Our goal is to foster an awareness of the history in the Highland/East Highland area of San Bernardino County in Southern California, and to expand the involvement of the public in collecting artifacts and preserving local history.

The Highland Area Historical Society
Home Page

Up coming meetings and events

Meetings are held at 7:00 PM on the 4th. Thursday of Jan, March, May, & Sept. The November meeting will be held the first Thursday of December because of Thanksgiving.

Meeting dates for 2014:
Jan. 23
March 27
May 22
Sept. 25
Dec. 4

Meetings are held at the
Highland Senior Center,
3102 E. Highland Avenue
and are free and open to the public.

Next Meeting:
Highland Area Historical Society meeting
Thursday September 25th, 2014
7:00pm at the
Highland Senior Center
3102 Highland Ave. at the entrance to Patton.

Mark Landis will give his presentation on the historic Arrowhead Springs Resort which is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year.

Landis is a freelance columnist for the Inland Newsgroup and has written local history articles for more than 10 years. He has written a book "Arrowhead Springs, California's Ideal Resort" on the 150-year history of sanitariums, hotels, resort facilities and spring water at Arrowhead Springs in the foothills of the San Bernardino mountains.

As always the programs are free and open to the public. Light refreshments are provided after the program.

                                                  Sustaining Sponsors

Sustaining Sponsors:
We thank our Sustaining Sponsors for their support!
Please support them by patronizing their businesses.

Highland Area Historical Society California Eviction Service
The Belle M&M Smog 
Cookie Lee Jewelry - Cori Freeman Web Presence Pros
Parent Care Management Services Highland Dental
art-ique Native_Sons_of_The_Golden_West
Your Card Here                        Your Card Here
Sustaining Sponsor memberships:
A Sustaining Sponsor membership is only $75.00 and include: one year membership, business card advertising in newsletters, advertising on sponsor board at all events, advertising on website, and mention in Highland Community News "Now and Then" column.


A Pictorial History of Highland, by Bill Calvert

Before Highland... The Serranos Page 1
Messina Page 9
Highland Views Page 13
Highland Business District Page 23
East Highlands Page 57
Churches Page 65
Schools Page 73
Trains, Street Cars & Depots Page 81
Home Sweet Home Page 91
Packing Houses Page 123
Harlem Springs Page 149
Molino Page 153
Patton Page 157
City Creek Road Page 163
Fredlaba Page 173
Highland Faces Page 185
Annexation vs Cityhood Page 195
More EL Rancho Page 204
To order:
Nancy Alexander at 909-862-7868
Click to enlarge A Pictorial History of Highland A Pictorial
History of Highland
by Bill Calvert


Bill Calvert has been collecting Highland photos and artifacts for 25 years. An idea began to take shape to chronicle the history of Highland from its early days, when it was known as Messina, to 1987 when Highland was incorporated as a city, through the use of photographs.

The late Kay Beattie, who wrote the Looking Back articles for the Highland Community News, was to collaborate with Bill on this project, but it became too much for her. With her encouragement, Bill pressed on with the project.

The Historical Society offered to “self-publish” this one-of-a-kind book consisting of 207 pages of photos and historical narrative.

Copies of A Pictorial History of Highland, by Bill Calvert
and A Look Back... By Kay Beattie Vol.1 are available at:

The Highland Area Chamber of Commerce
Stop by their office M-TH 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
27255 Messina St., Highland, CA 92346
Phone (909) 864-4073
Fax (909) 864-4583

Or by contacting Nancy Alexander at  or writing to the Highland Area Historical Society: P.O. Box 353, Highland, CA 92346-0353.

Resent Meetings And Events.
See more on our Past Speakers and Events page.


Highland Area Historical Society meeting
Thursday May 22th, 2014
7:00pm at the
Highland Senior Center
3102 Highland Ave. at the entrance to Patton.

Nancy Alexander took us on a virtual tour of the Highland Historic District .

Highland Area Historical Society meeting
Thursday March 27th, 2014
7:00pm at the
Highland Senior Center
3102 Highland Ave. at the entrance to Patton.
Program: Tom Hooker “The Beginnings of Highland”

Program: Tom Hooker “The Beginnings of Highland”

Tom has done extensive research of early property deeds and other documentation from the Highland area in preparation for his upcoming book. He shared some of his insights into how the original business district of Highland came to be, who some of the early “movers and shakers” were and how the Kite Loop Train tracks that were so vital to Highland’s growth and prosperity were paid for.

Tom Hooker is a fourth generation Highlander whose roots go back to 1891 in Highland.
Tom was raised at the orange grove in Highland on Atlantic at Church in his Grandfather’s house. After Tom retired from the Forest Service, he decided to put together a family history. While doing so, Tom made contact with Howard Ingham, a grandson of the man who had planted the Hooker orange grove in 1884. They talked and decided to do a history of the Inghams and Hookers in Highland. Howard died a couple of years later and the history project grew to include much more. Tom is still working on the project today. The title of the book that Tom hopes to publish will be "A Pioneer History of Highland California and the North Fork Ditch." Most of the book will deal with the time period of 1852 to 1900. However, a little of the book will go past 1900.


Highland Area Historical Society meeting
Thursday January 23rd, 2014
7:00pm at the
Highland Senior Center
3102 Highland Ave. at the entrance to Patton.
Program: Mark Landis “The Tail of the Kite” and how it influenced the area that becomes known as Highland.

 Well known historian and author Mark Landis gave an outstanding presentation on “The Tail of the Kite” and how it influenced the area that becomes known as Highland.

Mark had copy's of his books Touring The Eastern Loop of The Kite-Shaped Track and Arrowhead Springs, California's Ideal Resort available at the meeting.

For more information on Mark and his books go to his web site: Landis Publications


Highland Area Historical Society meeting
Thursday December 5th, 2013
7:00pm at the
Highland Senior Center
3102 Highland Ave. at the entrance to Patton.

Author and historian, Marilyn Cram Donahue reminiscences about school holiday programs and Christmas activities from  Highland’s past.

The public is invited to spend the evening with Marilyn hearing her wonderful memories.

Two of Marilyn’s historical novels (Straight Along a Crooked Road and The Valley in Between) as well as six of her contemporary books for middle grade and young adult readers are being digitized and should be available on Amazon for Christmas.

As always the programs are free and open to the public. Light refreshments are provided after the program.

For information visit CRAM FAMILY HISTORY : Compiled by Marilyn Cram Donahue   and   Lucile Cram Whitecotton Suttle   

The Historical Society will had a display at the
Discover Highland Night!

Date: Saturday October 26, 2013
Time: 3:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Location: Highland Crossing's Shopping Center/Lowe's Home Improvement
Address: 27847 Greenspot Rd., Highland CA

Highland Area Historical Society meeting
Thursday, Sept. 23
Moved to October 10th , 2013
7:00pm at the
Highland Senior Center
3102 Highland Ave. at the entrance to Patton.


 Are you smarter than a fourth grader?

At our September 26th October 10th , 2013  meeting we played our version of a popular TV show!

The researchers’ at the Highland Area Historical Society have been hard at work developing resources to assist educators in Highland to teach local history. Fourth grade History–Social Science teachers are responsible for helping students learn the story of their home state.

As part of our “Home Town History – Local Schools Series” we are making available information on Highland’s history including topics tailored to the elementary schools including:

How did their school get its name?

How did the streets on the safe walking route get their names?

The names of the mountains they see around Highland and how they got their names.

Early inhabitants – including the Serrano Indians

Early explores to the Highland area.  

Early industry – cattle, wheat and grains, fruits and drying plants, citrus, lumber and box plants.

Early notable people of highland

We will make information available on the following schools:

             Arroyo Verde Elementary School

            Belvedere Elementary School

            Cole Elementary School

            Cram Elementary School

            Cypress Elementary School

            Highland Grove Elementary School

            Highland Pacific Elementary School

            Lankershim Elementary School

            Oehl Elementary School
Thompson Elementary School

We held a  good old fashioned study session to learn what the fourth graders will be learning about Highland and then tried our hand at a game show like quiz.

Highland Area Historical Society meeting
Thursday, May 23
rd, 2013  7:00pm at the
Highland Senior Center
3102 Highland Ave. at the entrance to Patton.


Bob Smith, author of “Redefining the Inland Valley”, was the guest speaker at the Highland Area Historical Society meeting.

Bob will provided a slide show and talk about his book that includes driving tours of the Inland area. Autographed copies of his book were available for purchase.

Bob Smith’s “Redefining the Inland Valley” is an update of the book of the same title published 10 years ago. The second edition comprises many changes, references and new illustrations in the driving tours section.

Read Bob’s Bio:

Redefining the Inland Valley (Second edition)

Redefining the Inland Valley (Second edition)
Author: Bob Smith
Paperback: 200 Pages
Publisher: Landmark Graphics (2010)
Language: English
Dimensions: 9.9 x 6.8 x 0.7 inches

Contents and Detailed Driving Tours of Inland Valley cities.

            Chino                                         9
            Fontana                                    12
            Ontario                         15
            Pomona, Claremont, La Verne, San Dimas  19
            Rancho Cucamonga, Alta Loma, Etiwanda, Cucamonga  31
            Riverside                                  36
            San Bernardino, Del Rosa         40
            Redlands                                  45
            Upland                                     48
Chronology and time-line                      53
Alphabetical History                             65
Annotated Bibliography                        73
Inland Valley Museums            191

Redefining the Inland Valley: Questions answered in the Text

Why are there two roads named Arrow? (Arrow Route and Arrow Highway)  p. 48.
Why is our valley divided into three counties? (LA, San Bernardino, Riv.) pp. 8, 9, 87
How can I be living in Alta Loma and Rancho Cucamonga at the same time? P. 31
Why did Ignacio Palomares move north and build on Arrow Highway ?  pp. 20, 48.
What is the significance of Baseline Road and Meridian Street? P. 74
Where and when was the speed of light first measured in the Inland Valley ?  p. 123
Where can I see and touch the SR 71 Blackbird ?   March Air Museum, Riverside  p. 193
Where can I see real prize winning race cars ?  National Hot-rod Museum, Pomona, 192
Where can  I see examples of historic planes at the “Planes of Fame” Air Museum? P.11
Where can I see a model of the mule car used to haul passengers to Upland ?  pp. 16, 127
Where can we experience life on a farm of 150 years ago ? pp.36, 116, 192, 38, 193.
Where can I see the “parent” tree of all the navel oranges in the valley ?   Riverside p.37.
Where can I tour a 19th century farm-house, barn and orchards ?  Riverside pp. 38, 193
Where is A. B. Miller’s first Fontana Farms development, “Camp One” ?  pp. 12, 123.
Where is the Madonna of the Trail and what are the four trails that meet there?  p. 121.
How many Madonna of the trail statues are there, from California to Maryland ?  P. 121.
Where can I see a statue of a Civil War soldier and list of local men who served ?  p. 41,
Where can I see a statue of a WWI doughboy and a list of local men who served ?  p. 24.
Where can I see a statue of the goddess Pomona, as pictured on the cover ?  p.138.
Where can I see a statue of Juan Bautista de Anza and all his followers ?  Riverside p. 68.
Where can I see a statue of Jedediah Smith ?   San Dimas  p. 159.
Where can I tour a Spanish adobe with authentic furnishings ?   Pomona  pp. 19, 192
Where can I see examples of Victorian architecture ?  pp. 10, 27, 28, 38, 45, 46.
Where can I see examples of Art Deco style architecture ?  pp. 10, 22, 25, 26.
Does the Mission Inn have anything to do with the California Missions ?  p. 124.
Where can I see real examples of Abraham Lincoln’s signature ?    Redlands p. 47

The 17th Annual  Highland Citrus Harvest Festival was be held on
Saturday, March 30th.

The theme for our booth was the "History of Highland Schools".
educational items and photographs were displayed in the booth.

We were honored to win a First place for best Historical Display this year!

Highland Area Historical Society meeting
Thursday, March 28
th 2013  7:00pm at the
Highland Senior Center
3102 Highland Ave. at the entrance to Patton.


The program was presented by Nancy Alexander on “An Overview of the History of Highland Schools”. It included a PowerPoint presentation on Highland schools, including Warm Springs, Cram and Arroyo Verde, and their histories.

January 27, 2013 - 30th Annual Highland Family Run

We staffed one of the water stations and cheered on the runners at the 30th Annual Highland Family Run

Highland Area Historical Society meeting
January 24th 2013  7:00pm at the
Highland Senior Center
3102 Highland Ave. at the entrance to Patton.


Our first meeting of 2013 was a potluck dinner and installation of the officers and board members for 2013-14.

For entertainment, a slide show was presented featuring highlights from the City of Highlands first 25 years.

Good food and comradely was enjoyed by those in attendance .


Highland Area Historical Society meeting
Thursday, December 6th, 2012 7:00pm at the
Highland Senior Center
3102 Highland Ave. at the entrance to Patton.

The December 6th  presentation was "The Harris Company," by Arcadia Publishing Author Aimmee Rodriguez

"The Harris Company," was an overview of the business from its early beginnings to its merger with Gottschalks in the late 1990s.   Aimmee discussed the company's growth from a small store front in San Bernardino, California to the Inland Empire's premier department store.  Harris' during the Christmas season, and memories of what made the Harris Company a beloved business, was also addressed. 
Aimmee's book was available for sale for $20.   She had a book signing afterwards. 

The Highland Area Historical Society was at the
Discover Highland Night Sat. October 27, 2012 (3-7 pm) in the Lowes parking lot.
The booth was donated by the Hampton Inn & Suites Highland, and we thank them very much!

Highland Area Historical Society meeting
Thursday, Sept. 27th, 2012 7:00pm at the
Highland Senior Center
3102 Highland Ave. at the entrance to Patton.

The September 27th program was a power point presentation entitled "Highland, The Journey to Cityhood". It  included the beginnings of incorporation and some of Highland's "Firsts". Also included were the changes from an agricultural township to a modern city.

Highland Area Historical Society meeting
Thursday, May 24th, 2012 7:00pm

Anne Viricel posted a great recap of the May 24th meeting:

Highland city founders reminisce

Founding Highlanders Jim Rissmiller, Jody Scott, Ross Jones, and Dennis Johnson comprised the ‘Roundtable of Founders’ panel that met at the Highland Historical Society May 24.

Turbulent times preceded incorporation

By Anne Viricel

Published: Friday, May 25, 2012 4:25 PM PDT 

Highland Area Historical Society meeting
Thursday, May 24th, 2012 7:00pm at the Highland Senior Center
3102 Highland Ave. at the entrance to Patton.

May 24th meeting -

 Roundtable of founders including:

Ross Jones, Dennis Johnson, Jim Rissmiller and Jody Scott.

As part of our celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the incorporation of the City of Highland, we held a roundtable discussion with some of the people that made the dream of Highland Cityhood become a reality. The round table was an excellent opportunity to hear “straight from the horse’s mouth” about the inception of the idea for cityhood, the reasons people felt so strongly for and against the idea and the preparations put in place to make the new City succeed.  

Highland Citrus Harvest Festival

Saturday, March 31, 2012 from 10:00 am to 3:30 pm.     Highland Citrus Harvest Festival 2012

The City celebrated its 16th Annual Citrus Harvest Festival. The Historic District was filled with crafters, delicious food, antique and classic cars and lots of area residents. There was fun for everyone including live entertainment, kids games and rides, an historic home tour, shopping and much more.  

For further details, please contact Stater Kim at:
(909) 864-8732, extension 204.


Highland Area Historical Society meeting
Thursday, March 22nd, 2012 7:00pm at the Highland Senior Center 3102 Highland Ave. at the entrance to Patton.

The March 22nd program was:

A Racy History of Highland


Race photo 1
Don Harkey presented a “lively” and “spirited” program on the history auto racing,
racers and race tracks in the Highland area. He covered topics from the “Ashcan Derby”
to the National Orange Show Raceways, and a lot in between.
 Some of the items covered are:

1) A bit about Don’s racing career
2)  Inland Empire Speedways
        Ash Can (Kan) Derby which was on 3rd St. in Highland (1945-1948)
        Orange Empire Speedway (1938-1942) br>        Orange Show Stadium / Speedway (1941-2011?)
        Riverside International Raceway (1957-1989)
        Ontario Motor Speedway (1970-1980)
3)  Highland's Racing Champions (OSS)
4)  Notable Highland drivers (including Swede Savage)
5) A viewing of, a short Super 8 mm film titled "Orange Show Speedway '71

Highland Area Historical Society meeting
Thursday, January 26, 2012 7:00pm at the Highland Senior Center 3102 Highland Ave. at the entrance to Patton.

Marilyn Cram Donahue PhotoMarilyn Cram Donahue, daughter of Fred Cram and Nellie Carter Cram; widow of Robert Donahue (son of Leo Donahue) and prolific author  shared her memories of Highland in the 1930's and 1940*s, concentrating on the downtown area; the two grocery stores, the drugstore, Hambly's dry goods store, etc. and some of the social activities, including the Women's Club and the Knitting Club. She also talked about the Canteen that operated during the war years. Marilyn also shared her memories of orange ranching and what it was really like. The Rohrer Block on Palm Avenue as it appeared in 1936. Photo courtesy Bill Calvert’s “A Pictorial History of Highland.”

Pioneer recipes and some of the "snake oil" curatives, street games and songs and dances were part of the treasure trove of memories that Mrs. Donahue will shared.

The public was invited to share their memories of this time.

Marilyn has a new book coming out soon (hopefully). It takes place in a town called Messina in 1939. The story is fiction, but the setting is factual.

For those of you who read her first novel, Sutter's Sands (1971) and any of her young adult books, Straight Along a Crooked Road, The Valley in Between or any of her books, you won't want to miss this opportunity to meet the author and hear her share her personal memories of early Highland.

As Always the programs are open to the public. Light refreshments are provided after the program.



Entertainment > Local Events

Now and Then: Hardscrabble Street

1924 Cram School District Map 
Use Ctrl + & - to zoom after opening.
By Nancy Alexander
Published: Thursday, March 21, 2013 1:34 PM PDT
As part of our preparations for the Citrus Harvest Festival (March 30th) Charles Kiel was able to procure a copy of the Cram School District in 1924, which ties in with our booth’s theme of early Highland Grammar schools.

The great thing about this map is that it shows the names of property owners within the school district and the locations of that property.  This is exciting in and of itself, but something leaped out at both Charles and I , and that was a street name.  Now, you know that street names are of particular interest to me,  so the name Hardscrabble Road really popped out. In addition, New Street was an unfamiliar road.

The first thing was to find out what “hardscrabble” means. It is pretty obvious, but here is the definition: adjective: earning a bare subsistence, as on the land; noun: barren or marginal farmland; also being or relating to a place of barren or barely arable soil.

The next question was, “are there really streets named Hardscrabble?”  The answer is yes.  A quick on-line search found Hardscrabble Road in New York, North and South Carolina.

The eastern terminus of Hardscrabble Street is at Church Street. Following westward on Hardscrabble, there is a curve to the north, and a continuation to the west.  The street that curves north is labeled New Street and it’s terminus is Base Line. This New Street is west of Orange Street which travels south to Redlands, so it is not Boulder Ave. as it is situated today, but may have been the beginning of Boulder Avenue.

It is also noted that New Street/Boulder Avenue does not continue north above Base Line as it does today, as all the land was owned by ranchers.

Comparisons of the 1924 map and more current maps would suggest that Hardscrabble Street was in line with 5th street or Third Street, however you want to draw the line.  As you know, 5th street ends about Palm Avenue, and 3rd Street takes a slight jog north, then continues east.  The land in this area falls in with the meaning of hardscrabble, being very rocky soil.

A visit to the County Archives is definitely in my future to try and sort this out.  But in the mean time, if you love old maps, stop by the Highland Area Historical Society’s booth on Palm Ave. and Main Street at the Citrus Harvest Festival and take a look and tell me what you think.

Copyright © 2013 - Highland Comunity News

More on Hardscrabble and New Streets

By Nancy Alexander
Published: Wednesday, March 27, 2013 8:05 PM PDT
My thanks today to Ken Jure, Jr. for his sleuthing on last week’s story about Hardscrabble and New Streets.

After reading the article, Ken took a look at a 1930 ariel map of the same area. With careful comparison to the 1924 Cram School District map, which he feels is not to scale, he came to the conclusion that New Street is now Webster.

“...that location is today’s intersection of Webster (New) and Greenspot (Hardscrabble). If you look at the photos I added, I outlined this section in black and it is clear that this intersection is what the map you have shows. This is before Boulder was constructed. The reason I am so confident is because of the location of the railroad tracks in the map. Also, Church Street location help pinpoint it for me. 

This is a cool map because the street names are on it. I have edited the photo showing where Boulder is in relation to this intersection. Another cool fact is that the curve from Greenspot to Webster has made an impact on why when traveling east on Greenspot as you approach Boulder,  the road makes a slight dogleg to the right then when you travel through Boulder you make another dogleg to the left. This I believe is the result of the old curve in the map. If you go to that location with a copy of the photo, not the map, you will see what I mean.

The map shows Hardscrabble staying straight west of the curve but the photo shows different.

I have seen several different maps where the road we now call Greenspot was referred to by different names, among them, East Highland Road.  The name Greenspot was applied in 1931, after J.S. Edwards purchased the Greenspot Citrus Association. 

“In extending the Edwards interests into Greenspot, the East Highlands Orange Company and co-operating growers recently completed a new road linking East Highlands and Greenspot.  The county is expected to take this road over and improve it.” (Highland Messenger.  Friday Aug. 21, 1931  Front Page, Column 1)

A 1960 road map shows 3rd street going east from Palm Avenue to Church Street, then there is a little jog to the north and it is then labeled East Highland Road. Some way past the railroad tracks to the east,  East Highland Road runs into Greenspot Road, which at that junction, continued north to the Santa Ana Canyon Road, which curving northward is called Plunge Creek Road. (It’s all very confusing!)

The 1924 Cram School District map show an approximate location of the Santa Ana Canyon Road, which seems to begin at Manzanita Drive (in the Village), curving north and then meandering eastward, then taking a curve south, finally continuing in a straight line through the American Fruit Growers property.

The roads continue to shift and change with new roads being added and old roads disappearing as the area develops and changes. Come by our booth at the Citrus Harvest Festival and view these maps for yourself. March 30 at Palm Avenie and Main Street.

Copyright © 2013 - Highland News


GoodSearch: You Search...We Give!

What if Highland Area Historical Society earned a donation every time you searched the Internet? Or how about if a percentage of every purchase you made online went to support our cause? Well, now it can! is a new Yahoo-powered search engine that donates half its advertising revenue, about a penny per search, to the charities its users designate. Use it just as you would any search engine, get quality search results from Yahoo, and watch the donations add up! is a new online shopping mall which donates up to 30 percent of each purchase to your favorite cause! Hundreds of great stores including Amazon, Target, Gap, Best Buy, eBay, Macy's and Barnes & Noble have teamed up with GoodShop and every time you place an order, you'll be supporting your favorite cause.

And if you download the GoodSearch – Highland Area Historical Society toolbar, our cause will earn money every time you shop and search online - even if you forget to go to GoodShop or GoodSearch first! Add the Highland Area Historical Society toolbar at

Announcing the publication of the first volume of Kay Beattie's A Look Back columns, (originally published in the Highland Community News), as part of a fund raising project.

Kay spent many, many hours pouring over old newspapers, visiting the Highland Library, the Smiley Library in Redlands, the San Bernardino Feldhym Library and the San Bernardino Historic Archives, as well as her father-in-law's, George W. Beattie, work, to find information for her "stories".

This body of work is an invaluable resource for the history of Highland and the surrounding area, and is deserving of being preserved in enduring and readily available format. It would be impossible to include all her columns in a single volume, so they have been divided into several.

The collection was compiled, edited and indexed by Nancy Alexander, President of the Highland Area Historical Society and City Historian.

The first volume is available now and will make great gift for anyone who is interested in Highland's rich history.

The cost is $40 and can be ordered by contacting Nancy Alexander at

Click to jump to:
Dedication | Preface | Table of Contents |