Alfred Jones (1859-1931) came to Palmdale on a real-estate excursion, looking to buy some land. He instantly liked the area around Center Street (present-day Palmdale Boulevard), between Ninth and Tenth Streets East. Before committing to this purchase, he wanted to conduct a “test”, digging a hole to check for any hardpan. He didn’t find any hardpan, so he made the purchase, buying 6 acres.
Due to this event, he became known locally as “Hardpan” Jones. He and his son, Alfred Earl, built the family home, where they lived with Hardpan’s wife Venora (1872-1967). She remained living in this home until her death.
The Jones’ made a living through a variety of endeavors, including selling pears from their orchard, hauling sand from Little Rock Creek, railroad grading, and pulling cars out of creeks. Hardpan was also considered the father of the Palmdale Baseball Club, founded in 1916, and Venora was one of Palmdale’s first librarians.
Five generations of the Jones family attended and graduated from Antelope Valley Joint Union High School. Hardpan’s son Alfred eventually married Ruth Pickett, who settled in the Antelope Valley in 1913. Ruth lived to be 107 years old, making her one of Palmdale’s oldest ever residents.
"Gurba, Norma H. Legendary Locals of the Antelope Valley. Arcadia, 2013.
Photo courtesy of MOAH Collections"