Carl Bergman, a 70 year Antelope Valley resident, died Sunday at a Lancaster residential care facility following a lengthy illness. He was 95 years old. Born Nov. 10, 1907, in Compton, Bergman moved to the Antelope Valley on July 1, 1933, driving a Model T roadster with his wife of two years, Alta. Alta died on Nov. 23, 1999. They were married for 68 years.
Bergman was probably best known in the Antelope Valley for his work with Branch 30 of the Early Day Gas Engine and Tractor Association. A founding member, Bergman brought gas engines to the Antelope Valley Alfalfa Festival when it was held in downtown Lancaster in the late 1930s. In late August of last year, Bergman visited the Antelope Valley Fair for one last look at the branch’s display of engine and tractors. “I have so many great memories of this place, mostly the people,” said Bergman, enfeebled by age but resilient in spirit. “Many of them are gone, but there’s still a few of them around. We put in many hours and many years into helping make the fair become what it is.
Bergman shuffled over to an old John Deere tractor and leaned against it for a photo. He gestured towards the antique engines, tractor, cars and trucks. Many of these are my friends. I’m in good company, Bergman said. He worked for the Union Oil Co. and once operated his own gas station at what was now Sierra Highway and Lancaster Boulevard. Later, he teamed up with the late Russ Turner to build about 500 hay barns in the valley, as well as in the Kern and Mono counties. Bergman also worked as a carpenter and special effects man for movies made in the Antelope Valley. He was a projectionist at the old Valley Theater when it was owned by Judy Garland’s parents.