Alta Loma, Rancho Cucamonga, California

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Snow-capped San Gabriel Mountains above Alta Loma as seen from Sapphire Street and Thoroughbred Street.
Cucamonga Peak looms over Alta Loma which lies along the foothills of the Southern face of the San Gabriel Mountains

Alta Loma is one of three formerly unincorporated areas that became part of the city of Rancho Cucamonga, California, United States in 1977.[1] The community is located at 34°09′N 117°36′W / 34.15°N 117.60°W / 34.15; -117.60Coordinates: 34°09′N 117°36′W / 34.15°N 117.60°W / 34.15; -117.60 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."[2] Alta Loma had previously been known as "Iamosa".[3]


Alta Loma is one of the more affluent areas in San Bernardino County.[4] 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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed] 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,[5] 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.[citation needed]

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).[citation needed]

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.

The northern parts of Alta Loma are also frequently visited by private planes from Upland's Cable or Ontario airports, sometimes performing acrobatic stunts.

Alta Loma rests on the Cucamonga-Sierra Madre earthquake fault.[6] 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.

Grand Prix Fire[edit]

Burned area of Cucamonga Canyon, near water basin, at western end of Banyan Street in Alta Loma. San Bernardino County unincorporated land. Grand Prix Fire, 25 October 2003.
P-40 Warhawk like those flown by the Flying Tigers

Rancho Cucamonga, Alta Loma and Etiwanda were most affected by the October 2003 Grand Prix fire, which combined with the Old Fire.[7] 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.

Notable residents[edit]

Other notable Alta Loma landmarks[edit]

The Demens-Tolstoy Estate on Hillside and Archibald
The Sam Maloof house at the top of Carnelian Street

Historical landmarks[edit]

Structures and monuments[edit]

Cherbak Housec. 19219983 Hillside Rd.
(south side of Hillside Rd., between Evening Canyon Way and Briartree Pl.)
34°09′14″N 117°35′13″W / 34.1539°N 117.5870°W / 34.1539; -117.5870 (Cherbak House)
Schowalter Housec. 19135495 Hermosa Ave.
(northeast corner of intersection with Hillside Rd.)

[clarification needed]

34°09′16″N 117°35′03″W / 34.1544°N 117.5842°W / 34.1544; -117.5842 (Schowalter House)
Schowalter Rock Pilec. 1913North side of Hillside, east of Hermosa[clarification needed]
Thorpe Housec. 19169588 Wilson Ave.
(north side of Wilson Ave. between Malachite Ave. and Klusman Ave.)
34°09′03″N 117°35′47″W / 34.1509°N 117.5963°W / 34.1509; -117.5963 (Thorpe House)
G.P. Ledig Housec. 18985767 Hellman Ave.
(southeast corner of intersection with Wilson)[clarification needed]
34°09′00″N 117°36′08″W / 34.1499°N 117.6023°W / 34.1499; -117.6023 (G.P. Ledig House)
Warren/Thorpe Housec. 18776112 Hellman Ave.
(southwest corner of intersection with Banyan St.)
34°08′37″N 117°36′12″W / 34.1435°N 117.6033°W / 34.1435; -117.6033 (Warren/Thorpe House)
Goerlitz Housec. 19026156 Hellman Ave.
(south of Banyan St.)
34°08′34″N 117°36′12″W / 34.1427°N 117.6033°W / 34.1427; -117.6033 (Goerlitz House)
Alta Loma Schoolc. 19219480 19th St.
(northwest corner of intersection with Amethyst St.)[clarification needed]
34°08′00″N 117°35′48″W / 34.1332°N 117.5967°W / 34.1332; -117.5967 (Alta Loma School)
Alta Loma Honor Rollc. 19426623 Amethyst St.[clarification needed]
Ledig Housec. 18959404 La Vine St.
(north side of La Vine St., west of Layton Ct.)
34°07′35″N 117°36′01″W / 34.1264°N 117.6004°W / 34.1264; -117.6004 (Ledig House)
Alta Loma Heights
Citrus Association
Packing House
(historic location)
c. 19147125 Amethyst St.
(southeast corner of intersection with La Grande St.; Old structures destroyed. Now senior/low-income apartments.)
34°07′30″N 117°35′51″W / 34.1249°N 117.5974°W / 34.1249; -117.5974 (Alta Loma Heights Citrus Association Packing House (historic location))
Alta Loma Fire Hallc. 19387152 Amethyst St.[clarification needed]
Roth's Store/Post Officec. 19157157 Amethyst St.
(just north of the Pacific Electric Trail)
34°07′26″N 117°35′53″W / 34.1240°N 117.5980°W / 34.1240; -117.5980 (Roth's Store/Post Office)
Roberds Housec. 19107201 Amethyst St.
(just south of the Pacific Electric Trail)
34°07′24″N 117°35′51″W / 34.1232°N 117.5974°W / 34.1232; -117.5974 (Roberds House)
Charles Stoebe Housec. 18956710 Beryl St.
(southwest corner of intersection with 19th St.)
34°07′56″N 117°36′28″W / 34.1322°N 117.6078°W / 34.1322; -117.6078 (Charles Stoebe House)

Native American ruins[edit]


Higher education[edit]

High schools[edit]

Junior high schools[edit]

Elementary schools[edit]


  1. ^ Hickcox, Robert L.: "Dates in the History of Etiwanda, California"
  2. ^ William Bright; Erwin Gustav Gudde (30 November 1998). 1500 California place names: their origin and meaning. University of California Press. p. 14. ISBN 978-0-520-21271-8. Retrieved 20 January 2012.  Note, however, that the words are in the wrong order for Spanish, in which it would properly be written as "Loma Alta".
  3. ^ Shrieve, Krystn, "Losing Track 1998-1941 Tracing the past; eyeing the future (Turning those old rails into new trails )," Daily Bulletin, Sunday, September 13, 1998
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ Rossi, J.R. "AVG Books written by Flying Tigers". The Flying Tigers - American Volunteer Group - Chinese Air Force. 
  10. ^
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  12. ^ Solomon, Marcus. "Dr. Strange Interview". Spontaneous Combustion. Retrieved 2013-03-16. 
  13. ^ "13th Annual / 2012 Report to the Community" (PDF). Chaffey College. October 9, 2012. 
  14. ^ "Chaffey Joint Union High Scool District: Schools". Chaffey Joint Union High Scool District. Retrieved 2013-03-19. 
  15. ^ a b "Alta Loma School District Website". Alta Loma School District. Retrieved 2013-03-19. 
  16. ^ a b "Alta Loma Christian School Website". Alta Loma Christian School. Retrieved 2013-03-19. 

External links[edit]