenue Q-8 has been renamed Palmdale Boulevard and Avenue P-8 has been renamed Technology Drive or Bulldog Avenue depending on which stretch you're on.) The city is essentially on a perfect grid, and the traffic signals are coordinated by a central processing facility at the Civic Center.

Major streets which run north to south are numbered inside their direction i.e. 10th Street West and 10th Street East. Each 0 and 5 street is a major thoroughfare with each 0 street being 1-mile (1.6 km) from the previous 0 street. (Example: 40th Street East is one mile (1.6 km) east of 30th Street East.) The east-west dividing line is Division Street in downtown, which would be the equivalent of 0th Street East/West.

All the addresses on east-west street correspond to this numbering system. For instance, 6066 West Avenue M-2 is at the second street between Avenues M and N just past 60th Street. Avenue M, is the general border of the connected population between Palmdale and Lancaster. Avenue L is actually the longer border between the two cities, east of Challenger Way, but is not as heavily populated. Avenue M has recently been named Columbia Way out of respect for the astronauts onboard the Space Shuttle Columbia that disintegrated on re-entry in 2003. 10th Street East north of Columbia Way was renamed Challenger Way in 1987, in honor of those lost in the Challenger Disaster. All of the shuttles were built in Palmdale.


Palmdale, looking east toward the Antelope Valley Freeway and the San Gabriel Mountains.

Palmdale is located in the High Desert, where the summers are very hot and dry, and winters are cold and windy. Palmdale has over 300 days of sunshine per year. The same weather pattern that brings the marine layer stratus and afternoon sea breeze to the Los Angeles Basin brings gusty winds to Palmdale, especially near the foothills on the south side. Except during Santa Ana (northeast) wind events (usually fall and winter), gusty southwest winds blow over Palmdale almost every afternoon and evening all year round. The wind is so reliable that wind turbines are used to generate electricity.

Winter – Relatively chilly, wet and windy. Temperatures have gone into the single-digits at times. The wind chill factor can be below zero. This is Palmdale's rainy season and is prone to flash flooding during this time. On occasion, it will snow. Average day time highs are in the upper 50s to low 60s while being in the low to mid 30s overnight.

Spring – Moderate temperatures. Still occasionally wet. Very windy. Transitional period from winter to summer temperatures is very short. Average daytime highs are in the upper 70s to low 80s while being in the upper 40s to low 50s overnight.

Summer – Very hot, dry heat with little or no precipitation. Temperatures frequently soar into triple-digits. However, the high desert where Palmdale is located allows for the temperatures to cool down somewhat at night, unlike the low desert cities of Palm Springs and Blythe. Average day time highs are in the upper 90s while dropping into the mid to upper 70s after midnight. Local electrical bills spike during this period with air-conditioning units running day and night, until early October. Despite the hot temperature, it is very common to experience "summer storms" in which temperatures are consistent but there is heavy rain and thunderstorms.

Fall – Moderate temperatures with little or no precipitation. Transitional period from summer to winter temperatures is very short. As a result, the deciduous trees in Palmdale will lose their leaves very rapidly, seemingly overnight, with a short color change. Average day time highs are in the upper 70s and low 80s while dropping into the mid 40s to mid 50s overnight.

Climate data for Palmdale, California
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 81
Average high °F (°C) 59
Average low °F (°C) 34
Record low °F (°C) 4
Precipitation inches (cm) 1.6
Source:[26] Aug 2007
  • Annual Average High Temperatures: 98 °F (summer) 59 °F (winter)
  • Annual Average Low Temperatures 66 °F (summer) 33 °F (winter)
  • Highest Recorded Temperature: 113 °F (1972, 2007)
  • Lowest Recorded Temperature: 6 °F (1963)
  • Warmest Month: July
  • Coolest Month: December
  • Highest Precipitation: February
  • Annual Precipitation: 7.36 inches


As of the census[27] of 2000, there were 116,670 people, 34,285 households, and 28,113 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,111.6 people per square mile (429.2/km²). There were 37,096 housing units at an average density of 353.4/sq mi (136.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 54.77% White American, 37.71% Hispanic American or Latino American of any race, 20.45% from other races, 14.50% African American, 5.23% from two or more races, 3.83% Asian American, 1.03% Native American, and 0.19% Pacific Islander American.

There were 34,285 households out of which 54.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.8% were married couples living together, 16.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 18.0% were non-families. 13.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 3.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.40 and the average family size was 3.72.

In the city the population was spread out with 38.0% under the age of 18, 8.5% from 18 to 24, 31.1% from 25 to 44, 16.8% from 45 to 64, and 5.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 28 years. For every 100 females there were 96.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $46,941, and the median income for a family was $49,293. Males had a median income of $42,190 versus $29,401 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,384. About 12.9% of families and 15.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.1% of those under age 18 and 8.7% of those age 65 or over.


Downtown Palmdale is located at 34°34′46″N 118°07′00″W / 34.57944°N 118.1166667°W / 34.57944; -118.1166667,[28] at an elevation of 2,655 feet (809 m) above sea level.

According to the United States Census Bureau the city has a total area of 105.1 square miles (272.2 km²), of which, 104.59 square miles (271.8 km²) of it is land and 0.15 square miles (0.4 km²) of it is water (the size of man-made Lake Palmdale, the most visible and scenic part of the municipal water supply system) . The total area is 0.13% water.

The city lies in close proximity to the San Andreas Fault, making it, like many other regions of California, prone to strong earthquakes. This faultline cuts across the Antelope Valley Freeway just north of the Avenue S off-ramp; running westward along the old Butterfield Stage Line (now Elizabeth Lake Road) into Leona Valley.

Panoramic photo of Palmdale from the west, taken March 2000

ZIP codes

The Palmdale vicinity currently has a total of ten ZIP codes:

  • 93536 – Most of Quartz Hill (district and adjacent town). Shared with cities and towns of Lancaster (westside), Neenach, Del Sur, and Antelope Acres.
  • 93543 – Parts of Sun Village. Shared with town of Littlerock.
  • 93550 – Downtown Palmdale Civic Center, Harold, Vincent-Grade, and Barrel Springs.
  • 93551 – Palmdale Central City, Anaverde, Rancho Vista, Desert-View Highlands, Portal Ridge, Leona Valley (district and adjacent town), and parts of Quartz Hill (district). Some P.O. boxes.
  • 93552 – Pearland, parts of Palmdale East, and parts of Sun Village.
  • 93553 – Parts of Sun Village. Shared with town of Pearblossom. Some P.O. boxes.
  • 93590Palmdale Regional Airport, USAF Plant 42, and some of Palmdale's P.O. boxes.
  • 93591Lake Los Angeles (district and adjacent town), parts of Palmdale East, and some P.O. boxes.
  • 93592 – Only P.O. Boxes
  • 93599 – Only P.O. Boxes

Nearby Mojave Desert communities

Other cities and towns in the Palmdale vicinity include:


The most important industry for Palmdale is the aerospace industry. However in recent times, other manufacturing companies have relocated to Palmdale seeking more affordable land, proximity to Palmdale Airport, and special tax breaks.

The special tax breaks granted for companies that relocate to Palmdale is due to the city having the Antelope Valley Enterprise Zone and the Palmdale Federal Foreign Trade Zone. These are special zoning areas within the city that are given various state and federal tax breaks and municipal grant incentives to relocate their business there. These zones were put in effect to help Palmdale and nearby Lancaster draw more jobs to the area so that they would be less dependent on the Los Angeles Basin area for employment, thus relieving pollution and traffic congestion and stabilizing the local economy on several industries. The aerospace industry is known for having “feast or famine” seasons.

A completed Lockheed L-1011 in a hangar at Palmdale Airport after final assembly.

Palmdale refers to itself with the nickname the "aerospace capital of the United States", and has been the site of research, development, final assembly, flight testing and/or servicing/modifications of the Space Shuttle, X-15, B-2 Spirit, F-117 Nighthawk, F-35 Lightning II, SR-71 Blackbird, Lockheed L-1011 Tristar, and many other aircraft that have been used in the United States Air Force, NASA and air forces and airlines around the world. USAF Plant 42, where the aforementioned aerospace projects occurred / occur is home to major operations of the following aerospace companies: Boeing, Lockheed Martin and its famed Skunk Works, and Northrop Grumman. The Los Angeles World Airports owns the former Boeing hangar (formerly North American Rockwell) at Plant 42 near LA/Palmdale Regional Airport which is one of the largest buildings in the world. The hangar was used for the set of the 2004 film The Terminal, which featured an enormous replica of a JFK International Airport terminal. NASA's SOFIA program will relocate its operation to this hangar at Site 9 from Edwards Air Force Base.

A number of world class corporations and manufacturing firms have made Palmdale home, helping to diversify the local economy. Delta Scientific, a world leader in high strength vehicle barrier systems, supplying protection for many federal, state and local buildings, and a prime supplier to the military and US State Department for embassies and other installations worldwide, and US Pole, a major manufacturer of street lighting poles, are major anchor tenants in the Fairway Business Park. The Palmdale Trade and Commerce Center is home to many other major manufacturing, industrial, corporate offices and other employers, as well as home to the Palmdale Auto Mall. A number of medical and related support offices are coming on-line to meet the needs of the new Palmdale Regional Medical Center. On July 8, 2009 Quallion LLC, which manufactures lithium ion cells and battery packs, announced plans to build a battery manufacturing plant in Palmdale if it won a government grant being offered by the U.S. Department of Energy.

The Antelope Valley Mall is the preeminent retail shopping destination in the region, with a wide variety of dining choices on its restaurant row.

Beginning in the 1960s, Palmdale was home to Don Babb's The Model A Ford Company, which became Classic Manufacturing and Supply, builder of exact reproduction and custom steel bodies and parts for hot rods and customs.[29]


Largest employers[30]

The following companies also have a large employee base in Palmdale but do not release official figures for their numbers:


The following companies are headquartered in Palmdale:

  • Delta Scientific
  • Murphy Switch Company
  • Red Brick Pizza
  • Senior Systems Technology
  • Sierra Tax Service
  • Symvionics
  • U.S. Pole & Lighting



Online Newszine

Antelope Valley New Press –

Radio stations


  • KAVL 610 AM Sports
  • KTPI 1340 AM Adult Standards
  • KWJL 1380 AM News/Talk
  • KUTY 1470 AM Spanish Oldies


  • KCRY 88.1 FM NPR (KCRW Santa Monica)
  • KTLW 88.9 FM Religious/Christian
  • KGBM 89.7 FM Religious/Christian (simulcast of Hollister KHRI 90.7)
  • K211EY 90.1 FM Religious/Christian (simulcast of Victorville KHMS 88.5)
  • K216FA 91.1 FM Religious/Christian (simulcast of Twin Falls KAWZ 89.9)
  • KWTD 91.9 FM Religious/Christian (simulcast of Bishop KWTW 88.5)
  • KLKX 93.5 FM Classic Rock
  • KFXM-LP 96.7 FM Oldies
  • KTPI-FM 97.7 FM Country
  • KKZQ 100.1 FM Modern Rock
  • KRAJ 100.9 FM Hip Hop
  • KSRY 103.1 FM Modern Rock (simulcast of Los Angeles KYSR 98.7)
  • KGBB 103.9 FM Adult Hits
  • KEPD 104.9 FM Country
  • KVVS 105.5 FM Top 40 (simulcast of Los Angeles KIIS 102.7)
  • KGMX 106.3 FM Adult Contemporary
  • KMVE 106.9 FM Regional Spanish

Internet radio

  • Surge Radio Online Radio Local Indie Bands/Underground Music

Television stations

  • TW Cable 3 Local Events / News
  • K67AO 12 Simulcast of KABC-TV Los Angeles
  • Palmdale 27 City's cable information channel
  • KPAL-LP 38 Home Shopping / Local Events

Palmdale in the media

  • Mac and Me (1988) – Palmdale was mentioned in the movie as a nearby city to the location of the alien, Mac's, landed spacecraft. They search this area of open desert for the alien's other family members.
  • Star Trek Generations (1994) – Palmdale, although not mentioned by name in the film, was the filming location of the scenes where Captain Jean Luc Picard and Captain James T. Kirk battle with Dr. Tolian Soran on the surface of Veridian III.
  • Volcano (1997) – The movie opens with a sign out in the middle of nowhere that says "Palmdale 15 MILES" which begins to shake due to an earthquake. The next scene in the movie shows seismologists trying to determine the epicenter of the earthquake shown in the scene with the sign. They determine that Palmdale was the location of the epicenter.
  • Palmdale (2000) – A song by rapper Afroman about his life growing up in Palmdale on the album Because I Got High.
  • Bubble Boy (2001) – Palmdale was the hometown of the star character, Jimmy Livingston, a boy with a medical condition in which he has no immune system, who is forced by his parents to live in a plastic bubble in his bedroom to prevent him from being infected by various things of the outside world.
  • Star Trek Nemesis (2002) – Although not mentioned by name in the movie, Palmdale was the filming location of all scenes on the fictional planet Kolarus III where the "away team" from the Starship Enterprise locates parts of an android that resembles Commander Data.
  • Scrubs (2003) – Dr. Cox recommends Turk goes "all the way down to Palmdale" to relieve some of his stress in reference to masturbation.
  • The Day after Tomorrow - During the movie when tornadoes are going through Los Angeles, a news report is shown on a T.V. The reporter mentions "Palmdale and Lancaster are reporting wind speeds in excess..."
  • The Terminal (2004) – This movie was almost entirely filmed in Palmdale. The terminal set that resembles John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City was built in an unused hangar at Palmdale Regional Airport.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (2007) – The climactic battle was shot in a hangar at Site 9 in Palmdale, California.
  • The Hills Have Eyes Based on the current residents that reside in Lake Los Angeles and Littlerock.
  • Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (Series 2, episode 4, 2008) – Cameron's human counterpart Alison will be born in Palmdale. In the present, Cameron phones Alison's future mother, who already lives in Palmdale, during a period of memory loss or forgotness.
  • Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009) – The sequel to the 2007's Transformers, scenes shot in quarries in Palmdale, California.

Notable residents

Sister cities


  1. ^ a b c "City Council". Retrieved 2007-01-17. 
  2. ^ a b California Department of Finance 2009 Population Estimate
  3. ^ Greater Antelope Valley Economic Alliance
  4. ^ a b Durham, David L. (1998). California's Geographic Names - A Gazetteer of Historic and Modern Names of the State. Quill Driver Books. pp. 1320. ISBN 9781884995149. 
  5. ^ Palmdale City Library
  6. ^ a b c Los Angeles County Public Library
  7. ^ Los Angeles County Public Library
  8. ^ Los Angeles County Public Library
  9. ^ a b c d e [Book; Palmdale: How It All Began. © City of Palmdale, 1998]
  10. ^ Palmdale High School
  11. ^ Palmdale Regional Airport – History
  12. ^ Los Angeles County Public Library
  13. ^
  14. ^ Daily News – Antelope Valley
  15. ^ "Palmdale City Library". City of Palmdale. 
  16. ^ "Palmdale Station." Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. Retrieved on January 21, 2010.
  17. ^ "Antelope Valley Health Center." Los Angeles County Department of Health Services. Retrieved on March 18, 2010.
  18. ^ "Will Gerrymandered Districts Stem the Wave of Voter Unrest?". Campaign Legal Center Blog. Retrieved 2008-02-10. 
  19. ^ [1]
  20. ^ [2]
  21. ^ "Best Of The West Softball Complex". City of Palmdale. 
  22. ^ "Big Rock Creek Camp". 
  23. ^ "Barrel Springs Trail & Arena and Joshua Ranch Trail". City of Palmdale. 
  24. ^ "Littlerock Dam and Recreation Area". 
  25. ^
  26. ^ " Weather Channel Historical Weather for Palmdale, California, United States of America". Retrieved August 2 2007. 
  27. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  28. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  29. ^ Street Rodder, 7/94, pp.132-40.
  30. ^ [3]

External links

Simple English

City of Palmdale
—  City  —
Motto: Aerospace Capital of America
Location of Palmdale in Los Angeles County, California
Coordinates: 34°34′52″N 118°6′2″W / 34.58111°N 118.10056°W / 34.58111; -118.10056
Country United States
State California
County Los Angeles
 - Mayor James C. Ledford Jr.[1]
 - Mayor Pro Tem Steve Knight[2]
 - City Manager Steve Williams[3]
 - City 104.59 sq mi (272.2 km2)
 - Land 104.59 sq mi (271.8 km2)
 - Water 0.1 sq mi (0.4 km2)  0.13%
Elevation 2,657 ft (810 m)
Population (2008)
 - City 147,897
 Density 1,111.6/sq mi (429.2/km2)
 Metro 462,272
Time zone PST (UTC-8)
 - Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP code 93536, 93543, 93550-93553, 93590-93592
Area code(s) 661
FIPS code 06-55156
GNIS feature ID 1652769
Website Official City of Palmdale Web Site

Palmdale is the largest city in the desert area of California. It has a population of 147,897 and is the 6th largest city in Los Angeles County. It is one of the fastest growing cities in the United States, currently the 25th fastest. It has a population of 589,043 if you include the suburbs around it.

Even though Palmdale is in Los Angeles County, it is not connected to the larger Los Angeles population area. It is separated from it by a mountain range called the San Gabriel Mountains that are over 40 miles wide and almost 2 miles high overall.

Palmdale is the home of several airplanes used by NASA and the Air Force, giving it the nickname of "the aerospace capital of America."

Palmdale is the largest city in the United States without a hospital.

Palmdale Airport will have one airline called United Airlines that flies to San Francisco, California everyday starting in June 2007.


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