By Ken Brafman, Image from ROWHS Collection
TITLE: CITY CREEK TOLL ROAD: Most of the roads coming up into the San Bernardino Mountains were built by private investors, with tolls charged to produce revenue designed to pay for the construction, and to provide eventual profit. By 1891 the lumber industry had shifted from smaller, privately owned mills to larger, corporate operations. In 1890 the Danaher brothers of Michigan purchased a 26,000-acre tract of timberland above the east fork of City Creek. Later that year the brothers incorporated Highland Lumber Company. They continued to purchase more land and worked to negotiate right-of-way with settlers and orange growers reaching down to Highland. They soon began construction of a road to enable them to efficiently haul their lumber down to customers, such as companies that made boxes for the citrus growers, and for construction. When the road project seemed to be taking longer than it should the brothers ordered workers to disregard the original plans to keep the grade to 10%. The new orders were to get the road up to the crest, zigzagging if necessary. At the upper end, the road was graded as steeply as 25%. When finished, access was limited and lumber wagons needed to be hoisted by derrick to navigate the turns. Uphill motorists needed to be alert to encountering one of these plummeting wagons head on. Passage was improved when the brothers completed building a bridge across a steep fork of City Creek in the fall of 1891. The county bought the road in 1916 and removed the toll. In 1946 the county built a new bridge and regraded the road, which eventually became known as State Route 330. This week’s image is from the City Creek Toll Road’s second year of operation. The long gate arm is visible on the left, and the sign lists the customary tolls charged for people, horses, conveyances and livestock. These stops were very popular with motorists who could get a break from the arduous hours of travel.