California City had its origins in 1958 when real estate developer and sociology professor Nat Mendelsohn purchased 80,000 acres (320 km2) of Mojave Desert land with the aim of master-planning California’s next great city. He designed his model city, which he hoped would one day rival Los Angeles in size, around a Central Park with a 26-acre (11 ha) artificial lake. Growth did not happen anywhere close to what he expected. To this day a vast grid of crumbling paved roads, intended to lay out residential blocks, extends well beyond the developed area of the city. Satellite photos show how it stakes its claim to being California’s 3rd largest geographic city, 34th largest in the US. California City was incorporated in 1965.
In spite of the areas of California City that haven’t developed, California City has grown from 3,200 people in 1985 to over 14,000 in 2009. Cerro Coso Community College closed escrow on 22 acres (89,000 m2) in the heart of California City for a Community College to serve Edwards AFB, California City, Mojave, Boron, North Edwards and the entire high desert in the Antelope Valley