The San Bernardino Valley is the largest in the State in which the citrus and other sub-tropical fruits can be successfully raised to a perfect maturity. It is about sixty miles long east and west, with an average width north and south of fifteen miles. Within its boundaries are situated San Bernardino, Old San Bernardino, Colton, Riverside, Lugonia, Redlands, Highlands, Crafton, Ontario, Arlington, San Gorgonio, Rialto, Mentone, Cucamonga, Etiwanda and other flourishing towns and settlements. This beautiful valley embraces not less than 1,500 to 1,800 square miles of land, nearly all of which is arable, needing but the hand of industry to call into fruitful bearing its richness. These lands are of all grades, from the low, damp lands along the streams to the high mesa lands in the foothills. The low lands as well as the damp higher lands which are found in many places, produce all kinds of crops without irrigation. However, each product is found to be more particularly adapted to growth in certain localities, owing to the kind of soil and other peculiarities. In order to understand the advantages of this valley, it is necessary to know something of its formation and peculiar topographical features. On the north is the San Bernardino range of mountains, 5,000 to 7,000 feet high; on the east a low range of clay hills, whose summit is the divide of the San Gorgonio pass; on the south a low range of clay and granite hills and on the west a high mesa, forming the west bank of Lytle creek.
The natural drainage outlet of the valley is at the gap of the Santa Ana River’s egress, in the most southern portion; thus this valley is formed into a large catchments basin for the watershed of a very large area of country, the main drainage channel being the Santa Ana River. The soil of this wonderful valley is mainly a rich, deep loam, largely intermixed with decomposed granite. Some of it is dark, same of a reddish color, growing more and more sandy as it approaches the mountains, while the mesa lands and foothills are of a more gravelly nature. Thus it would seem that the soil is a fill or wash from the surrounding mountains, in which in many places is found a heavy black loam, growing potatoes and apples of excellence unsurpassed anywhere in the world.
The San Bernardino Mountains are a barrier between fertility and sterility; on one side 1,800 square miles of the finest land on earth, on the other 23,000 square miles of desert.
San Bernardino valley produces in great perfection, oranges, lemons, apples, pears, olives, apricots, cherries, prunes, figs, dates, quinces and grapes; vegetables, corn, wheat, oats, barley, etc., grow to perfection in this high valley with its gentle slope to the southward sun. Alfalfa yields six crops per year. Flowers bloom every day in the year.