History: In 1906 W. F. Holt and C.A. Barker purchased the land on which El Centro was eventually built for about forty dollars an acre and invested $100,000 in improvements. As one historian of Valley life put it, "in only five months El Centro went from a barley field to a city...". The City of El Centro was incorporated on April 16, 1908. Early growth was rapid with the city's population reaching 1,610 by 1910 and more than tripling by 1920 to 5,646 people. One reason for this rapid early growth was El Centro's successful battle with the City of Imperial to become the county seat.