Waterman Avenue

Though this main thoroughfare was named for one of the two citizens of San Bernardino County who ever became Governor of California, it is interesting to note that no biography of him appears in any of the standard works of reference on prominent early residents.

Image of Governor R.W. Waterman
Governor R.W. Waterman
Image of R.W. Waterman's wife
Governor Waterman's Wife

Robert Waterman was elected to the post of Lieutenant Governor in 1886, and upon the death of Governor Washington Bartlett, took the gubernatorial chair. He served as governor until 1891.

Image of the Waterman Silver Mine
Waterman Silver Mine

In the spring of 1887, the California Legislature provided for an increase in the National Guard, and the efforts of Governor Waterman resulted in the formation of the Waterman Rifles, it being his aim that they eventually be mustered into the state service. The Company was mustered in as Company E, 7th Infantry in 1887, and remained with them until the formation of the 9th Infantry, when they became well known as Company K. Company K won fame in the Spanish American War, and saw valiant service in the Philippines.

Governor Waterman was also instrumental in securing the third State building for Southern California, with the purchase of land and beginning of The Insane Asylum, later known as Patton, in Highland.

Waterman had become wealthy as owner of the famous Waterman Silver Mine, pictured at right. It was located on the desert just north of what is now Barstow. Because of this mine, the Barstow railway station was originally called Waterman Junction.

When a road was built up the beautiful canyon to the San Bernardino Mountains in the 1880's, Dr. Ben Barton and his associates named the canyon after the famous Waterman Silver Mine.

[See also: Nick Cataldo's article on Robert W. Waterman]

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