Recent Posts by john grasson

Airports in the San Gorgonio Pass

In 1911, the Hearst Transcontinental Flight Derby sponsored a $50,000 prize to the first pilot who completed a transcontinental flight across the United States. The two most noted pilots who attempted this crossing were Calbraith (Cal) P. Rodgers, who took off in his biplane from Sheepshead, New York on September 17, 1911, and Robert C.…
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The “Grove”

The library’s last column asked the public for research assistance on the area in west Banning known as the “Grove.” According to the Tom Hughes book, the “History of Banning and the San Gorgonio Pass,” the American Eucalyptus Company in 1908, bought 200 acres from C. O. Barker ”west of town with 100 shares of…
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Snow Creek Camp – Oasis For Desert Traveler

Most people in the Pass identify Snowcreek as the small community at the bottom of Mt. San Jacinto, but during the 1940s, 50s and early 60s there was also a Snow Creek Camp at the location of the rest areas. Several people have contacted the library, remembering Snow Creek Camp as an important highway outpost…
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Famous Celebrities of the San Gorgonio Pass

Because of the location of the Pass between Los Angeles and the Desert resort areas, Beaumont and Banning were natural stopovers for those traveling between the two areas. Before the completion of the I-10 Freeway travelers were forced into the downtown areas as the highway stopped along the main intersections. It would be more difficult…
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Photographers of the San Gorgonio Pass

One of the earliest photographers we can account for in Banning was Hugh W. Allen. His stamp is printed on several of the early photographic postcards we have in the library’s photograph collection. We were unable to determine the exact location of his studio but Mr. Allen was evidently one of the principal photographers in…
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The St. Boniface Indian /Industrial School

We have had numerous inquiries at the library about the St. Boniface Indian/Industrial School which was located on West Gilman Street in Banning, just west of 8th Street. A visible reminder today of St. Boniface is the line of olive trees extending north from Gilman Street. The trees at one time bordered the drive to…
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Exploring the barrios of Banning’s past

What does a frog, a lizard and a shoe have in common? La Chancla (the “Shoe”), El Sapo (the “Frog”), and El Lagartijo (the “Lizard”) were all historic barrios in Banning with roots established as early as the 1880s. The Southern Pacific Railroad was constructed through Banning in 1875 and 1876 and much of the…
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Urban Legends of the San Gorgonio Pass

Urban legends are a form of contemporary folklore, with the stories often having elements of horror, humor, or mystery tinged with an element of fear. Familiar urban legends speak of giant alligators living in the sewers of cities or tell stories of vanishing ghost hitchhikers along the highway. Urban legends are rarely traceable to a…
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