Category Archives: Trona in the 1940s

Pioneer Point 1947

Before 1946 there wasn’t much in Pioneer Point. There were some houses up by the hills. They were probably built about 1920 when I think the area was called North Trona by some people. Take a look at the pictures taken by the Gauslin Family back then and tell me what you think.

In 1946 AP&CC built a few house out of brick in Pioneer Point and then in 1947 they partnered with a contractor to build about 20 or more prefab concrete houses. The house walls and roof were put together in Trona and then moved to Pioneer Point for the final assembly.

Pan Rooms

The area in the lower right hand corner of the picture show part of the area where the walls and roofs were made for the concrete prefab houses in Pioneer Point.


You can see more information and photos at Pioneer Point Prefab Houses.

Later on they built some cinder block houses for the school teachers on the south side of Pioneer Point.

Trona 1940 US Census

This week I spent some time looking at the 1940 census for Trona. It was quite interesting and I think it would be worth my time to study it in more detail. Here are some interesting examples:

  • The population  in 1940 was 2014.
  • My father’s salary was $1800 a year as a laborer.
  • My father paid $12 a month for rent.
  • A chemical engineer made $3000 a year.
  • The barber, butcher, dentist, bartender, deputy sheriff and the priest all worked for AP&CC.
  • Not everyone in Trona came from Oklahoma, Arkansas or Missouri.
  • Harvey Eastman Sr. was born in Cuba.
  • There were 21 single women and 1394 males including married men and children.
  • There were 780 men living in bunkhouse or tents.
  • There were 32 women living bunkhouses.
  • There  were 1160 people that had lived in Trona since 1935.

In 1920 the population of trona was about 700 and in 1930 it was about 1000.

To look at the 1940 census for free I recommend using the LDS Family Search site. As far as I know it is the only free site that is indexed and searchable by name.

The Trona Branch Library

The Trona Branch of the San Bernardino County Library was and still is an important part of the Trona Community.  In 1918 there was a note in the San Bernardino County records about the county library in Borosolvay being closed due to the Borosolvay plant being closed. It indicated that the books were to be sent to the Trona Branch of the county library.

The July 9, 1938 edition of The Trona Potash, a weekly paper, had a notice that read:

Library Hours
Austin Hall
From 2 to 5 P.M., from 6 to 9
P.M. weekdays. From 2 to 10 P.M.
Sundays and holidays.

I had a hard time remembering the library being in Austin Hall between the pool hall and the men’s restroom on the corner. After my brother Joel jogged my memory I do remember at least one time when mother parked the car in front of it long enough for Joel to run in and return a book.

I don’t know if I was ever inside.  I do remember very well the Library being moved to the Trona Club House about 1948/1950..It seems like it was there for a long time but Joel reminded me that was there for less than a year while the new library building was being built.

I’m guessing that this was at the time that all sorts of remodeling was going on in Austin Hall. The barber shop that was on the Main Street side was moved to Bunkhouse Number 8. I am sure my first haircut took place while it was still in Austin Hall. The space vacated by the barber shop was used to expand the post office and add more mailboxes. That way fewer people had to share mailboxes. We still shared ours with Uncle John. Even when the new post office was built he still had his mail sent to our mailbox.

The General Mercantile Office was moved into the space where the library was. The space it vacated in it’s old location was used to expand the grocery store. If you have a better memory of this than me me feel feel free to correct me.

The library moving to the clubhouse was a big deal for me.  The clubhouse was just across the street from us and the librarian told me that if I could sign my name I could get a library card and check out books.

I had my mother write my name on a piece of paper for me and I kept writing over and over trying to memorize all the letters and the order they were in until I thought I had it right. Then I would take it to my sister or my mother over and over again until the finally told me it right. At least it was right enough to pass the librarians inspection. My sister pointed out to me that both my first and last name had a “V’ in the middle and that both my first and last name began and ended with the same letter. It’s no wonder I wrote in mirror images until I was about ten.

I became the libraries most frequent customer. I was a big help to the librarian. Every day I would go over and sort the children’s books according to size and every day I would go back and they would be messed up again. Finally the librarian had to ask me to cut it out and tried to explain to me the basics of the Dewey Decimal System.