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

He lived on Tamarind between Arrow and Merrill

It's funny the comments about the Mexicans taking over Fontana. I'm third generation to be born at kaiser hospital and to grow up in Fontana. I am Mexican and my family helped build Fontana and had a huge hand in the community. The town was once segregated, the whites that had money lived on the north side and all other races lived on the south side. My family worked at the pig and bird farms, they worked at the steel mill, and they ran local businesses. So you see Mexicans aren't something new or what's destroyed the town. Fontana is affordable and once upon a time it was quite. In the 90's when they built Southridge it opened a ton of affordable housing wich attracted family's trying to get out of gang infested Los Angeles. Unfortunately with some of these families they brought the gangs with them adding to the gangs we already had, resulting in a crime explosion. This has kept the real estate prices down and a never ending cycle of more crime being added. The statistics about the crime rates aren't true, it's just a bunch of nonsense the politicians print on paper to make people feel safer. Open your eyes and determine it with your gut. I don't live in Fontana anymore and I won't ever again. My parents still do but the rest of my family has relocated. The city is broken and the troubles come from all shapes and forms regardless of race. I will not defend a city that I watched die and crumble by the hands of outsiders that had no part in building it in the first place. Mexicans, Caucasians, and Italians all had a place in building Fontana. It has a rich history of being a hideout and getaway for many walks of life. All the stories of Al Capone, KKK, and the Hells Angels are very true. Lots of criminal master minds had they're stay and pass through the town. Now it's full of a bunch of empty headed thugs, drug dealers and low life's. Sad.

It's not so much the population in Fontana. I too, have witnessed the demise of pride of townmanship. I've witnessed the corruption in the Police dept. and the City departments including the water company who is guessing the bill we pay per month. Have you looked at your water meter? The dial cover is dull and you can't see anything inside, So how do they tell us how much to pay each month. I fought back and got the reduction, we all should fight back to regain our control of funds we have. We all have to do what is right to regain the pride we have in our environments. To many lives have been changed over the ignorance many people have endured.

I agree there have been Hispanic people in Fontana for a long time. I was born in San Bernardino in 52, moved to Fontana in 1956. Grew up there, married and lived there until 1979 when we moved to the High Desert. But I go back all the time, because we have family still there. What everyone is talking about are the Mexicans that have immigrated here, a lot of them illegally. The don't even speak English and don't want to. I was in town and went to the Walmart with family and everywhere I went in the store all I heard was spanish. We are Americans, why do we have to print everything in Spanish. It has always been a given. When you move to America you learn English. In fact one of the criteria to become a citizen, is to speak English.
Some of my ancestors came from countries that didn't speak English. They did not expect all the signs and paperwork to be printed in their language. We have immigrants from more than just Mexico. Do we print everything in all those languages? No. Because this is America. If you want to live here, learn the language. Just to give you some perspective. What if for some reason 50,000 people moved to your town that only spoke German. Everywhere you went in your town all you heard was them speaking German. Then they started printing all the signs in German. All literature for anything, was printed in German as well as English. Then what if your childs education was being effected because the teacher had to take things slower, and pay extra attention to these students that spoke only German. Then the schools test scores go down. Not because the teachers aren't doing their job, because the students that can't speak English and their families at home don't even try to learn English. All this brings down the test scores. Also your government that is bleeding you dry with taxes as it is, wants more money so they can take care of these illegal immigrants, that get paid under the table so they don't even pay income tax. But you do, so the government can afford to give extra money away. I mean put yourself in that mind set. Why wouldn't it make you bitter or irritated. Its like someone moves into your house uninvited, then thinks you should change your whole life around just for them. Not only do they not contribute financially, but they break the law, don't follow the rules, you have been raised to follow.

I tell you one thing if I moved to another country. The first thing I would do is learn the language. Trust me if you moved to France or Norway or Japan. They would expect you to follow their laws and speak their language. So why are we crucified here, because we don't want people from another country coming here and not contributing financially to the running of the country. But expecting to reap benefits from it. Free medical, free schooling for their kids, then collecting welfare for the children that they snuck over here and had so they would be citizens.

That's another pet peeve. If the parent is in this country illegally. No way should their children be citizens just because they are born here. If the parent is here legally sure. But not if they are here illegally. In the early 1900's it use to be, if a citizen of the US married an immigrant that was not a citizen yet. They lost their citizenship until their spouse got their naturalization papers. So it can be changed. It is not just Hispanics that do that. Come here to have their child so the child will be a citizen. Some of the terrorists are citizens just because they were born here. These people that come here and don't respect the citizens or our way of life need to go back where they came from, no matter where they came from.

thank you for your post..if we decided to move to mexico we would have to speak what?/yes spanish its onlt lodgic its too bad these people are so stupid

Thank you I completely agree!

Ignorance in its splendor. Immigrants are America's greatest asset but perhaps a little schooling on this subject would redefine yours and every like-minded opinion. Immigrants are non-retribution source of income. They pay taxes. They consume from businesses and generate income without the help of federal aid. Federal services are reserved for citizens and legal residents only. Immigrants bring economic growth.

This isn't necessarily true. I'm billingual and growing up I was always ahead on reading level than the kids who only spoke english. Maybe you need to travel a little more ;)

i think this has less to do with american born hispanics and more to do with illegal aliens i am also a third generation mexican american and i cant stand the drain illegals have on our economy

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