In 1858, Aaron G. Lane came to the High Desert and created the hamlet of "Lane's Crossing", which for many years provided shelter and supplies for people making the journey across the desert from the east to San Bernardino. Lane's Crossing was on the Mojave River just north of where the river crosses Interstate 15. Captain Lane was a Mexican-American War veteran who had suffered from malaria during that war. Originally he migrated west to join the California gold rush, but he found out that he could make a better living selling supplies to the miners. He settled in Ione near Sutter's Mill in northern California during those years, but he migrated to San Bernardino in 1857. Although his health did not improve much there, he found that the dry desert air was comforting to him. He settled there in 1858, residing there for 25 years. He was a rancher and became involved in Mojave Valley politics, providing the first polling place in the high desert at his home. That first year, ten citizens cast their votes at Lane's residence, rather than making the long trip to San Bernardino. Census records show that Aaron Lane was not alone living on the crossing and there were ten people living in two residences on the river by 1860. Listed in Dwelling No. 703 were Aaron Lane, William R. Levick, and the Nicholson family, consisting of George and Frances, and their three children aged 9 to 13. Joseph and Mary Highmoor lived in Dwelling No. 704, with a seven-year-old female named Anna.
About 1895, the village was named "Victor" for the California Southern Railroad's General Manager Jacob Nash Victor. In 1901, the U.S. Post Office Department changed that name to Victorville to avoid confusion with the town of Victor, Colorado.
In 1926, the highway U.S. Route 66 was begun, and it passed through Victorville. Today, that former route is known as Seventh Street and continues across Interstate 15 and becomes Palmdale Road. It is the primary street through Old Town Victorville.
In 1940, Herman J. Mankiewicz and John Houseman wrote the first two drafts of the script for the film Citizen Kane in Victorville, while residing at the Green Spot motel along Route 66. That film's producer and director, Orson Welles, had sent the two of them to write in semi-seclusion - due to Mankiewicz's outrageous drinking propensities.
After decades of service to the Air Force, in 1992 the George Air Force Base was closed, and its land turned over to other uses. Part of it is now the Southern California Logistics Airport. The former Air Force base housing area is now vacant, and it forms a ghost town that is used for military training by troops from the U.S. Army's Fort Irwin Military Reservation. The Victorville Federal Penitentiary has been built on another part of the former air base.
The city of Victorville was officially incorporated by the State of California on September 21, 1962.
On August 14, 1977, the actor Ron Haydock was struck and killed while hitchhiking near Victorville.
In 2003, the practically bankrupt Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Museum was moved from Victorville to Branson, Missouri, for another try at solvency.
On November 3, 2007, Victorville hosted the DARPA Urban Challenge, a six-hour autonomous robot driving contest through the streets of the Southern California Logistics Airport. The Carnegie Mellon University team, known as Tartan Racing, won the two million dollar first prize, with the Stanford University Racing Team winning a one million dollar check for finishing second. Team Victor Tango, made up of faculty and students from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute won $500,000 for finishing third.
“Robots sometimes stun the world, inspire a lot of people and change the belief of what is possible,” said William “Red” Whittaker, a Carnegie Mellon Univ. robotics professor and the leader of the university’s Tartan Racing team. “We’ve seen that here and once the perception of what’s possible changes, it never goes back. This is a phenomenal thing for robotics.”