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Oct 13

History of Eastvale, CA

Historic Eastvale School House Eastvale’s history is greatly tied to that of its neighbors—Chino and Ontario. For at least the last 176 years, the land was used for farming and the dairy industry.

By 1834, the Mexican government had seized Spain’s missions and taken control over its land from Native Americans and Spaniards. In an effort to colonize the area and encourage farming and raising livestock, the government handed out land grants to influential and wealthy Mexican politicians. After California became the 31st state in 1850, the land in Riverside County was shared between San Bernardino and San Diego Counties (as of 1853). It wasn’t until 1893, that Riverside County was created. In the minutes of one of the first meetings of the Riverside County Board of Commissioners, “East Vale” is listed as one of 53 school districts.

By the 1950s, Los Angeles’ population had expanded into outlying farm lands. Dairymen began moving their operations into the valley. Dairies in Eastvale, the Chino Valley and Ontario were owned and operated primarily by Dutch and Portuguese families. Today, Eastvale’s remaining dairy families include the Leals, Van Leeuwens, Bootsmas and Godinhos. All of whom are still honored and appreciated in the community. Citrus would not be the same without the Van Leeuwen’s pet Watusi bull in the pasture.

In the spring of 2007, five individuals were tasked by residents to explore cityhood for Eastvale. Today, two of the five are on our City Council—Jeff DeGrandpre and Kelly Howell. Along with three other council members, Adam Rush, Ric Welch and Ike Bootsma, they will lead Eastvale into the next phase of her colorful history.

Following in his father’s footsteps, DeGrandpre has always been active in his community so it was natural for him to do so in Eastvale. A Southern California native, Howell has not only dedicated her time to Eastvale’s foundation, she serves as a special education teacher. Also a Southern California native, Adam holds extensive planning experience that is sure to benefit Eastvale’s future. Ric Welch, a U.S. Navy veteran and currently director of Parks & Community Affairs for the Jurupa Community Services District, also has a rich history of volunteerism with non-profits and local community organizations. Leading the pack in Eastvale longevity is Ike Bootsma. Ike’s parents moved their dairy from Artesia to Ontario in 1938. In 1975, Ike founded his own business, Bootsma Calf Ranch, and has been a resident since. In 2007, Bootsma retired and now devotes his time to serving the community he has known for most of his life.

About the author

TD Hollis