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Located within Riverside County, CA the city of Banning has a population of 29,603 according to the 2010 U.S. Census survey. The city is located within San Gorgonio Pass, which is commonly referred to as Banning Pass. The city got its name from the ‘Father of Port of L.A. and stagecoach line owner, Phineas Banning.
The city of Banning neighbors Beaumont to the west, sharing both regional and geographic features. From the 1990s on, both areas have increased in population, quickly growing. Banning and Beaumont are both around 30 miles west from Palm Springs and 80 miles east from Downtown L.A. These cities are all connected by railroads and freeways.
The city of Banning, California was officially incorporated on February 6th, 1913. The city’s elevation is 2,349ft. The local area code is 951, while the zip code is 92220.
Prior to the middle of the 19th century the land known today as Banning was originally inhabited by Native Americans, the Cahuilla tribe. However, the areas surrounding Banning had originally been Maringayam (Serrano), while the pass was expanded to by the Cahuilla people.
During 1824, the area had transitioned into part of Mission San Gabriel Arcangel, before becoming Rancho San Gorgonio. The initial Anglo that settled within the region occurred in 1853, Dr. Isaac Smith.
In 1863, the Cahuilla people diminished more after an epidemic of smallpox occurred. In 1877, the government had developed Indian reservations specifically for the Cahuilla people.
When Colorado River Gold Rush had started, the settlement which would later become the city of Banning had developed by coincidence. In 1862, Bradshaw Trail was a road for wagons that passed through the region, connecting to booming gold towns within Arizona Territory. The stagecoach lines had used Gilman’s Ranch just north of the downtown area as a resting station.
In 1876, the railroad was constructed, which passed through the town. Because of the Southern Pacific Railroad, the growth of the area was greatly affected, later the railroad would be bought by Union Pacific.
In 1923, development had started for U.S. Route 99, then in 1936 development on U.S. Route 60/70 had begun, subsequently becoming Interstate 10.
The Morongo Indian Reservation is neighbored by Banning. This is the location where the Morongo Band of Cahuilla Indians call home. Although, there have been disputes reported among residents of the reservation who stress concerns regarding water rights. To learn more about reservation life and Banning from a Maringayam’s perspective, check out Dorothy Ramon’s published book “Always Believe” (2000).
Before the area was entitled with the name Banning, it went by the name Moore City for the settlement. A large cattle ranch was operated by Ransom B. Moore, which later became a member of the L.A. County Board of Supervisors, which settled within the region and San Gorgonio mountains nearby during the earlier 1860s. In 1883, Moore decided to sell off his holdings, then relocate to Arizona where he had established another cattle ranch located on the former army outpost known as Camp Reno. He later served within the Territorial Legislature of Arizona.
On February 6th, 2013 Banning had been officially incorporated. The city of Banning had been the city with the most residents between the Colorado River and Redlands by population ranging from 1880 to 1980.
Indian Cemetery and School
Opening in 1890, the St. Boniface Indian Industrial School had provided many American Indian tribes with vocational education, including the Cahuilla, Luiseno, Serrano, Kumeyaay, and others. The school was authorized by Bishop Francisco Mora y Borrell, while funding was provided by Mother Katharine Drexel. The funding assisted the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions to buy land, begin construction and development of the school, and run the operations. Throughout history, there have been around 8,000 students that have attended the school before being destroyed in 1974. Today, there remains a cemetery that has been abandoned.
World War II
Throughout the years of WWII, Banning had been the location of Banning General Hospital with 1,000 beds. It provided training at Desert Training Center. The hospital was later utilized for the naval convalescent hospital. However, in 1948 the facilities had been dismantled.
In 1942, as support for war efforts, Banning citizens had raised funds for purchasing the M3 Stuart tank. Once the war was over, it was decided the tank would be provided to the South African defence forces, which had given the tank, entitled “City of Johannesburg”, to Memorable Order of Tin Hats located in Richmond and currently resides within a local Richmond museum.
The city of Banning spans a total of 23.1 sq. miles, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Meanwhile, all of the area is land.
The elevation in Banning is roughly 2,300 ft., providing the area with much cooler climates compared to the climate within Riverside, the county sea which has an elevation around 800 ft. The Colorado Desert’s Coachella Valley is also at a lower elevation.
The pass where the city is located was created by the San Andreas Fault, which the city of Banning is traversed by.
The climate within Banning is considered a warm-summer Mediterranean style climate, according to Koppen Climate Classification, and the abbreviation on climate maps is ‘Csa”.
According to a 2010 U.S. Census, the population in Banning was 29,603, with a density of 1,281 residents per sq. mile. Additionally, the demographics of Banning indicated 64.7% Caucasian, 43.4% non-Hispanic white, 7.3% African American, 2.2% Native American, 0.1% Asian, 15.6% Pacific Islander, and 4.9% other.
It was also reported that 95.4% lived within households, while 0.9% had lived within non-institutionalized groups and 3.8% had been institutionalized.