The Origin of the Name "Cucamonga"

Cucamonga comes from a Tongva place name that probably means "sandy place".


Cucamonga has always been recognized as a funny-sounding place name, among such exotic places as Timbuktu and Bora Bora. One of the catch-phrases of the radio show "The Jack Benny Program" involved a train announcer (Mel Blanc) who said over the loudspeaker, "Train now leaving on track five for Anaheim, Azusa, and Cuc (pronounced cuke)... amonga," taking progressively longer pauses between "Cuc" and "amonga." Part of the joke, for the Los Angeles audience, was that no such train route existed. Jack Benny Drive, a small street in the city, is named as a tribute to "The Jack Benny Program". (Coincidentally, the city also has a Rochester Avenue, which is very likely not named for the character portrayed by Eddie Anderson on the Jack Benny Program.) In one of his many popular media crossovers, Blanc used that same catch phrase in Daffy Duck's voice in the 1948 Merrie Melodies cartoon "Daffy Duck Slept Here" and later in Bugs Bunny's voice in a 1960s Looney Tunes cartoon. In an episode of The Simpsons, Krusty the Clown mentioned Rancho Cucamonga, along with Walla Walla, Keokuk, and Seattle, as funny place names.
Source: Wikipedia.com

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The Legend of Cucamonga

For the obscure Chumash natives of the state of California dreams form a part of real life. Every dream is interpreted and scrutinized in great detail. The Chumash would take their best dreams and set upon carrying out or recreating them in the course of one solar cycle.

Legend holds that Cucamonga, an old tribal witch, was the one in charge with helping the dreamers best interpret and present their visions to the tribe in the yearly ritual where they gathered to share them. They also say that in the area where the present city of Rancho Cucamonga is located was where the first movie studios were established and that strange events led to them moving away to what today we know as Hollywood. Stories are often told of how producers and directors had to flee Rancho Cucamonga for unknowingly building their facilities on top of what once were the ancient Chumash ceremonial grounds. They say that after the first movie projection in the area a comet passed over Rancho Cucamonga and a bright flash was seen coming from the witch’s descendants’ house. From that day on, at every screening, there appeared in the films strange images and characters that were not registered with the camera.

Many locals assure having seen Cucamonga’s shadow laughing in the back of the movie theater. They also say that when one walks beneath the starry sky of this mythical part of California a distant tribal chant can be heard mixed with the wind. This melody would be, according to legend, the one the Chumash danced to as they finalized the interpretation of each dream.

Even today, many believe in this legend and say that when in the Cucamonga region you must write down your dreams each night so that we may ask her help in making the images of our dreams a reality.

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