San Bernardino’s history with Edward Daley and Daley Canyon Road – San Bernardino Sun

Mormon settlers in San Bernardino successfully engineered the first route to timber country during the 1850s.

Cut lumber was a commercial staple in Los Angeles at the time and before long a network of additional logging roads developed for conducting business throughout Southern California.

Edward Daley built one of those lumbering byways.

Chances are almost everyone who has lived or traveled in the San Bernardino Mountains has seen the sign for Daley Canyon Road. But if you were to ask who was “Daley,” the answer may not be so easy.

As it turned out, the “man behind the road sign,” Edward Barber Daley, played a major role in the early development of the San Bernardino Valley.

Edward Daley (Courtesy of San Bernardino Historical and Pioneer Society)

The Onondaga County, New York, native was born March 31, 1825, and at age 6 moved with his family to Ohio, settling near the city of Mentor. As an adult Daley moved on to Illinois and a short time later, the Mississippi and Missouri valleys. In 1846, he married Nancy Hunt in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and in 1849 joined a caravan headed for the gold fields of California, led by his wife’s father, Captain Jefferson Hunt.

In 1851, the Daleys joined a wagon train of 437 Mormon settlers, destined to colonize San Bernardino. The Daley family, which who would eventually include 11 children — Laomi, Celia, Edward Jr., Charles Jefferson, John, Grace, Annetta, Frank, Lou, May and Kate — would make San Bernardino their home for the rest of their lives. Ed Daley became one of the city’s prominent civic leaders.

Shortly after their arrival, the colonists planned ways to pay off the mortgage of the land, which carried quite an exorbitant interest rate of 3% monthly. They found there was a good market in Los Angeles for selling lumber and flour. So, in 1852, Daley, assisted in constructing a road to timber country in the San Bernardino Mountains in what is now Crestline and Lake Gregory. In two and a half weeks, every able-bodied man helped cut a 12-mile route up what is now Waterman Canyon.

Daley also helped plant a 1,300-acre wheat field, north of the settlement and east of Little Mountain, which was irrigated by a ditch built from West Twin Creek in Waterman Canyon. The wheat would be ground into flour and, along with lumber, sold in Los Angeles.

Over the years Daley developed a reputation of being one of the most successful farmers in the valley, while also serving in a variety of capacities for promoting the welfare of his new home.

He opened the first restaurant to accommodate travelers through San Bernardino County (formed in 1853). The eatery was near what is now Third and E streets, known as the “Daley Inn”.

When Mormon church president Brigham Young, called his faithful back to Salt Lake during the latter part of 1857, many families were torn about abandoning San Bernardino. One of those families who chose to remain was that of Ed Daley.

Logging was becoming a hot commodity and big business by the late 1860s and Daley, who was an engineer by trade, formed a surveying company to construct another wagon road from San Bernardino into mountains.

The new road, known as the Twin and City Creek Turnpike, began at the north end of Del Rosa, ascended the steep slopes between Strawberry Creek and the west fork of City Creek, reached the mountain crest just east of Strawberry Peak, and finally descended into Little Bear Valley, near today’s Blue Jay and Lake Arrowhead.

On May 14, 1870, the San Bernardino Guardian reported that the Twin and City Creek Turnpike was open and upon completion affords a convenience to our lumbermen never known before. The report also said it  would make the mountains a favorite place of resort, being accessible by almost any vehicle. The new road would allow teamsters to travel from San Bernardino to the mountains in six to seven hours.

The Guardian announced on October 22 that Twin and City Creek Turnpike is now open for teams and listed the rate of toll:

Sheep or Goat: 2 cents per head

Horse, mule, Jack, Jennet or Cattle: 6 cents per head

Horse and Buggy: 25 cents

Buggy or Wagon and two animals: 37 and half cents

Additional animal: 6 cents

Man and Horse: 12 and a half cents

The Toll Road Company also gave notice that they will not be responsible for any accident that may occur on the road.

Today there is a monument to “Daley Toll Road” at the point where the road crosses Highway 18 on the mountain rim.

During the 1880s, Daley became involved with local politics and served as San Bernardino County Supervisor from the Third District from Jan. 5, 1880 to Jan. 8, 1883. He was selected as chairman of the board and served in that role from July 26, 1880 throughout the balance of his term in office.

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