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San Bernardino County

  • San Bernardino County Granite, Limestone, Marble, and Sandstone (historical times through circa 1906) – Excerpt from The Structural and Industrial Materials of California, Bulletin No. 38, California, State Mining Bureau, San Francisco, California, 1906.)

    "Granite occurs over considerable areas in San Bernardino County, but is quarried only at Declez, Oro Grande, and Victorville."

    "Nearly all the limestone found in San Bernardino County may be classified as marble. In many quarries the material is used both for burning lime and for building and monument purposes."

    "There is a deposit of sandstone suitable for building purposes in the east end of the San Bernardino Valley, on Mill Creek, in Sec. 7, T. 1 S., R. 1 W., S. B. M. In former years two companies were formed to quarry this material, both of which are now out of existence."

  • San Bernardino County, California (circa 1915-1916) – Excerpts from Report XV of the State Mineralogist, Mines and Mineral Resources of Portions of California, Chapters of State Mineralogist's Report Biennial Period 1915-1916, Part VI. San Bernardino County and Tulare County, California State Mining Bureau, 1919, pp. 775-954. Used with permission, California Department of Conservation, California Geological Survey.)

    San Bernardino County, by H. C. Cloudman, Emile Huguenin and F. J. H. Merrill, Ph.D., Field Assistants.


    "The following report on the Mines and Mineral Resources of San Bernardino has been prepared as a result of field observations by the authors, covering the entire county. The preliminary field work was done by H. C. Cloudman during the winter of 1913-1914, and later work by F. J. H. Merrill* and Emile Huguenin up to July, 1916…."

    Fletcher Hamilton, State Mineralogist.

    (* Page 775 footnote: Mr. Merrill Died November 29, 1916. He was State Geologist of New York, 1890-1904.)

    History (of San Bernardino County)

    "This county, formed by act of legislature in April, 1853, is still the largest in the state, although in 1893, jointly with San Diego County, it contributed part of its territory to form Riverside County. Its present area of 20,157 square miles, exceeds that of the states of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Delaware taken together.

    "It owes its name to the fertile valley south of the San Bernardino Range, which was visited by the Franciscan priests in 1810, on May 20th, the Feast Day of San Bernardino of Sienna, whose name was given to the old mission built, about that time, almost three miles west of what is now Redlands. This mission was destroyed by the Indians in 1812, rebuilt in 1820, and again destroyed in 1834, only slight vestiges now remaining (circa 1915-1916).

    "In 1851 this valley was visited by Mormons from Salt Lake City who founded the city of San Bernardino."

    Geology (of San Bernardino County)

    "This report contains little new detailed matter on the geology of San Bernardino County, as attention was paid more particularly to economic developments and exploitation. Much valuable geological detail will, however be found in the Guide Book of the Western U. S., Part C, the Santa Fe Route, written by Mr. N. H. Darton and others, and issued by the U.S. Geological Survey, as Bulletin 613.

    "The earliest professional report on this region was by Professor William P. Blake, in Vol. V. of the Reports on the Pacific Railroad Expedition in 1852 under Lieutenant R. S. Williamson.

    "Additional matter will be found in Bulletin No. 308, of the U. S. Geological Survey, entitled a Geologic Reconnaissance of Southwestern Nevada and Eastern California, by Sidney H. Ball.

    "Of late southern California has been surveyed geologically by Robert T. Hill, under the auspices of the U. S. Geological Survey. His forthcoming reports on this subject will be exhaustive and of great interest."

    (I am not sure if the following section on Transportation in San Bernardino County comes from this publication, but I wanted to include it as a comparison to the transportation modes of today. This section appears on pages 781 and 782. Peggy B. Perazzo)


    “The development of San Bernardino County has been greatly augmented in recent years by increased transportation facilities, and at present travel is accomplished with much greater ease and safety than heretofore. In former years the burro was the chief mode of conveyance, but of late this patient beast has been largely though not entirely replaced by railroads and highways. We now have the Santa Fe, the Salt Lake, the Southern Pacific and the Tonopah and Tidewater railroads, giving access to the entire length of the county, besides the National highway now sufficiently complete the permit the use of the automobile. Nearly every section of the county can be traversed with the automobile, the numerous branches lead from the main lines of both railroads and highways.”

    Photo No. 4. Primitive transportation on the desert by burros. Primitive transportation on the desert by burros
    Photo No. 5. Modern transportation and desert mountains. (circa 1919?) Modern transportation and desert mountains

    Mineral Resources (of San Bernardino County)

    "In describing the mineral deposits of a given county the alternatives are presented of discussing them separately or in connection with the mining districts in which they occur. Since, however, most districts include many useful minerals, a more satisfactory review of the subject can be given by taking the various products separately and stating their distribution with the conditions of their occurrence.

    "This plan will, accordingly, be followed in this report, the metals* being taken up first, in alphabetical order; followed by the non-metals likewise."

    (* Please note: The information on the metals will not be presented here.)

    Lime and Limestone (in San Bernardino County)

    "Limestone deposits of great commercial value occur in several localities in San Bernardino County, the most important ones being those at Baxter, Colton and Oro Grande…."

    "The lime burned at Colton and Oro Grande is principally used in the manufacture of cement. The Baxter limestone is shipped to the sugar factories of the south, where it is used to burn lime for the manufacture of beet sugar. As the beet sugar industry is rapidly increasing, there is a constant demand for a high grade limestone for this purpose. Lime is also used for mortar and plaster in building operations, as a furnace flux, as a fertilizer, in glass manufacture, and many other minor industries.

    "Bibl.: Bulletin 38, pp. 51-64."

    Marble (in San Bernardino County)

    "Nearly all the limestone found in San Bernardino County may be classified as marble, but in recent years (circa 1913-1914) very little has been quarried for building or monumental purposes. It is mostly used for burning lime…Most of the marble produced in the county for building or ornamental purposes was from the quarries on Slover Mountain near Colton, operated by the California Portland Cement Company. In his report on Slover Mountain, W. A. Goodyear* wrote as follows:

    (* Page 879 footnote: Report VIII, p. 564.)

    'It consists chiefly of limestone, which, however, varies greatly in character. Some of it is very fine-grained and pure white, and could it be obtained in sound, unspotted blocks of uniform texture and sufficient size, it would make a fine statuary marble. But much of it is very coarsely crystalline often showing cleavage planes half an inch or more in diameter; yet even of this coarse rock much is very compact, takes a fine polish, and makes a handsome marble. Some of it contains graphite scattered through in streaks and spots, and some of it contains micaceous hematite. Some of it also contains a good deal of silica, and therefore would not make good lime.

    "Aragonite (wrongly called 'onyx') also occurs in veins and bunches, delicately and beautifully striped and banded with various shades of yellow and brown, as some agates are. If, as seems possible, it can be obtained in slabs of sufficient size, it will make extremely handsome mantel-pieces, table tops, etc.

    "In the north end of the hill the rock strikes about N. 70 E., magnetic, and dips 45 SE. But in a large part of the hill the metamorphism has gone far enough to greatly obscure and, in places, entirely obliterate the stratification. A mill was long ago built here for sawing, cutting, and polishing the marble, which was used to a considerable extent for building and ornamental purposes in San Bernardino and elsewhere. A good deal of lime has also been burned at various points around the foot of the hill. But a mile or two away on the opposite or south side of the Santa Ana River all the hills are of granite.'"

    "Numerous other deposits (than the excerpts below, which were listed in the book)* of marble occur in the county, none of which have been developed to any extent, and all of which are idle. For detailed descriptions of these deposits see our Bulletin No. 38, pp. 102-106."

    (* These deposits are listed individually according to the location in the San Bernardino County - List of Stone Quarries section.)

    Sandstone (in San Bernardino County)

    "There is a deposit of sandstone suitable for building purposes in the east end of the San Bernardino Valley, on Mill Creek, in Sec. 7, T. 1 S., R. 1 W., S. B. M. In former years two companies were formed to quarry this material, but both of them are now out of existence."

    Stone Industry (in San Bernardino County)


    "Granite occurs over considerable areas in San Bernardino County, but is quarried only at Declez, Oro Grande and Victorville."

  • San Bernardino County Mineral Industry (circa 1919) – Excerpt from California Mineral Production for 1919, Bulletin No. 88, by Walter W. Bradley, California State Mining Bureau, 1920, pp. 160.

    Area: 20,157 square miles.
    Population: 73,401 (1920 census)
    Location: Southeastern portion of state.

    "San Bernardino, by far the largest county in the state, in area, ranks sixth as regards the value of its mineral output for 1919 with a total of $4,236,199, as compared with the 1918 total of $7,632,790. The decrease is due mainly to potash and tungsten.

    "San Bernardino for several years led all other counties in the state in total of 25 different substances but dropped to 17 in 1919, compared to 19 for Riverside County.

    "This county, consisting largely of mountains and desert country, is highly mineralized, the following being included among its resources: asbestos, barytes, borax, brick, cement, clay, copper, gems, gold, granite, gypsum, iron, lead, limestone, manganese, marble, mineral paint, mineral water, nitre, potash, salt, glass-sand, soapstone, soda, miscellaneous stone, strontium, talc, tungsten, vanadium, and zinc.

    "Commercial production for 1919 was as follows:

    (Headings for the information below are: Substance, Amount, and Value.)

    Cement, 1,078,943 bbls., $1,717,998
    Copper, 256,933 lbs., $47,790
    Gold, ---, $25,000 (estimated)
    Gypsum, 19,613 tons, $50, 154
    Lead, 105,796 lbs., $5,607
    Mineral water, 800,060 gals., $32,006
    Potash, 21,171 tons, $1,670,919
    Silver, ---, $40,000 (estimated)
    Talc, 3,601 tons, $19,845
    Stone, miscellaneous, ---, $183,388
    Other minerals,* ---, $443,492
    (Total value) $4,236,199

    (* Includes borax, clay, dolomite, gems, lime and tungsten.)

    San Bernardino County, 1916 Map, from California Mineral Production for 1919 (with County Maps), Bulletin No. 88, by Walter W. Bradley, California State Mining Bureau, San Francisco: California State Printing Office, 1920, pp. 198. San Bernardino County, 1916 Map
  • San Bernardino County Limestone Industry and Deposits (through 1947) – Excerpts from “Limestone in California,” by Clarence A. Logan, California Journal of Mines and Geology, Vol. 43, No. 3, July 1947, California Division of Mines, San Francisco, California, pp. 175-357. Used with permission, California Department of Conservation, California Geological Survey.)

    "San Bernardino County contains many large high-calcium limestone deposits, sufficient to serve the needs of Los Angeles and the surrounding thickly settled regions for an indefinitely long time and at a much greater rate of production than so far reached. In 1945, three cement plants (of a total of six in southern California) operated in the southwestern section of the county and three companies produced 121,183 tons of 'industrial' limestone, including that used for making lime in two plants. Production expanded in 1946.

    "There are numerous deposits within moderate trucking distance of railroads and within reasonable rail distance of the Los Angeles metropolitan area, and many others in reserve at greater distance. The county has a long mileage of good desert roads which serve as feeders to the two paved state highways and the two transcontinental railroads which cross it from east to west. San Bernardino is the largest county in the United States, containing over 20,000 square miles, of which 18,500 square miles are classed as desert. Most of the residents live in the fertile southwest section, within 70 miles of Los Angeles.

    "The work of W. B. Tucker, District Mining Engineer, and Reid J. Sampson, Assistant Mining Engineer of the Division of Mines at Los Angeles has been drawn upon freely. Messrs. Tucker and Sampson have been most helpful and co-operative in supplying details of recent developments."

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