History

Downtown Imperial Business Center (at the intersection of what is now Imperial Avenue and Barioni Blvd.) circa 1913

 

The City of Imperial is a city of many firsts in the valley.

The town-site of Imperial was plotted in 1902 for home and commercial businesses. A few of the many firsts was a printing press, drug store, grocery store, brick building, and the first church. The City can also boast of having the first school in the valley and the first Chamber of Commerce.

The City of Imperial was incorporated July 12, 1904 thus being the first city in the valley to incorporate. The city was originally thought to become the county seat, but lost out to the City of El Centro in 1907.

Imperial through the years became the location for the home of the Imperial Irrigation District, the California mid-winter fair and the Imperial County airport. Also several businesses were established in the city. Imperial was devastated by earthquakes in 1916 and 1940. An earthquake in 1979 destroyed many of the old buildings in the downtown business area, including City Hall. Re-building of the business district was slow for many years. We are now enjoying a re-birth of the city with many new homes and businesses. With our central location, we are now a place that many are proud to call home.

Historic Photos

During the harvest seasons this traveling refreshment stand goes from field to field. Imperial County, California

 During the harvest seasons this traveling refreshment stand goes from field to field. Imperial County, California

 

Resting at the Imperial County Fair, California

Residents resting in front of the sign for the Imperial County Mid-Winter Fair, circa 1942.

 

 Imperial Avenue at 8th Street looking west, circa 1924 (source:unknown)

Eigth Street looking west, circa 1924. (Source: unknown)

 

Imperial Railroad Station, circa 1910

 Imperial Railroad Station, circa 1910 (Courtesy of William Barragar; photo taken by Mr. Barragar's grandfather who worked as a telegrapher for the Southern Pacific Railroad).

 

 

All images on this page are from the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Online Catalog (unless otherwise noted).

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