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

To answer your question about Angela Black. She has done Very well for herself. Her audacity has taken her all over the USA educating other and making a Fabulous living.
It's amazing how racism can be the motivation for a Non-racist to OUT SHINE the racist. I'm happy that experience took her to another level and let her know she was bold enough to go Anywhere .I guess you can say Fontana Motivates.

Pueblo, Colorado had a steel mill for many years, closing within the past 40 years or so. I don't doubt the the Kaiser steel mill was larger, but it was not the only one.

Oh the stories I could tell. My family built and lived in the home across the street from the lot that George Pepper built his house on. I was friends with his daughter until we found out what his purpose was for building such a large compound. Cross burnings, fights with the Hells Angels in the street out in front of my home. It was NOT a great place to grow up.

i live on fontana and athol ... pretty weird layout of my home and weird stuff has happened here

Ha i live on the same block
As Al Capone

The statement about Fontana Drag strip being "too short and too narrow' is about as far fro the truth as the Big Foot story that circulated about such and animal carousing in the undeveloped areas of North west Fontana.

The raceway's builder Dean Brown, who also founded Drag News, the first independent journal devoted exclusively to Drag Racing, understanding the hazards of the sport, paved 4700 feet of asphalt with grape vineyards beyond that, with the unique feature of the track width starting at 50 feet and widening to 70feet where the finish line was 1320 feet away.
Today, 2016, Auto Club Raceway at Pomona Fairgounds, home of the NHRA Winternationals and NHRA World Finals, barely exceeds 2600 feet for the same purposes and now allows 320 plus mile per hour terminal speeds. Past Pomona's modern sand trap and multiple catch fences is a road and then a Golf course.

I heard AB Miller's gymnasium was a bomb shelter.. ?

I seen many things..bad and good , meet many . I started living here in 1990 just before he turned one. His Great Grandmother Wanda Luker lived in her house with her husband (who worked at Kaiser Steel)and her four children William Luker(Fohi Grad) Gary Wayne Luker (FoHi Grad) Kathleen Ida Annette Luker(late married Gary Shidler and Stan Meyers after she divorced Gary ) and Tim Luker (who at this time resides on the same street he grow up on Beech Ave.) I have seen this town grow and people move here and move away . Some have even come back ..it is like this town beckins former residents back here. We still live here ,Though Wanda and William have passed within a year . I personally come to view this town as my adopted hometown..I never really had one to call my own prior due to my dad being in the military. I remember some bad things like the young woman who was murdered by her ex ,Chris Elsie(think that is the spelling)who lived a few doors down from my son's great grandmother ,in fact his Uncle was question for hours prior to them find out her ex did it or little Melissa Wakefield who was murdered by Brian Kenneth Smith,he had taken her from a camper in her back yard ,may they both rest in peace. But good things are here too..the new library ,fire station ..The new strip malls on Summit along with the new homes..Sammy Hagar got to be grand marshall for the 100th annual Fontana Days Parade and has a street name after him . Missing places like Muzollis(if I miss spelled it please for give) they had the best pizza at a good price. I love this town, I love the people I am proud to say Fontana is my hometown, the good ,the bad ,the ugly and the beautiful parts of her.

I met Sheldon Brooks through my Grandad,Hank. Was given a 78rpm hit record.

I found this page thru a friend and I have read thru all of the postings and some are great and some are just stupid. I grew up in Fontana from the early 70's thru the mid 80's My mom was a teacher in the school district and my dad owned a business there. They lived there for many more years after I left for college. Yes the Capone house is real I had a good friend that lived right by it. Yes the KKK house is real George Pepper even tried to run for mayor at one time and he did hold rally's and marches in town. Our family had many friend of all races and they were also many important people in town of all races. Things were never perfect but no town is ever perfect but it was a great place to grow up and to this day still have great friends from that time and remember so much of the little town that was Fontana and how more than anything people looked after each other and always wanted what was best for the city

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