The legacy of The Chaffey Brothers.......
First they Helped Developed the Inland Empire then they took off for Australia.
In the spring of 1877, George Chaffey, Sr. arrived in Riverside....So what you say...Well have you ever heard of Chaffey High School, or Chaffey Jr College, San Antonio Heights, Upland or Ontario....Without the Chaffey Family, This area might be a Suburb of LA rather than of San Bernardino.
In 1881, George Chaffey, Jr. came to California, decided that he liked the area that his father had written him about and decided to stay....One day, He and his brothers William and Charles decided to ride out and see what the area looked like....Riverside back then was still a small community so they decided to head west across the Santa Ana River and into the area that eventually would become Ontario, Upland, Alta Loma, Cucamonga and Etiwanda......A large portion of this land was owned by Captain Joseph Garcia and on Thanksgiving Day, 1881, George and William met Captain Garcia at his home in Etiwanda and agreed to buy his home and 560 acres of land for $30,000.00.......This also included Garcia's interest in the water rights of Day Canyon and the creek on the East.....Another words the area to the south of Modern day Cucamonga.
This purchase was the beginning of a whirlwind of activities......The time was ripe after many years of slow development in the Valley for something new......The idea was the creation of a Mutual Water Company whose members shared equally in the available water.......The land was subdivided into ten-acre agricultural lots with a share of water for each one acre........A land boom was on in Southern California and the Chaffey's were the spark.
They also purchased 640 acres from the Southern Pacific Railroad......This Company owned every other section of land through the Valley that had not been previously sold............The Chaffey's hired a certain Mr. Dunlap to survey and map their purchases.....They also contracted a Mr. Stowell to manufacture and install miles of concrete pipe made in his pipe yard in then Etiwanda.....You can still find sections of this pipe all through the valley especially in any of the Vineyards that are left.....Here in the Pines Mobile Home Park, out in the area where another 116 homes will eventually be built, you can still find this concrete pipe all through the 18 acres.
On March 22, 1882, George Chaffey, Jr. and William Chaffey, created the firm of Chaffey Brothers, whose principal place of business was out in Etiwanda.........They also appointed each other as their attorney to act for each other.........The Etiwanda Water Company was organized by them and incorporated in May 8, 1882, naming themselves as principle directors.
They borrowed from their Father over $9,000.00 in 1882 and mortgaged several lots and 37 ½ inches of water......They actually repaid this amount to there dad one year later....The Land Boom in the IE was going strong.....Over the Next two years they were to borrow over $200,000 from various sources and repaid all of it.....Eventually they became rich in there own right, as the money from other investors poured in to the company from the sale of water rights.
The Chaffey Brothers in December 1882, purchased a huge tract of land that became Ontario and North Ontario which is modern day Upland........This area was surveyed, streets laid out, pipes installed by Mr. Stowell, the San Antonio Water Company was formed and Chaffey Jr High was started......Over the next four years, the Chaffey Brothers made over $1 Million....In 1886 the Brothers George and William were persuaded to move to Mildura, Australia by the Australian government and start a much larger project......Charles Chaffey remained in California to take care of his Brothers' interest.
But because the Australians distrusted almost every thing the Brothers tried to do because it wasn't 'British' enough, things did not go well for the brothers....First, the produce transport system broke down......Fruit rotted.....There was depression......The Banks failed......By 1896 Australia had had its full of the Chaffeys......George went bankrupt and returned to the Inland Empire where he once again amassed a huge fortune....He died a wealthy man.
But brother William stuck it out in Mildura......For years he worked to rebuild the town and to rebuild his life......By 1920, Mildura was a stable city, supplied by a rail system that William helped build.....That year her citizens elected him mayor.....This Brother had managed to regain the trust that he and his brother had lost, rebuilt and in the end became a wealthy man in Australia
Today, William Chaffey's statue stands in Mildura, Australia.... He is, after all, the city's father, and he's trusted at last......Here in the Inland Empire, If it had not been for the Chaffey Bros, things might be quite different....Just think, There might not have ever been a Chaffey High School and a Tiger that we could paint in my senior year at Upland.
Gary Hall, the ghostpainter