History of San Bernardino County

Ultimately the mission of San Bernardino was established at the place now called “Old San Bernardino,” or Cottonwood Row,” as a branch of the mission of San Gabriel. The place selected for the necessary buildings was in the southern portion of the valley, on the last of the slopes by which the foothills descend to the plains. The surrounding lands were unexcelled in fertility. Here was constructed, with the aid of the natives, who here as else-where lent their labor, an adobe building some 240 x 80 feet of ground space, with walls a yard thick, with floors of kiln-burnt brick, and roofs thatched with tules. So substantial was this structure that, after years of disuse and abandonment, it was still habitable, and was tenanted for years by later settlers, and the lower portions of its walls are still utilized as enclosures for domestic animals. Probably there was no other mission or dependency of the missions of which so little survives in the way of records as of this at San Bernardino. Almost nothing in the way of detail exists to commemorate the events of the brief period of Franciscan rule in that fair valley. It is known that the native tribes proved restive under the control of the padres, and in 1832 they revolted, and destroyed the mission buildings. But others were then constructed, stronger and better adapted for defensive purposes, the ruins of which are still to be seen. In this decade the mission was abandoned, in consequence of the edict of secularization.

The great agricultural possibilities of this district received practically no attention at this period. Here, as elsewhere at the mission establishments, fruits and vegetables were cultivated in small quantities, for supplies for home consumption; but the revenues of these establishments were derived from the produce of livestock, hides and tallow. It is said that in San Bernardino valley there were killed in 1830 no less than 4,000 cattle, whose hides and tallow were conveyed to San Gabriel Mission for the purposes of trade.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Pin It on Pinterest

Scroll to Top