Mentone's Gazebo Gazette - Facts about Mentone, CA.

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Gazebo Gazette

Mentones Gazebo Gazette: Volume 5

Mentone’s Gazebo Gazette

Volume 5

February 2014

Water History of Mentone Part One

In the very early days of the Crafton/ Mentone/ Greenspot/ Redlands area, grain, grapes and apricots were the main crops grown. Around 1877, the first of the orange groves were planted. Seed was used from oranges that were shipped from Tahiti. The young trees did well and produced abundantly. In 1884, the Washington Navel orange became available and in 1890 Valencia oranges were planted.

Water to irrigate the new groves was available because in 1819 the Fathers of Mission San Gabriel proposed to instruct the Gyncbama Indians, who lived in the flat area west of Redlands, in the arts of agriculture. To accomplish that they needed irrigation water. So the priests sent a young man, Pedro Alvarez to lay out a “Zanja” or water ditch. With the Indians composing his construction crew, Alvarez threw a dam across Mill Creek (just below the spur that juts out towards the Edison Company’s lower power house) and diverted the stream into the crude waterway they built to bring the water to the Mission lands some 12 miles below.

Legend says that the Indians used the shoulder blades of cattle for shovels and the squaws carried dirt for the embankments in baskets on their heads.

The Mission priests used the Zanja water for some 15 years until the church lands were taken over by the government of Mexico in 1834. Two cattlemen, the Lugo brothers, bought the land and settled in the valley, but used very little water. When the Mormon colonists came in the early 1850’s, the Zanja was put back into operation.

The Mormons apportioned the water among the other settlers in the Mission area Controversy arose, however, as to who had actual rights to the Zanja water, and some users had to insist they did have rights to the water. No one wanted a lawsuit, so a truce was called. The truce agreement with the Mission area allowed the Upper Settlements (as they were called) to use the full flow of the Zanja from 3pm to 9pm every day of the week. The arrangement was equitable as the water took 6 hours to flow from the Upper Settlement to the Lower. Water would reach the Lower area around 3 o’clock in the morning. In 1926 the 3 o’clock water came to an end. The City of Redlands passed a bond Issue that provided funds to buy most of the hour- flow of Mill Creek water that went down the Zanja to the Mission area ranchers.

Houses along the Zanja utilized cisterns for their domestic water needs. In 1878 The Sunnyside Ditch (Santa Ana River) was established and supplied water to the houses alongside that ditch. The Sunnyside diversion was located north on Capri and east on Beryl. It ran to Mentone on an alignment with Topaz Avenue. In 1886 Bear Valley Mutual Water Company began supplying water alongside the BV canal. In 1900, the Maguet Well Company (originally created by W.P. McIntosh) was instituted, and also in 1900, the Mentone Domestic Water Company was developed by W.J. Tench (which actually saved the community of Mentone). Rocky Comfort Water Company was established in 1922 to provide water to a limited area of upper Mentone as a result of litigation with the East Lugonia Mutual Water Company. Rocky Comfort Water Company is still in existence receiving its water from the City of Redlands who honors the East Lugonia Water Company agreement. (to be continued next month)


Nestled In the heart of downtown Mentone is one of our local treasures…..Arthur’s Restaurant. If you’ve eaten there, there isn’t much I can add because you’ve been blessed! But if you haven’t taken the time to stop in, wither you’ve never been hungry or you’ve taken a vow never to have fun. FUN is an Arthur’s experience. And if you’re hiding from the law and don’t want your name spoken, find somewhere else, because the gals at Arthur’s remember their customer’s names and faces.

Pictured above is the owner Debbie Roth who’s promoted the motto “Sarcasm with a happy disposition!” Actually, she’s a real sweetheart. Debbie managed the Restaurant for 3 years from Art and Betty Dodge (The founders and previous owners).

When they went on a vacation, they put Debbie in charge. Sadly, Betty Dodge passed away and Art wasn’t quite sure what to do with the restaurant. Debbie volunteered to run it for him, and did so for 3 years. After that time, Art and his new wife, Shirlene decided to sell the restaurant to Debbie. But by this time Debbie had undergone a devastating divorce and had next to nothing in finances, and really wasn’t interested in purchasing the restaurant. Art said that he would carry the note. She accepted in 2000, and through a strong faith in God, knowing that if it was to be, God would make it happen. She never looked back, and today is the owner of a very successful operation. Debbie is a very patriotic person, holding our military personnel in high regard. She strongly feels that the men and women who put themselves in harm’s way for the rest of us should be honored. She has designated a wall in honor of service personnel.

The wall features videos of men and women in the service. WWII veterans meet there the 1 Tuesday of each month from 11am to 12:30. All service personnel are welcome to come and join in.

The restaurant has 14 employees including 7 waitresses: Staci, Beth, Cassidy, Ashley, Jilliam, Linda, and Jeanine (all delightful characters!), 4 cooks: Jose, Javier, Lupe, and Roger. Plus 4 bus- boys and dish washers.

The menu is extensive, and there is an extended menu on the weekends, which sometimes includes prime- rib. It’s also a favorite hide-out for County Fire employees as well as Redlands Police Department, San Bernardino Sherriff deputies, and undercover law enforcement. So if you plan to make a scene, better go somewhere else. They will tolerate you if you like to whine and complain, and give the waitresses a hard time….but it may cost you…signs are posted that say “NO WHINING! WHINERS WILL BE CHARGED $5.00 EXTRA!” It’s all in fun, part of that “Sarcasm with a happy disposition!”

Debbie also participates in various fund raisers for many causes including the University of Redlands, Viet Nam Vets, etc.

Dining at Arthur’s is like sitting down at home and enjoying meal with one’s family. It truly is a “family” experience, as everyone knows everyone else. Try it…if they fail to call you by name by the second or third visit, I’ll eat my typewriter!

Dinning at Arthur’s is a great experience; they’ll make you feel at home! Their food portions are generous, and they’re especially famous for their biscuits and gravy, chicken fried steak, pancakes, and omelets. They also serve beer and wine.


6am to 1:30 pm

Monday thru Saturday

Sunday: 6am to 2pm


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