History of The San Gorgonio Pass, California
From: History of Riverside County, California
with Biographical Sketches.
History By: Elmer Wallace Holmes
Historic Record Company.
Los Angeles, Califirnia 1912

By Jessica Bird

The San Gorgonio Pass, gateway from the lowlands of the Colorado desert through the magnificent mountains of the coast range to the valleys of the Pacific slope, is perhaps the only mountain valley of any importance included within the boundaries of Riverside county.

The geographical situation of the pass is peculiar and interesting in several ways. A fertile valley running east and west, it lies at an average elevation of 2,000 feet, is from three to fifteen miles in width and completely separates two ranges of towering mountains. On the north of the pass lies the San Bernardino range, with Mt. San Gorgonio (Old Grayback), 11,485 feet high and the loftiest peak in Southern California, looking down over the numerous lines of foothills which reach the valley below. To the south lie the other foothills reaching upwards into the mountains which form the San Jacinto range and are topped by a peak bearing that name, and having an elevation of 10,805 feet.

Cradled between the sheltering mountains the San Gorgonio Pass is favored in many ways. The chemistry of pure mountain air tempered to a most healthful dryness by the proximity of the desert, the water which comes from the canyons and brings with it the crystal clearness of the snows which lie practically all the year round on the tops of the mountain peaks, and soil, which is fertility itself, have been summed up into a total of prosperity and contentment which marks the valley as a whole and makes for the continued growth of the three towns of Beaumont, Banning and Cabazon, which lie at intervals of six miles along the pass.


The history of the pass undoubtedly dates far, far back to the times when the Indians wandered at will over the country, choosing the choicest spots and most favored localities for their camping grounds. This was even before the Spaniards brought their civilization into California and penetrated the alleys and mountains of the southern part of the state. There are evidences that the Spanish people had an outpost of some sort in San Gorgonio Pass, which was probably located about the spot where the Highland Home ranch is now. In 1853-4 and somewhat later there were ruins of several adobe buildings at this point, indicating the previous occupation of the land. It is known that a wagon road or trail through the pass was in very early use, and even when the first white settlers arrived, there were Spaniards living at various ranchos between this valley and the San Bernardino valley, some of these people being located in San Timeteo canyon west of Beaumont. These people traveled about the pass in primitive ox carts, visiting sometimes at the homes of the white people. It is practically impossible to find anything definite regarding the days of the Spanish padres and the earliest ranchos, concerning the history of the San Gorgonio Pass.

The present day searcher finds that the light of real and concrete facts began to illuminate the darkness of the past of this valley only about the middle of the last century, when as a direct route for the emigrants on their way to the Pacific slope from Arizona and the east and middle west, it became well known. Emigrants at that time knew the trail through this pass ash the Santa Fe trail. After the wearisome trip over the desert, the mountain valley must have appeared a veritable paradise to the tired travelers, for in those days, before cultivation of the soil had been Thought of in the pass, it was covered with an abundance of fine green grass. It is little wonder that the valley was looked upon as a suitable place for stock raising, and that later the grassy plain with its streams of water furnished from the nearby canyons should have been chosen as a grazing country where cattle ranchos were established.

Although the white emigrants passed through this valley in the early days the inhabitants were chiefly Spanish and Indian peoples. A few white men may have drifted into the favored region about this time, but few if any definite dates regarding them are to be found. Daniel Sexton was the name of a man who claimed to have lived in this valley in 1842, when, he said, he made his home among the Indians who worked with him at wood cutting up in the Edgar canyon.


In 1853 a party of topographical engineers, under the direction of Lieut. R. S. Williamson, was sent to California by Congress, upon the recommendation of Jefferson Davis, then secretary of war, toe explore the coast range mountains, "in order to ascertain the most practicable and economical route from the Mississippi river to the Pacific ocean." This party, which sailed from New York in May, 1853, arrived in San Francisco a month later, and repaired to Benicia, from which point after preparations, the journey was commenced. The party made extensive trips into the mountains both of the northern and the southern portions of the state, and arrived in San Gorgonio Pass in November, 1853. For several reasons the party had separated before reaching this point, so that only the wagon train, under the leadership of Lieutenant Parke, went through the San Gorgonio Pass and traveled onward to the desert.

Perhaps the most interesting report concerning this pass and included in the full report of the explorations presented to Congress in 1856, was that of the geologist and mineralogist of the party, William P Blake, who appears to have been much impressed with several features of San Gorgonio Pass, which was subsequently chosen by the party as the most desirable route for a railroad through the mountains in California. One of the chief features appealing forcibly to Geologist Blake was that this pass was not a mere break in the mountains, but "an absolute branch or dislocation of the entire chain." This coupled with Lieutenant Parke's statement in his report that "this pass is so uniform and open that it may be considered the best pass in the Coast range," shows plainly the impression its natural advantages made upon the practical men and experts of those days. It is interesting to note that it was subsequently made a railroad gate through the mountains and is now traversed by the main line of the Southern Pacific Company.

One peculiarity discovered in the reports of these early explorers is that the name of the mountain now called San Jacinto was then San Gorgonio, while the peak now bearing the latter name was known simply as Grayback, or sometimes confused with its close neighbor Mt. San Bernardino, and called by that name. In all the early reports and histories Mt. San Jacinto is spoken of as Mt. San Gorgonio.

Geologist Blake plainly showed in his report of San Gorgonio Pass that he was very favorably impressed with the quality of the for he said converning this; "there are no rock formations that crop out along the trail; the whole substratum of the soil is loose drift; or sedimentary materials derived from the wearing down and disintegration of granite. * * * * * The soil formed of the minerals constituting the slope and surface of the Pass is fertile and valuable for agriculture." There was very little to prove his asertion at that time; for there were few trees and grape vines planted in the pass then, and even the Indians who had lived here abouts for Years raised only very meager erops of barley, corn, melons and various vegetables. It remained for the later years to bring positive proof of the geologist's wisdom.

A party of government surveyors under the direction of Colonel Washington made a survey of the lands in this portion of the state about the early '50s, completing the work in the San Gorgonio Pass in the year 1855. They ran the San Bernardino base line, which runs through the mountains north of the pass, and surveyed also the meridian which crosses the pass at a point between the present towns of Banning and Beaumont.

Fremont, whose name is so closely connected with the early history of California; is said to have spent some time in the pass, about 1846-7 or perhaps prior to the time of the Mexican war.


Pio Pico, the last of the Spanish governors of California, granted a large portion of the valley to three men, Powell Weaver, Colonel Williams and Wallace Woodruff, probably about 1845. This grant was known as the Rancho de San Gorgonio, and contained eleven leagtes of land, including territory now occupied by Banning and Beaumont. One corner of the grant approached the placed at present known as the Wolfskill ranch which lies in the hills Louth of Beaumont.

The papers concerning the granting of this land to. the pioneers Were lost in transit by mail to Washington, D. C., where they were being sent to be recorded about the time the railroad was obtaining right of way through this pass; So that it was impossible ever to Substantiate the Claims held by the Original grantees Or their assignees.


The Weavers lived at a rancho in the valley after they had been granted a share in the land, with headquarters and an adobe house near the place now known as the old Edgar vineyard, which is located north of Beaumont.

In 1853 Dr. Isaac W. Smith and family came from Iowa, via Utah to California, arriving through the Cajon Pass and reaching San Bernardino, then a Mormon settlement, that year. The same year they came to the San Gorgonio Pass and lived there for some time at the Weaver ranch, later moving to the Highland home (then called the Smith ranch) northeast of Beaumont, where they made their home. Dr. Smith bought Powell (called "Pauline" by the Indians) Weaver's share of the grant lands. Ollie Smith, who was born there in 1860, was the first white child born in the pass.

In 1853 there were very few white people living in the pass, but at the site now known as the Gilman Home ranch, which lies in the northern part of Banning at the mouth of a small canyon from which it obtains a private water supply, Colonel Williams maintained headquarters for his vaqueros, who took care of his numerous cattle in the pass. In 1854 Joe Pope, or Jose Pope as he was called, an American closely allied with the Spanish on account of his marriage with one of their race, built an adobe house at this point, and lived there for some time taking charge of Colonel Williams' interests.

The early ranchos were all located near the north hills of the pass, this being the natural place for settlers to make their homes, on account of the natural flow of water from the various canyons. Water was then, as it is now, a priceless possession, so precious that the tale of early days in nearly any part of Southern California is made thrilling with the tragedies of men who fought over it.

Although the Indians were friendly, the early settlers had their share of troubles. The bears, both of the grizzly and brown varieties, were very numerous and often attacked and killed the cattle. Wildcats were also numerous, and caused much annoyance. Many a hair raising tale is related of the settlers and the wild animals which menaced them in the otherwise peaceful days. Even the cattle, although they were the source of income for the ranchers, were very annoying, for they roamed an unfenced country, and it was nearly impossible to keep them out of the small garden plots and orchards which the frontiersmen attempted to raise.

When the Smiths were settled on their ranch they planted several varieties of fruit trees, including figs, pears, apples, and a few other deciduous fruits, as well as a vineyard. The vines in this small plot, planted in 1854 or 1855, made good growth and were fruitful for years, remaining until this year, when they were grubbed out. The earliest known vines in the pass were planted even before 1850 and are located near Beaumont avenue, on the site of the old Edgar rancho, and are growing to this day.


In 1860 the San Gorgonio Pass became more than ever important, for the stage line began operations that year, and passengers were conveyed from Los Angeles to Ft. Yuma, through this valley. Yuma was at that time the headquarters of a considerable mining district, but later the Colorado river stage station was changed to Ahrenburg, farther up the river.

The stations in the San Gorgonio Pass were at Smith's ranch and Whitewater, which is about fifteen miles from the present location of Banning. Whitewater was established in 1860 by Frank Smith, one of the sons of Dr. Smith. He built the ditch which is still in use to convey water from the Whitewater river to the ranch, where he planted cottonwood trees, and built a small shack. Later an adobe was built at the ranch. There was a group of mesquite trees at the location chosen by Smith, but otherwise there was no vegetation to amount to anything. From this station the stage road led on through what is now known as Palm Springs, where the Indians maintained a camp, to Torres, thence to Dos Palmos and on to the river. There were other stopping places where the horses were watered, but those were the main stations.

Although it would seem that the San Gorgonio Pass was too far isolated from the seat of the Civil war to feel the disturbance, old settlers can remember how, in those days, bands of guerrillas came through the pass. They helped themselves to horses or any other property of the ranchers that seemed useful to their needs, taking advantage of the fact that there was a war in the country to commit plain robbery.

After 1863 Newt. Noble had possession of the ranch house which was built by Jose Pope, and after a few years, probably in 1867 or 1868, the stage station was removed from the Smith ranch to this point. A few years later the stage again made the Smith ranch its stopping point, but in 1871, after the marriage of Miss Martha Smiths, daughter of Dr. Smith, and J. M. Gilman, a voting man who had came ftom Oregon and Obtained possessions Of the Newt. Noble rancho in 1869, the stage station returned to the Gillman ranch, where it was maintained until the coming of the railroad put an end to travel by road. A portion of the Old adobe, built so long ago by Pope and serving as ranch headquarters, home and stage "hotel" is still standing, back of the present residence at the Gilman ranch, and forms an interesting historical landmark in this valley.

The mode of travel was wearisome to a degree for the travelers in those days, but in spite of this there were a good many people making the journey. It took from eighteen to twenty hours to reach the Smith ranch station from the starting point in Los Angeles, and the length of time it took to reach the Colorado river station varied with the state Of weather, the number of passengers, and the condition of the horses. Sometimes the passengers were obliged to get out of the conveyance, which was at times a coach of the regulation old "wild west" style, and again a buckboard, and walk for miles on the sandy desert roads, to enable the weary horses to reach the next station. The stage served also as means of transportation for mail and express.

The first owners of the stage line were Henry Wilkinson and Warren Hall, both of whom were Murdered in a bloody tragedy which occurred near the Smith ranch station, when trouble arose over some bullion which had been stollen from the stage. The two mean were murdered by a man named Gordon, whom they accused of the theft, the circumstance being most tragic. Their slayer gave himself up to the officers at San Bernardino, wads tried and acquitted. He later left the country tinder the suspicion that he was the thief of the bullion, which was never found.

During the stage coach era there were a few more settlers who claimed lands and made their homes in the valley, and during the year of 1869 the following ranches were scatterer about the pass and adjacent canyons and comprised practically all the Fanches at that time. The Edgar ranch, the Smith ranch and Gilman's ranch, have already been mentioned, and besides these there were Bans Moore's place, at the mouth of the canyon which is now called Water canyon and furnishes the water supply for Banning, and which was then known as Moore canyon; the Cooper ranch, at the site now called the Barker ranch, located at the foot of a road leading from Water canyon to the mesa which overlooks it; and George Munnon's ranch, which was very near the site of the lower wells of the Banning Water Company in the canyon. There was but one settler to the south of the pass, and this was Jack Summers, who had a place in the San. Jacinto mountains which was later known as the "Hack" Hurley ranch and is now called the Brown ranch. He reached his home from the pass by means of a steep trail up the side of the hills, very near the site of Hall's grade, which is one of the present means of reaching the place.

At this time the chief industry of the pass was the raising of cattle, although a few small patches of barley and other grain were raised, and the settlers attempted to grow a little fruit and a few vegetables. When the cattle were fat they were rounded up and were driven to the markets of San Bernardino and Los Angeles, where they were sold.

The days of the stage coaches were numbered, for in 1875 the Southern Pacific railroad reached the valley and the trains began coming through in that year. Many changes took place at the time of the railroad's coming, and many landmarks received new names, the most notable change being that of the mountain south of the pass, which was called San Jacinto in the place of its old name of San Gorgonio, while this name was transferred to its loftier brother across the valley.


The first railroad stations in the pass were located at Cabazon, whose history begins only with the coming of the iron road, and at San Gorgonio, near the present location of Beaumont. At these two depots there were telegraph stations, and San Gorgonio being at the summit of the pass was made an important station and a small round house was erected there. The company obtained water from a well at this point, and at Cabazon they received a supply of water from one of the canyons to the north of the pass. For some time there was no station at the site of Banning.

When the railroad came it offered chances for the easier transportation of hay and grain to the markets, and the industry of raising these products began at once a flourishing period of importance. For a long time the lands of the valley, more and more of which were now put under cultivation, were productive of fine crops of oats, barley and wheat. The grain ranching and cattle and horse raising could not go on side by side in an unfenced country, for in those days even the railroad land was unfenced, and the herds began gradually to be done away with. What had been for so many years a very important cattle country (so much so that in the dry season of 1863 cattle were brought in by the thousands from less favored localities to be fed on the natural pasturage of the pass) gradually became known as a grain and hay producing district. For a long time the hay and grain were hauled to the railroad and loaded directly into freight cars to be shipped, until better facilities were finally provided.

About 1876-7 lumber companies were formed, and timber was cut both in the San Jacinto range of mountains and at the head of the canyon now called the Water canyon, north of Banning in the San Bernardino range. In order to bring the cut logs from the sawmill in the San Jacinto mountains to the railroad at Cabazon for shipment, a road was constructed in 1877, called Hall's grade. At the foot of this road, southwest from Cabazon a few miles, a town was started called Hall City, both the settlement and the roao taking their names from Colonel Hall, who engineered the mountain road, which was, and is, exceedingly steep and difficult of access.

The Hall City project, and that of the lumber company was backed by the Temple Bank of Los Angeles, but proved disastrous financially, the cost of the road being very great in the first place and later the cost of bringing the logs out of the mountains proving more than the worth of the lumber even before shipment. When the Temple Bank failed the project was abandoned. Hall City itself never amounted to very much, but there were a few people living there for a time, and two saloons, a store and a boarding house were located there. The embankment of a railroad grade for a spur from Cabazon to Hall City is still to be seen across the valley, but the rails have long since been removed. The town ended in gloom and disaster, for about the time the Los Angeles bank broke a murder was committed in the little settlement, and the residents soon left the spot Hall still claimed the land for many years, although he paid no particular attention to his property. A man named Terwilliger had a homestead at this point, after Hall City days, with orchard and such improvements as a fish pond, but Hall disputed his right to the land and forced him to vacate the place. It was left to go to ruin. Now and then a rancher located there during the years from that time to the present; and now the water rights have been claimed by several different men, who have planned to pipe the water from the fine stream flowing out of a precipitous canyon nearby to an adjacent acreage.

The other lumber project in 1877 which was in charge of a company headed by Winfield Scott, and of which Dr. Wellwood Murray was the manager, also had a disastrous financial ending This company proposed cutting timber up the Water (or Moore) canyon, but found that the supply of trees suitable for lumbering purposes would not last very long. A sawmill was established and a large V-frame was built so that the cut timber could be taken down the canyon by water power and deposited at a point near the present railroad station at Banning. When the company abandoned the project, with a loss of many thousands of dollars to the directors of the company, the flume was used for a time to float down cord wood and was then removed. Hundreds of cords of wood were often stacked up at Banning, but were at that time hardly worth the price of bringing them down the flume. It is said that a large portion of the timber cut in the canyon was used in the construction of this flume which contained about a million feet of lumber. It was built by James M. Forquer, one of the early settlers, a carpenter who later had a hand in the construction of several of the largest buildings in the pass.

At about this time a skidway was also built in Snow creek in the San Jacinto range opposite Whitewater, but this was a "wild cat" scheme and was abandoned almost before it came into use.

With the coming of the railroad it was natural that the number of settlers should be augmented, and with the arrival of additional settlers life in the valley became more complicated. Troubles over land and water holdings were not infrequent, and isolated as the pass was from the county seat at San Bernardino, the cohurts and justices had little chance to act in criminal cases. Several murders were committed, and very often the murderers escaped punishment or were brought to summary justice at the hands of injured persons.

In 1879 a man named Pete Peterson who lived at a place on the north mesa between Potrero and Hathaway canyons, as they are now called, murdered one Barrett, who also made his home up the same canyon, living there with his mother and sister. The brutality of the murder and the brazenness of the murderer, who after hiding the body of his victim had the effrontery to assist in the search for the missing man, aroused the residents of the vicinity and when his guilt was discovered they brought him before Justice of the Peace Weliwood Murray, and he was sentenced to be hung. This sentence was carried out in San Bernardino and for many years this brought the murders to an end. The present cemetery at Banning, located on a small mesa near the mouth of Water canyon at the head of San Gorgonio avenue, was established when the body of the unfortunate Barrett was buried there. The body lay hidden for two days, and when found was at once coffined and buried. The cemetery is known as the Sunns1ope cemetery and is the only one now in use at Banning.


Reference has previously been made in this article to the fact that there were numerous Indians residing in and about the valley, but a history of the pass would be incomplete without more especial mention of them.

In the days of the earliest settlers the Indians, who were of the Serrano and Coahuilla tribes, made their chief abode at points along the San Tinieteo canyon. The Indians were much more numerous at that time, but a smallpox epidemic which took place after the Smith family had arrived in the valley, some time in the early '50s, swept away great numbers of them.

About 1859 the Indians made their headquarters in the San Gorgonio Pass at the site now occupied by their village, near the mouth of the Potrero (formerly called Jost) canyon which lies about four miles northeast of Banning against the foothills of the San Bernardino range. They cultivated some of the lands both in the valley and on the mesas above the canyon, and pastured their horses and other live stock in the canyon. The place was then known as the Ajerio Potrero, from the name of the Indian, Antonio Ajerio, who claimed the land before the other people of his tribe came to live there. Later the village was simply called the Potrero.

In 1878 Col. S. S. Lawson was established as the head of an agency which had charge of the Mission Indians in San Bernardino county, and maintained headquarters at Colton. As these Indians were then living in the northern part of the pass, and thus in San Bernardino county, they came under his jurisdiction. In 1879 there was much distress among the Indians, when crop failures and the scarcity of employment brought them near starvation. It was necessary for the government to furnish aid to them in that year.

In 1878 President Hayes withdrew from public entry four townships, setting them aside for Indian purposes. This land included the lands in and about Banning and Cabazon, together with the watersheds of these places. The rights Of any settlers on the lands previous to the act of the president were not affected, however, at that time.

About 1886 trouble for the white settlers on government land commenced, and about this time several families of them were evicted from their holdings. Gird and North, who claimed rights to a large mesa above the Potrero canyon, brought suit to prove title, and after the suit had been carried on for some time it was proved that their land was on one of the sections previously given by the government to the railroad. It was also discovered that the Indian village was not on government land at all, but was located on a school section, which belonged to the state. In order that the question of titles might be straightened out a commission of three men was formed known as the Smiley Mission Indian Commission: and consisting of Albert K. Smiley, Judge Moore and C. C. Painter. These men made a thorough investigation of the title tangle and reported to Congress, their report being approved by the president and passed by Congress in July, 1892. The tangle was fihally settled with the issuing of patents to those settlers who had been forced to give up their lands for Indian purposes, in October, 1892. The patents were issued to lands which the settlers were willing to take in place of their former claims. The Gird and North land was purchased by Hon. C. O. Barker, who earned this title when serving in the legislature in 1893 and who was one of the early settlers of Banning, arriving in 1884. He afterwards took in exchange for this land the mesa above Water canyon known as Barker's bench besides land in the valley. At present the Gird and North ranch is in use by the Indians, who pasture their cattle and horses there, using it as community property.

The report of the Smiley commission considerably cut down the extent of the lands set aside for the Indians but allowed the village to remain where it was. It was estimated that there were nearly 80,000 acres of land first set aside, and at the time when the trouble over the white settlers arose there were only about two hundred and nineteen Indians in the village. In 1911 additional land was set aside for Indian purposes, so that at the present time there are about 2,600 acres in the entire tract. There are about two hundred and sixty Indians now living on these lands, and it is proposed to allot the land to them. Some trouble is being experienced by those in charge of the allotment from the fact that the Indians themselves cannot agree as to the method of the procedure. One faction insists that the land be allotted per capita, and the other that only the heads of families shall receive acreage under the allotment. When the question is settled the land will be divided. The land has never been set aside as a legal reservation, so that when the Indians are given their shares they will receive it much as any white settler would.

The village is now called the Malki Indian reservation, this name having been given it in 1908 when Miss Clara D. True was agent. The Indians still make their homes at the mouth of Potrero canyon, from whence they obtain a supply of water. Water is also obtained from the Hathaway canyon. During 1909-10 the water system was greatly improved, and a tunnel was built in the mouth of Potrero canyon which augments the natural flow of the stream. The method of distributing the water to the different Indians was also improved at that time Residents of that village have thrifty orchards, of apples, apricots, peaches and other fruits, besides vineyards and patches of vegetables. Grain and hay are also grown, though not extensively.

The homes of the Indians, although crude in appearance, are much improved over those which formerly satisfied them. In the early days a rude brush hut, insufficiently roofed against the weather, was satisfactory to most of them, but now most of the houses are of wood or adobe, although some of the older or poorer Indians still build the brush houses. Nearly every Indian owns at least one horse, and the quality of these animals has improved since the early times. The cattle, which as has been mentioned are run in one large herd, are rounded up in the spring, and at this rodeo each Indian brands the calves running with the cows he owns. Besides these possessions which go to make them independent, the Indians find much employment on the fruit ranches at Banning, especially in the summertime, when whole families are employed in the harvests. The women manufacture beautiful baskets which for years have been a source of income to them, as they bring good prices from collectors or stores. No blankets are woven, and no pottery, except crude ollas, is made at the village.

The government maintains at the village a resident agent and a school teacher, besides two Indian policemen. Affairs of the village of importance to all the residents are decided by them in advisory meetings, this being a relic of the days of councils in the tiibes. For many years the Indians chose a man who was called captain, but in 1910 this system was done away with, the last captain being Mauricio Laws, whose wife is Annie Morongo, one of the daughters of Capt. John Morongo, who held that position for many years. Capt. John Morongo was one of the cleverest Indians of the tribe, and was well known both locally and in Washington, D. C., where he went to confer with officials on matters pertaining to the village interests. Another Indian of this village who has become well known is Will Pablo, who is now a special agent in government service.

The present agent at the Malki reservation is William T. Sullivan, who succeeded Miss Clara D. True in 1910. Miss True held the post for three years prior to that date, being sent there primarily to do away with the liquor traffic, which was gaining a deplorable hold among the wards of the government. She succeeded in stopping the pernicious traffic to a great extent, and also improved agricultural conditions for the Indians during her term. It was at her instigation that improvements in the water system were installed, and she sought to better sanitary conditions in the village. A model schoolhouse, providing for special fresh air features was built while she was at the agency. In her zeal, however, she unfortunately stirred up trouble at both the Mali and Palm Springs reservations between the whites and Indians over land and water rights, having a mistaken idea of improving conditions, so that in 1910 she was removed from the position. Other agents who have been in charge of affairs at the village are L. A. Wright and Miss Anna C Egan.

The young Indians at the village receive their education from three sources, the first being the primary school maintained by the government at the reservation, the second the industrial school conducted by the Catholics at Banning, and the third the Sherman Institute at Riverside. The teacher of the reservation school for the last term was Miss Jennie Hood, who took charge of the school in September, 1911. For a short time Mrs. Annie Laws was a substitute teacher of the school, she being the only Indian who has ever been in charge of the school since its establishment. The school was commenced in 1888, the first teacher being Miss Sarah Morris (Mrs. M. F. Gilman) who during the several years of her labor among the Indians did much good. The first sessions of the school were held in a small frame building in the heart of the village overlooking the arroyo which runs through the center of the place. Later a new government building at a different location was erected, containing school room as well as quarters for the teacher. This was in use until 1910.

There are two churches, one of them being a Moravian mission church, built in 1890, and since its establishment in charge of Rev. W. H. Weinland who resides with his family near the church. The other is a Catholic church, having been in use since its erection in 1891, and in charge of Rev. Father B. Florian Hahn, who also has charge of the industrial school for Indians. There is one very small grocery store in the village, this having been started in 1910 by Joe Miguel, who maintains it at his home.


Prior to 1875, or the year the railroad came through the pass, there were no towns in the fertile valley, ranchers forming the only residents. With the increase in population which naturally followed the easier means of access to this part of the state, towns sprang up along the railroad. At that time the pass lay in two counties, the northern portion being in San Bernardino county, while the southern part of the valley lay on the extreme northernmost boundary of San Diego county This was later found to be rather embarrassing for property holders, especially in Banning, where the line between the two counties practically bisected the town, passing through the center of the pass near the railroad track. In this town there were two sets of county officials and two school districts. In Beaumont the line passed farther south, nearer the foothills, and did not cause so much inconvenience.

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