The term “Cucamonga” appears to be derived from the Kucamongan people, part of the Gabrielino and Tongva tribes that populated the area around 1200 A.D. The word itself seems to mean “sandy place.” The Kucamongans settled in a village in the area known now as Red Hill, in the western portion of present-day Rancho Cucamonga.

Tubercio Tapia was granted 13,000 acres of land in the area by Mexican Governor Juan Bautista Alvarado on March 3, 1839. In addition to building a home at Red Hill, Tapia also raised cattle and began a successful winery, known today as the Thomas Winery. The city’s sealtoday centers on a cluster of grapes. By 1864, a post office was situated at Red Hill, and by 1882 George Chaffey had brought hydro-electric power to the area.

Surprisingly, it was in the mid-1970’s when the unincorporated communities of Alta Loma, Eitwanda, and Cucamonga would experience immense growth. The result was a Tri-Community Incorporation Committee being formed, and in November of 1977 the communities voted with 59% approval to incorporate as Rancho Cucamonga.

By Scott Piotrowski