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Fontana Success Tales: A.B. Miller was metropolis’s founder | Opinion

(FONTANA SUCCESS STORIES is a recurrently occurring column extolling the virtues of the various Fontanans who not solely succeeded in life, as there are a lot of Fontanans who’re profitable, however in addition they excelled and made a big constructive influence of their chosen areas.)

We’d be remiss if our preliminary FONTANA SUCCESS STORIES column didn’t give attention to Fontana’s first success story, the founding father of Fontana, Mr. Azariel Blanchard (A.B.) Miller.

Miller was born on Sept. 5, 1878. He was a farmer, rancher and developer and he based Fontana on June 7, 1913.

Lest we neglect him, his or a detailed member of the family’s title could also be discovered at Miller Park and Miller Amphitheater; or on Miller, Blanchard, Kempster and Newport avenues; and in addition at Fontana A.B. Miller Excessive College.

A.B. Miller was born to Joseph Kempster Miller and Eliza (Blanchard) Miller (therefore three of the road names talked about above). He spent his childhood in Washington, D.C. earlier than ending his education in Riverside. He additionally attended one 12 months at Claremont Faculty in Pomona.

His brother, Kempster Blanchard Miller (1870–1933) was {an electrical} engineer and govt with the Kellogg Switchboard (telephones) and Provide Firm. He was additionally the uncle of Ruth Miller, often known as Ruth Blanchard Miller and Ruth Kempster, a famend California artist whose works had been exhibited on the 1932 Olympics.

Upon buying 17,000 acres in what was first referred to as Rosena in 1905, A.B. Miller used 200 horses, mules, plows, and scrapers to remodel the realm into citrus fruit orchards, poultry and cattle farms. He renamed the city Fontana on June 7, 1913, the identical day land went on sale for $200-$500 an acre.

June 7, 1913 additionally marked the inaugural occasion of what’s now generally known as the Fontana Days celebration, with modern-day sponsorship by the Fontana Alternate Membership.

Miller was additionally president of Fontana Farms (citrus), Fontana Land Firm, Fontana Union Water Firm (nonetheless in operation), Fontana Energy Firm, B.B. Firm, and Miller Livestock Firm.

Moreover, he was the founder and first director of the First Nationwide Financial institution of Fontana and served elsewhere within the following capacities: president of the State Agricultural Society (1931–38); ex officio regent for the College of California (1931-1938); and was then appointed to fill the unexpired time period of a UC Regent from 1938–41. He was additionally a member of the Los Angeles and San Bernardino Chambers of Commerce.

—– IN 1923, simply 10 years after Miller based Fontana, a narrative appeared within the inaugural version of the Fontana Herald, extolling Miller’s virtues. 100 years in the past, writer Cornelius De Bakcsy described Miller this manner:

“The historical past of Fontana is the story of a person whom the folks referred to as a dreamer, however who by no means wavered and was true to his dream, till he had gained and have become generally known as a dreamer whose dream got here true.

It was that man who acknowledged the huge prospects of this territory, who acknowledged the fertility of the soil, the benefits of the local weather circumstances, the opportunity of increase a never-failing water system. It was that man who had the imaginative and prescient to show this big waste land to nice fruit, poultry, and livestock farm, to make the desert right into a backyard spot of the Southland.

That man was A.B. Miller, the founding father of the Fontana Farms Property and the founding father of the Fontana neighborhood. It isn’t solely his genius, his foresight and his marvelous dream that made the Fontana of at this time (1923), however his nice power and immense information helped him do it. You’ll be able to think about that such a job met with each conceivable hardship; it was years of struggles, which required the complete mind, soul, coronary heart, and work, day and evening of Fontana’s founder…

A.B. Miller isn’t solely a well-known plan maker, not solely a beautiful seer, however he’s an actual human dynamo…

It was his genius, his sincerity, his honesty that triggered folks from the monetary circle all the way down to his final working man to implicitly belief him, a private belief which capitalized greater than $6 million; a belief which gave so many associates to Fontana from each part of the Southland…

Mr. Miller labored with the identical curiosity at this time (once more, 1923), that he has in the course of the previous 17 years. He desires to create Fontana — not solely as a spot the place oranges, grapefruits, lemons, grapes, olives, peaches, and apricot orchards and poultry ranches are worthwhile; however total a pleasing place to dwell.”

Azariel Blanchard Miller died on April 13, 1941, in Fontana on the age of 62. He’s buried in Acacia Backyard Area 104, in Mountain View Cemetery in San Bernardino.

(Invoice Freeman is a 64-year Fontana resident and writer of the “FONTANA HONOR ROLL – Our Native Heroes” e-book. He could also be reached at


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