Rialto occupies land that was originally settled by Native Americans, prior to 1500. The Native American population disappeared before 1800 when the King of Spain divided up the San Bernardino Valley into land grants. By 1854 ranches were growing citrus and grapes. In 1887 the railroad connected San Bernardino to Pasadena and towns sprang up along the tracks. Methodists came to the San Bernardino Valley to open a college the same year. The college was not built but the Methodists started the town of Rialto. The town's name may be a contraction of Rio (river) and alto (high), or the town may be named for the Rialto Bridge in Venice, Italy. An adobe house built in the mid-1800s, and thought to be the oldest house in Rialto, is located at Bud Bender Park.
Rialto is in the largest county in the United States. San Bernardino County is 90% desert and mountains, stretching from the Los Angeles County and Riverside County. It borders east to the Colorado River. In the 1950s, San Bernardino County and Riverside County combined resources and named the areas they covered the Inland Empire. The Inland Empire is the "largest Hollywood back lot" and contains a variety of things to do, from culture to recreation.
The Rialto Community Players bill themselves as the biggest little theatre in the Inland Empire, offering original plays and Broadway hits. The San Bernardino Symphony Orchestra performs a variety of music for all tastes. The San Bernardino County Museum contains cultural and natural history displays with special events throughout the year, along with live animal discovery exhibits and research collections. The Air Museum Planes of Fame preserves aviation history with over 150 aircrafts. Other museums in the county include the Colton History Museum, the Hi-Desert Nature Museum, Mojave River Valley Museum, and the Roy Rogers-Dale Evans Museum.
There are three professional sports teams in San Bernardino County. The Rancho Cucamonga Quakes are the Class A minor league team for the Anaheim Angels. The High Desert Mavericks are the Class A minor league team for the Milwaukee Brewers, and the Inland Empire Sixty-Sixers are the Class A minor league team for the Seattle Mariners. California Speedway is the place to be for the thrill of NASCAR and Indy racing.
Recreational areas include Calico Ghost Town - a preserved silver mining town from 1881 - the 480-acre County Regional Park, Cucamonga-Guasti Regional Park - with swimming and fishing on two lakes along with volleyball courts, horseshoe pits and picnic areas on 150 acres - and Glen Helen Regional Park with camp sites, fishing, swimming areas, including a swim lagoon with a 350-foot double flume, hiking trails, volleyball courts, softball fields, and playgrounds. Glen Helen is the home of the Renaissance Pleasure Faire and the Hyundai Pavilion, where outdoor concerts feature superstars from all musical genres.
Joshua Tree National Park is also in San Bernardino County. A great place to rock climb, the park features campgrounds, hiking trails, and visitor centers. Lake Gregory National Park is located in the San Bernardino Mountains in Crestline. The lake is situated on 150 acres and offers fishing, swimming, water slides, boat rentals, basketball and volleyball courts, horse rentals and hiking trails. Moabi Regional Park, the furthest east of the regional parks in the county, is on the Colorado River. Camping, boating, fishing, and swimming are popular activities. Mojave Narrows Regional Park is an oasis in the desert. The 840-acre park offers camping, fishing, hiking, boating and an archery range. Prado Regional Park is set on 2,000 acres with campsites, picnic grounds, fishing sites, trails, a golf course, and a shooting range. The number one picnic site in the Inland Empire is Yucaipa Regional Park. The 885-acre park also offers camping, fishing, boating and swimming.
The San Bernardino Mountains offer year-round activities at Big Bear and Lake Arrowhead, including downhill skiing, skating, tubing, cross county skiing, fishing, boating, swimming, and hiking. Four-wheel drive vehicles can explore Holcomb Valley and the roads between Big Bear and Arrowhead.
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