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Alta Loma is one of three formerly unincorporated areas that became part of the city of Rancho Cucamonga, California, United States in 1977. The community is located at Coordinates: in the foothills of the south face of the San Gabriel Mountain range, near Cucamonga Peak and Mount San Antonio (Mount Baldy). Its zip codes are 91701 and 91737. Elevation ranges from 1,400 feet (430 m) to 3,000 feet (910 m). The name comes from the Spanish words for "high hill." Alta Loma had previously been known as "Iamosa".
Alta Loma is one of the more affluent areas in San Bernardino County. It is almost completely residential and, by city ordinance, no commercial business may exist above 19th Street, with the exception of several businesses already in place when the ordinance was enacted (notably at the intersection of Lemon Avenue and Haven Avenue). In addition, homes north of Banyan Street must have a minimum of 1/2 acre lots, with the exception of the development known as "Compass Rose Phase II", directly west of Chaffey College (between Banyan Street and Wilson Avenue). Compass Rose Phase II was granted permission for smaller lots provided the development connected to city sewer systems instead of septic tanks. For some reason all of the homes in Compass Rose are on septic tanks.[clarification needed]
The community of Alta Loma is located mostly in the northwest corner of Rancho Cucamonga. The exact definitions of the three communities (Cucamonga, Etiwanda, and Alta Loma) within the City of Rancho Cucamonga are debatable; however, residents typically consider Alta Loma to be above Baseline Street (Old Route 30), between the eastern edge of Upland and west of Day Creek, a boundary later moved to Day Creek Boulevard when the then-future road was plotted on Chamber of Commerce maps dating to about 1980. Most street signs in the Rancho Cucamonga area stretching from Carnelian Street to Milliken Avenue, and Baseline Road to the mountains, have an Alta Loma logo.
Some residents of Rancho Cucamonga, especially those in the former Cucamonga area, have challenged the city council to get rid of the names "Alta Loma" and "Etiwanda," accusing residents in those areas of keeping the names out of arrogance. The three communities incorporated after years of debate and at least one failed attempt on the ballot. Residents of Alta Loma and Etiwanda finally agreed to incorporation provided their identifying community names would be kept along with separate post offices and zip codes. In addition, businesses are permitted to use either Alta Loma or Rancho Cucamonga on letterheads, business permits, and other records.
Alta Loma (and much of the rest of Cucamonga) was formerly home to old citrus groves and grape vineyards. The reason many homes above Banyan Street, in particular, have orange and lemon trees on their property may be attributed to this; many horse trails are lined with eucalyptus trees, which are former windbreaks for the groves. Even among the office buildings and shopping malls that have been built in recent decades, the occasional patch of greenfield has a few rows of grapevines.
Most of the homes in the foothills of Alta Loma and Etiwanda sit on alluvial fans punctuated by deep debris canyons. Some of these canyons are used for water collection and thus the area does not typically take water from the Colorado River.
Cucamonga Canyon in particular is a favorite among hikers, although dangerous due to the rough terrain, loose rocks, possible flooding, poison oak, bears, mountain lions, rattlesnakes, bobcats, and other wildlife. Far up the canyon are the Cucamonga Falls, which have occasionally caused contention between the city council, residents, and developers, due to developers wanting to build homes over the falls.
Several high voltage transmission lines cross the community's northern edge just at the base of the mountains, creating an effective barrier to further development except in the case of the hills above Beryl Street, home to a former Christmas tree farm, which has been slated for development of sixty, $1 million homes across approximately 300 acres (1.2 km2).
The Alta Loma area experiences high winds known in the Inland Empire and the rest of Southern California as the "Santa Ana winds." Heavy rain storms in the past created the need for 12–18-foot-deep (3.7–5.5 m) concrete flood control channels to prevent severe flooding that historically killed many people, including a young mother and her two children in 1981 at the intersection of Beryl and 19th Streets.
Alta Loma rests on the Cucamonga-Sierra Madre earthquake fault. It is a thrust fault, meaning the sides of the fault push toward each other. Several other earthquake faults pass through the area, too, including the massive San Andreas Fault system, of which most of the area's faults are a part.
Rancho Cucamonga, Alta Loma and Etiwanda were most affected by the October 2003 Grand Prix fire, which combined with the Old Fire. The Grand Prix fire, which began October 21, 2003, ripped across the mountains just above and, in some places, down into Alta Loma and Etiwanda for six days. Overgrown brush fueled fire, which ran across the mountain tops and higher foothills to eventually fly into the canyons that are surrounded by homes. It destroyed 13 homes (including 2 mobile homes) and five outbuildings, and damaged 9 others in Alta Loma.
|Cherbak House||c. 1921||9983 Hillside Rd.|
(south side of Hillside Rd., between Evening Canyon Way and Briartree Pl.)
|Schowalter House||c. 1913||5495 Hermosa Ave.|
(northeast corner of intersection with Hillside Rd.)[clarification needed]
|Schowalter Rock Pile||c. 1913||North side of Hillside, east of Hermosa[clarification needed]|
|Thorpe House||c. 1916||9588 Wilson Ave.|
(north side of Wilson Ave. between Malachite Ave. and Klusman Ave.)
|G.P. Ledig House||c. 1898||5767 Hellman Ave.|
(southeast corner of intersection with Wilson)[clarification needed]
|Warren/Thorpe House||c. 1877||6112 Hellman Ave.|
(southwest corner of intersection with Banyan St.)
|Goerlitz House||c. 1902||6156 Hellman Ave.|
(south of Banyan St.)
|Alta Loma School||c. 1921||9480 19th St.|
(northwest corner of intersection with Amethyst St.)[clarification needed]
|Alta Loma Honor Roll||c. 1942||6623 Amethyst St.[clarification needed]|
|Ledig House||c. 1895||9404 La Vine St.|
(north side of La Vine St., west of Layton Ct.)
|Alta Loma Heights|
|c. 1914||7125 Amethyst St.|
(southeast corner of intersection with La Grande St.; Old structures destroyed. Now senior/low-income apartments.)
|Alta Loma Fire Hall||c. 1938||7152 Amethyst St.[clarification needed]|
|Roth's Store/Post Office||c. 1915||7157 Amethyst St.|
(just north of the Pacific Electric Trail)
|Roberds House||c. 1910||7201 Amethyst St.|
(just south of the Pacific Electric Trail)
|Charles Stoebe House||c. 1895||6710 Beryl St.|
(southwest corner of intersection with 19th St.)