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Old Fashioned Christmas at the John Rains House

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By Staff Reports

(Victor Valley)– Celebrate the holidays 19th century style at the John Rains House in Rancho Cucamonga with the Casa de Rancho Cucamonga Historical Society on Saturday, Dec. 2 from 3 to 7 p.m. This old-fashioned Christmas event, held in the historic 1860 home of John and Maria Merced Rains, is sponsored in part by Angel Jewelers.

Enjoy tours of the historic site decorated for the holidays, live music, hot cider, and ginger cookies. Admission to the event is $8 for an adult and $5 for a child.  The San Bernardino County Museum Association is underwriting free admission to visitors who purchase a membership that day.

In 1839, the 13,000 acre Cucamonga Rancho was granted by the Mexican governor of California to Tiburcio Tapia. The rancho was sold in 1858 to John Rains and he constructed a burned brick home on the property in 1860. The house was built from bricks made from the red clay on the site and its flat roof was waterproofed by tar from the brea pits in Los Angeles. An open flume carried water from springs through the kitchen, into the patio, and under the house to the orchard, thereby providing cooling for the structure. Rains and his family moved from Chino to the new brick house with their three children in the spring of 1861.

John Rains had planted 160 acres of vines in 1859. Wine and brandy made at Cucamonga gained wide popularity. An earlier small vineyard and winery is said to date back to 1839, thus establishing the claim that Cucamonga has the oldest commercial winery in the state.

Programs at the San Bernardino County Museum and its historic sites and branches reflect the effort by the Board of Supervisors to achieve the Countywide Vision by celebrating arts, culture, and education in the county, creating quality of life for residents and visitors.

The John Rains House is at 8810 Hemlock Avenue in Rancho Cucamonga, at the northeast corner of Vineyard and Hemlock. Parking is free. For more information, visit www.sbcounty.gov/museum. The John Rains House is a branch of the San Bernardino County Museum.

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