The Mormon Era - Page 2



Amasa Lyman, a Mormon leader. He helped buy the valley from the Lugo family. He became the first mayor of San Bernardino. Only part of the $77,500 was cash. The rest was a debt. Amasa Lyman and Charles Rich promised to pay it over the next few years.

Let's Build a Fort!

No sooner had the Mormon group settled into the Lugo ranch than a rumor spread. People thought that Indians were about to attack. The leaders organized people to build a fort for protection.

You can see a model of the fort at the County Museum. Look for an open space in the middle where cattle and horses were safe. It's an idea the Lugos didn't think of! Also notice that a stream runs right through the middle of the fort, so no one had to leave the fort for water!

From the archives of the San Bernardino County Museum, Redlands, California

To the left is a map of Fort San Bernardino.

Below is a diorama of the same fort.

Big Picture!

This is a diorama of the original fort in San Bernardino. You can see it up close in the center floor of the San Bernardino County Museum!
Courtesy San Bernardino County Museum

Did the Mormons Leave Any "Footprints"?

The Franciscan priests who built the first Mission made hardly any dent at all on the environment of the valley. The Indians had almost no effect on the land. That is called a "small footprint."

The Lugos, with their cattle, affected things a lot, but their buildings didn't change the valley very much.

The Mormon settlement changed things very much! The footprints of mankind were getting bigger and deeper!

Forests were cut for lumber, streams were dammed and ditches were cut. Roads were laid out and sewage ditches began carrying sewage away. Groves of fruit trees were planted, and people began growing wheat and oats. The valley was changing forever. It would never be or look wild again.

The Mormon loggers cut so much wood in the San Bernardino mountains that pieces of wood (lumber) became known as "Mormon Currency." It was like money! You could buy supplies in Los Angeles with a wagon load of boards cut from our mountains.

San Bernardino County Museum

The logging work that the Mormons started did not stop after they left. Wood was still cut from the mountains and sawn into boards.

Logging trains moved the logs out of the mountains to be cut into boards.

Did the logging cause damage to the environment? Cutting trees can cause erosion later. The trees helped hold soil in place and soak up rainwater.

The valley often had disasterous floods before the logging. It's possible that logging caused even more flooding.

San Bernardino County Museum

San Bernardino County Museum

San Bernardino boards were like money. Cities like Los Angeles didn't have many local trees to cut. People wanted lumber to build their homes and businesses.

San Bernardino County Museum

The Mormons built water-powered mills like this to grind wheat and cut lumber. Cooperation an hard work made the San Bernardino settlers very prosperous.