The first human settlement, of Native Indians, in the southern part of California today known as Rancho Cucamonga, dates back to about 3,000 years ago. The Kucamongan Native Americans settled around the area now known as Red Hill, and like you might have guessed, the name of the city comes from this tribe of Native Americans.
When the Spanish began exploring the Americas, Captain Gaspar de Portola together with Father Junipero Serra, brought the first expedition of Spanish explorers to California in the 18th century. They established a few ranchos that supplied cattle to missionaries and other settlers who convened here.
Things started changing in California in the 19th century when Mexico began taking up the Spanish territory. When Mexico gained freedom, the new governor of Mexico granted Tubercio Tapia, a soldier, politician, and smuggler 13,000 acres of land around Cucamonga. Tapia constructed an adobe around Red Hill and continued ranching. He also opened up a successful winery, which still exists today as the Thomas Winery.
When American forces annexed California in 1846, it didn’t take long for new owners to come to Rancho Cucamonga. John Rains and his family bought Rancho de Cucamonga in 1858, and before his murder, he had brought in brick masons from Ohio to construct his family home, which still stands now and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
When the Rancho collapsed due to lack of water, it took some years before a banker, Hellman, started the Cucamonga Homestead Association. With the help of Adolph Petsch and other investors, the Hermosa tract brought water to the Cucamonga, marking the first real establishment of the community.
The neighboring community of Etiwanda became a town near Rancho Cucamonga, which further promoted the rise of Rancho Cucamonga. The planners of the Etiwanda town implemented a water system management for the area as well as starting hydro-electric power generation. These developments further cemented Rancho Cucamonga’s rise as a city.
When the 70s came, Etiwanda, Alta Loma, and Cucamonga all experienced considerable growth in population due to their proximity to Los Angeles and Orange County. The growth was uncontrolled, requiring the intervention of the planning committee from the three communities. The intervention resulted in the incorporation of Rancho Cucamonga as a city in 1977.
Since then, Rancho Cucamonga has moved from strength to strength, and today, it is home to more than 177,000 residents with the population expected to rise over the next 10 years.