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Pioneer of the Mojave
Toll Road through the Cajon Pass

Toll Road Through Cajon Pass

The economy of the desert community in pioneer days was, and still is for that matter, tied inextricably to the road through Cajon Pass. Practically everyone used this route to travel back and forth between the desert and the inland valleys or the coast. The miners and ranchers, as well as the immigrants and freighters, utilized the pass, and the supplies and services provided to the desert dwellers by those "down below" came through the same corridor. In 1861 John Brown significantly improved a pack trail through Cajon Pass and charged toll for its use.
Photo of Brown's Toll Road in the Cajon Pass, 2015
During the early 1870s the toll road, or "turnpike" as many called it, was kept in poor condition in the opinion of many of the teamsters, desert residents and others who regularly used the road. In the spring of 1875 Captain Lane and his friend, George Blake, determined to take action to correct the problem and ran an advertisement in the March 29th issue of the San Bernardino Weekly Argus:
    NOTICE

    THE UNDERSIGNED gives notice that in consequence of the bad condition of the Cajon Toll Road, that unless the road is put in thorough repair by the 1st. day of May, the citizens living between the Point of Rocks and Lane's Crossing, they will decline to pay toll after the above date.

    A. G. LANE
    GEO. BLAKE
The deadline lapsed, and true to his word, Lane circumvented the tollhouse gate on several occasions. In the summer of 1875 John J. Driggers, who had leased the road from John Brown, was compelled to sue Lane in San Bernardino District Court in order to get him to cease the activity.

Brown participated in the case of Driggers v Lane on behalf of Driggers, and thus two well-known and respected pioneers became pitted against each other. The case soon developed in complexity, extending far beyond the original issue of maintenance. Before it ended, even Brown's authority to charge toll was brought into question.

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ecology: wildlife - plants - geography: places - MAPS - map/sat - roads & trails: route 66 - old west - communities - weather - book store
ghost towns - gold mines - parks & public lands: wilderness - native culture - history - geology: natural features - glossary - comments
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