Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich changed the name of Peace Valley Road in Gorman to Ralphs Ranch Road on Monday in honor of the famous family that owned Gorman for 100 years beginning in the late 1800s.
According to the motion by Antonovich, “Members of the unincorporated community of Gorman have requested to change the name of North Peace Valley Road to Ralphs Ranch Road in honor of the contributions of the pioneer Ralphs family to the establishment of modern Gorman, its school district and the Golden Valley Municipal Water District since 1898.”
(All of Peace Valley Road, from Frazier Mountain Park Road on the north to Owin Way in Lebec on the south, is technically “North” Peace Valley Road.)
Oscar Ralphs bought the 2,700-acre Gorman Ranch in 1898. His brother George A. Ralphs founded the grocery chain after getting his start in the grocery business in Los Angeles in 1872. Within a year, George had earned enough to purchase his own store, and two years after that, his other brother Walter joined him in the family business – which was located at Sixth and Spring Streets in downtown L.A.
The company incorporated in 1909 and by 1928 had expanded to 10 stores.
Meanwhile up the new (1915) Ridge Route, the renamed “Ralphs Ranch” was used to fatten cattle for the grocery stores.
When the horseless buggies came, the family opened service stations, and Gorman grew into a rest stop complete with a hotel in 1966 as the Ridge Route was about to be replaced by Interstate 5.
For many years, Ralphs family members held every seat on the Gorman School Board and the local water district board. They owned the two fast-food restaurants as well as the local cable television company, which served all 13 homes as of 1997 when, after nearly 100 years of ownership, the Ralphs family put the town of Gorman and the rest of their ranch up for sale for $4.2 million.
Adapted from “Ralphs Ranch & Grocery Company History” by Leon Worden on SCVHistory.com.
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