(Note: The ongoing Palo Verde Historical Museum & Society contributions are from a collection of “History of the Communities of the Palo Verde Valley” submissions dated and published November 2001.)
Palo Verde was the earliest community in the southern end of the Palo Verde Valley. William Riley Pfost said that he came from Cibola Valley to homestead in 1901. Palo Verde had as residents the Abner Williams family, Ed Hodges family, Frank Hodges family, and a Mexican family. From that small beginning, Palo Verde proved to be a hardy and lasting community.
The Hodges families did much to secure Palo Verde’s gradual growth. They owned a fair sized herd of cattle and would grubstake miners in the area from time to time, as well as doing some mining for themselves.
Ed Hodges started the stage line to Glamis on the Southern Pacific Railroad to Imperial Valley and made one trip weekly. The family ran a small store where Ed Hodges established Palo Verde’s first Post Office on March 1, 1903.
When Hodges moved on, a P. Wiley took over the store and duties as Postmaster.
The first school was started in 1902 when a young beginning schoolteacher came to Palo Verde for one year. The schoolroom was made of poles and arrow weeds.
The teachers story of that first year was told in her book, “Memoirs of a School Ma’am,” which is for sale in the Palo Verde Valley Historical Museum’s Gift Shop. It tells a wonderful story about how people lived in those days.
The school was used only one year and was located about two miles north and east of Palo Verde on 35th Avenue and about 100 yards east of the Palo Verde lagoon.
The lagoon runs nearly eight miles north of Palo Verde and runs to the river south of Palo Verde.
Another school was opened in Palo Verde at a later date. Homesteaders settled the rest of the valley north from Palo Verde and other schools opened as the need arose.
Palo Verde never grew very much because most of the development took place toward the north end of the valley. Palo Verde has always been on the road to Imperial Valley and Glamis and was the valley’s connection with the nearest railroad.
For many years, most of the supplies and transportation was provided by the railroad connection. Most of Palo Verde’s growth in later years has come from people building along the lagoon for the fishing, hunting, and mining opportunities in the area.