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.


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Al Capone's house is still standing. Google "images" of Al Capone's Fontana house. Then if you live local the address is 8775 Tamarind Ave. Fontana, CA. It’s the exact same house just without the "C" on the chimney.

all the trash talk,cursing ...ect...my comments are "held for review" ??? mine was just a simple, easy, cheap fix .

All comments are held for review Einstein.. Nothing special about you.

I was born in Fontana in 1953 and graduated Fontana High School in 1971. I believe I have seen a lot of history in Fontana. Issue Race Relations: I remember watching Dr. King marching and the riots that sometimes occurred as well as cops beating them marchers. I did not see this in Fontana. Yes we were segregated, Blacks or African Americans to the north towards the mountains, Mexicans or Hispanics to the south toward Jurupa Hills and white, yes no special name, were in the middle.

I played little league baseball, pony league, and colt league and a lot and I mean a lot of my friends were black and Mexican. Yes there was racial tension by some trouble makers, we even had race riots between some whites and some blacks at Fohi during late 60's through 1972. About 50 people on each side, most students tried to avoid this crap. My best friend was Larry Kirkland, a black kid, where I was the only white guy at his wedding. That was strange but I was comfortable and really enjoyed it.

The Mexicans didn't really get involved in this race stuff until after I left High School in 1971. I remember once when we had the race riots between the blacks and the whites, the KKK showed up as well as the Black Panthers. What a show. California was more progressive then the south was at the time. I miss Fontana and all my friends that I grew up with. Go Steelers.

My aunt and uncle (Boswells) lived on Anastasia, with their 6 kids, my cousins. I heard about the Capone home as an adult and during a family get together, in about year 2001 or so, I and a few newer generation cousins went over to explore and see if it was so. We climed iron gated fence, found an open window, and 5 of us went in and explored. Creepy house. We never found any secret passages, other than the dumbwaiter. We were able to get into basement and I believe I recall a couple of large double hung round topped wooden with metal trim lathed doors, on either side of that downstairs area, and both chained and locked up. From the size of those doors, the tunnels would have been huge! I'd heard they lead out into the midst of Fontana somewhere for escape. I'll pass this onto my cousins and see if they can add anymore "lore" to this.

well back then the mayor new Al Capone they play cards together AL WOULD COME OVER REAL LATE AT NIGHT THERE WAS A TUNNEL GOING TO THE MAYORS HOUSE LONG IS DRIVEWAY WELL BACK IN 1998 the person who owned it then had a pipe break so he had to dig to find where the broken water plpe was so he dug is driveway up he came across a tunnel with ventilation tubes coming of the tunnel and he found this grate setting there it was cavering the hole he pulled it out a few years later I drove by and seen it by the trash can he had there I ask him what he was planing on doing with it he told me a funny thing he said back in the 20s an 30s his Grandfather was the mayor back then and AL Capone came over in middle of the night using that tunnel I ASK HIM WHY he was not keeping it he told me that he had no use for it he said go head take it IF I WANTED IT


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