17 July 2013

Excerpts from Section 1.1 and Appendix A.1 of “A Brief History of Eastvale” (History Press, 2013)

 

Bandini Residence on Jurupa Grant

The group who surveyed the boundaries of Bandini’s Jurupa grant on 4 December 1838 followed or paralleled the Jurupa-Guapa Road, bordering the Santa Ana River valley along the north side.

   One especially intriguing feature, in the December 1838 report of the Jurupa grant survey, is its mention of the “tableland where Mr. Bandini had established the house.” Requirements for confirming a Mexican land grant included establishing a residence, and the adobe house on the mesa was constructed during the ten weeks that had elapsed since Governor Alvarado’s grant to Juan Bandini on 28 September. (See Appendix A.)

   Besides the reference in the 1838 survey, only one other contemporary reference to Bandini’s residence on Jurupa grant is known. A Belgian named Augustin Janssens visited Juan Bandini on Jurupa grant before 1840. Janssens had been associated with Bandini in an 1834 project aimed at establishing Mexican colonies in Southern California, and he traveled throughout the region for several years afterward. Janssens reported, “The ranch was level, valuable, and prosperous. The San Bernardino (sic) river flowed through it…One could see across the plain all the way to Cucamonga.”

 

Bandini Jurupa Adobe Site

The residence that Bandini “had established,” as mentioned in the December 1838 survey report, is probably the “House” indicated on Hancock’s 1856 U.S. survey map, just north of the Santa Ana River on the west side of present-day Hamner Avenue, within Eastvale city limits.

   Correspondence between 1925 and 1931, among well-known Southern California historians George William Beattie, Janet Williams Gould, and Frank Rolfe, is preserved in the Gould collection at Corona Public Library. Beattie had visited the site of an old adobe building, possibly at the same location as the House on the 1856 map.

   Rolfe wrote to Gould in 1927, calling attention to Beattie’s 1925 journal article. Rolfe’s letter also mentions that Beattie “has located the ruins of the old Jurupa ranch house which are not far north of Corona.”

   Responding to Gould’s later inquiry, Beattie wrote in October 1931: “I can tell you where traces of what were pointed out to me as the Bandini house and its belongings were found. I went [north from Norco] on Hamner Boulevard to the point where the road ascending from the bottom lands reaches the level of the mesa on the northwest side of the river. Then I entered the field on the west side of the road, and followed the edge of the mesa in a southwesterly direction to the corner of the field, about 1000 yards from the boulevard. There the outlines of an old building were visible, and brea [tar or pitch], limestone, broken dishes, and other indication of former inhabitation were found.”

 

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The letter from Beattie does not mention the identity of whoever “pointed out” the site to him. Appendix A suggests that it was Walter T. Garner (18771949). There is reason to believe that Beattie’s “1000 yards” is an overestimate, but sources describe traces of Bandini’s 1838 residence, on the bluff north of the Santa Ana River west of Hamner, well into the twentieth century. The Pine, Ashcroft and Walkinshaw family members occupied the house temporarily for short periods until about 1880. When the roof was later taken off to be used in building another house, the adobe soon melted down. (See Appendix A.)

   On 21 June 1933, the Women’s Progressive club of Norco placed a marker near Hamner Avenue on the bluff north of the river, close to the site of the present Eastvale fire station. The ceremony was proposed by Janet Gould on the basis of her correspondence with Beattie, as reported in Corona and Los Angeles newspapers. Unfortunately, the marker was vandalized and disappeared a few months later.

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GARNER From Appendix A.2 in, “A Brief History of Eastvale.” Comments in italics by Loren Meissner. The Appendix is in turn excerpted from

Garner, Walter T. Arcadia and the Forgotten Guapa. Jurupa Valley, California: Jurupa Mountains Discovery Center, 1967 (reprint 1981).

 

In the year 1838, Juan Bandini made claim to Jurupa Grant, which included the Guapa or Juapa.

   Juan Bandini had a daughter, the fair, the beautiful, the kind and thoughtful Arcadia. [See Chapter 1.] She was “the apple of his eye.” He built her a house on the bluff, a splendid house for that time. This was the first house on the Guapa and was Bandini’s headquarters on Jurupa, the official name of the grant. In after years as you stood on the river flats, where the squatters had once had their homes, and looked up at the bluffs, you could see the broken walls of the old Bandini adobe where Arcadia had lived as a girl.

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Old Bandini House Site at Present-Day Eastvale

Bandini’s first house at present-day Eastvale is mentioned in the record of the December 1838 Jurupa land grant survey. Some recent descriptions confuse this house with the Bandini-Cota Adobe a few miles farther west on El Rincón grant or even with the Robidoux house constructed much later and much farther east on Rancho Jurupa.

   Garner’s description of the location of the Old Bandini House, and the relics he observed at the site, is fairly consistent with George William Beattie’s October 1931 letter to Corona historian Janet Williams Gould, located at the Corona Library’s Heritage Room. The house was at the edge of the bluff north of the river, west of present-day Eastvale Fire Station, but documents vary with regard to the distance from Hamner Avenue.

   Garner describes the site as five hundred feet west of Hamner and close enough to be totally obliterated during reconstruction of the road after the 1938 flood. In contrast, the inscription on Gould’s 1933 memorial marker located the site three thousand feet west. This number was based on Beattie’s statement, in his October 1931 letter to Gould, that he found the ruins about one thousand yards southwest of Hamner. Beattie’s letter, in turn, might have referred to a prior conversation with Garner: “I can tell you where traces of what were pointed out to me as the Bandini house and its belongings were found.”

   Garner’s 500-feet figure seems consistent with the “House” marked on Hancock’s 1856 survey map, which appears very close to the Hamner alignment. Tom Patterson (1964) compromises by saying, “Historians have recently pinpointed the site as approximately 1,000 feet west of Hamner.”

 

Bandini’s First House on Rancho Jurupa

In order to receive a grant there were certain rules to be complied with. The land must be measured, a house built, the place stocked with cattle and horses; care must be given to the Indians who lived on the land, and someone must live on the place.

   Juan Bandini was a very energetic man. While running the lines of his rancho, he was at the same time building his house and stocking his rancho with horses and cattle. He built his first house on the north bluff of the Santa Ana River, north of what is now Norco. The house stood about five hundred feet west of Adams Avenue [now Hamner] where it comes over the river bluff. It was called the Old Bandini House or the First House of Bandini.

   All the water for the household needs had to be carried up the bluff. All the work that could be done was done at the lagoon at the foot of the bluff.

   [Parts of the description in the two following paragraphs may reflect confusion with the Bandini-Cota Adobe on El Rincón grant, constructed within the following two years. Logs were hauled for this second Bandini house from a later grant of land in the mountains.]

   The house was of adobe made on the place and of timber brought from the San Bernardino Mountains. It was about fifty feet long and twenty-five feet wide, extending north and south. It had a flat roof made of dry grass and willow branches, covered with brea (tar) from the natural tar pits.

   In my youth [about 1890], I knew an old Indian called Duarte, who in his boyhood days helped build the house of Bandini. He told me many things about early days; for instance, that when Bandini came from Mission San Gabriel, he brought with him many horses, cattle, and oxen, also wooden wagons on which he hauled logs from the mountains to build his house. Duarte also said there were a large number of small children in the family and that Arcadia, the eldest at about thirteen years of age, was a very intelligent young woman whom Don Juan and La Señora consulted on many things. The family were all wonderfully dressed and had many strange things, at least strange to him.

   Living for some time in his first house, Bandini later built the Cota house. The old house, taken over by Bandini’s servants, was kept in good repair for a number of years and people lived in it until about 1880. When the roof was later taken off to be used in building another house, the adobe soon melted down. There is nothing now to show where the house on the Guapa, the headquarters of Juan Bandini on Jurupa, once stood.

 And thereby hangs a tale:

   According to the old stories, Juan Murietta was a nephew of the wife of José Maria Valdez, superintendent on the Cucamonga Rancho. [Juan Murietta (18441936) was a peaceful shepherd whose older brother Esequial (Ezekiel) founded the town of Murietta in southwest Riverside County. They were unrelated to the semi-fictional Gold Rush–era bandit Joaquin Murietta.] Murietta made many of his holdups on the old Spanish Road near what is now the Declez quarry. Here he could watch from the hill and see the road for some miles in both directions. He is supposed to have buried some of his stolen gold near the Old Bandini House. I myself have seen holes dug around the house by people who were seeking the buried treasure. At that time the walls were all but gone, but there was a great deal of broken pottery, such as dishes and cups and saucers, where the house had stood. Later the Norco Bridge [now Hamner] was built and then came the big flood of 1938, which swept away the road. After this the state engineers raised the road about four or five feet from the north bank to the bridge. They took their material from the top of the bluff, where the first house of Bandini had stood, taking it all away and then some, so that the treasure of Juan Murietta may be buried in the grade—who knows?