The Sign of the Arrowhead

On a hillside in San Bernardino County is a rocky outcropping in the shape of an Indian arrowhead. Since this was within the sight of passenger trains for the San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad for fifteen miles, railroad officials selected the arrowhead as its logo. Lake Arrowhead and Arrowhead Hot Springs are also named for the formation.

Click image to download a 15.8-MB PDF of this 36-page booklet.

This 1907 booklet purports to tell Indian legends of how the arrowhead was formed. But are these real Indian legends, or just stories written by San Bernardino boosters and attributed to Native Americans for their romantic value? One of the legends in the book is attributed to the Coahuia Indians, which may refer to the Coahuiltecan people (sometimes shortened to Coahula–note the L in place of the I), but they didn’t live anywhere near San Bernardino. Other legends are attributed to the Guachina Indians, but I can’t find any evidence that a tribe with that name ever existed; it appears that no San Bernardino tribes used either name.

Other legends about the arrowhead formation have been attributed to Indians, but they too could have been written by promoters of the Hot Springs. These stories on the city of San Bernardino web site seem to be based on this booklet; at least one of the graphics is taken from the booklet.

Half owned by the Union Pacific, the Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad (as it was renamed in 1916) was merged fully into the Union Pacific in 1921. The arrowhead is still visible but the hot springs hotel is currently not operating.

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