California City, officially The City of California City, abbreviated as Cal City, is a city incorporated in 1965 located in the northern Antelope Valley in Kern County, California, United States, 100 miles (160 km) north of the city of Los Angeles. The population was 14,120 at the 2010 census. Covering 203.63 square miles (527.4 km2), California City is known for having the third-largest land area of any city in the state of California. It was a master-planned community, created in the post-World War II boom years with grand aspirations, that failed to grow and fill the lots, blocks, and streets that were laid out in the remote Mojave desert.
Much of the workforce of Edwards Air Force Base, which is located 18 miles (29 km) southeast of the city, is made up of city residents. Other major sources of employment include California City Correctional Center (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation); Mojave Air and Space Port and its flight test operations; and the Hyundai/Kia Proving Grounds located in the rural southwestern part of the city. California City has a PGA golf course, one prison, one municipal airport, and was home to the California City Whiptails, a now-defunct professional independent baseball league team associated with the Pecos League.
Padre Francisco Garcés, a Franciscan missionary, camped at Castle Butte in what is now California City in 1776 during the Juan Bautista de Anza expedition of Alta California.
In the late 19th century, the Twenty Mule Team Trail, which carried loads of borax to the railhead in Mojave from Harmony Borax Works mines in the east, ran through the California City area.
The Mojave Gunnery Range "C" was used from August 1944 until January 1959, when it became part of the California City land. It included bomb targets and strafing targets such as a vehicle convoy. It was also used for pilotless aircraft just after World War II. Unexploded ordnance and toxic waste are associated with the site, and the Army Corps of Engineers began surveying the site in 1999, and by 2001 the range was described as containing 20,908 acres (8,461 ha) southwest of the California City center.
Site surveys beginning in 1999 found MK 23 3-pound practice bombs with unfired signal cartridges, 20-millimeter Target Practice projectiles, 2.25, 2.75, and 5-inch practice rockets, high explosive bombs, and small arms ammunition from .22 to .50 caliber were found.