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

His name was George Pepper and yes he lived in a big white house near the old YMCA.

George Pepper's house was across from the YMCA. I delivered his news paper as a teen
Was a hard person to collect from. I remember I went time during a meeting to collect and was stopped by Mr Rossi then Fontana Jr High principal as he was still a reserve officer. He was not excited about me going to the meeting

George Pepper

Is it true that the mexican-americans living in fontana in the 60's and prior were not allowed to attend Fontana High School?

Not true. I have yearbooks dating back to 1955 and there are many Mexican-Americans attending.

the KKK house on Anastasia is quite real. My church is right next to it. The people living in it now are very nice though. Ive lived in Fontana all my life, and it is indeed an interesting town... :)

is it George peppers house?

My aunt lives there and I've heard it was the kkk house from back in the day it's huge inside and it was haunted we had to take a priest yo bless the house.

Does your aunt still live there? My brother and I were discussing we would like to go back inside it just once more. We lived in that house (17378 Anastasia) in the 60's and early 70's before it was bought and renovated into a mini-mansion. And yes, we always felt it was haunted long before it was renovated.

We lived there in the late 60's til early 70's (1971 I think).
There were 3 of us kids in that house and we had the upstairs bedrooms.
We had numerous nights of waking up with our beds moving.
There was a stairway that went from between the living room and dining room/kitchen to the upstairs. Halfway up the stair case was an attic crawl space.
Voices would come from there essentially trapping us kids at the top of the stairwell.
I hated that house... but loved it at the same time.

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