History of Upland, CA

North Ontario was always devised as a part of the tract of land that Chaffey purchased for the Ontario colony.  Yet, residents of North Ontario experienced a geographical boundary being so far north of the established Ontario colony (at its southern most point).  As a result, when the Bedford Brothers arrived in 1888 and built a magnificent hotel called the Magnolia Villa, many of the North Ontario residents started to think of their city as Magnolia, rather than Ontario.  The Magnolia Villa was situated east of Euclid on 2nd Avenue where the Bedford brothers also invested money on land to sell.  As more plots sold with Magnolia as the downtown center piece, residents considered Magnolia home rather than Ontario and their downtown area. (Photo shows 2nd avenue at the turn of the century).

Meanwhile, Ontario proper was thriving.  The mule drawn street-cars were a hit and the citrus industry was bringing wealth and families to the area in droves.  The population was growing, and families were starting to settle not only in Ontario, but in North Ontario as well.  Citrus was a growing industry in both areas, but the residents of North Ontario wanted to find a way to differentiate between the fruit of the two areas.  One resident, Charles D. Adams, already owner of the Ontario Fruit Exchange, proposed creating a new citrus association called the Upland Citrus Association.  He chose the name Upland knowing that “fruit produced at higher altitudes was usually of better quality” (Clucas, 25). Hence, fruit grown “up land” would pass on that connotation.   When the business efforts of the Bedford Brothers started to fail in the late 1880’s and the Magnolia Villa was forced to close, residents hung onto the Upland name.  North Ontario was successfully renamed Upland in 1902.

When Ontario started to push for a larger area of incorporation, Upland pushed back.  Their post office, located on G. Street, was technically in the boundaries of Upland, but the new incorporation placed it within Ontario’s boundaries.  The area of land that Ontario wanted also held the tracks for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad, not to mention the train depot at A St.  Ontario’s annexation would also include the Windsor Hotel at the corner of 2nd Avenue and 7th St.  The residents of Upland “could not stand” to have their train line and post office located in another city.  In early 1906 residents met at the International Order of the Odd Fellows office on 2nd Avenue.  Supervisor Dr. E. W. Reid was present at the meeting, and all agreed that incorporation was the simple way to finally solve the land dispute between Upland and Ontario.  Three men were named to the committee that would plea the town’s case before the Board of Supervisors.  They were Alfred P. Harwood, Charles F. Ruedy, and T. Kirk Vernon.  Vernon decided to take another step and circulate a formal petition among Upland residents.  Nearly every man living in Upland signed the petition voting for incorporation.  On February 19, 1906 the committee appeared before the Board with their petition and a formal hearing was set for March 12, 1906. 

The March 12th meeting witnessed charges from both sides.  Ontario felt that Upland’s incorporation would “obstruct the county’s progress” while Upland moved that Ontario was trying to “grab” land that rightfully belonged to them. (Clucas, 2007).  After two days of arguments, the Board agreed that a vote for incorporation should take place.  On May 5, 1906 Upland approved their vote for incorporation with 183 in favor and 19 against.   The first move was to elect city officers.  These included: Ralph E Swing, Attorney; R. C. Norton, city clerk; M. F. Palmer, treasurer; Jedd Sawyer, city marshal and town trustees: Josiah Dundas, George A. Harrison, Alfred P. Harwood, Charles F. Ruedy, and T. Kirk Vernon.  On May 7th the Board approved the results and the city was officially created on May 15, 1906 by the Secretary of State in Sacramento.  The residents of Upland than held an election for those living in the area contested by Ontario (area between 7th St. and A St) who also decided to become part of Upland.

 In 1935, Upland’s boundary lines were redrawn to include the land that was annexed from them in Ontario’s 1902 expansion.  This move made Upland geographically larger than Ontario although their population is 2/3 smaller.