How Big Were Their Footprints?

Lonesome Linda Era


The area was still mostly planted in citrus trees. Farmers used lots of water to water the trees. Most of the water came from the San Bernardino Mountains. People built dams, like the Big Bear Dam to save water in lakes. The water was sent down to the orange groves in pipes or canals. The zanja, built by Indians for the Franciscan Missionaries, was still being used.



Dams and irrigation piped and canals save water and send it to orange groves. More and more wells are being sunk to get more water for homes and groves.

Because of the dams, creeks dry up. Marshy ground dries up. Lakes evaporate. The water underground is lower and lower. Now people have to pump water from deep wells. It used to come up out of "artesian wells".

Citrus dominates the environment. All other plants are dug up, plowed under, or crowded out.

Native plants disappear from large areas. The animals who depend on them have to move to other places to find food.

People built a luxury hotel on top of the Mound. Plans are made to sell lots on the flat ground.

The hotel is gone, but a newer hospital building is still on top of the Mound. The planned community on the flat ground didn't happen for several years.

People start dairies, because the population is growing. City people want milk, cream, butter and cheese.

Several dairies start, as well as chicken ranches. Animals like foxes and coyotes are hunted, because they can harm the chickens and calves.

The few original natives are now living on reservations.

The land is now completely divided up. Natives Americans have only a little bit of the land they lived on before Europeans came.

The Bottom Line:

The new settlers in the valley were mostly citrus growers or people who worked for them. No one gave much thought to the old inhabitants or the native plants and animals. They were considered problems in the way of progress.

The estancia was gradually melting, and the Indians who lived here first were mostly gone. The look of the valley had changed. It was a sea of citrus trees. With all the logging, farming and water projects, Nature was being changed a lot. It would never be anything like what it was before. The orange trees would someday be cut down, but for now this valley was a giant orange farm!