Rancho Cucamonga

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Rancho Cucamonga
Winey (1 of 1).jpg
Rancho Cucamonga Marker at the Cucamonga Winery
LocationRancho Cucamonga, California
Coordinates34°06′24″N 117°36′39″W / 34.106683°N 117.6107°W / 34.106683; -117.6107Coordinates: 34°06′24″N 117°36′39″W / 34.106683°N 117.6107°W / 34.106683; -117.6107
Area13,045 acres (52.79 km2)
DesignatedOctober 10, 1951
Reference no.490
Rancho Cucamonga is located in California
Rancho Cucamonga
Location of Rancho Cucamonga in California

Rancho Cucamonga was a 13,045-acre (20.383 sq mi; 52.79 km2) Mexican land grant in present-day San Bernardino County, California, given in 1839 to the dedicated soldier, smuggler and politician Tiburcio Tapia by Mexican governor Juan Bautista Alvarado.[1] The grant formed parts of present-day California cities Rancho Cucamonga and Upland. It extended easterly from San Antonio Creek to what is now Hermosa Avenue, and from today's Eighth Street to the mountains.[2][3]


The Mission San Gabriel established the Rancho Cucamonga as a site for grazing their cattle. In 1839, the rancho was granted by the Mexican governor of California to Tiburcio Tapia, a wealthy Los Angeles merchant. Tapia transferred his cattle to Cucamonga and built a fort-like adobe house on Red Hill. The Rancho was inherited by Tapia's daughter, Maria Merced Tapia de Prudhomme, and her husband Leon Victor Prudhomme.

With the cession of California to the United States following the Mexican–American War, the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo provided that the land grants would be honored. As required by the Land Act of 1851, a claim for Rancho Cucamonga was filed with the Public Land Commission in 1852,[4] and the grant was patented to Leon V. Prudhomme in 1872.[5]

Rancho Cucamonga was sold in 1858 to John Rains. Rains in 1856 married Maria Merced Williams, the daughter of Rancho Santa Ana del Chino owner Isaac Williams and granddaughter of Antonio Maria Lugo, owner of Rancho San Bernardino. Maria was thus a wealthy heiress, and Rains invested in three ranchos and the Bella Union Hotel in Los Angeles.[6] John Rains was murdered on November 17, 1862. Three men including Tomas Procopio Bustamante were accused but only Manuel Ceredel was caught. Ceredel claimed he, Precopio and four others were paid $500 by Ramon Carrillo, another ranchero and political opponent, to kill Rains. Ceradel was convicted of attempting to murder the sheriff's deputy who arrested him and was sentenced to 10 years in San Quentin. As the sheriff took Ceredel on a boat to San Francisco, a group of vigilantes lynched Ceredel. Carrillo was examined in court twice and was released, no evidence having been found against him.[7] Ramon Carrillo always maintained his innocence of the crime, but he was shot in the back from ambush and killed on the Los Angeles road west of Cucamonga on May 21, 1864 in another unsolved murder.[8]

Maria Merced married José Carrillo in 1864. She had nine children in all: five with Rains, and four with Carrillo. Isaias W. Hellman, a Los Angeles banker, and a San Francisco business syndicate acquired the 13,045 acres (52.79 km2) Rancho Cucamonga at a sheriff's sale in 1871.[9] Hellman and his partners, which included former Governor John Downey, subdivided the land. Hellman continued to make port and sweet Angelica wine from Cucamonga's fabled vineyard. Tapia had first planted grapes in 1839 and Rains had increased the vineyard to 150 acres (0.61 km2) in 1859.

In 1882, George Chaffey, a Canadian from the province of Ontario, purchased 8,000 acres (32 km2) of the Rancho Cucamonga land for $90,000. Chaffey established an irrigation colony which he named Ontario, after his homeland of Ontario, Canada. The Ontario colony later became the city of Ontario, incorporated in 1891.[10] The northern part of Chaffey's Ontario colony became the city of Upland, incorporated in 1906.[11]

In 1977 three unincorporated communities which had emerged on the old ranch lands—Alta Loma, Cucamonga and Etiwanda—became the city of Rancho Cucamonga.

Historic sites[edit]


Marker at Cucamonga Winery site reads:

Established by Tiburcio Tapia, to whom the Cucamonga Rancho was granted March 3, 1839, by Governor Juan Bautista Alvarado of Mexico.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hoffman, Ogden (1862). Reports of Land Cases Determined in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. San Francisco: Numa Hubert.
  2. ^ "Diseño del Rancho Cucamonga". cdlib.org.
  3. ^ "ArcGIS Web Application". sbcounty.maps.arcgis.com. San Bernardino County, California. Retrieved 2018-10-23. (see city boundaries vs. 8th/Hermosa north to mountains and west to San Antonio Creek)
  4. ^ "Land Case 214 SD". United States District Court (California : Southern District) – via cdlib.org.
  5. ^ "Report of the Surveyor General 1844–1886" (PDF). State of California. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-03-20 – via slc.ca.gov.
  6. ^ "Rancho Cucamonga History". ci.rancho-cucamonga.ca.us. Rancho Cucamonga, California. Archived from the original on March 9, 2008. Retrieved May 20, 2022.
  7. ^ Boessenecker, John (1998). Lawman: The Life and Times of Harry Morse, 1835–1912. Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press. p. 32. ISBN 9780806130118.
  8. ^ Flanigan, Kathleen (Fall 1996). Crawford, Richard W. (ed.). "The Ranch House at Warner's". The Journal of San Diego History, San Diego Historical Society Quarterly. 42 (4).
  9. ^ Hoover, Mildred B.; Rensch, Hero; Rensch, Ethel; Abeloe, William N. (1966). Historic Spots in California. Stanford University Press. ISBN 978-0-8047-4482-9.
  10. ^ "History of Upland, CA". Upland Public Library. Retrieved 30 March 2013.
  11. ^ "History of Ontario, CA". Upland Public Library. Retrieved 31 March 2013.
  12. ^ "John Rains House". sbcounty.gov. San Bernardino County, California. Retrieved 2018-10-23.
  13. ^ "Nomination Form: Will Smiths House" (PDF). National Park Service Digital Asset Management System. United States National Park Service. April 24, 1973. Retrieved 2018-10-23.
  14. ^ "Tapia Adobe (Site of)". ohp.parks.ca.gov. State of California. Retrieved 2018-10-23.
  15. ^ "Cucamonga Rancho Winery". ohp.parks.ca.gov. Retrieved 2018-10-23.
  16. ^ "CHL No. 490". californiahistoricallandmarks.com. 2016. Retrieved May 20, 2022.