Inland Empire, also referred to simply as “I.E.” by some, is located in Southern California. The term is used for several cities of the metropolitan area of southwestern San Bernardino County and western Riverside County. Although, for a wider definition, it can include cities of eastern Los Angeles County from Pomona Valley, to Palm Springs. The location included within the ‘Inland Empire’ depends on who you ask.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, The metropolitan area of Riverside, Sand Bernardino, and Ontario includes San Bernardino County and Riverside Country, California (over 27,000 sq. miles). The population is around 4 million, with the majority of people being in southwestern San Bernardino Country or northwest Riverside County.
The area, currently referred to as Inland Empire, was inhabited by Cahuilla, Tongva, and Serrano Native Americans prior to the 18th century. However, the land grand Ranchos was sparsely populated during the Mexican era and Spanish colonization. Meanwhile, a group of Mormon pioneers were the first American settlers, arriving in 1851 at the Cajon Pass.
Southern California had been completely subdivided based on the San Bernardino Meridian, originally plotted by Col. Henry Washington with Public Land Survey System during Nov. 1852. Today, Base Line Rd. spans from the Highland through San Dimas and follows the plotted baseline coordinates by Col. Washington.
In the 1870s, the railway had arrived, importing Valencia and Navel orange trees, leading to the areas popularity of producing citrus. Water was obtained from the Colorado River to aid in production. This greatly impacted Los Angeles expansion throughout the early 20th century. Dairy farming followed, quickly becoming the second popular industry of the region.
In 1926, migrants and tourists traveled to the area after Route 66 was developed in the northern area. Currently, Route 66 is known as Interstate 215 and Foothill Blvd. However, after WWII, many agricultural acres of land were bulldozed by new generation developers, a precursor for the Ramona Expressway in 1944.
Compared with Orange County and Los Angeles County, the price of land is inexpensive. There are various intersecting railroads and highways, creating a transportation network and a large supply of available land. Because of this, the area has become a popular shipping hub, including some of the largest manufacturing companies in the nation as a facility for distribution, including Logistics Distribution, and Toyota Motor Corp.
Furthermore, a 1.7 million sq. ft distribution center was recently leaded by Perris, making it among the largest warehouses in the nation. Inland Empire continues to be the fastest-growing area in California, despite the Great Recession. It also has the lowest avg. annual wages in the nation, according to a 2006 study.
The region is still producing a great number of crops, although urbanization has been reducing the amount of agricultural lands. Between 2002 through 2004, an estimated 10,000 acres were lost. However, agricultural revenue still totaled $1.6 billion in 2006 for the two counties.