Additional Towns of San Bernardino County, California

Arrowhead Hot Springs

The Arrowhead Hot Springs are on the mesa, a bench of the San Bernardino range, about ten miles from Colton, on the Southern Pacific Railway, and six miles northeast of San Bernardino, than which town they have some 1,000 feet more altitude, being over 2,000 feet above the sea level. The name is derived from a peculiar appearance on the mountainside above the springs and pointing to them-the representation of an Indian arrowhead, white on a dark background, so perfect in shape that many people believe it was designed there. The soil which forms this mark is composed mostly of disintegrated white quartz and light gray granite, on which grow weeds and a short, white grass, while the soil around it is of a different formation, sustaining a shrub of a dark color, which covers the rest of the face of the mountain. The arrowhead is 1,115 feet long and 396 feet wide. The native Indians have a legend reciting how, long, long ago, the peaceful Cahuilla tribe, who inhabited the San Bernardino Valley when it was first settled by whites, then lived eastward, far over the mountains, near some warlike tribes, who presently drove them out of this their native country. As they wandered, the Great Spirit discharged an arrow be-fore them, which dart, after the manner of the pillar of fire of the Israelites, moved on before them until it rested on this mountain side, pointing down into the valley, which they thus knew they were to occupy as they did, until the invading white men came to wrest it from them.
There are other legends connected with this symbol, but all perhaps less poetical than this one.
Here are about twenty-five springs, whose temperature ranges from 140° to 193° Fahrenheit, the solid constituents being of great efficacy in the cure of rheumatism, blood-poisoning, skin diseases, etc.
There is no village at this leading health resort of the county but a fine three-story hotel, containing 100 rooms, owned by a syndicate of capitalists. This hotel has the usual conveniences, and its own system of electric lights, the power for which is supplied by the fall of the mountain water. There is a resident physician here, and regularly established post office. Coaches run twice a day to and from San Bernardino.


Alessandro is a small town site or station, with a post office, on the line of the California Southern (Santa Fe), in Perris Valley, near the San Diego County line. There are two daily mails. The inhabitants of the valley are mainly engaged in stock raising. This is regarded as the destined center of the colony of Dunkards who are shortly to immigrate to Southern California. Their managing agent, M. M. Eshelman, bought the hotel at Lordsburg, and purposes to settle them in San Jacinto Valley. In this irrigation district is to be completed shortly a canal to water the valley, to convey 15,000 inches of water from the Bear Valley reservoir.


Banning was laid out in 1884-’85, by a syndicate of Nevada capitalists who purchased about 3,000 acres of land here, and laid out about the railway station a small town plat, whose lots sold for from $50 to $275. The remainder of the land laid out in acre tracts sells at $125 to $200 per acre. The water supply here is perhaps the best between Colton and Yuma. Acement ditch eight miles long, leads up into Moore’s Canon, having a capacity of from 1,500 to 2,500 inches. About 1,000 inches of water can be furnished in the driest season. Ten miles of first-class iron piping, with flumes and ditches, distribute all over the colony this water supply, abundant and reliable. This mountain colony is one of the most picturesque settlements in the county, and its mountain scenery is beautiful. The elevation is 2,317 feet. From this point is the nearest approach to Mount San Bernardino, Mount San Jacinto and Grayback, the three highest peaks in Southern California. The mountains contain a vast amount of timber of superior quality.
The capacity of the Banning soil is very wide. Lands in this section, not subject to irrigation, have raised grain crops without a single failure for the last ten years. Barley has been the main reliance, but wheat is successfully raised also. The experiment of citrus fruit growing has not been thoroughly tested, but deciduous fruits thrive marvelously well, cherries in particular, which are always highly and profitably marketable, are especially a favorite of the soil, and the peaches of Banning are declared to be unequaled. Berries are extremely luxuriant, and many tons are shipped hence yearly.
The population of Banning is about 300. The town has post, express and telegraph offices; a notary public; a Government school for Indians; a hotel; a $3,500 school-house, with an average attendance of fifty pupils; one (Baptist) church edifice, with several other denominations represented; several stores of general merchandise, and one live weekly news-paper, the Banning Herald. Improvements in building, and the planting of vines and trees, are constantly in progress. Banning is thirty miles east of Colton, and eighty-eight miles from Los Angeles, on the line of the Southern Pacific Railway.


Barstow is situated at the junction of the California Southern and the A. &. P. Railway, eighty-two miles from San Bernardino and twelve miles from Daggett. It has an elevation of 1,900 feet. The population is about 300. The town is comparatively new. The climate is dry and clear with no fogs or dampness. There is a post office, telegraph, telephone and express offices, and daily stage for Calico, connecting with trains, as well as several stores carrying general merchandise, and a large railroad hotel. A silver mill and mine are to be found just north of this place.

Source: An Illustrated History of Southern California: embracing the counties of San Diego, San Bernardino, Los Angeles and Orange, and the peninsula of lower California.

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