Fascinating set of early promotional maps (1 on the front, 2 on the verso), promoting a land development scheme near Riverside, California, approximately 4 years before the creation of Riverside County in 1893.
The map was prepared to promote the lands owned by the Bear Valley and Alesandro Development Company, including a larger format map of the proposed town of Allesandro ( Map No. 1 Bear Valley and Alesandro Development Company) and a general map of the Los Angeles County, eastern San Bernardino County, Orange County and western San Diego County ( Map of Southern California showing the Real Orange Belt of California in the Interior Valleys of San Bernardino County And the relation ofthse valleys to the Coast, including Railroad connections), on the verso.
The main map provides significant detail on topographic features, with the reservoir in the upper left, then San Bernardino and Redlands, San Jacinto, etc., south to Elsinore. Shows the canals, pipelines and railroads.
Frank Elwood Brown and Edward Judson developed Redlands, California, beginning in 1881. In 1883, Brown began looking for options to increase the water supply to the area. The Bear Valley Irrigation Co. was founded by Brown in the early 1880s, to distribute the water from his damming of Bear Creek. Brown first travelled to Bear Valley with Hiram Barton in 1883, to investigate the prospects for a water storage project for the agricultural needs of the eastern part of the San Bernardino Valley. After surveying the area, Brown was faced with the challenge that most of the valley was privately owned and used for sheep and cattle grazing. J.S. Slauson, a wealthy Los Angeles banker, and an ex-miner named Richard Garvey owned most of the land, while Southern Pacific Railroad owned another section. Brown purchased a 20-day option on Bear Valley for $500 and he used these 20 days to court potential investors and show them the site.
Brown and Judson formed the Bear Valley Land and Water Company and built a dam high in the San Bernardino Mountains, north of Redlands, on the Santa Ana River in Bear Valley (now called Big Bear Dam and Big Bear Lake). The Bear Valley Reservoir and Dam are illustrated on the main map.
In 1888, Brown and Judson established the town of Alssandro and incorporated the town Bear Valley and Alessandro Development Company in 1889 It was named after Alessandro the hero in Helen Hunt Jackson's popular novel Ramona. The townsite was located in the area of the current runways at March Air Reserve Base. In 1890, Judson and Brown also established the town of New Haven northeast of Alessandro, changing the name to Moreno in October of 1890. In 1891, the Perris & Alessandro Irrigation District was formed by order of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors, leading to a long running dispute over the water rights between Redlands and Moreno Valley over the use of water from the Bear Valley Dam.By the mid-1890s, a drought had set in and Redlands had first claim on the water, leading the the failure of the town of Alessandro and years of litigation for Brown, Judson and their companies.
The map is of the utmost rarity. Copies are held by the Bancroft Library (uncolored). The Huntington holds a copy of Map No. 1 . . . . and also a Map of the Alessandro tract and Alessandro irrigation district, San Bernardino county, California, Showing the Bear Valley irrigation co.'s system of main and lateral canals . . . published by Britton & Rey in 1891.