The present-day communities that are in our area include:
Rancho Cucamonga which includes Alta Loma, Cucamonga and Etiwanda (Chaffey’s first purchase)
Mt. Baldy Village
However, our ‘sphere of influence’ is larger -
The valley we are in is called the Pomona Valley and is formed by the San Gabriel Mountains on the north and a smaller group of hills running, basically north-south that separate the eastern edge of Los Angeles County.
The area we ‘serve’ is in the western edge of San Bernardino County and bounded on the west by Los Angeles County, the north by the Angeles National Forest and the south by Riverside County. The area is some times referred to as the “West End”.
For thousands of years this area was populated by the indigenous people known as the Tongva. In the 1760′s the Spanish sent their Catholic Missionaries to California and Mission San Gabriel was established in Los Angeles County. This “west end” of the valley was under its influence. About 1834, when Mexico obtained its independance from Spain, the missions were basically abandoned and huge tracts of land were granted to favored politicians and military men. Not long thereafter immigration from the eastern United States began, basically as a result of the California ‘gold rush’. The southern California climate was very attractive, the railroads moved west and so did the people. The land grants had not been developed to any degree and when offers to purchase came forward, sales were made.
Though the Cooper Museum’s mission statement names the communities of Upland, Ontario, Rancho Cucamonga, Mt Baldy, and Montclair these names primarily name incorporated cities. We also refer to our area as the Chaffey Communities because the real ”development of the area began when George and William Chaffey arrived from Canada, saw an investment opportunity, started buying and mapping large areas of land.
The Chaffey’s purchases primarily involve the communities of Etiwanda (now part of Rancho Cucamonga), Ontario, Upland and San Antonio Heights (unincorporated). Their direct involvement in the area only lasted from about 1881-1885 but their efforts that established irrigation for agricultural development is the reason this area attracted so many people and became so well known for citrus groves and vineyards.
Today, we embrace all of the communities in this West End of San Bernardino County and acknowledge the contributions of all the people who have lived here and make the area what it is today. Though our focus is not on the Los Angeles County areas of Pomona, San Dimas, La Verne, and Claremont, we all have the same ‘roots’ based on the indiginous Tongva, the San Gabriel Mission and agricultural climate.