Mormon San Bernardino (Wikipedia)
In 1847, after hostilities of the Mexican-American War had ended, the Mormon Battalion of the U.S. Army occupied San Diego and Los Angeles. A detachment of the Los Angeles troops, led by Captain Jefferson Hunt was stationed at the southern end of the Cajon Pass to protect Mexican ranchos from Indian raids. The story of the Battalion started in Council Bluffs, Iowa on July 10, 1846 and arrived in San Diego on January 29, 1847. Company C was dispatched to guard the Cajon Pass. On furloughs, Captain Hunt and others worked for Rancho Santa Ana del Chino owner Isaac Williams. After the War, the Battalion mainly went back to Utah. Many Battalion troops returned to families in Utah via San Francisco and the Sacramento area. A group led by Hunt traveled to Salt Lake City by way of the Old Spanish Trail through the Cajon Pass with which they were so familiar.
After rejoining his family in Utah, Hunt got the contract for mail delivery between Salt Lake and Los Angeles. He also organized several cattle drives, buying stock from ranchos owners to deliver to hungry Mormons in Utah. It was during this time that Hunt started preliminary negotiations with Williams with the idea of buying Rancho del Chino.
Mormon leader Brigham Young saw Southern California as a supply source for Utah, and as an immigration and mail stop between Salt Lake City and San Pedro, California. A group of almost 500 Mormons left Utah for California in 1851. They found abundant water in the valley, along with willows, sycamores, cottonwood and mustard, as well as the Yucca plant. The Mormon contingent was led by Captain David Seely (later firstStake President), Captain Jefferson Hunt and Captain Andrew Lytle, and included Apostles Amasa M. Lyman and Charles C. Rich. They first made camp at the Sycamore Grove, about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) southeast of the present Glen Helen Regional Park. They stayed until the sale of Rancho San Bernardino could be arranged.
In September 1851, Lugo sold the Rancho to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints(Mormons). The Rancho included most of modern San Bernardino among other areas, though part of the northern areas of the City were part of Rancho Muscupiabe. The price for 40,000 acres (160 km2) was $77,000 with $7,000 down.
The Mormons built Fort San Bernardino at the site of the present county courthouse. Inside the fort, they had small stores, and outside, they grew wheat and other crops. They later moved outside the walls of the fort when feared-attacks did not materialize. The Mormon Council House was built in 1852. It was used as the post office, school, church, and was the county courthouse from 1854 to 1858.
On November 7, 1852, Colonel Henry Washington, deputy surveyor (by contract with the United States Surveyor General for California) surveyed the San Bernardino Base Line and Meridian from a point just west of Mount San Bernardino, at an elevation of 10,300 feet (3,100 m), east of present-day Highland. The Base and Meridian lines serve as the initial surveying point (known as the point of beginning) for all of Southern California.
In 1853, the Mormons laid out the current street grid system, one mile (1.6 km) square, which is based upon the grid layout of Salt Lake City. Each block was 8 acres (32,000 m2). The plan was laid out by Henry G. Sherwood, and assisted by Fred T. Perris. The east west streets were numbered, from First Street to Ninth Street. The north-south streets were named Kirtland Street (later "A" street, then Sierra Way); Camel Street(later "B" Street, then Mountain View Avenue; Crafton Street(later "C" Street, then Arrowhead Avenue; Utah Street (later "D" Street); Salt Lake Street (later "E" Street); California Street (later "F" Street); Independence Street (later "G" Street"); Nauvoo Street (later "H" Street); and Far West Street; (later "I" Street). The Mormons also built a road in 1853 to Los Angeles The Mormons were also responsible for the school system, creating Warm Springs, a school still in use today, as well as a school at the present site of Pioneer Park.
The City of San Bernardino was first incorporated on April 1, 1854. Mormon Apostle Amasa M. Lyman (who was later excommunicated, then posthumously reinstated) was the City's first Mayor. Apostle Charles Coulson Rich became the second Mayor. At incorporation, there were approximately 1,200 residents, 900 of them Mormons. They dominated local politics and forbade drinking and gambling.
Mormons created the first timber road to the mountains, and a flour mill (on Mill Street). In 1855, they diverted water from Waterman Canyon to Town Creek by means of a flume.
The Mormons created a temple block (but never a temple) in the center of the newly-laid out town between present-day 5th, 6th, E, and F Streets. They created a "Public Square," in which they celebrated the 4th of July. Later, after the Mormons returned to Utah, part of the land went to the Catholic Church, and part went to Dr. and Mrs. Quinn. In 1873, Bishop Amat, the Bishop of the Los Angeles and Monterrey Diocese, granted the northern part of the block to the City. It was later called "City Park," then "Lugo Park" until 1915, when it was renamed Pioneer Park, which it is still called today. A Pavilion, a log cabin, and the Municipal Auditorium (erected in 1921 to honor the dead of World War I were all built in the park, though the Pavilion and log cabin burnt down, and the Auditorium was torn down in 1979. The Norman F. Feldheym Library was built on the site in 1985. The park also contains two Civil War cannons.
The Mormons named the Arrowhead, California, a natural rock formation above Arrowhead Springs, the "Ace of Spades." On a clear day, the Arrowhead can be seen from downtown San Bernardino.
A small Jewish community formed in Mormon San Bernardino, including Lewis Jacobs and Marcus Katz in 1852. Lewis Jacobs was a miner and a peddler. He co-owned a mountain sawmill, started the original Bank of San Bernardino, and helped establish the Home of Eternity Cemetery. Services began in the 1850s, but Congregation Emanuel, still active today, was not officially chartered until 1891, and its first structure was built in 1921. The Home of Eternity Cemetery was given by the Mormons to the Jews. It is the oldest Jewish cemetery in continuous use in Southern California. Marcus Katz was a merchant and civic leader and the name-sake of the four story Katz Building (built in the 1890s) at Third and "E" Streets. He died in 1899.