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.


I grew up and went to school in Fontana. My husband graduated in 1967, I graduated in 170. We had racially motivated fights at Fontana High School. It was either the Mexicans or the Blacks fighting. When my husband was there, someone got stabbed in the school cafeteria. When I was there the parents of the black students came on campus. They were attacking any student that was not in class. One of my friends was going to the office and she was attacked and beat up. The parents were yelling kill her, kill her. I have no idea what it was all about. But for the parents to come on the school campus and encourage their kids to beat up other kids was really scary.
You have to try and imagine how shocking that behavior was then. There had never been an occasion where people go into a businesses and shoot people, that was unheard of. In my time your kids could ride their bikes all over town and not worry about someone hurting them. They could go to the park, without their parents, to play, and be safe. Other adults in the neighborhood, kept an eye out, for each others kids. So to have racially motivated fights was shocking. Maybe that was the beginning of our society heading down the shoot to where it is now.
If you were born in the 1970's, or later, you probably don't realize just how bad things have gotten everywhere. It's not safe anywhere in southern California. It not safe in a lot of places, like Colorado. What is that about. Why do they have so many shootings. What's wrong with people now days? We are doing something wrong. It is only going to get worse. You can't even go into the Mall without taking a chance with your life.
What I am getting at is, that is why people say the things they do about Fontana getting so bad. I live in the High Desert. I moved from Fontana in 1979. But go back there all the time for family and the doctor. So I have seen the changes. But the High Desert has gone through some of the same transformations. When we moved up here people were friendly and helpful. There were no bad areas to live in. Now, there are so many areas that have been turned into crime central that it's crazy. Just like Fontana, we have had a huge influx of people, a lot from the LA area. We have prisons up here now. Well guess what comes with prisons. The families and their delinquents. Brand new housing tracks have been turned into ghettos. Places where no reasonable person would feel safe. It makes you angry.
You spent your whole life building your life and your home. Then people move in and destroy what you have spent a lifetime building. That is why, people get so angry about all the changes. What race are 80% of these people Mexican or black. People get mad when they are profiled. Well do something about it. All the mexicans and blacks that, are criminals, are making life worse for the ones that aren't. Stop looking the other way when a family member or someone you know commits crimes. You can't have it both ways.

San Bernardino county has more people on welfare than any other county. My daughter is a teacher up here. She says that 90% of their students get free lunches. A large percentage don't even speak English. What is that about. If you were born here you should know how to speak English. Why are our tax dollars feeding all these people instead of giving our kids a good education. What is going to happen when all the people that don't get free lunch, leaves California. Who will pay for it then.I don't see anything getting better. It seems like every generation is worse than the last. I remember a video I saw, they did a study on rats. Their social structure and behavior is a lot like humans. When they became over crowded, they started turning on each other, attacking and eating each other. Just think on that.

keep looking up JESUS is coming soon

Most people in prisons are white. Lets look at the socio-economic view: poor Hispanic and poor black people are more likely to get convicted because of lack of adequate defense (they cannot afford an attorney). This does not mean that they are more likely to commit a crime than whites, since statistics show the contrary. Rancho San Bernardino, as it was originally, still hold true to its Hispanic Heritage and it is natural for Hispanics there to speak Spanish. They were there first. Duh!

Your daughter is a teacher and she is complaining about hungry children eating for free? How evil are you and daughter? It is a sad fact of life that people like you exist.

It sounds to me like she is complaining more about her taxes, that she pays, going to pay the way for people that have made bad life-decisions.
There comes a point, when the do'ers get tired of carrying the weight for the takers.
This does not make her evil. This makes her sick and tired of stupid people making stupid choices. Granted not EVERYONE getting assistance is stupid or has made bad-life choices, but, we both know a high percentage of them fall into one of those two categories.
Sadly, it's the children that pay the price for their parent's stupidity or laziness - So it seems to me that it's the parents that are (95% of the time), the evil ones that you should be spewing your useless internet-rage at.

When I stated riots in fontana, I was speaking about citywide riots not school incited riots. A citywide riot the likes of the Rodney King Riots. As far as school incited riots those are isolated incidents with confounding variables that makes it hard to pinpoint on one specific reason. Whether the Fontana High riot in 08 was a political, school related, or social related reason it is hard to tell. However due to that riot's lack of momentum onto other Fontana High schools we can infer that the riot was not one with a political incentive towards the fontana government so from that we further infer that Fontana as a city did not have an active hand in adding fuel to the fire. It may have been due to other more sociological leanings.

There is no reason to be crude and offensive. Stop it.

I agree that most people in Fontana are Shitholes. But that's everyone south of the 210. I live in North Fontana above the 210. So that makes me one of the few fine people.

I hope you can move it will be life changing for you..


Add new comment