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Mentone's Gazebo Gazette‚Äč

Facts about Mentone, CA.

Gazebo Gazette


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Mentone's Gazebo Gazette: Volume 10

Posted on January 6, 2015 at 5:52 PM Comments comments (45)

Mentone’s Gazebo Gazette

Volume 10

November 2014

The Buried Treasure of Mentone

Have you heard the legend?

First, I should lay a little background foundation for the story…

Years ago there used to be a saw mill up in Mill Creek Canyon near where Forest Home is now. The original mill works, machinery, and all, came from Maine, along with some of the original lumber. The mill was built by the Mormons in 1849. The Mormons operated it for three years before Brigham Young called all of them home and the mill was abandoned.

                But during the three years of operation, some of the lumber produced was used to build the old mission in San Bernardino. The exact location of the mill was not discovered until after the flood of 1862. There also was a stone quarry in Mill Creek canyon as well. In fact, the stones used for the building of the San Bernardino Court House came from the Mentone stone quarry.

                Mill Creek was much bigger than it is today, and it was a great fishing resource. When the Zanja was built it diverted much of the water away.

                It’s interesting that Mill Creek canyon was covered with pine trees until the flood washed most of them away. It rained for forty days and nights (Biblical to say the least!). The whole San Bernardino Valley was under water. Houses were swept away, and everything was carried downstream. One observer stated that he saw a hay-stack sailing downstream with a big pig standing on top of it (Maybe this was the first “surfer”).

                Prior to the flood, Santa Ana Canyon was filled with beautiful groves and meadows along each side of the river. The flood left it piled up with sand and boulders.

                Many Indian relics and artifacts were unearthed by the flood and folks gathered them up. Marian Cram Jones and the family had quite a few of them. When she passed, they were donated to the San Bernardino County Museum.

                The Piute Indians would venture into the San Bernardino Valley from the Mojave Desert and often the white settlers paid the price with their lives. This was around 1850-1865. The Cahuilla Indians who lived in this area were peaceful and many of them were also slain by the Piutes.

                It was the mission fathers who used the Cahuilla Indians to originally dig the Zanja. The Greenspot area was originally called “The Bench”. The “Bench” or “high land” between Mill Creek and Santa ana River is now known as “Greenspot”. It received its name because the area was swampy, and willow trees grew everywhere. The willow trees grew in “spots” that made them visible to the naked eye from miles away, and they made up the original “green spots”.

On one such Piute venture into the San Bernardino Valley, they attacked the mission between San Bernardino and Redlands. The Spanish priests gathered up all of the valuable artifacts which included gold vessels, coins, and various other treasures, and fled with them up into the Mill Creek area and buried them in soft clay. Over the years, however, the clay hardened into rock. When the priests made their way back to the Mission, they were slain by the Indians. The legend says that one priest fled towards the San Diego Mission but was killed before he left the valley. The other priest fled towards the Mojave Desert but was slain before he got half- way up the mountains.

No one knew where the priests buried the treasure, except an Indian that accompanied the two priests. The Indian later confessed that the priests buried it up on the “Bench” but he could not recall exactly where. Whether or not he later bought a condo in Laguna is unknown.

                Well, that’s one story….but there’s another:

Some say a new priest came to the Mission and he stole all the treasure, and with the aid of two Indians as guides, made his way to the Bench, where he buried it. The legend then says that he killed the two guides so they wouldn’t disclose the exact location. But he didn’t get far before an Indian war party captured him, and before they killed him, he confessed that he had buried the treasure in the Greenspot area (apparently they understood English). Do the Piutes have their own Casino?

Well, no one left a map, but that hasn’t stopped many a folk (who believe in the legend) to dig for the treasure. Many a prospector has spent many years, equipped with metal detectors and such to find the buried gold, but no one, as of yet, has been successful. So maybe you, dear reader, will be the one to find it.

Around the year 1884, Greenspot was settled by a colony of German immigrants. They planted peaches, apricots, and other deciduous fruits. They watered their trees with water that they carried in buckets from Mill Creek. Later, orange trees were also planted.

 A school house was built in 1893. It was located half- way between Mill Creek and the Santa Ana Canyon.

Prior to a road being built, the only way up to the bench was by horseback or walking.

The first real road to the area was built in the early 1900’s, and remained a dirt road until the 1920’s. It was originally paved only up to Barton Flats.

Many nationalities have contributed to the area growth since the early years. Among the most notable are the Portuguese people. They first gathered in this area in 191, along the Santa Ana Canyon area.

                In 1921 they began celebrating a Fiesta in honor of Queen Isabella of Portugal. Queen Isabella was a saintly woman who fed the poor and hungry. The Portuguese people still gather in May for the celebration of the Feast in her honor, which coincides with the Feast of Pentecost. They originally celebrated the Fiesta along the banks of the Santa Ana River but moved it alongside the Zanja in Mentone in open fields. The land was very primitive but it was a joyful and happy gathering.

In 1922, the Portuguese people bought the property on Crafton Avenue in Mentone which is now called The Portuguese American Club. The building had previously been a grocery store and the original Crafton post office.

In May of 1923, they instituted their first charter for the Club and included Portuguese folk from the surrounding areas. Many of them had originally migrated to this area as early as 1889. The Portuguese people have contributed to this area in farming, dairy, agriculture, orange groves, etc. They have shared their love of the land in producing, growing, charitability, and are a very proud people. We have been blessed by their presence.

So whether or not you believe the legend, a lot of folks do. If the treasure has not already been uprooted (either by an over-eager Indian, years ago) or by a lucky prospector over the last 100 years or so…it still might be up there, just waiting for the right person to come along.

On the other hand, it may be buried under Mill Creek Road, covered over by twelve inches of asphalt. In any case, it’s a colorful story. Kind of goes along with the other colorful stories of our little community.

By the way, many a gold prospector mined the Crafton Hills during the 1800’s. Along with the gold, there was a Mentone Opal Mining Company which was located in the mountains just a few miles up the road from the present Ranger Station.

One of their discoveries was “the Mentone Opal” which was a beautiful stone, unlike any other opal. Be proud Mentonites! You live in a great and colorful area.



Mentone's Gazebo Gazette: Volume 9

Posted on January 6, 2015 at 5:43 PM Comments comments (54)
Mentone’s Gazebo Gazette: Special Edition

Volume 9

August 2014

The Mentone Round Up 1971-1972-1973

Back some 40 years ago, Mentone Chamber of Commerce held a parade and a “get- together” in the land adjacent to the Elephant Packing House (across the Blvd. from the Mentone Senior Center, now home of Hovey Tile Art). The event was held for three consecutive years (1971-1972-1973). Sadly, with too much alcohol in their system, a group consisting mostly of out-of-towners got out of control and a riot ensued. The event turned into a rock and bottle- throwing incident that resulted in over 30 arrests. It so discouraged the citizens of Mentone (and dampened their spirits) that the Mentone Roundup rode off into the sunset. The parades had over 70 entries from all over the Inland Empire. The California Highway Patrol would divert the traffic on Highway 38 down Colton Avenue during the parade.

The picnic area had different buildings, resembling an Old West town, including a saloon and jail, all built by Mentone residents with materials donated by the then Big Bear Timber Co. Duwayne Tench (Mentone Water Company) put in the septic tanks for the fine restrooms (which, in the years to come, would be targets from over- active teenagers, as they literally destroyed his work).

George and James Stewart cooked the hundreds of pounds of rump roast that was consumed by the hungry crowd, in a bar-b-que pit at the south side of the picnic area. Bill and Katie Kellison, Joe and Shirley Polack, Bob and Janice Hart, were just a few of the folk that put hundreds of hours into the event each year. Perhaps someday we’ll have the courage and the desire to re-invent the event (if there are any folk willing to help).
Recognize any of these happy kids? They’d be in their late forties and fifties by now. If you can identify them let us know.
The jailhouse, saloon, and other buildings were built by volunteers from the community. Building materials were supplied by Big Bear Lumber Co. (now extinct), and by Mentone Hardware, operated by Joe and Shirley Polack (Boy, Do we miss our old hardware store!) If Joe didn’t have what you came in for, he would put his thinking- cap on, and come up with an Alternative. You always left happy.

The parade had an “old-west” theme, but old cars, motor- homes, and just about anything else was welcomed; Over 70 different participants.

Many riders from across Southern California participated

Colorful and unique described the entries

Everyone loves a parade, by- stander and participant as well


Mentone had quite a large Saddle Club in the 1970’s


Mentone's Gazebo Gazette: Volume 8

Posted on January 6, 2015 at 5:23 PM Comments comments (14)

Mentone’s Gazebo Gazette

Volume 8

June 2014

Water History of Mentone Part Four

As the competition began between Tench and McIntosh, Mr. Tench took steps to insure his continuation in the water business. He convinced the Crafton Orange Growers Association to build their packing house on Opal and Nice Avenues and pledged adequate water for their operation. The railroad had constructed a pipeline from the water tower connected to the Mentone Water Company system, and when they were convinced of the dependability of the Tench supply, they leased the pipeline to Tench who agreed to provide water to the tower for $30.00 per month.

In 1928, Tench’s original well was deepened to a depth of 307 feet (again, dug by hand) and still pumped 80 inches of water (although) the water quality in the area is no longer usable for domestic purposes).

The competition continued until May, 1929, when Mr. McIntosh’s widow sold the Mentone Irrigation Co. and its assets to the City of Redlands. Bernard Tench often joked that the competition continued….only the players changed from McIntosh to the City of Redlands.

By 1945, things began to get more complicated. The Tench family water system was discovered by the California Public Utilities Commission and technicalities began piling up. William B. Tench finally emerged as “President” of the Mentone Domestic Water Company, which at that time became an official California corporation.

The City of Redlands had been known to tie a customer into the Tench system, or to repair the wrong pipes. Tench never had that problem as he had mapped and memorized his domain since his schooldays.

The first engine that was used to power the Agate Avenue well was a Fairbanks Morse. It was a “hit and miss” 11,000 pound single cylinder gasoline engine and was used for many years. It was replaced in 1940 with a more powerful engine that lasted until the early 1970’s. It was fueled by natural gas. In 1972, Bernard Tench drilled another well east of the reservoir with some intention of serving a higher elevation, but the system was never extended east of Agate Ave.

Continuing new regulations by the California State Department of Health, related to the operation of a water system, finally became too much, and in 1978, the Mentone Domestic Water Company and all of its assets were sold to the City of Redlands.

Duwayne Tench consulted the then Mentone Chamber of Commerce to see if a group might be formed to buy the water company instead of selling it to the City of Redlands. But no one stepped forward. He even contacted the Southern California Water Company (a company that buys small water companies) but they too, were not interested.

The Crafton well that was drilled in 1972 was determined not usable for domestic use in 1976 due to high nitrate content. The City of Redlands uses both wells by blending their wells with these, to meet regulations.

DuWayne’s father ran the company for over 50 years and was never able to make a living salary from it. When DuWayne ran the company for 3 ½ years, he only received a few dollars for all of his efforts. As the only employee of the company, he was in constant demand for repairs and required constant vigilance. The Public Utilities Commission approved the sale to the City of Redlands, and that is where we get our water today.

God Bless the Tench family for years of service to our Mentone community.


Some of the freshest produce available in the Mentone area is seemingly a big secret to some folks. We have a tendency to go to the super-markets for everyday veggies and fruit while the best is just around the corners of most of our houses.

Stafford’s Orchards offers the biggest selection and the very best in vegetables and fruits available anywhere.

In 1968, Wilber Jensen and his son Gary started what is now Stafford’s Orchards, and Valley Farms in Yucaipa. In the early days it was called Gary’s Garden.

A Mr. Sandoval bought it from Gary, and in 1979, he sold it to Steve Stafford and hence the name Stafford’s Orchards.

In 2003, Steve sold it to Charlie and Debbie Zimmerman, who’ve been in the business for some 32 years, and they chose to keep the Stafford name.




This Home was listed in the Montgomery Ward’s Christmas Catalog of 1934 (only 80 years ago!) And it was all made in America. Know anyone who has one?


If you were arrested for “kindness” would there be enough evidence to convict you?


Mentones Gazebo Gazette: Volume 7

Posted on January 6, 2015 at 5:10 PM Comments comments (214)
Mentone's Gazebo Gazette

Volume 7

April 2014

Water History of Mentone Part Three

As I stated in an earlier publication, the fledgling area of Mentone suffered from an inadequate water supply that discouraged early settlers who had purchased the land from the promoters working for the railroads. Many of the new Mentone inhabitants moved away and most of the newly planted orange trees dried up.
W.J Tench saved Mentone from disaster. He approached the Land Company with a proposal that if he could secure a reliable source of water, the Land Company would give him a parcel of land and also lease him the existing pipelines. The Land Company, whose back, was against the wall, agreed. And, in September of 1898, Tench, with the help of Ah Yee, a Chinese laborer, began digging a well at the north east corner of his property. It took two years to complete (which is amazing considering Mentone’s rock infested ground). The two of them dug a hole four- feet wide, six- feet long and 190 feet deep. Dynamite had to be used to clear out some of the huge boulders. Every ounce of rock and sand had to be lifted from the hole using a bucket which was raised by a horse-powered windlass. They beefed up the sides of the hole with redwood timber 2 x 12’s, and a ladder was built (and added to) as the hole deepened.
Tench hit some water at 165 feet, but kept on digging. Eventually he struck a bed of clay, and the local folk said that if he punctured the clay he most likely would lose all the water he had discovered. He decided to dig through it in spite of their comments, and on April 11, 1900, water spouted through in a gusher.
At the completion of the well, Mr. Tench requested that the Land Company fulfill their part of the agreement, which they had agreed to do, after their representative verified the water source. The pipelines were leased to Tench for a period of five years with a second five year period if the service was deemed satisfactory.
Many stories concerning the Tench Mentone Water Company abound, some are true, some are questionable, and some are downright wrong. One famous story says that during the digging of the well, the Chinese laborer had placed a dynamite charge in a huge boulder, and was climbing up the ladder, but wasn’t quite out of the hole when the charge went off. It was said, “He was blown out of the hole!” and was not hurt, but that his yellow-tinted skin turned ghostly white.
In 1903, Tench built a reservoir that would eventually store a quarter- million gallons in an open pool from which 10 and 12 inch pipes reached through Mentone, feeding scores of smaller laterals. The lines reached all the way west to Wabash Avenue (Redland’s city limits). It remained as it was originally built until the 1970’s when stricter health requirements demanded that the sides be finished and an inflatable roof was added.
In 1905, Tench was notified by the Pacific Land Development Company that the McIntosh interests had acquired the pipelines and that they were unwilling to renew his lease. Mr. Tench had to relinquish his hard-earned pipelines in 1906. Even though the Mentone Water Company suffered a diminished supply; they still continued to provide water to many Mentone residents. A fierce competition began between Tench and McIntosh. (Continued in next issue)
Six generations of Soffels are represented here at Soffel Farms. Ron Soffel’s great grand- father, in 1914, planted some of the first orange trees in the region, and possessed the first all-electric home on the north side of Redlands. In the 1940’s, Ron’s grand-father, Joe Soffel, planted the first avocado trees, in spite of many growers telling him the trees would never survive this far inland. The avocado trees surrounding Redland’s Airport prove his critics wrong.
The fourteen acres of Soffel Farms produce organic blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, onions, watermelons, avocados, oranges, grape-fruit, pomegranates, honey jams and bar-b-que sauces made from honey. Think you’ve tasted everything? Wait until you taste their low sugar blueberry jam! Yum!
The blueberries are grown on over 2000 plants and consist of over six different varieties. During Christmas season they offer some of the freshest Christmas trees available.

The retail store is open seven days a week from 10am to 6pm. The store is run by Ron’s sister- in – law, Shannon.
Starting the last two weeks of April (right now) you can pick your own blueberries, which are the only fresh, plant- grown ones available in the area.

There are amazing benefits of blueberries. This little fruit softens dry skin, boosts your brain power and may even prevent cancer. They contain many naturally occurring antioxidants, which help to protect the body against free radicals. They are literally bursting with nutrients. They can help regulate stomach irritations regarding motility because they contain fiber and tannins that act to draw tissue together and decrease inflammation. Soffel Farms offer the biggest and juiciest ones available. And don’t forget their honey and honey by-products.
 The Soffels have been in the bee business for decades, and bottle-up the best honey in the Inland Empire. No other insect has served the needs of man like the honey bee. Most folks don’t have a clue how important the honey bee is to civilization. They pollinate crops, an estimated one-third of all the fool crops we consume. Check out the 10 facts about honey bees you may not know (included in this publication).
Soffel Farms

1545 E. San Bernardino Avenue,

Redlands, Ca.

Serving Mentone and surrounding communities since 1914

Mentone's Gazebo Gazette: Volume 6

Posted on January 6, 2015 at 5:06 PM Comments comments (1670)
Mentone’s Gazebo Gazette

Volume 6

March 2014

Water History of Mentone Part Two

As I stated in an earlier publication, the fledgling area of Mentone suffered from an inadequate water supply that discouraged early settlers who had purchased the land from the promoters working for the railroads. The first large land grants came about with the Pacific Railroad Act of 1862. This was the legislation that enabled the transcontinental railroad. The railroads were granted 400 foot right- of- ways, plus ten square miles of land for every mile of track built. Mentone was birthed in 1872 when the Santa Fe- Pacific Land Improvement Company acquired every other section of land from Mentone to the Mill Creek jump off.
Somewhere around the late 1870’s three men: A.G. Hubbard, S.H. Marlette and W.P. McIntosh began promoting the “Mentone Tract”. McIntosh and Marlette lived in Mentone, and Hubbard lived in Redlands. W.P McIntosh had tunneled an unreliable water supply from Mill Creek. If it hadn’t been for W.J. Tench, who dug the first well in 1898, Mentone probably would not have survived.
In 1886 Bear Valley Mutual Water Company began the supply of domestic water to Redlands to a reservoir on Dearborn Street and another which was located at what is now Ford Park. But as a result of a typhoid outbreak traced to the Bear Valley Canal, Redlands sold bonds and went into an improvement program for its water supply. At the same time the Bear Valley Mutual Water Company changed their by- laws to declare that the water they delivered was for irrigation purposes only.
In 1926 The City of Redlands purchased water rights in Mill Creek and built a water treatment plant providing water to Redlands and some portions of upper Mentone. In 1927 Redlands agreed to provide treated water to the Greenspot Water Company through separate pipelines in exchange for discharging “filter backwash” water into the Greenspot irrigation water system.
W.J. Tench and his wife, Florence, arrived in Redlands from New York (by way of Missouri) on March 8, 1888. He became the Mentone Station Agent for the Santa Fe Railroad and held that job for some ten years. He purchased ten acres of land in Mentone on the south-west corner of Mentone Blvd. and Agate Ave. He planted an orange grove which soon forced him into the water business. W.P. McIntosh’s water supply couldn’t meet the demand. Once a day, if there was water in the reservoir, a man on a horse would go through town shouting, “Water On! Fill you barrels!” Everyone would then take their day’s supply of water which would have to last for at least 24 hours.
Part of the problem (other than a drought) resulted from the creation of the Redlands Electric and Power Company which allowed them to divert the flow of Mill Creek at a point nearer the mouth of Mill Creek Canyon, more than a mile above the historic diversion point used by the prior rights owners. This diversion resulted in more than a mile of the Mill Creek streambed becoming dry except in times of heavy rain or snow melt.
Many of the new Mentone people moved away, and many of the newly planted orange trees simply dried up and were abandoned. Next month we will see the tenacity of W.J. Tench and will examine his efforts to save Mentone from disaster. (continued next issue).

One of Mentone’s treasures is nestled in the foothills of the Crafton Hills at the end of Ward Way in Mentone. For years it simply was 28 acres of sage brush and weeds. The farm was developed from scratch after years of labor and love. Its owner, Kim Buoye, acquired water from Bear Valley Water Company and turned those 28 acres into a paradise. Kim is part of five generations of “Mentonites”, born and raised in Mentone. Many of the older orange and avocado groves in the area were planted by her grandfather.
She employs one full time employee and a bunch of part- timers during busy seasons. Her daughter, Katie, is the Farm’s Director, and Tony (her full- timer) is the Farm’s Manager.
Kim comes from a family of hard- workers, Dad, Mom, and two brothers and a sister. She has a beautiful smile, a love for people, and a dedicated “head” for business. The farm offers fun and excitement for everyone.
Greenspot Farms has some of the freshest Christmas Trees in the area and offers a Pumpkin Patch during the fall season. They have fresh home- grown oranges, avocadoes, limes and lemons, grapefruit, apples, and raw honey.             
They have children’s tours, and school tours which start in April of each year. During the fall season they offer old-fashioned tractor- pulled hay rides. They also offer train rides, horse rides, a petting zoo with goats, pigs, cows, rabbits, chickens and ducks. There is a “hedge-maze” on the property for lots of fun and discovery.
It’s an ideal spot for Birthday parties and special events. And, of course, they are noted for the Pumpkin Patch during the pumpkin season. It’s an ideal spot for a wedding as well. They have an old school house/ wedding chapel and even Honeymoon Suite.
The Farm is open daily, and during the season from October thru December their hours are 9am to 6pm. The Farm can be rented for an all-day event. Check out their “Haunted Hayride” in October of each year.    They also board horses and give horse riding lessons.
The Farm offers picnic areas with a fire- pit and stage. They even furnish the firewood and electricity. Your party will have a fun- filled, exciting time down on the Farm at Greenspot Farms!
Greenspot Farms

10133 Ward Way, Mentone, Ca. 92359

(909)794-7653 or (909)376-5172

Mentones Gazebo Gazette: Volume 5

Posted on January 6, 2015 at 3:30 PM Comments comments (12)

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


Mentone's Gazebo Gazette: Volume 4

Posted on December 30, 2014 at 8:34 PM Comments comments (21)

Mentone’s Gazebo Gazette

Volume 4

January 2014


If you’re REALLY hungry than we’ve got the place for you….Mentone’s Mill Creek Cattle Co. Without a doubt it is the most colorful business in Mentone. Decorated to the hilt with old Western memorabilia and it offers a menu of barbecue and good old- fashioned cookin’. Mill Creek Cattle Co. is what a lot of restaurants would wish to be. And, if you leave hungry, it’s your own fault because they are known for their generous portions.  

Jim and Maribeth Lotito took over two years renovating the old Mentone Yacht Club when they purchased the property back in 1998. The property has a colorful history. In 1927 it began with Wirth’s Mentone Inn which specialized in chicken dinners.

The Wirths had chicken coops out back and raised and cooked their meat as fresh as was possible. The Inn itself consisted of four bedrooms and one bathroom on the top floor. The Lotito’s office space is now located on that top floor. Maribeth’s parents, the Millers, bought the restaurant from the Wirths in the late ‘50’s and early ‘60’s and kept it as the Mentone Inn. It became a gourmet restaurant and had a French chef named Luigi. The Miller’s sold the business and it eventually became “Dave’s Place” and then “The Mentone Beach Yacht Club”.

Jim began his restaurant career in 1958 when he opened “Jim’s Water Wheel Inn”, in West Covina. The have over 56 years in the business. The Lotito’s attended Chili Cookoffs around the United States for many years, and were the founders of Mentone’s Chamber of Commerce Chili Cook-offs.

This is a picture of their Chili Cookoff entourage when they took home THE WORLD’S CHAMPIONSHIP CHILI COOKOFF in 1988. They still make some of the best (if not THE best) chili found anywhere.

Mill Creek Catering Company has been around for some 35 years. Maribeth and her daughter rant the Creekside Kitchen in Oak Glen as well.

Looking at their menu will bring a “WOW!” from your lips. They have it all! And, the portions are heaping!

Jim and Maribeth designed the Mill Creek Cattle Co. to be a family gathering place, and their own family works there as well. The cooks have been with the Lotitos for over twenty- some years.

At Mill Creek, nothing is pre-made. All their bread is baked daily, the beans are made fresh and the veggies are the colors that God made them. The meat is always cut fresh and cooked and smoked to perfection. My wife’s favorite is their “Three Cheese, Twice Baked Potatoes”.

Jim’s family has owned 27 restaurants to date. Mill Creek Cattle Co. has a large following and many regulars, its Mentone’s favorite “watering hole”. If you are planning a special function, this is the place to visit. Their website is

Maribeth also makes and sells gift baskets for any occasion. She is very gifted and every basket is unique. There is also a Redland’s Mill Creek Cattle Co. on California Street, which was featured on a Television reality program (which will be shown in the early part of 2014).


(Do you recognize anyone in the above picture? Let us know if you do)


In the early 1970’s Mentone residents enjoyed an annual parade and picnic. The parades had over 70 entries from the surrounding areas. The Highway Patrol would block off traffic on Mentone Blvd. (Highway 38) and divert it to adjacent streets. Pictured above is Mentone’s third annual gathering. The man behind the microphone is Joe Polack who was the Master of Ceremonies. Heading up the arrangements for the Third Annual Mentone Parade and Barbecue were Del O’Neil, Janice and Bob Hart, and Joe Polack.

The Park itself occupied the lot adjacent to the Elephant Orchard packing house (which is now home to Hovey Tile Art). The Barbecue Park had different buildings representing an old West village, complete with Saloon and Jail.

The Parade and Barbecue was a great tradition until the day that it turned into a rock and bottle-throwing incident that resulted in over 30 arrests. Most of the participants in the may- lee were out-of-towners, and not Mentone residents. But it dampened the spirit of the residents and the event rode off into the sunset never to be seen again. Perhaps someday, we’ll have the courage to re-invent the thing.

The most serious blow to Mentone’s economy was when, in 1975, Lockheed Propulsion Co. closed its Mentone facility, laying off some 1,500 workers. Some thought that the closing would be the end of our little town, but it wasn’t. In today’s economy such a closing probably wouldn’t hurt all that much since most of the residents work elsewhere. Mentone’s biggest threat of existence is probably from our neighbor Redlands, who has control of the water supply. Redlands refuses to allow connection to its water system unless developers agree to annex to the city, or not put up a fight, if and when, Redlands decides to annex Mentone. Redlands probably wouldn’t annex the whole area, as they wouldn’t gain much, since they have already annexed all the industrial land around the airport and businesses adjacent to their borders.


Back in volume one of the Mentone’s Gazebo Gazette I mentioned that there were two men who removed all the rocks from the lots with the aid of two mules. Above is pictured one of the men, Charlie Hall, along with his two mules, and faithful dog. The two lads observing the operation are (left to right) Bob Sewell and John Shoup. Bob Sewell was gracious enough to share this photo so everyone could see how the “grazing sheep” were removed from the area.

I don’t have the dog’s or the mule’s names, but I’m sure they were loved as well. Bob Sewell still lives in Mentone on Jasper Street where he’s lived since 1927. He has many colorful tale to tell.

In the next publication of the Mentone Gazebo Gazette I will attempt to share the beginnings of the water supply for Mentone and the Crafton area, along with the facts about the beginnings of the famous Zanja (pronounced by many as “Zanj-ee”)around the year 1819.

A proper water supply has always been a problem in this area. 2013 proved to be the year of the lowest recorded rainfall since California began taking records. According to my rain gauge, we received 6.36 inched of rainfall (the lowest I’ve recorded in the last 35 years).
But building never seems to slow down, and I often wonder what the future holds for us if this drought continues. Only our God knows. We all need to be conservative in our use of this precious gift.

Mentone's Gazebo Gazette: Volume 3

Posted on December 30, 2014 at 8:14 PM Comments comments (16)

Mentone’s Gazebo Gazette

Volume 3

December 2013

Most folks don’t have a clue as to what’s behind the front door to Frank’s Place. It’s not just a bar with a pool table, because it’s the place where the “wet burrito” was born. And, if you haven’t tried their “LOCO” burrito, you just haven’t lived. The “LOCO” is the specialty of the house, and it was concocted by Fran himself way back in 1972. Frank has gone home to glory, but turned the reigns over to his daughter, Sylvia Oshoa. She’s ran the place since 1994 (since no one else in the family wanted to). Sylvia chose to keep her Dad’s name on the business in his honor.

When Frank developed the “LOCO” burrito, quite a few other restauranteurs wanted the recipe. But Frank never wrote the recipe down as it was just too difficult to write down the measurements that consisted of a “pinch here” and a “dab of sauce” there.

So when you sit down to enjoy the “LOCO” you can bet that no one else has it on their menu. They serve some of the best traditional Mexican food in town. But if you’re salivating for a burger, try their cheeseburger, you won’t be sorry. No matter what you order, when you sit down to eat, ask Sylvia to share one of her “haunted ghost stories” with you. The place has a colorful history. The original building was built by a grocer named McKee.

When McKee retired he sold the building to Ed and Mary Pattison who completely revamped the building, added a liquor store on the east side and opened Ed and Mary’s Café. Mary Pattison was an outstanding cook and business boomed. When the Los Angeles Ram’s held their winter training sessions at the University of Redlands football field, Ed and Mary’s became their favorite eating place. Mary would invite the entire team up to her house for fried chicken dinners. Ed Pattison expanded the original building by razing the old post office building that was located in the rear of the present building. When they retired they sold the business to Frank Lopez in 1972.


It was a magnificent structure, and directly west of it, across Opal Avenue was the Santa Fe train station (pictured on the front of this publication). Notice the similarities in the buildings. It was built around 1900 as a hotel and many a weary traveler got off at the Santa Fe depot and walked across the street to the hotel. It was simply called “The Mentone”. However, despite some good and profitable times, The Mentone struggled to stay open.

Proper water supply was one of the big problems. A man by the name of W.P. McIntosh, who promoted Mentone in the eastern papers, tunneled beneath Mill Creek for water, but it was an unreliable supply. W.J. Tench, whose disgust with the McIntosh water service dug the community’s first well in 1898. Surrounding The Mentone was a parched subdivision, whose water shortage had caused many of the first buyers to leave.

“Consumption”, better known as Tubercle Bacillus (Tuberculosis) was claiming many lives in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s (194 out of every 100,000). Redlands had its deadly share. Redlands sent their tuberculosis patients down to a beleaguered and unhappy colony isolated in San Timoteo Canyon by the Southern Pacific railroad tracks. Trinity Episcopal Church in Redlands was a main financial support for the colony and called it “The Trinity Settlement”. The Redlands City Council voted to remove the settlement from the canyon and to forbid any such in their city limits.

Mentone was different. Trinity bought the hotel in Mentone and an additional 40 acres. They felt they could accommodate 500 patients immediately and eventually 1500 additional.

It came under management of a genial clergyman named Adolph R. Schultz who came to the area to find better health for his wife. He arrived in 1902 and handled the business for some of its better years, then closed, due to an uproar from Mentone’s healthier citizens. They protested that if the move to Mentone was a more sanitary solution, why not move it back to Redlands in the Smiley Library Park where it could do good for a greater number of people.

The county supervisors quickly adopted an ordinance forbidding any such institution within 1,320 feet of any open flume carrying domestic water, or within 2,650 feet of any school. The courts ruled the ordinance illegal and the settlement remained at Mentone, but the quarreling had alienated some of Trinity’s donors. Facing an unbalanced budget, and to avoid debt, Trinity turned the nursing over to the Sisters of St. Thomas Aquinas, which alienated ever more donors. Soon the settlement closed and the magnificent building was torn down in 1917.

The original location became many different businesses down through the years. McAndrew’s Fencing was located there in the late 1900’s for many years. Larry Jacinto owns it now and stores firewood on the property.

So, maybe Sylvia is correct in her thinking that Frank’s place and the surrounding area is haunted. Many a poor, suffering soul gave up the ghost in the sanatorium.

The newer post office had been built when Ed Pattison tore down the old one. The Mentone Post Office is still located where it was originally rebuilt, but has gone through extensive renovation since those early days.

Mentone's Gazebo Gazette: Volume 2

Posted on December 30, 2014 at 7:40 PM Comments comments (28)

Mentone’s Gazebo Gazette

Volume 2

November 2013

Above is the original map for the township of Mentone developed by the California Central Railroad (full size maps are available at Mill Creek Cattle Co. - see Mary Beth). The lots were 25’x50’. The railroad took great pains to advertise the proposed town site in the Eastern newspapers to attract potential buyers. Quite an advertising plan was developed, including aerial photos of the area. Full-grown orange trees were up-planted from surrounding areas and re-planted eventually became a major orange- producing area, but it took a few years. The ads stated, “Mentone’s climate and vegetation are the same as the coast lands, but with no fog, and a warm and sunny atmosphere.”

When the aerial photos were taken, those “Mentone potatoes” (rocks and boulders) were prominent in the photos, so the caption below the photos exclaimed, “You can see the sheep grazing on the open fields!”

The sheep of course, were the boulders and rocks that we are all familiar with, but from the photos they did indeed appear as grazing sheep! Advertising hasn’t changed all that much, has it? It provided a steady income for the two fellas with the mule teams. The lots were very small, but prices around the $75 to $100 range, and the railroad officials knew that most folks would buy more than one. Most were sold in half to full acre portions.

Mr. Bob Sewell (a longtime Mentone resident) said that the first house built in Mentone is located on the South side of Jasper Avenue and is still standing to this day.



Originally California Central Railway laid out the initial plan for the development of Mentone in 1888. Eventually Southern Pacific took them over in in the late 1800’s. Two railroads serviced Mentone, including the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe which connected So. California to San Francisco and to Salt Lake, Utah. The railroads played an important part in the development of Mentone’s citrus industry for as many as 1000 railroad cars of oranges left Mentone annually. The total acreage of Mentone oranges was in the vicinity of 4000 acres, 75% of which were of the Navel variety. There were four packing houses in Mentone to handle the large volume. The only one remaining is the old Elephant Orchard packing house (built in 1939), on the corner of Opal Ave. and Mentone Blvd. which now houses Hovey Tile Art. It was built on the site of the old Santa Fe Railroad station, pictured on the front of the Gazette.

In those early days, Mentone prospered and experienced growth due to Eastern advertising by the railroads. There were four grocery stores with full meat markets; 1 general store; a feed mill (where the Valero gas station is today); a drug store with a lunch counter; 3 barber shops and a beauty parlor; 2 real estate offices; 2 auto repair garages; 5 service stations; medicinal baths; two pool halls; and what started as one community church (where the uncompleted Tom’s Burgers is today), now hosts nine different denominational places of worship. Even back in those days there was a county branch library, a Chamber of Commerce, along with a Jr. Chamber of Commerce; a Woman’s Club; an upholstery shop; a dairy (with fresh eggs and milk). W.E. McMillan’s Mercantile Co. and Department Store later became the Mentone Hardware Store (which we miss terribly!). There was a dentist’s office, a town doctor, and a chiropractor. Wirth’s Mentone Inn specialized in chicken dinners and raised their own poultry. The poultry industry flourished in the area. The Old Homestead Hotel featured a fresh mountain trout dinner for only $1.00.

The city dump site was at the north end of Opal Avenue. Across from where the Mentone Senior Center is today was a mule barn ran by two men whom one could hire to clear your property so that you could build on it.

The Greenspot Market opened around 1910. Originally it is believed to have been a blacksmith shop, as a grocery store did exist directly across the street from the present location. Gary believes it changed to a grocery store around 1910.

Gary and Debby Jacinto acquired the store in 1992 and are the longest owners, from a long line of previous owners.

Originally, according to some of the old timers in the area, it was called “Rocky Comfort Store” (as the 30 or so acres surrounding the store, from Garnet to Zanja to Mt. View, were called “Rocky Comfort”). The Rocky Comfort Water Company still exists to this day and serves families in the area.

Next to the pillar on the left of Gary and Debby were a couple of gas pumps (as it was one of six gas stations in the Mentone area). The pumps were removed in the early 1960’s. The store is absolutely unique in that they not only sell groceries, but just about anything else You might need…..Snow chains, T-shirts, a full liquor, beer, and wine department, but also snow toys, live bait, fishing tackle, gifts to satisfy anyone’s imagination, including cast- iron cooking ware, knifes, kerosene lanterns, and of course their world-famous Beef Jerky. In the early days, the store featured a full meat market as well.

Originally Highway 38 was only paved to Barton Flats, and to travel to Big Bear City would have been an exciting adventure over the 40+ miles or so of remaining dirt road.

The store was a favorite stopping place for refreshments and rest in the 1920’s. Also in the 1920’s, Rocky Comfort Water Company sold water rights to Redlands. As it was then (as now) water controlled everything.

(Next issue of the Mentone Gazebo Gazette we will examine some of the water history of the area).

In the early days Mentone was a part of Crafton’s original plan of development The Crafton train station was located where the Portuguese- American club house on Crafton Avenue is today.

If you want a trip back to the old days, pay a visit to Greenspot Market. You won’t be disappointed, and make sure you buy some of that mouth- watering, soul- uplifting beef jerky!

They are open 7 days a week, 365 days a year, from 7am to 9pm (if you plan to visit on a holiday, call first for the hours they’ll be open).


Mentone's Gazebo Gazette: Volume 1

Posted on December 30, 2014 at 7:13 PM Comments comments (26)

Mentone's Gazebo Gazette
Volume 1
October 2013

Some interesting demographics about Mentone……..

According to the 2010 United State Census, Mentone has a population of 8,720. The racial makeup is 70.1% Caucasian, 35.4% Hispanic or Latino, 5.0% African American, 4.0% Asian, 1.4% Native American, 0.4%Pacific Islander, and 14.2% from other races.

There are 3,026 households and the average household size is 2.84. Those who live alone and are 65 years or older represent 5.9%. The median income for a household is $41,225. 60.7% of the population is under the age of 18. The average age is 32 years old. For every 100 females over the age of 18, there are 91.9 males.

Mentone’s elevation is 1,650 ft.

Mentone is not incorporated and has no mayor or City Council. Its schools are part of the Redlands Unified School District. Police and Fire Services are provided by San Bernardino County (Police services come from the Yucaipa Valley Sheriff’s Station), with mutual aid and assistance from the Redlands Police and Fire Departments.

In the State Legislature Mentone is located in the 31 Senate District, and in the 59 Assembly District. Mentone is located in California’s 41 Congressional District.

Mentone has a very colorful history that dates back to the late 1870’s. Its residents are proud of their community and strive to maintain their independence. It is one of the last vestiges of orange production that at one time was predominant in Redlands, Mentone, and surrounding areas.


In 1963, Wilbur and June Purvis bought an abandoned building on Crafton Avenue in Mentone (previously owned by Lockheed) and began a boat and boat motor repair shop. A long time (and well- known) Mentone resident, Frank Jacinto, talked them into selling chainsaws and a whole new business sprang up. Wilbur and June’s son, Tom, literally grew up in the business, and became efficient in selling and repairing power equipment. In 1999 Tom went to work for TORO (with Wilbur and June’s blessing), and became their Top Salesman west of the Mississippi. Tom valiantly battled cancer for a number of years before passing in November of 2012. Some of their more notable customers are the U.S. Forestry Service and City and County Government Agencies.

Both Wilbur and June are longtime residents of Mentone. Wilbur’s family moved here when he was but 2 years old. His first home was the stone building on the corner of Crafton and Mentone Blvd. which later became the only fire station in town.

June met Wilbur on a blind- date, which has resulted in over 59 years of marriage. Who was is that said, “Love is blind?”

Barry is their Service Technician and has been with Wilbur’s Power Equipment since his High School days.

Tommy, their Service Manager actually grew up with the business.

Sarah, their Administrative Assistant has been with the company since 2005.

Their business hours are:

Monday thru Friday

8am to 5pm


Fax: (909)794.3526

If you have a need for any power equipment, or repair of existing equipment, come and give WILBUR’S a try! They have developed and maintained a reputation for honesty, efficiency, and a small- town friendliness that can’t be found in the “big-box stores”.