Palmdale celebrates 49 years of growth, diversity

Palmdale's first mayor Larry Chimbole.

Palmdale's first mayor Larry Chimbole.

PALMDALE – Palmdale’s first mayor Larry Chimbole blew out the candles to rousing applause Wednesday at the 49th birthday celebration for the City of Palmdale.

“Palmdale didn’t happen by accident,” Chimbole said. “Palmdale needed to happen and it happened because of the efforts of some special people.”

Chimbole 2Chimbole shared memories of early Palmdale with the crowd of about 50 residents and city employees who came out to the birthday reception at the Larry Chimbole Cultural Center. “We were poor and we had very little to work with, but the five people who were elected were so dedicated to making this a better place that they worked with what they had,” said Chimbole, referring to himself and Palmdale’s first City Council members – Pichard Linaher, Marlin Gilbreath, Domenic Massari, and Lester Nichols. “They didn’t make any mistakes… none,” Chimbole continued. “One of the things they did, and you should spread the word around on this, the original city council worked for free.”

Chimbole 3The city of Palmdale was incorporated on August 24, 1962. At the time, the city was only 2 square miles with a population of approximately 7,100. Today, Palmdale is home to nearly 153,000 people and over the past decade, it has emerged as one of the fastest developing communities in California.

Minority community leaders say Palmdale is rapidly developing as a melting pot for all nationalities and cultures, as well. They say this progress is due in part to the City’s first mayor.

“Larry Chimbole is one of the reasons why Palmdale is the way it is because in his heart, he doesn’t believe in racism at all,” said AV NAACP President Juan Blanco. “He fights against it and he’s been one of the people to make Palmdale an accomplished city for all races and nationalities, all people.”