Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Rancho Cucamonga is a suburban city situated at the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains in San Bernardino County, California. It is located 37 miles east of Downtown Los Angeles. The city had a population of 165,269 in 2010 and an estimated population of 174,305 in 2014. The city experiences an average of 287 sunny days per year, compared to a national average of 205 days. Its climate is classified as warm Mediterranean, or Csa, under the Köppen climate classification system. The city's seal, which centers on a cluster of grapes, alludes to the city's agricultural history and intimate connections to wine-making.
The city's favorable location and host of public amenities have earned it numerous distinctions. Notably, Money Magazine ranked Rancho Cucamonga 42nd on its "Best Places to Live" list in 2006. In addition, Insider Magazine established one Rancho Cucamonga neighborhood as the 13th richest neighborhood in Southern California. All of the city's four public high schools earned the Silver distinction in a 2015 ranking of the nation's high schools by U.S. News & World Report. Also, Los Osos, Alta Loma and Rancho Cucamonga High School have just recently become certified gold ribbon schools by the California Department of Education. The city's proximity to major transportation hubs, airports, and highways has attracted the business of several of the nation's largest corporations including Coca-Cola, Nong Shim, Frito-Lay, and Amphastar Pharmaceuticals.
Rancho Cucamonga's first settlers were Native American. By 1200 AD, Kukamongan Native Americans had established a village settlement in the area around present-day Red Hill, near the city's western border. Kukamonga derives its name from a Native American word meaning "sandy place." Anthropologists have determined that this cluster of settlers likely belonged to the Tongva people or Kich people, at one time one of the largest concentrations of Native American peoples on the North American continent. In the 18th century, following an expedition led by Gaspar de Portola, the land was incorporated into the Mission System established by Father Junipero Serra and his group of soldiers and Franciscan Monks.
After a half century of political jockeying in the region, the land finally came under the control of Juan Bautista Alvarado, governor of Mexico. On March 3, 1839, Alvarado granted 13,000 acres of land in the area called "Cucamonga" to Tubercio Tapia, a first-generation Spanish native of Los Angeles, successful merchant, and notorious smuggler. Tapia went on to establish the first winery in California on his newly deeded land. Rancho Cucamonga was purchased by John Rains and his wife in 1858. The Rains family's home, Casa de Rancho Cucamonga, was completed in 1860 and now appears on the National Register of Historic Places.
During the ensuing years the town prospered and grew. In 1887, irrigation tunnels were dug into Cucamonga Canyon by Chinese laborers and the Santa Fe Railroad was extended through the area. Among the town's economic mainstays was agriculture, including olives, peaches, citrus, and, most notably, vineyards. In 1913, the Pacific Electric Railway was extended through Rancho Cucamonga in an effort to improve crop transportation. Several landmarks in existence today pay tribute to the city's multicultural founding. In particular, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel remains as a relic of the area's Mexican agriculture laborers while the Chinatown House stands as a reminder of the Chinese immigrants who labored in constructing the area's infrastructure.