Flashback to 50 years ago

Linda Saholt

News Review Correspondent

Flashback to 50 years agoIn preparation for Ridgecrest’s 50th anniversary of incorporation this November, some interesting bits of history are coming to light.

Doris Swanson, a Ridgecrest resident since 1955, shared an original copy of the Indian Wells Valley Independent and Times Herald newspaper, showing the day when Ridgecrest’s incorporation was a banner headline.

The photo under the headline shows the first city council, including the first mayor, Mathias Hugo Jr., as well as Weldon J. Jules, L. Neal Webb, Robert L. Duguid, Dr. David E. Kraus and Dr. Robert L.E. Gilmer.

Swanson shared some of her memories of those early days.

“Ridgecrest was just a new little city when I first came here from Kansas. I was used to bigger cities and this place impressed me,” said Swanson. “What impressed me the most was the friendliness of the people, all working together.

“Back then, we all had to work together to get anything done — the schools, the PTA, the Scouts, sports, churches — everyone volunteered. All the kids in town were volunteers, and we had a great PTA.

“This was one close community. The hospital has certainly grown so much. Our second son was born there. It was a little tiny hospital then. Dr. Drummond lived upstairs over the hospital, and he delivered my son.

“We [the PTA] started the Follies long before the Chamber of Commerce sponsored the Follies. We really have neat people here.”

Mayor Dan Clark, a Ridgecrest resident since 1980, said he is excited about the coming 50th anniversary celebration, set for this Nov. 1-3.

“We’re looking to honor all the past civic leaders for the 50th. If you know where any of the early leaders are, please let us know. We’re interested in inviting them to our 50th celebration and honoring their service to our community.

“Please contact me at 760-499-5003. I will personally send a letter and do whatever we can as a city to accommodate their travels. It would be so great to have them here for this celebration.”

Among the many festivities planned will be a ceremony to recognize dignitaries, followed by a reception on Nov. 2. For more information about the activities planned and to be a part of it all, call Justin O’Neill at 760-495-2959, e-mail 50thanniversarystreetfair @gmail.com, or check Facebook at 50thAnniversaryStreetFair.

Story First Published: 2013-07-03