Trick or Treat, Bodies & Indians; a Bridge over a Troubled Route 66....
When I was in High School several people I knew were killed on Foothill (Route 66) just past the Bridge that crosses Foothill at Bear Gulch.....Back then, Foothill was very narrow and made a sharp turn to the left just as you passed under the bridge.....Baker was still a dirt road and the Mobile Home park that is on Foothill Today, did not exist back then.....A dense grove of Sycamore and Eculipitous Trees lined the road.
After the car crash people were finding body parts for days after the event....One day, a young girl riding her bike reported to police that a head had dropped out of one of the trees almost right in her lap....The sheriffs knowing that the accident scene was still under investigation sent a team out and they did indeed find the head of one of the victims....The Santa Ana's were blowing so other body parts were dropping out of the trees right into the slow lane of Foothill....Needless to say they had to close Foothill down and have crews go up into the trees and look for the rest of the body parts....I dont think they ever found everything though....residents living to the south on arrow reported several dogs were carrying what appeared to them as legs and arms into the fields.
Today, Foothill in the Bridge area is greatly improved but cars doing over 45 still have difficulty stopping at the light on Baker, or making the hard left turn that still exists....As it turns out, work will begin shortly to finally take care of the problem, by rebuilding the bridge and widening Foothill all the way thru Bear Gulch past Baker.
In 1929 when the bridge was built for the old Pacific Electric railroad, Foothill was a mere two lanes wide at that point and because of the slope it was cutting thru it was decided by the railroad to begin the grade almost a half mile before crossing Route 66 as we all know it was called back then.
The first part of the bridge was actually two giant steel girders laid from the Bear Gulch side to the Red Hill side of the road way....It remained that way when the remainder of the wooden trestle was laid down over the top of the, completing the bridge....The bridge was 44 feet long and it was thought it would take care of traffic needs for generations to come....The PE built the bridge for $70,000, or roughly $2 Million in today’s money.
In the 1980's, I and my cousin were heading east on Foothill just past Baker in Heavy fog, when were saw a ghostly vision....Several Indians on horse Back were ridding thru the fog...It was also dark and the street lights added a very strange and sereal quality to what we were seeing.
They disapated with the fog and we just starred at each other and laughed...We both believed in ghosts, plus my cousin was a writter so he put the whole incident down planning to make a story or commerical about it.
But as fates would have it, his story was stolen from him and a TV ad for Ford Ranger appeared with the driver and ranger driving thru fog coming upon and being surrounded by several indains....He sued but never got a dime....How can you prove a story like that anyway.
Now nearly 75 years later, this old bridge will be torn out so that they can rebuild Foothill....But it will be replaced by a new bridge, built specifically for bikes and as a walking trail, that will end eventually at Victoria Gardens....Matching funds are being paid by the Federal Transportation Agency, the state and the City of Cucamonga.
Currently, the bike and walkway are being built in both Upland and Cucamonga....Once the new bridge finished and Foothill is widen to 8 lanes, then the completed trail will be joined over the new bridge some time in late 2008.
Gary Hall, theghostpainter.