Imperial is at the intersection of Farm roads 1053 and 11, four miles south of the Pecos River and twenty-eight miles northeast of Fort Stockton in northern Pecos County. It may have been known as Redlands from 1908 until around 1910 but was apparently renamed for the Imperial Valley of California when a post office and school were established there in 1910. In 1911 a townsite was laid out for the owner of the property, Benjamin E. Bush. Water was diverted from the Pecos River, and a dam was built to form the Imperial Reservoir, eight miles west of the community. An irrigation canal was constructed through Imperial in an effort by land promoters to attract buyers. Water rights were given to buyers, but high saline levels, a declining water supply, and low profits made farming unproductive. In 1925 Imperial had a population of twenty-five. The town had eleven rated businesses and a population of 250 in 1949. By 1968 the population was nearing 1,000, and the town supported twenty-six businesses. However, by 1986 the population had fallen to 720, and only twelve businesses remained. In 1990 the population was still recorded as 720. The population dropped to 428 in 2000.
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