Local myths of Fontana that are quite real....

We often hear rumors about who or what might have lived, or died or has family in an area.. Below are some figures, some most noticeable and others not so notorious that once had something to do with the city of Fontana.

Gangster Al Capone once had a home in Fontana, which was notable for the initial "C" displayed on one of the home's chimneys. It was rumored that Capone had secret passageways or tunnels built under the house that led out into the back yard making for a quick escape in case his place was ever surrounded by the fuzz. No tunnels were ever found though after the home was torn down. And we all know what happened to Al after he left Fontana.

The Crlenica Brothers, a local Slavic "Tamburitza" musical group, lived in Fontana, had a music store on Arrow Blvd., and played music locally for Fontana's large Slavic population. Unbeknownst to most Fontana residents, they also did some movie work in Hollywood, performing on the soundtrack of "Dr. Zhivago", and also in the movie "Patton," near the end of the movie in the Russian dance scene.

Shelton Brooks, legendary songwriter and bandleader of the early 20th century, spent several decades in his later years living in Fontana. The writer of such hits as "Darktown Strutters’ Ball" and "Some of These Days," he would buy a new Cadillac every year with his songwriter royalties.. As a leader of his own successful big band, he hobnobbed with the Hollywood elite and became especially close to torch singer Sophie Tucker, known as The Last of the Red Hot Mammas.
Whitman Mayo, the actor who played Shady Grady in the TV series "Sanford and Son," moved with his family from New York City to Fontana in 1967, when he was 37. While living in Fontana he attended Chaffey College in nearby Cucamonga.. He once served as the Grand Marshall in the Fontana Days parade.

Legendary motorcycle builder Denver Mullins was from Fontana.. He started a bike shop, Denver’s Choppers, in San Bernardino in 1967, where he was the first to toy in the building of custom bikes and replacement bike parts. The shop later moved to Henderson, Nevada, just outside Las Vegas, where it still operates to this day. Denver died in a racing boat accident in 1992.

Henry Kaiser’s steel mill in Fontana was the only steel mill west of the Mississippi River.. During WWII Kaiser shipbuilding contributed hundreds of naval and merchant vessels.. The steel mill scene in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s movie "Terminator 2" was filmed in the abandoned Kaiser Steel Mill. Robo Cop was also filmed at the old steel mill as well as many sci-fi and police movies.

What ever happened to Ro-Val’s automobile museum, located on Foothill Blvd on the western outskirts between Fontana and Cucamonga? It was for a while the home for many classic automobiles of the 20’s and 30’s, including a huge vehicle once owned by screen actor Fatty Arbuckle. When the Ro-Val museum closed, the vehicles were sold to Bill Harrah, a Nevada casino owner and automobile collector, who placed them on display in the museum located at his casino.

In the 1950’s and 60’s Fontana was home to a famous drag racing strip that was a significant venue in the NHRA circuit. Known officially as Mickey Thompson’s Fontana International Dragway, it was also referred to as Fontana Drag City or just plain old Fontana Drag Strip. The original Fontana strip closed after several serous accidents and deaths to the drivers ad the NHRA deemed the track to short and narrow for safe racing.

Comments

Here in Fontana for 28 years. I love it and its gotten better in some ways but worse in other ways. I used to be able to ride my skateboard or bike til late at night and my parents didn't have to worry about me getting jumped or kidnapped but that was 20 years ago when it was a lot lighter but now its gotten darker. I'm afraid for my kids to go down the street after dark without this bash mob bullshit or wets trying to be down with some bullshit gang. That's just my perspective though!

"Darker?" "Lighter?" Are you for real...?

It sounds like he is using the term "darker" or "lighter" to describe the racial makeup of the population of the city in terms of Caucasians (lighter), and Hispanic or African American (darker).
Does the factual description of the populous somehow offend your hyper-politically correct little brain?
Relax.

Well just take a ethnic poll of west valley and or the arrests of Fontana and tell me whos causing what and what ethnicity in percentage is higher!

This is so sad. Using such terms to describe humans is just wrong, morally wrong. Why the hell did I wind up here, anyway (I clearly am asking myself). Clearly most here have no idea of racial issues, of sociological perspectives or of any cultural anthropology. Good lord, how depressing.

The KKK took my baby away, they took her away, away from me...Anyone recognize that song? No? Oh.

Peace, folks...let's hope that the systemic racism can be brought to light, looked at honestly and then THROWN OUT with the dirty bathwater.

Good luck to you all.

Lived here since 73..was a great city until early 90"s...way to many mexicans..leave your mexican ways south of the border!

you should move get out and enjoy a new surrounding

Wow really I live in this house and guess what I'm Mexican

What house I live right by you

post your house on u-tube

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