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.


I don't doubt you at all and never questioned that. Race is not an issue here.

i lived on tamarind in the 80s capones house was very cool

Why all this hate and sarcasm "The Illiterate Hood Liar" and "Spelling In Fontana"? Where is your guys' hearts? No optimism, just judging, huh? If you guys care so much about "spelling" than go to an elementary Spelling Bee, become a teacher or something like that. Why the resentment towards someone who speaks nothing but honesty? I personally know The Hood Pastor, we the main homeboys! As a matter of fact he's my brother-in-law, and I CAN CONFIRM everything he has stated here. I've been living here Rialto for nearly 7 years and I myself have seen such things. Hood Pastor has even shown me the historical FACTS he speaks of, he is very trustworthy and I rely on him in many things, such as the word of God and even my parents' daughter, my sister. So people just be more open minded and if you cant believe what hes saying than Google it or go to a library. Cant handle the Truth? Then leave.

before i moved a year ago the al capone house still had not been torn down

as of june 2012 the house still stands.

when i was a kid in the 80S my grandparents live on Randell between tamran and alder. next to the church there is a sub division now but it was an empty lot, some of us kids were exploring and we came across some stairs buried in the dirt, going down. we found a little door that opened into a room that was from the 20s. it had a old soda machine, pool table, bar and and old ass car. the coolest thing was the steel tube in the wall. my uncle went in it and it was full of tunnels that led everywhere but the straightest route took him to the capone mansion inside a closet. looking back i wish i was older so i couldve seen it before the new houses went in

i grew up in fontana in the 80s i lived on tamarind st next to s tamarind elementary school, i remember i had a friend christy when we would walk to her house we would walk by capones house!! it was very cool house.

i was a kid in fontana in the 80s too my name is tracy (summers) michel trying to find friends from those days im on facebook...

Tracy did you have Mrs. T. at FOHI for Journalism or Photography? I'm Yolie :)

I would love tk know exactly where it was at...
please leave me exact details I would love to research


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