The History of Imperial

The City of Imperial is a city of many firsts in the Imperial Valley. The town-site of Imperial was plotted in 1902 for home and commercial businesses. A few of the many firsts include a printing press, drug store, grocery store, brick building, and church. The City can also boast of having the first school in the Imperial Valley and the FIRST CHAMBER OF COMMERCE.

On July 12, 1904, the City of Imperial became the first city in the Imperial Valley to incorporate.

Over the years, Imperial became the location for the headquarters of the Imperial Irrigation District, the California Mid-Winter Fair and the Imperial County Airport. Several businesses were also established in the City.

Throughout the years, Imperial has been devastated by several large earthquakes: May 3, 1872 (5.75), November 15, 1875 (6.25), April 19, 1906 (6.2), June 23, 1915 (6.0), May 19, 1940 (7.1), October 15, 1979 (6.4), April 4, 2010 (7.2). These earthquakes have devastated and destroyed many of the historical buildings in the downtown business area, and rebuilding was slow for many years.

Click HERE for more information on our historic earthquakes.

The City of Imperial is now enjoying a "rebirth" of the city with new homes and businesses. The City of Imperial has seen tremendous growth. Our population has reached over 18,000 and there has been a new development of homes, apartments and condominiums. In addition, the City issued 440 new business licenses in 2018.

The City of Imperial has been recognized as the Safest City in California for three years in a row, 2016, 2017 & 2018. The City is also ranked as the 22nd safest city in the nation.