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definition - Blythe,_California

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Blythe, California

City of Blythe
—  City  —
Blythe street scene, circa 1900
Location in Riverside County and the state of California
Coordinates: 33°37′2″N 114°35′21″W / 33.61722°N 114.58917°W / 33.61722; -114.58917Coordinates: 33°37′2″N 114°35′21″W / 33.61722°N 114.58917°W / 33.61722; -114.58917
Country  United States
State  California
County Riverside
 • Mayor Oscar Galvan
 • Total 26.972 sq mi (69.855 km2)
 • Land 26.189 sq mi (67.828 km2)
 • Water 0.783 sq mi (2.027 km2)  2.90%
Elevation 272 ft (83 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 20,817
 • Density 770/sq mi (300/km2)
Time zone PST (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP codes 92225-92226
Area code(s) 760
FIPS code 06-07218
GNIS feature ID 1660349
Website www.cityofblythe.ca.gov
  One of the Blythe Intaglios, prehistoric geoglyphs in the Sonoran Desert, across the river from Parker Valley.

Blythe (play /ˈblθ/) is a city in Riverside County, California, United States, in the Palo Verde Valley of the Lower Colorado River Valley region, an agricultural area and part of the Colorado Desert along the Colorado River. Blythe was named after Thomas Blythe, a gold prospector who established primary water rights to the Colorado River in the region in 1877. The city was incorporated on July 21, 1916. The population was 20,817 at the 2010 census.



In 1882, Thomas Blythe, a native of England, came to what is now Blythe in favor of settling and finding real estate for further development. Blythe previously resided in San Francisco and had become wealthy through real estate investments. He was also involved in farming and mining. Blythe worked with partners William Calloway and George Irish until his death in 1883. No development occurred until the turn of the 20th century.

Frank Murphy and Ed Williams, who were involved on the cattle industry and came from nearby Arizona, came to the area in 1904 and were convinced it was well-suited for cattle and farming. With the help of W.A. Hobson, they formed the Palo Verde Land and Water Company. W.F. Holt, who helped develop nearby Imperial Valley, became the company's general manager. Holt resigned at 1912. Hobson Way is named in honor of W.A Hobson.

On August 8, 1916, the California Southern Railroad built a railroad to Blythe from a desert station of Rice, CA, then known as Blythe Junction. It was later renamed to honor G.W. Rice, the superintendent of the railroad. The Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway took control of the line between 1921 and 1991.

In 1972, Interstate 10 is built through the city, replacing US 60 and US 70 as the main thoroughfare.

  Geography and climate

Blythe is located near the California/Arizona border in the Colorado Desert section of the Sonoran Desert, at the junction of Interstate 10 and US 95. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 27.0 square miles (70 km2), of which 26.2 square miles (68 km2) is land and 0.8 square miles (2.1 km2) (2.90%) is water.

Nearby communities include Lost Lake and Vidal to the north, Ripley to the south, Desert Center to the west, and Ehrenberg, Arizona, to the east. Major cities in the region include Yuma (85 miles), Indio (95 miles), Phoenix (150 miles), San Bernardino (170 miles), Riverside (172 miles), and Las Vegas (200 miles). Blythe is within 4 hours via car of 10% of the United States’ population.

Blythe has an arid climate with very hot summers and mild winters. There an average of 178.4 days with highs of 90 °F (32 °C) or higher. There an average of 18.9 days with lows of 32 °F (0 °C) or lower. The record high temperature was 122 °F (50 °C) on July 7, 1920, and June 24, 1929. The record low temperature was 5 °F (−15 °C) on January 6, 1913. There are an average of 16 days with measurable precipitation. The wettest year was 1951 with 8.71 inches (22.1 cm) and the driest year was 1956 with .18 inches (0.46 cm). The most rainfall in one month was 6.00 inches (15.2 cm) in August 1951, which included the 24-hour record rainfall of 3.06 inches (7.8 cm) on August 27.[2]

At the airport, there are an average of 176.0 days with highs of 90 °F (32 °C) or higher. There an average of 5.4 days with lows of 32 °F (0 °C) or lower. The record high temperature was 123 °F (51 °C) on June 28, 1994, and July 28, 1995. The record low temperature was 20 °F (−7 °C) on January 8, 1971. There an average of 17 days with measurable precipitation. The wettest year was 1992 with 9.16 inches (23.3 cm) and the driest year was 1953 with .59 inches (1.5 cm). The most rainfall in one month was 5.92 inches (15.0 cm) in August 1951, which included the 24-hour record rainfall of 3.00 inches (7.6 cm) on August 26.[3]

Average seasonal temperatures:

Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation totals in inches
Source: www.weather.com

Also notable is the geological history of Blythe - despite California's reputation for earthquakes, according to geologists Blythe has not had an earthquake centered in the city for over 500,000 years.[4]

  Local features

Tourism is a major component of the local economy. Blythe is a stopover city with full services for travelers between any of the nearby regions, in particular the major cities of Los Angeles and Phoenix, since it is approximately midway between those two metropolitan areas. The winter months bring visitors avoiding the colder climates of the north, when the population of the area within 50 miles (80 km) of Blythe has been known to exceed 500,000.[4]

Con-Way freight has a large facility here. It is used mainly at night for cross dock operations, as there is seldom a need to make deliveries here.

Blythe also contains 24 churches, one library, two newspapers Palo Verde Valley Times The Desert Independent, two museums, two radio stations, three banks, a three-screen movie theater (now closed), one funeral home and an 18,500 sq ft (1,720 m²). recreation center. The area is popular with campers and hikers and has six parks, seven campgrounds, seven R.V. parks, 3 boat ramps onto the Colorado River, and an 18-hole public golf course.

Blythe hosts the Blythe Blue Grass Festival annually the third weekend of January. The Annual Blythe Bluegrass Music Festival has been part of the excitement of the Palo Verde Valley for the last 20+ years. Past artists have included Rhonda Vincent And The Rage, Dailey And Vincent, Alecia Nugent, Carolina Road, Copper River Band, Hurricane Creek, Chris Stuart And Backcountry, The Larry Stephenson Band, Michael Cleveland And The Flamekeeper Band, New Found Road, Silverado, Iiird Generation Bluegrass Band, The U.S. Navy Band, Country Current. Over 13,000 people attend the three day event with many arriving the Monday prior to the Friday kick-off.

Blythe is also an area that features a lot of hunting but has become overcrowded and built up over the years. The local dove hunting season starts at the every September 1st.


Historical populations
Census Pop.
1920 1,622
1930 1,020 −37.1%
1940 2,355 130.9%
1950 4,089 73.6%
1960 6,023 47.3%
1970 7,047 17.0%
1980 6,805 −3.4%
1990 8,428 23.9%
2000 12,155 44.2%
2010 20,817 71.3%


The 2010 United States Census[5] reported that Blythe had a population of 20,817. The population density was 771.8 people per square mile (298.0/km²). The racial makeup of Blythe was 12,396 (59.5%) White, 3,126 (15.0%) African American, 243 (1.2%) Native American, 319 (1.5%) Asian, 32 (0.2%) Pacific Islander, 4,045 (19.4%) from other races, and 656 (3.2%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 11,068 persons (53.2%).

The Census reported that 12,972 people (62.3% of the population) lived in households, 82 (0.4%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 7,763 (37.3%) were institutionalized.

There were 4,513 households, out of which 1,972 (43.7%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 1,995 (44.2%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 855 (18.9%) had a female householder with no husband present, 344 (7.6%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 396 (8.8%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 24 (0.5%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 1,071 households (23.7%) were made up of individuals and 367 (8.1%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.87. There were 3,194 families (70.8% of all households); the average family size was 3.41.

The population was spread out with 4,157 people (20.0%) under the age of 18, 1,770 people (8.5%) aged 18 to 24, 7,332 people (35.2%) aged 25 to 44, 5,764 people (27.7%) aged 45 to 64, and 1,794 people (8.6%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38.0 years. For every 100 females there were 218.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 268.1 males.

There were 5,473 housing units at an average density of 202.9 per square mile (78.3/km²), of which 2,358 (52.2%) were owner-occupied, and 2,155 (47.8%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 4.0%; the rental vacancy rate was 10.3%. 6,913 people (33.2% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 6,059 people (29.1%) lived in rental housing units.


As of the census[6] of 2000, there were 12,155 people, 4,103 households, and 2,974 families residing in the city. The population density was 501.5 people per square mile (193.6/km²). There were 4,891 housing units at an average density of 201.8 per square mile (77.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 55.4% White, 8.3% Black or African American, 1.4% Native American, 1.4% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 28.8% from other races, and 4.5% from two or more races. 45.8% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 4,103 households out of which 41.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.0% were married couples living together, 16.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.5% were non-families. 22.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.91 and the average family size was 3.45.

In the city the population was spread out with 33.9% under the age of 18, 8.7% from 18 to 24, 28.4% from 25 to 44, 19.0% from 45 to 64, and 9.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 99.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.0 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $35,324, and the median income for a family was $40,783. Males had a median income of $32,342 versus $26,671 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,424. About 19.0% of families and 20.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.9% of those under age 18 and 21.6% of those age 65 or over.


In the state legislature Blythe is located in the 40th Senate District, represented by Democrat Denise Moreno Ducheny, and in the 80th Assembly District, represented by Democrat Manuel Perez (politician). Federally, Blythe is located in California's 45th congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of R +3[7] and is represented by Republican Mary Bono Mack.

  Water transfers to MWD

In a 2005 agreement, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) negotiated with Palo Verde Irrigation District (PVID) in Blythe to fallow, or idle, farm land for 35 years. The deal will transfer water that would have been used for farming in the area of Blythe, Ripley and Palo Verde to MWD.

According to a 1990 pilot study, water diversions and fallowed farm land reduced farming employment. The MWD provided $6 million in a development fund to reimburse the community for losses caused by shifting water to urban areas.[8]

California currently uses more than its allotted share of water from the Colorado River. The transfer agreement also seeks to address over-use of river water. It is partly designed to reduce overall diversions from the river.


  Public services

  State and federal agencies

State facilities in the town include the following:

Federal facilities in the town include the following:

  • U.S. Border Patrol
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture - Blythe Federal Building
  • U.S. Postal Service - Blythe Federal Building


Blythe has its own police department and volunteer fire department. The Riverside County Sheriff's Department also has a regional station in Blythe. The Riverside County Fire Department no longer covers any parts of the city of Blythe.


Blythe area public elementary and secondary schools comprise the Palo Verde Unified School District, which contains 3 elementary schools, 1 middle school, 1 high school, and continuation/adult education school. Palo Verde Community College District is part of the California Community College system and includes Palo Verde Community College, a campus in Blythe, a center in Needles and an extension for Adult Basic education and non-credit classes located on Spring Street in downtown Blythe.


Interstate 10 crosses Blythe on an east-west direction. Concurrent routes US Route 60 and US Route 70 serves Blythe on present-day Hobsonway until Interstate 10's completion. California State Route 78's northern terminus is west of Blythe. US Route 95 crosses Blythe in the eastern side. Lovekin Boulevard and Midland Road serves the ghost town of Midland

Blythe Airport (FAA designator: BLH) is just west of the town on Interstate 10 and has a 6,500-foot (2,000 m) runway.

Blythe was formerly served in rail by the Arizona and California Railroad but currently has no rail service in the Blythe branch. [1].


Health facilities in Blythe include Palo Verde Hospital, a General Acute Care Hospital with 55 total beds and 24-hour standby emergency services, 23 physicians/surgeons, 2 dentists, 2 optometrists, 3 chiropractors, and 1 podiatrist.[9]


The Palo Verde Cemetery District[10] maintains the Palo Verde Cemetery.[11][12]

  In popular culture

The Hardy Boys book Mystery of the Desert Giant is set mostly at Blythe, with the Blythe Intaglios being the main subject of the story.

In 2002, part of the 2004 movie Torque is filmed south of nearby Midland, with filming equipment prepared at Blythe [13].

Blythe is the setting of the 2009 independent film American Cowslip.

  See also


  1. ^ U.S. Census
  2. ^ http://www.wrcc.dri.edu/cgi-bin/cliMAIN.pl?ca0924
  3. ^ http://www.wrcc.dri.edu/cgi-bin/cliMAIN.pl?ca0927
  4. ^ a b About Blythe, Ca
  5. ^ All data are derived from the United States Census Bureau reports from the 2010 United States Census, and are accessible on-line here. The data on unmarried partnerships and same-sex married couples are from the Census report DEC_10_SF1_PCT15. All other housing and population data are from Census report DEC_10_DP_DPDP1. Both reports are viewable online or downloadable in a zip file containing a comma-delimited data file. The area data, from which densities are calculated, are available on-line here. Percentage totals may not add to 100% due to rounding. The Census Bureau defines families as a household containing one or more people related to the householder by birth, opposite-sex marriage, or adoption. People living in group quarters are tabulated by the Census Bureau as neither owners nor renters. For further details, see the text files accompanying the data files containing the Census reports mentioned above.
  6. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  7. ^ "Will Gerrymandered Districts Stem the Wave of Voter Unrest?". Campaign Legal Center Blog. http://www.clcblog.org/blog_item-85.html. Retrieved 2008-02-10. 
  8. ^ * Bureau of Reclamation PDF file on water situation.
  9. ^ California Department of Health Services
  10. ^ California Association of Public Cemeteries
  11. ^ 33°37′51″N 114°36′03″W / 33.6308572°N 114.6007904°W / 33.6308572; -114.6007904 USGS Geographic Names Information System (GNIS)
  12. ^ Palo Verde Cemetery Find A Grave
  13. ^ http://www.movie-trains.com/torque.html

  External links



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