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Newlin Jewel Landers, for whom the town of Landers was named, was born in North Salem, Indiana, in 1906. He started working as an office boy at the age of 13 and soon had his own business on the side, beginning a lifelong career as entrepreneur and self-made businessman. Later, in the early 1940’s, he became the co-owner of Selwyn-Landers Valve Company in Los Angeles.
IMAGE: Newlin's Business Card
In 1947 Newlin began flying to the Landers area and was soon so captivated by the desert that he and seven friends filed on adjoining five-acre homestead sites adjacent to the Landers Airstrip (now Starshine Lane). In 1950, several residents met to decide on a name for the area and Landers’ name was selected, according to one version of the story, because he was the only one absent from the meeting.
IMAGE: Starshine Lane News Article
Newlin Landers built the third home and put in a light plant. Newlin had his own well drilled in 1953 which he operated with a gas engine from an old Chevrolet. He made water available for those who didn’t have their own wells at one-tenth of a cent a gallon or five cents a barrel- paid on the honor system. People came with all types of containers and conveyances to get water from Landers’ well.
When Newlin died in April, 1990, one newspaper account referred to him as a “modern day pioneer” a description which captures the spirit of the man whose contributions were so important to the community he helped to found.
IMAGE: Newlin and his Stinson Flying Station Wagon
Vernette Trosper Landers was a strong-willed woman of many talents. She was determined and ambitious but was also a free spirit with a fun-loving nature. She was born in Comanche County, Lawton, Oklahoma in 1912.
Her family moved to CA when she was six and she grew up in Hollywood. She was highly educated and earned her Doctorate in Education from UCLA. She had a 37-year career as a teacher, counselor and administrator.
IMAGE: Vernette Landers
Vernette first came to the Landers area in the early 1940’s with her husband-to-be, Major Paul Lum, a doctor who served in the south Pacific during World War II. She filed on a recreational site on the southeast corner of Old Woman Springs Road and (now) Lum Lane. Vernette and Doctor Lum were married in 1952 but Lum died only three years later.
Vernette met Newlin Landers when he delivered water to her home in February, 1959. They were married in May and settled as permanent residents in Lander where each contributed to the growth and development of the community.
IMAGE: Newlin and Vernette in front of the Post Office