History of Atwater, CA
"Building a Business Community Through Networking"
M. D. Atwater was the owner of a large farm. He had farmed land owned by John Mitchell since 1869. Mr. Atwater later rented 6,000 acres between the railroad and Winton. In 1872 he requested that the railroad running through the valley build a switch so that he would be able to ship his grain from the warehouse. This switch later became known as “The Atwater Switch.”
In 1878, Atwater’s first school opened its doors with Lottie Swain as the original teacher. More families settled in areas during the later part of the century attracted by conditions favorable for growing peaches, berries and other crops.
George S. Bloss, Sr. came to Atwater in 1884 from Woodbury, Connecticut. The Bloss family lived in a small dwelling where the present Bloss building now stands on the corner of Third and Atwater Boulevard. Mr. Bloss became engaged in farming and in 1892, built a two-story home across from the railroad tracks. Vineyards were planted in 1890 and 1891 and in 1900 Atwater Slowly began to develop.
The Atwater Signal started publication in 1911 with a weekly newspaper. Atwater continued to grow and in 1912, the San Joaquin Light and Power Company brought electricity.
In 1913 the Bloss home was built on Cedar Avenue between First and Second Streets, where it still remains.
Increasing agricultural production kept Atwater growing over the next several years and the influence of local agriculture is still evident.
In 1922, Atwater was incorporated and George Bloss Jr. was its first Mayor.
Castle Air Force Base was used originally as an aircrew training facility by the US Army in 1941 and the Strategic Air Command assumed responsibility for the base in 1946. The base was officially closed in 1995. The Castle Air Museum continues this legacy and is the largest museum displaying over 47 vintage aircraft in the Western United States.
Atwater is a thriving community influenced by our great ancestors and the local businesses that continue to serve the great citizens of this community.