Mentone’s Gazebo Gazette
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
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
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