Welcome to the Baldy View Region – Halloween Style
By Phillip B. Burum
Today, the Baldy View Region – which encompasses all of San Bernardino County and the eastern portion of Los Angeles County – is one of the most desirable destinations for homebuyers and homeowners because it offers three unique and distinct environments: lush valleys, towering mountain ranges and scenic deserts. The natural scenic beauty and the diversity of housing options are likely the primary draw for homebuyers, but the charm and storied past of Baldy View should also be considered while contemplating what may be the biggest and best investment decision a family will make in their lifetime.
Charm, as it relates to homes or neighborhoods, will cast a different image for everyone. Some may envision a country cottage at the end of a long and winding English driveway while others imagine the haunted mansions in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Charm, as with beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. In the spirit of the season, and because it is my eye that is beholding, I would like to share a bit about the charm of our region that most are unaware of.
The gentle flowing waters of the Santa Ana were the inspiration of the name of what was once the largest town in San Bernardino County. Prior to 1862, Agua Mansa was a sprawling pioneer town. Historically heavy rainfall in the winter of 1862 and 1863, however, made Agua Mansa what it is today, which is little more than a footnote in the history books and a dilapidated cemetery on a once remote hillside.
Current residents of Colton who know the history of Agua Mansa warn their children to avoid the cemetery after dark out of fear they may be taken by La Llorona ‘the weeping woman’ who has often been seen wandering in search of children that she can take to replace those she lost in a fit of despair and rage within the flooding waters of the Santa Ana River.
Visitors brave enough to enter the area at night report sounds of weeping as they walk amongst the graves. The children foolish enough to join these late-night tours, at least the ones that make it through to the end, recount feeling a hand on their shoulder attempting to tug them away from their group. For adults and teens, a bit of angst and a good story is all most will take away from an encounter with La Llorona but for young children, the consequences can be far more dire.
Standing guard of the cemetery, keeping it safe from would be vandals, is none other than the ghost of legendary lawman Morgan Earp. Morgan’s body was later moved away from its original burial place within Agua Mansa to rest with his parents in nearby Colton, but apparently no one thought to tell his still lingering ghost. Pranksters and other ne’er-do-wells visiting the area late nights come away disappointed as the excitement of wreaking a bit of late-night havoc is replaced by feelings of unease, fear and dread caused by an unseen but unmistakably present force. Those not wise enough to take the warning and cease the hijinks have left the cemetery with inexplicable abrasions around their necks, as if a noose had been placed and tightened a bit. The feelings of dread may have been imagined but the red marks left behind by the apparition’s noose are far too real to those that have upset the protective former lawman.
Agua Mansa is only one of several historic local cemeteries that boast the presence of doomed spirits. Visitors to a small dilapidated cemetery once called Old Settlers (now Spadra) Cemetery in Pomona recount tales of wild dogs appearing and staring ominously while angry spirits whip up gusts of hot, dusty winds buffeting intruders – winds not felt beyond the willows ringing the cemetery. The shadow of a man materializing and then vanishing into a decaying tombstone, the laughter of nonexistent children and ghostly screams piercing the air are frequently reported as well.
Our region is ripe with history and charm. If you find your pleasure in spending hours atop Mount Baldy taking in the spectacular vista of the San Gabriel Valley, apple picking in the orchards of Yucaipa or if your preferences lean towards a weekend of ghost hunting, it is very likely that Baldy View has what you are looking for.
From the old wineries of Guasti to the desert expanse of Victorville, San Bernardino has more than its fair share of haunting legends. Add to the ‘charm’ of the area, the scenic beauty, ever increasing options for housing, business, and local entertainment, prospective homebuyers need not search elsewhere when considering a place to call home.