Having crossed the county line into San Bernardino county, in this portion of our photoessay we travel through Colton as well as through San Bernardino proper. The county seat of San Bernardino county with a population of nearly 200,000 (2005), San Bernardino was founded in 1810 with its own Spanish mission established by Fr. Francisco Dumetz. Dumetz named the mission and the region's majestic snowcapped peak for St. Bernardine of Siena, whose feast day was 20 May (the day Dumetz established the mission); Saint Bernardine remains the patron saint of the local diocese, and one of the major regional hospitals is also named for him. With the decomissioning of the missions by Mexican Governor Figueroa in 1834 (see Part 2 and the San Diego Mission), the region largely lapsed into ranching and was divvied up amongst multiple rancho owners until the cessation of the region to the United States after the Mexican-American wars. By then, several hundred Mormons under the lead of Captain Andrew Lytle (hence modern Lytle Creek), Amasa Lyman and Charles Rich had emigrated from Salt Lake City to the Santa Ana River valley in 1851, establishing Fort San Bernardino and expanding out to farm the region. Colonel Henry Washington established a survey point on Mt. San Bernardino in 1852 and from that base line (remembered in the city's Base Line St; surveys today are still made based on his monument) the city was platted and incorporated in 1854. Like the future Riverside to the south, the temperance-minded population tolerated no booze (Part 13), and it is likely that some of the population lived in what would become Riverside later. Their trek partially came down what is the Cajon Pass now, and this major crossing is the chief topic of Part 18 along with a little more on their story.
Brigham Young recalled the Mormons home to Zion in 1857 (a theme we will see again on mainline US 395 in Nevada), but unlike many faithful who moved back to Utah at great financial cost, some rebelled against his order and refused to return. A thriving city grew out of the remnant and a large civic network was established. This gentle town was thrown into chaos, however, when prospector William F. Holcomb struck gold in a nearby valley just north of what is now Big Bear Lake and filed five gold claims in the valley he named after himself in 1860. Thus was spawned the boomtown of Belleville and the biggest gold find ever in Southern California; word got out incredibly fast and a much rougher type of settler emerged in fierce contrast to the upstanding inhabitants of San Bernardino, causing much internal dispute and squabble (and even nearly losing the county seat to Belleville, prevailing by only one vote). Gold fever lasted only around a year before the yield plummeted and Belleville and the Holcomb Valley lapsed back into obscurity, but some of the new invaders stayed put as well and the region slowly started to expand once again. As San Bernardino's mining days faded, the railroad entered the valley and made San Bernardino the hub for no less than three networks, including the Santa Fe, the Union Pacific and the Southern Pacific Railroads. Immense local development caused the population to double in less than a decade in the early years of the 20th century. Today, San Bernardino is a victim of much of this expansion's abandonment which left distinct sections blighted and decrepit. Major civic redevelopment is at work to improve its image and lifestyle, much of this visible on the city's southern end.
One of the beneficiaries of the railroad expansion was the first city we will reach; Colton was incorporated in 1887 and named for David Doulty Colton, a general during the Civil War and later president of the Southern Pacific Railroad. During its early days it was presided over by Sheriff Virgil Earp (right), of the famous Earp family that together with Doc Holliday shot and killed Frank McLaury, Tom McLaury and Billy Clanton in the famous Gunfight at the OK Corral, in Tombstone, AZ on 26 October 1881. Before he moved to Colton, Virgil had been the Chief of Police of Tombstone and a federal Deputy Marshall for the Arizona Territory, organizing his famous faction in the Gunfight after a complex series of events including illegal arms possession and a long standing feud (see the excellent Wikipedia article). Contrary to popular legend, Virgil Earp was the most experienced of his family despite his brother Wyatt Earp's reputation, and brothers Wyatt and Morgan were specifically deputized for the occasion. Virgil was shot in the leg during the course of the Gunfight, crippling him, and his reputation was soiled by the Gunfight despite his official exoneration. The victims' family members vowed revenge, and nearly got it: he was attacked again in December at a hotel he was using as a safehouse, further robbing him of the use of his left arm, and Virgil finally left for California the following spring to rejoin his parents who had settled in Colton; even that trip was fraught with peril and his bodyguards killed another would-be assassin as he was boarding a train.
Despite having only one good arm, Virgil's reputation led to his hire by the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1882, on whose behalf Virgil tried unsuccessfully to stop the entry of the California Southern Railroad (Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad) into western California literally over the SPRR tracks, but failed when Governor Robert Waterman (the Waterman in "Waterman Avenue") sent a posse down in 1883 to ensure the crossing's construction by force and the great SPRR monopoly finally fell apart. Its advantageous location made the town a local transport hub and even today sizeable railroad traffic continues to pass over its ties. Earp became constable in 1886 and city-marshal in 1887 after Colton was incorporated, but only lasted a year after which he moved to San Bernardino and then to Colorado. Returning in 1894, he tried to open a saloon but was thwarted by the still-enforced temperance laws and finally moved to Goldfield, NV where he became deputy sheriff for Esmeralda county in 1905 and finally succumbed to pneumonia the same year. After his death and the rise of the automobile, Colton's pre-eminence as a junction point was cemented further as the great US 91/US 395/US 70/US 99 junction was in downtown Colton until the early 1960s, which we will look at in this Part. Today its population numbers 47,662 .
San Bernardino county, by the way, is the continental United States' largest
true county (only North Slope Borough, AK is larger if one counts Alaska)
at some 20,000 square miles, bigger than some states.
Despite its large size, its population numbers a
comparably sparse 1.7 million . It was established as a cast-off
portion of Los Angeles county in 1853; part of its southern half became
Riverside county in 1893.
Click the thumbnail at right to open a new window with a scrolling map showing Riverside and San Bernardino in 1947, 1957, 1963, 1969, 1974, 1977, 1984 and 1999.
In this section we focus particularly on the old La Cadena Drive alignment, the continuation of the 1949 La Cadena Freeway (Part 14) that was constructed in its initial form from 1935 to 1939, which served as the roadbed of CA 18, then US 395 and finally US 91 until the construction of the corresponding segment of the Riverside Fwy in 1959. As we mentioned in Part 14, the southernmost section of La Cadena is now under or incorporated into the southbound lanes of I-215, but an independent section north of there still survives into Colton. There are several distinct alignments of US 395 in Colton and we will look at all of them in turn, save for the US 395 freeway which will be addressed separately in Part 17. All of this section was originally cosigned with CA 18 (until around 1961), and after US 91 was extended south from Barstow in 1947, with that route as well.
We also have two major US highway junctions in this part, namely US 70/US 99 in Colton (but see Part 13 for a footnote about US 70's original routing in California), and grand old US 66 in San Bernardino, US 91/US 395's junction with which being where we end this Part. US 66 is of course the famous "Mother Route" from Los Angeles to Chicago, a/k/a Route 66 (as in "Get your kicks on"), the Main Street of America, the Mother Road, the Will Rogers Highway and west of St. Louis, MO, the National Old Trails Highway; it was an original 1926 highway and the US highway everyone has heard of and everyone has probably driven some section of at least once, even though California was the first to chop it down in 1964 with the Great Renumbering (eliminating it legislatively from the state after which signs completely disappeared by the late 1970s), and it was later nationally decommissioned completely in 1985. In California, part of US 66 remains state highway as CA 66 and the eastern terminus is at modern I-215 in downtown San Bernardino, shown in the picture above, and San Bernardino makes big hay out of its US 66 connection to the point of it even being on the police cars.
If I might be permitted the pontification, US 66 is a route I have many conflicted emotions about: it is not a highway particularly relevant to me as it was already long dead in California when I was a lad, so I have no especial attachment to it, and the fanatical devotion its boosters maintain is actually detrimental to the other routes it shared road with as US 66 is frequently the major or even the only route to retain historic status. This is especially relevant to our study here considering the large amount of territory it shared with US 91 and to a lesser extent with US 395 all the way to modern US 395 in Part 18, but as of this writing the only Historic Route signage that remains on that entire section is for US 66 and it seems unlikely this will ever change. On the other hand, US 66 was the first route to really launch the American consciousness back in time to remember the old highways in the age of the Interstate, and the current retro-push to resurrect the old routes owes a tremendous debt to the supporters of US 66. Moreover, US 66's ubiquitous presence in American culture has made a hobby like mine not merely a perverse geek obsession but a respected, fascinating and (dare I say) "cool" pursuit of the past. US 66 may be just another interesting highway to me, but it did forge the trail for us younger generation roadgeeks who follow now, so I do owe it that level of respect. There are many US 66 historians who have covered the highway in more painstaking, loving detail than I could ever hope to do here, so I leave you with the Great American Highway photo tour, along with the National Historic Route 66 Federation.
As for US 70/US 99, this paired route was part of the future routing of
Interstate 10, which traveled along and after the Great Renumbering superseded
US 70 in California. US 99 was another original US route in the West, largely
incorporating the northern portion of the Pacific Highway to Canada
or along one of its suffixed spurs (US 101 taking the most of the rest
from San Francisco to San Diego; this was US 395's terminus in San Diego
in Part 1). As such, it was a key linchpin for all
three Western states and a guaranteed candidate for Interstate upgrade,
sealing its fate in the 1964 Great Renumbering to largely become
Interstate 5 (except for what remains as state route 99 in all three states,
including California, and the southernmost portions which are mostly I-10,
CA 86 and CA 111). US 70, however, was pretty much doomed in California
from day one in 1935;
as we had mentioned before, it only ever appeared co-signed
with US 60, US 99 or both, and was exactly the kind of co-signage confusion
that the 1964 Renumbering was designed to stamp out (so it was). In this
region, both routes later became business routes for Interstate 10 and we
will see one such BR 10 in Colton as well.
La Cadena Drive
At the very end of the last Part we entered San Bernardino county, and we showed you the county line from I-215. However, if we were heading north on the west-side frontage road, namely W La Cadena Drive (the closest road to where the original alignment ran, trapped under SB I-215), at the county line we would see this abrupt change in pavement and a road pulling out from the Interstate which is literally only a few feet to our right. This is the continuation of old La Cadena Drive and the northern portion of the old 1949 La Cadena Freeway (Part 14), as seen on the large map above.
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Looking straight ahead, we can see how the expressway led up into modern
La Cadena Dr, which is in the background behind the right curve. The curve
motions and the right turn in the foreground were added as part of the
Riverside Fwy project; the foreground turn leads to a southbound I-215 ramp,
and the curve in the background accepts traffic from the I-215 La Cadena Dr
(NB) and Iowa Avenue (SB) exits. Iowa Ave continues south into Riverside
on the east side of the freeway as the continuation of La Cadena Dr, but it
does not appear to have ever been part of US 395.
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The pavement is clearly very old. Shortly after I took this photograph in
2006, it was resurfaced, which was welcomed by regular travelers. The
white rail was later replaced by modern metal guardrail.
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This is as close as the old alignment got to the modern exit on I-215, which
we'll look at in Part 17. Traffic from Iowa Ave and
the Interstate approach from the right. We turn left onto the old expressway.
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Left turn to Riverside (via the on-ramp to SB I-215). We continue north to
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The section of the expressway south of Colton is still fairly well preserved;
compare with the picture of the La Cadena Fwy in Riverside we saw in the last
Part (click for a 48K enlargement). Although it lacks the frontage roads, the
dual carriageway alignment continues the same basic structure although this
section is considerably older (proof in a moment).
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Barton Road, part of which
originally built as Pigeon Pass Road,
expanded as an FAS project during the 1950s.
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I've always liked the contrast between these bridges, first the Barton Rd
railroad overcrossing, dated 1936 ...
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... followed by this rickety one approaching the Interstate with a truly
terrifying wooden pedestrian walk.
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Continuing NB on La Cadena.
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Crossing over the Santa Ana River, with the original white wooden rail
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This bridge is dated 1939 and apparently replaced a smaller crossing
of uncertain age. Its replacement may have had something to do with the
1938 Santa Ana River flood which killed 19 people.
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The Santa Ana River itself, looking downstream (although it appears to
be curving north here, it will curve back south again) towards Riverside,
and Orange county where it flows down the Santa Ana Canyon (frequently
locally elided to "Santana Canyon") through the Santa Ana Mountains on
a course mostly traversed by CA 18, then US 91 and finally CA 91 today;
from its headwaters in the San Bernardino Mountains near Mount San Gorgonio,
it will finally enter the Pacific Ocean near Huntington Beach.
It is impounded by the Seven Oaks Dam in Redlands, built in 1999,
and further south by the Prado Dam, which was built in 1941
near Corona; furthermore, much of the river today is channelized and
many segments are no longer wild. However, there are large stretches of
natural bed like this, and despite being dry much of the time, the river
has been responsible for at least three major floods since the 1800s.
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Approaching Colton as we downgrade to four-lane street and finally
one-lane-per-direction road for the chokepoint at the railroad line.
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Crossing under the railroad line into town.
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Notice the interesting vaulted pedestrian walkway.
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Entering Colton city limits, on what apparently is a holdover from Alta
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Crossing under another railroad line ...
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... and then Interstate 10 ...
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... to reach Valley Boulevard, old US 70/US 99 in downtown Colton, where
we split apart into our three minor forks in town. This is the end of LRN 43.
Before the Riverside Fwy was constructed, US 395 (and variously CA 18 and US 91) left Colton via Mount Vernon Avenue, but the way it approached Mount Vernon changed in at least two ways. Until the construction of the San Bernardino Freeway (I-10), which in this segment occurred in 1956, all of the segments up to then (two we know of, and both to be explored) turned east here with Valley Boulevard. From 1956 to 1959, it is unclear if US 395 (and US 91, CA 18) were routed on the San Bernardino Fwy, but it would not have traveled far with it and wouldn't have lasted long anyway if it lasted at all, so I won't discuss that further. In 1959, US 91/US 395 moved to the Riverside Fwy and a new interchange was built, at the site of the modern I-10/I-215 junction, which again will be looked at in Part 17; however, the remnant Business US 395 was routed straight ahead on La Cadena instead of down Valley, which is Business Route 10 now. All three of these routings will be explored in turn. We start by turning right onto Valley Blvd.
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US 395 via Valley Blvd/Mt. Vernon Ave (1934-1959):
Valley Boulevard/Business Loop 10
Both of the pre-Riverside Freeway routings went down east with US 70/US 99 on LRN 26 (first designated to San Bernardino in 1916, then extended via this point to Los Angeles 1931), and when Interstate 10 was designated, Valley Blvd became a Business Loop. Like poor BR 8 in San Diego (Part 1), most of these shields are disappearing, but also consider that at its worst this route was theoretically signable as (deep breath) CA 18, US 70, US 91, US 99 and US 395 all at the same time. That would have been one heck of a shield assembly.
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US 395 via Colton Avenue (1934-1937?)
From 1934 to approximately 1937-8, old I Street (the former designation
for Valley Boulevard) was not directly connected to Mount Vernon Avenue,
the continuation of US 395 north into San Bernardino. This appears on
both the 1936 official state map, and on the 1937 Gousha map inset at
at that time, US 395 and CA 18 went northeast on Colton Avenue to
make the connection. (US 99 might also have briefly followed this
alignment early in its life as well;
a bit about that later.) This junction no longer exists either, but we can
approximate it by taking Tenth Street north to meet it.
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NB 10th St.
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10th and Colton Ave meet at this awkward 5-way intersection with G St.
We curve northeast.
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"NB" Colton Ave/old CA 18/old US 395.
A small frontage road section runs parallel to the northwest for a few
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The local community centre.
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Continuing past the parks up to Mount Vernon Avenue.
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Junction Mount Vernon Avenue. We'll come back to this.
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Business US 395 in Colton (1959-1969)
We'll do the other "minor" alignment first, which you can see on the large map above in the introduction. After the Riverside Freeway was designated US 91/US 395 in 1959, the old alignment in part from at least the San Bernardino Fwy, and possibly down to the Riverside Fwy, up to US 66 became Business Route 395 (and until at least 1964 Business Route 91). However, rather than using Valley to Mt Vernon, BR 395 went straight on along the continuation of La Cadena up to Mt Vernon instead. This was obviously never actually US 395 but we will traverse it for continuity and a nice look at the pretty old downtown of Colton.
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Continuing on N La Cadena Dr, which in a curious coincidence with Riverside
was also 8th St (Part 13).
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The Colton Museum, built as the public library in 1908 with a $10,000 grant
from Andrew Carnegie, the noted steel magnate and philanthropist. The only
public building surviving from that era, the Carnegie Building remained as
the library until 1982 when the new present-day library was built on the
corner of 9th and D. In 1988, the old building was added to the National
Register of Historic Places, and then renovated and opened as the Colton
Museum in 1992. Besides a large collection of Earp family memorabilia,
it also features exhibits on the city's citrus days and collections of period
artifacts such as contemporary clothing and home items.
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This beautiful and stately bell sits outside of the library, along with this
classically-styled light fixture typical of North La Cadena Drive.
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The southern portion of N La Cadena is typified by these small businesses and
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Fleming Park, with its band shell in the background.
Fleming Park is probably named for Thomas Fleming, former
manager of the
California Portland Cement Company
that today still mines
Slover Mountain for limestone. Slover Mountain sits just south of I-10
on the western edge of Colton and is unmistakable because of its
perpetually flying U.S. flag, at the time being one of only three locales
in the entire United States where the flag was flown continuously (the
others on 4 July 1917 when it was raised
being the White House and the gravesite of Francis Scott Key,
author of the Star Spangled Banner). The mountain got its name from Isaac
Slover, a hunter-trapper who settled on the south slope in the 1840s of
what was then called Tahualtapa (ravens' hill) by the local Indian
tribes and "Cerrito Solo" by the Spaniards (solitary little hill). Cal Portland
moved in during the 1870s but exhausted the marble supply by
the mid 1880s after which they started extracting limestone in the 1890s,
a process that still continues today and has caused the hill to slowly but
In 1917, Fleming went to the Chicago World's Far and was entranced by the night flying flag, majestically unfurled and illuminated by bright floodlights against the darkness. Fleming went back to the hill and requested Congressional approval to fly the flag continuously, and raised the 30' x 20' flag on Independence Day of that year. Slover Mountain still flies the flag continuously today, which is still maintained by Cal Portland Cement.
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Passing the Colton Civic Center, another City Hall along US 395 (even if this
wasn't, technically, US 395).
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The northern section of N La Cadena then gives way to a mostly residential
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Towards the north end of town, La Cadena Dr springs off northeasterly.
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This run takes a couple oblique bounces through this more conventional
business district ...
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... before ending at Mt Vernon, just south of the San Bernardino city
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US 395 via Valley Blvd/Mt. Vernon Avenue (1938?-1959):
For our last fork, we rewind back to Valley Blvd. This was the routing that US 395 primarily took through Colton until the Riverside Fwy.
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Part of the Valley Blvd alignment crosses over this now internalized channel,
dated 1935 ...
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... coincidentally in front of 395 Valley Boulevard.
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Continuing through the light industrial district along the Interstate.
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Mount Vernon Avenue. Until the early 1930s Mt Vernon did not actually reach
this point (see our first fork above), and until the 1960s it didn't actually
connect with its southern half (the bridge at right
between the two portions here was
built in 1967). Between 1956 and 1959, when the San
Bernardino Fwy reached San Bernardino but the Riverside Fwy was not yet
built, Mt Vernon Ave's interchange on US 70/99 looked like the thumbnail
at right (click for a 127K enlargement, along with a comparison with the
1967 present-day interchange). Notice the black signage, the lack of
background fill for the shields, no Interstate shields, and the older
gantry style. US 91/US 395/CA 18 jumped off on a left exit. In 1959, this
exit was changed out for the first iteration of the San Bernardino Interchange
about a mile east when the Riverside Fwy was constructed; more on that in
Part 17 as well. In the background we can see the
San Bernardino Interchange itself and just in front of that (not visible here)
is the Santa Ana River. Valley Boulevard originally went over the river just
east of this point on a 1937 crossing,
but that bridge was obliterated by future Interstate 10.
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Mount Vernon Avenue
Turning left onto Mt Vernon Ave, and a closer view of the Interstates. We leave LRN 26 here and continue on our final LRN to modern US 395, LRN 31 (originally Nevada to Barstow in 1916, extended to this point in 1933).
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Fairway Drive and F Street. Until 1937
US 99 crossed the Santa Ana
River using what is now the Fairway Drive bridge instead of along Valley;
because Mt Vernon and Valley were not connected initially, these two pieces
most likely connected via Colton
Avenue to F St, but I don't have any map evidence for that exact routing.
The original Santa Ana River crossing along what is now Fairway Dr no
longer exists but Fairway Dr still does cross the Santa Ana on a later
bridge and is an important local alternate for I-10.
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Colton Avenue, accepting our early 1930s routing.
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A number of the old small bridges and culverts are still in use.
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Finally, La Cadena Dr, and now all three of our forks are back together.
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US 395 via Mount Vernon Avenue (1934-1959)
San Bernardino city limits.
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The very pleasant
San Bernardino Valley College
community college campus, established in 1926 as the first campus within
the San Bernardino Community College District and today has an enrollment
of over 25,000 students. It is also the site of KVCR-TV and KVCR-FM, the PBS
affiliate for the Inland Empire and the first non-commercial public television
station in Southern California; its transmitter was moved to Box Springs
Mountain in the early 1980s but its studios remain on the SBVC campus.
A separate feed is broadcast via low-power transmission in the Coachella
and Morongo Valleys.
The older building to the right is the auditorium, with the student services
building to the left.
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West of I-215 has historically been more rundown than east. This wasn't always
the case, and there is a reason for it which we'll discuss more
when we look at the Interstate.
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Rialto Avenue. This was the junction of the old Arrow Hwy alignment and
the earliest alignment of the Arrowhead Trail before US 91; US 91 was
never signed upon this routing. It is continuous with the Arrow Route and
Arrow Highway to the west into Los Angeles. For the history of the Arrowhead
Trail, see US Highway 6 Part 7.
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2nd Street and the approach to the 1934 Mount Vernon Bridge, the major
landmark along this old stretch of US 395/US 91.
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Date stamp on the mouth of the carriageway.
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Crossing the old Mount Vernon Bridge. This larger highway crossing replaced
the narrow rickety
Bernardino Viaduct (click for a 48K image in a new window), built
not long after the railyard's construction in 1883,
which ran over the rail lines at a sharp 90 degree angle and caused
more than a few cars to miss the turn, with predictable results.
On the 1933 photograph, taken at the 2nd/Mt Vernon junction looking north,
the white lines show the edges of the future
bridge receding to the other end. To
get onto the old Viaduct, traffic had to turn east onto 2nd, north
on Viaduct Blvd
(which still exists, but has no connector), loop 90 degrees there to go
west this time onto the southern leg of the bridge, then make
the turn on the Viaduct and continue north to connect with Mount Vernon.
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Looking from the apex of the bridge into north San Bernardino.
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These rail lines are for the Santa Fe Railroad, better known as the Atchison,
Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, now merged with the Burlington Northern Railroad
forming the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway. As we mentioned in our
introduction, the ATSFRR was the first railroad to bust the Southern Pacific
Railroad monopoly in California (by order of Governor Waterman, and ultimately
by force). Back then, the SPRR was one of the first operations running in the
western United States as part of the old Central Pacific Railroad, the CA-UT
portion of the transcontinental railroad and the western portion of the
famous "golden spike" connector that was hammered home on 10 May 1869. Given
the nature and expense of their investment, the SPRR had no intention of
letting competing interests work in their service areas, let alone the ATSF.
The 1883 ATSF "frog war" (named for the frog, the device that
handles the track junction) was what gave the unincorporated area of Rana
between Colton and San Bernardino its name, Rana being Latin for frog; in
those days the ATSFRR waged that war by proxy, using their subsidiary the
California Southern Railroad, which runs from San Diego to Barstow via
San Bernardino and the Cajon Pass (Part 18) and is
still in service as part of the Santa Fe. The landmark Santa Fe
Union Station in downtown San Diego was built in 1915, replacing the old
CSRR station house built in 1882.
We'll get to the corresponding building in San Bernardino in just a second.
The Southern Pacific, for its part, turned around and leased, then absorbed, its corporate parent (the CP)'s rail holdings in 1885 and then 1959. After years of acquisition and expansion followed by deep financial upheaval, the SP was bought by the Union Pacific Railroad in 1996, and the UP and BNSF railroads are still in regular operation throughout the entire region.
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Looking at the understructure, much of which was built out of the steel of
the old Viaduct.
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The modern BNSF tracks today. Beside them is a large, eye-catching grey
building, which we'll go down and take a look at on Second and up Viaduct.
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Detour: The Santa Fe Depot in San Bernardino
San Bernardino needs to fix this historic marker, but this one stands beside the bridge for old Garner's Grove, where the original Santa Fe depot stood after it was built in 1886 (the sign appears to say "1850s era" but this is probably just an artifact of the plastic warp).
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The first depot doesn't exist anymore, having perished in a fire in 1916, and
was succeeded by this striking mission-style terminal built in 1918; this was
the building we saw from the rear from the tracks. Then
the largest railroad depot west of the Mississippi, it was crafted to be
fire-resistant, hold multiple offices and manage a terrific quantity of
baggage, cargo, passengers
and telegrams, and was lauded for its then-state of the art construction and
layout. A Harvey House was added shortly after; I talk about the Harvey Houses
in my entry on the Garces Hotel in Needles
(US 95 Part 5).
In 1972, Santa Fe unloaded its passenger rail operations to Amtrak, the government-operated National Railroad Passenger Corporation and today the operator of virtually all major passenger rail lines in the United States (a point of no small controversy and a topic far too big for this modest blurb). Amtrak, through partnership with Caltrans (Amtrak California, a/k/a but incorrectly Caltrain, which is the Bay Area/Santa Clara Valley commuter rail system), still provides passenger rail service to San Bernardino along its Southwest Chief Route from Chicago to Los Angeles via Needles, Albuquerque, Topeka and Kansas City; the Southwest Chief still uses the Cajon Pass, too. In 1992, the building was purchased by the San Bernardino Associated Governments, an agency that has helped me with some of my historical enqueries and acquisitions in the past and for which I remain very grateful; the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2001. Due to its continued use and historical value, SANBAG started a two year restoration project in 2002 and themselves started to occupy the second floor as part of their corporate offices in 2004. Today the restored depot still handles passenger rail for both Amtrak and Metrolink, and a Greyhound bus depot is planned in the next few years.
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Looking at the entrance to the Mt Vernon bridge from the east side of the
structure, roughly where the Viaduct would have started its ascent and aerial
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On this view, the old girders from the Viaduct are plainly visible.
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Just after crossing the bridge we come to a non-descript junction with 4th
Street, which most casual road historians will ignore but was actually the
original point where US 66 approached, as shown in the map at right. In
1945, US 66 was directed up to 5th Street on a newly constructed
bypass alignment, where CA 66 still runs now.
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5th Street and junction CA 66 (US 66 from 1945
to 1964). Until 1959, US 66 continued
with us due north from here; after 1959, US 66 continued east to the Riverside
Fwy and rode north with US 91 and US 395 there.
This is where CA 18 left us until it was cut down, east along 5th and then up
E St to Highland Avenue, old CA 30. It
then crossed east briefly with CA 30 and then up Sierra Way, which is now
BUSINESS CA 18 (CA 18 was transferred to, and now ends, on Waterman). More
about that in the CA 30-CA 18-CA 259
For many years a business alignment of US 66, signed variously as BUSINESS US 66 and CITY US 66, continued east with CA 18 as well and still appeared on maps as late as the early 1970s. This route was particularly congested due to the railroad tracks parallel to Mt Vernon on the east side that it had to cross; a Division of Highways study estimated that the railroad guard rails at 5th and I St were down almost a third of the time, greatly impeding traffic at many times of the day. In 1951, a new bridge crossing I Street and the tracks was built (shown here facing east with BUSINESS RTE signage on the US 66 shield, and an old-style CA 18 shield), and was later incorporated into the modern I-215/CA 66 interchange. A hint of things to come, the railroad would have another important impact on automobile travel in San Bernardino, this time on how the future Interstate would be built. We'll talk about that in Part 17. Business US 66 then continued north on E Street to Kendall Drive and back to the US 66 mainline, the junction of which we'll see once we get near Devore. For now, we leave CITY US 66 and CA 18 heading east and continue north through San Bernardino as US 66/US 91/US 395 into the next Part.
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