The Origin of the Name "Cucamonga"

Cucamonga comes from a Tongva place name that probably means "sandy place".
Cucamonga has always been recognized as a funny-sounding place name, among such exotic places as Timbuktu and Bora Bora. One of the catch-phrases of the radio show "The Jack Benny Program" involved a train announcer (Mel Blanc) who said over the loudspeaker, "Train now leaving on track five for Anaheim, Azusa, and Cuc (pronounced cuke)... amonga," taking progressively longer pauses between "Cuc" and "amonga." Part of the joke, for the Los Angeles audience, was that no such train route existed. Jack Benny Drive, a small street in the city, is named as a tribute to "The Jack Benny Program". (Coincidentally, the city also has a Rochester Avenue, which is very likely not named for the character portrayed by Eddie Anderson on the Jack Benny Program.) In one of his many popular media crossovers, Blanc used that same catch phrase in Daffy Duck's voice in the 1948 Merrie Melodies cartoon "Daffy Duck Slept Here" and later in Bugs Bunny's voice in a 1960s Looney Tunes cartoon. In an episode of The Simpsons, Krusty the Clown mentioned Rancho Cucamonga, along with Walla Walla, Keokuk, and Seattle, as funny place names. Source:


I found this, has anyone seen this before?

The Legend of Cucamonga

For the obscure Chumash natives of the state of California dreams form a part of real life. Every dream is interpreted and scrutinized in great detail. The Chumash would take their best dreams and set upon carrying out or recreating them in the course of one solar cycle.

Legend holds that Cucamonga, an old tribal witch, was the one in charge with helping the dreamers best interpret and present their visions to the tribe in the yearly ritual where they gathered to share them. They also say that in the area where the present city of Rancho Cucamonga is located was where the first movie studios were established and that strange events led to them moving away to what today we know as Hollywood. Stories are often told of how producers and directors had to flee Rancho Cucamonga for unknowingly building their facilities on top of what once were the ancient Chumash ceremonial grounds. They say that after the first movie projection in the area a comet passed over Rancho Cucamonga and a bright flash was seen coming from the witch’s descendants’ house. From that day on, at every screening, there appeared in the films strange images and characters that were not registered with the camera.

Many locals assure having seen Cucamonga’s shadow laughing in the back of the movie theater. They also say that when one walks beneath the starry sky of this mythical part of California a distant tribal chant can be heard mixed with the wind. This melody would be, according to legend, the one the Chumash danced to as they finalized the interpretation of each dream.

Even today, many believe in this legend and say that when in the Cucamonga region you must write down your dreams each night so that we may ask her help in making the images of our dreams a reality.

We used to live in Cucamonga and heard often at night "Indian Music and Chanting" I never knew of the legend mentioned in the article, but feel better now knowing I'm not a complete wing nut.

Cucamonga was originally called Kukaumo-nga by the local native Indians. Later it was called the Kukaumonga Territory. Then Cucamonga, and in more recent years it incorporated Cucamonga, Alta Loma, and Eitwanda into Rancho Cucamonga.

The word cucamonga is a Kizh word, not Tongva. There is NO such thing as a Tongva tribe. The Spanish called the Kizh the Gabrieleno Indians. It was a Kizh community that originally lived in the area they named Cucamonga.

The Kizh word was Kucamonga.

I have more of a question than anything. A few years ago my friend and I took a long weekend in San Diego while we were living in Phx.Az. on the way back home our car unfortunately broke down and since we were taking the Mountainous route home ( if anyone remembers the name of that route please do jump in ) which would put us close as we entered As. To Casa Grande anyways were we broke down was in the middle of nowhere so the Tow truck driver suggested we spend the night in the closest town because it had a Garage, lodgings, a restaurant and possibly am ATM, my friends brother was going to drive to this town and meet us as well as bring the auto part needed from Casa Grand As. Per this local garage was out of the part and they would have to have it sent in from " Back East " somewhere humm...
Well I'm sharing this story to make sure it was in fact the town of Cucamonga .ca, about 3-4 hours away from Casa Grande Az and that infact you get there from that Moutanious interstate if you were on your way back to Phoenix from San Diego?
The or I should say Our experience in Cucamonga was Surreal and very Scary, First my friend and I were not allowed to take a room together, my friend is Female I am male, we even told them we were married that made no difference, none of the rooms had phones I them, now please remember this was in the mid.1990's by this time my friend and were starting to get very worried so we did ask if there was a phone somewhere close by to which the motel clerk answered " yes but that it had been out of order, for some time " we're going row stroll over to where it was located and check to of maybe it had been possibly fixed. We made it to the Gas station it was located and to our surprise it was working we didn't even mind that there it stood in a homemade phone booth, we called her Brother in maybe it was Yuma after all and not Casa Grande after all and the only reason I can admit my being so wrong about Yuma or Casa Grande is because of how very scared we were, did i mention the pictures of Hitler on the garage walls as proudly displayed as Lil Miss December or that my friend was a very Blond blue eyes irsh gal and I Latino American oh the Glances we got when we entered any and all establishment in that town the feeling only to be forgotten for a moment when we realized with astonishment that above every single doorway hug a plastic bag filled with what we thought was water and in most of the bags of water were Coins and " other " unidentifiable object. There was nothing to eat at that time from room service at that time but now that I think back maybe just not for us or maybe these people didn't eat food hum... The phone call we had made to her Brother paid off He was there in about for and a half hours and actually pulled our car to the next town where there was a Chrysler Dealer who had the part we needed in stock. We never did go back to our " Rooms " at the Hotem/ Motel we just waited in the lobby, to this day I'm sure we were in Cucamonga .ca. the signs said so, why such odd people and Hero , and for the life of me and I've asked since then hundreds of people i cant figure out the hanging water bags with coins and trinkets sometimes i wonder if maybe we stumbled into a Coven of Witches or Vampires and as surreal as what ive shared was there is much more I did not share, my friend and I never talk our weekend experience in a town with a funny name and not so funny people and some not so funny happenings, however we stiffen our Backs,move a little faster and feel a little more Religious when ever we here the word CUCAMONGA.
Is there anyone out there who experienced anything like we did in that Town? Can anyone tell me if in fact it sounds like the right area, can you get there from that Hot, dry Moutanious route from West Poenix Az. to San Diego Ca., Could it have grown or changed so much since I was there in the Mid 1990's ?
If anyone out there can enlighten and Verify any or all parts of my experience I would wellcome it and thank you for sharing, has anyone else had any similar or hard to believe happenings in Cucamonga please share, You just never know what you're pulling into anymore.
John-David Nazario

Rancho Cucamonga is about 6 hours from Casa Grande, AZ and if you were going to/from San Diego, it would be at least an hour out of your way.. Back in the 1990's Rancho Cucamonga wasnt as big as it is now, but it was still pretty big.. Lots of McDonald's, Price Club (now Costco), etc even back then.. although it is a large area and even now there are still a lot of little "hidden" areas that look straight out of the 1930's ..
But the fact that it is so far out of the way from where you were going I doubt it was "THE" Rancho Cucamonga, and, I only know of one in California..

I did a google search about the water in bags phenomenon and found out it is supposed to repel insects. So at least that is explainable.

Rancho Cucamonga is close proximity to the 10 freeway and the 15 freeway which would be the route taken from a to San Diego. The bags full of coins are suppose to repeal mosquitos which there are plenty of in the area. This area of California has doubled and tripled in population and development over the past two decades. There are frequent ghost sightings in this area.

The sign I saw didn't say Rancho Cucamonga it was " Cucamonga " and remember we had broken down and we were towed into town we really were at the mercy of the Tow truck driver heck he could have taken us across the Boarder at that time of night and we wouldn't have been the wiser we were more trusting back then things were slightly a little more innocent even as close as then in the 1990's and it was a ways to the Garage , I do remember that the road into the town was not a main road no official signs or street lamps just a long dark country road and to hear what you've described that could not have been the main town, perhaps like you described an offshoot of the true city but definitely out of another ERA.
It's just funny in a way that these little pockets of somewhat oddities still exist in our Country today,
What Ever part of Cucamonga it was I guess I'll never know , I just smile whenever I hear someone ask someone " ever heard of a place called Cucamonga?" Or " Where in Cucamonga is that..."
I guess the whole experience is just one of those things that make say humm... maybe some day I'll return for a visit in the daytime and try to find that part of the City that gave a grown man goosebumps and nightmares for a few days after a Wonderful San Diego vacation.
Odessa, TX since the 1990's


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