SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY – San Bernardino County Museum acquired the Oro Grande cemetery home to approximately 132 marked graves, and several unmarked graves believed to belong to Native Americans.
“As a branch of the San Bernardino County Museum, the cemetery is overseen by a team of curators, including Curators of History and Anthropology, who will research, preserve, and interpret the site,” said San Bernardino County Museum Director David L. Myers.
Myers says initial upgrades will include new interpretation and signage which will engage visitors and increase understanding of the site’s significance.
History of the cemetery and Oro Grande
In 1975, the State of California Office of Historic Preservation designated the Oro Grande Cemetery as a Point of Historic Interest.
The cemetery is one of the oldest in the Victor Valley area and was established in the 1890s by a rancher named Mr. Bennette. It received its last burial in the mid-1960s.
A memorial in honor of Oro Grande native Lt. Manuel P. Rodriguez – who lost his life in 1942 while serving overseas, is on display at the cemetery.
Oro Grande became a trading post in the 1800’s as early pioneers passed through the area.
Travelers to the area include Kit Carson, Jedidiah Smith and Franciscan priest Francisco Garces accompanied by the Mojave Tribe.
In the 1880’s the Oro Grande or “Big Gold” mine was established along with the town. Although miners did not find gold, other minerals – silica and lime were mined instead.
Located along Route 66, Oro Grande is now still home to over 1,000 residents.
Visiting the cemetery
The Oro Grande Cemetery is located at 1313 Olive Street in Oro Grande. To visit the cemetery, contact the main museum at (909) 798-8608 to schedule an appointment. For more information, visit museum.sbcounty.gov/oro-grande-cemetery.