History of Oak Glen
Oak Glen is a small unincorporated community situated between the San Bernardino Mountains and the Little San Bernardino Mountains in San Bernardino County, California, United States. Oak Glen is located 15 miles east of San Bernardino. More than a million visitors come up year-round for its peace and beauty; to smell the lilacs and pink-and-white apple blossoms covering the slopes in springtime; to enjoy the cool summers in the mountains; to marvel at the brilliant fall foliage amid towering pines, cedars, and oaks; and to throw snowballs in winter. Above all, they come to enjoy the fall harvest of some forty million apples (40,000 bushels) of numerious varieties, all sold directly to the public in one of the largest operations of its kind in the country. The apple growers also press several hundred thousand gallons of fresh cider and sell their own blends. In all the friendly apple sheds, you can taste the different apples and ciders before you buy. In an 8-mile loop, you can visit several apple ranches and orchards.
The original settlers, the Cahuilla and the Serrano, harvested acorns; many items can still be found in the streambed's where the acorns were leached. According to Huell Howser's 2005 California's Gold profile, the potato was the original crop grown by the first Caucasians to settle in the area.
The apple orchards produce the Vasquez and King David varieties, which are grown only in Oak Glen, as well as antique varieties no longer commercially available such as Ben Davis, Gravenstein, and Pink Pearl.
Although Oak Glen grew apples mainly for export, in the 1940s several farms began to sell apples, apple pies, apple cider and apple butter at roadside stands. The export trade has virtually disappeared, and growers now earn much of their revenue from visitors who are allowed to pick apples directly off the trees at some of the orchards.
Enoch Parrish opened his apple orchard in 1876, followed by the Riley and Wilshire families. The Law family came into the area with its own apple orchard in the early 1920s, followed by the Rivers brothers and their families. Their orchard, Los Rios Rancho (Spanish for "The Rivers Ranch"), is still in operation, as are many of the other orchards in the area. Various other shops, a Wildland Trust picnic area and hiking trails, and many special activities make Oak Glen appealing to virtually everyone. A large number of families make a visit to Oak Glen an annual event, with several generations participating