This interesting place name is inherited from San Bernardino's Indian inhabitants. It is derived from the Guachama dialect and means "wet or marshy land".1 Pah is the Shoshonean term for water, and the Guachama Indians spoke a Serrano dialect of Shoshonean.

Yucaipa first became noticed in California history as the site of one of the ranchos or outposts of the San Gabriel Mission. In 1843, Don Diego Sepulveda started to build his adobe home in Yucaipa, thereby starting extensive litigation with Ygnacio Palomares. Up until the time construction began, Palomares believed he could place his cattle in Yucaipa, and had petitioned the local authorities for this right.

Unfortunately for him, the Governor of California was related to the Lugos, who owned the Rancho San Bernardino. The Governor, to whom the case was ultimately appealed, decided in favor of Sepulveda and the Lugos.

Image of a Sepulveda Adobe
Sepulveda Adobe

The Sepulveda Adobe has been restored and is under the supervision of the San Bernardino County Museum. A caretaker resides there, and it is open to the public. It is located at the corner of Dunlap and Kentucky and is visible from the freeway.

Yucaipa Valley is a mountain-locked mesa, varying in altitude from 2,000 to 3,000 feet. It is recognized as a fine site for apple and cherry orchards. "It is to California what Hood River Valley is to Oregon ... and what Yakima Valley is to Washington."2

1 Gudde, Erwin G., California Place Names, University of California Press, Berkley and Los Angeles, 1965.
2 Brown and Boyd, op. cit., p. 253.

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