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

I've lived in the area all my life. The house that was torn
down was located on Randall, I know that house had an underground garage. the Church of latter day saints was built on that property

I attended Fontana High from '62 - '66. Far from there being no Mexican-Americans allowed, many were among
the most popular kids, from student body officers to homecoming princesses to atheletes. There was easy dating
between these kids and the anglo kids, too. You didn't ask, but there were lots of black kids, too.

ITS FUNNY HOW YOU MAKE FO-HIGH SEEM LIKE THE ALL AMERICAN HIGH SCHOOL MELTING POT. BUT I WENT TO CHURCH IN UPLAND AND I NEVER PASSED THE 15 GOING EAST. ALOT OF THE ANGLO OR WHITE PEOPLE AT MY CHURCH HAD FAMILY IN THE CLAN AND GREW UP IN FONTANA. THIS WAS IN THE LATE 80S TO EARLY 90S WHEN THE PW's WERE ALREADY RUNNING THINGS. AND ALL OF THEM WILL TELL YOU FO-HIGH WAS A FAR-CRY FROM A MELTING POT. MOSTLY WHITE AND THEY HAD PICTURES AND STORYS JUST LIKE YOU. ONE WAS OVER MY HOUSE JUST THE OTHER DAY SHARING WITH ME SOME STORYS. AND ALL THESE PEOPLE I GREW UP WITH, WELL ME AS A KID AND THEM HIGH SCHOOL AGE AND OLDER ALL TELL ME THE OPPOSITE FROM YOU, JUST SAYING...
CANT HAVE TWO PAST'S NOW CAN YOU???

i grew up in Fontana and graduated in 1970. My best friend in summer school kindergarten was a black girl. My best friends in grade school, junior high,and highschool were Mexican and two Italians. One of the most popular girls was Mexican and married a very good looking white guy. I do not remember having any prejudice against any minority or any of my friends. We never talked about such things. Another best friend was half Mexican and half white. The black girls I knew were very popular also and we were all friendly to each other. There were few minorities compared to white people yet we all got along. You did not grow up in Fontana. I did.

I graduated from Fontana High School in 1973 and had the same experience.

I remember rideing my bicycle on sierra blvd. in the mid 1970's and all the white people were on one side, and all the blacks on the other. There was supposed to be klan march, and the blacks wanted to protest. My older sister told me about riots at fontana high between the whites and the blacks. I tried to be a racist, but it's unrealistic, good is good , bad is bad , no matter a persons race or religion. Wrong is wrong , rite is rite. I have friends and have known people from all over the world. There is something about the town and the area that is kind of bizarre I must admit, and there is a book called city of quarts about the area and its history some might find interesting. One thing is true for sure, there were plenty of empty backyard swimming pools in fontana and the surrounding area with great transitions....anyone remember juniper pool, great times there. Peace and Love to all i have known or know there......That town is TWISTED!

Sorry everything said above is false. I grew up in Fontana and this never happened!

I was born and raised in Fontana. During the 70's the KKK did march in Fontana on Sierra Ave. It wasn't just a one time thing, it happened a lot. Fontana was a biker town and a great deal of them were in the KKK and marched

All men are made in the image of God, Black, White, Yellow, Brown, all are made in Gods image. Any organization that promotes hate is serving satan , for God is Love. KKK members repent before it's to late God loves you too. Eternity is at stake, Jesus ( God in the flesh is the atonement for sin ). It's a free gift, grab it.

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