Sanitarium Times - Page 3


What was life like in Loma Linda then?

  • Most of the people were Seventh-day Adventists (but not all)
  • Almost all businesses were closed Friday night and all day Saturday
  • Only one store (Digneo's Market) sold soda pop. Most people thought it was too unhealthful.
  • Most of the streets and roads were dirt
  • Almost all of the town we know was orange groves.
  • The hospital moved off the Mound for a few years.

Unger/Moncrief Collection


We will be using the photos and recollections of the Unger family to study this part of Loma Linda history. Van Unger's grandparents came to Loma Linda just after it was bought by Seventh-day Adventists in 1905.

Van Unger became the judge of the Justice Court in Loma Linda. He remembers that "everyone walked or rode a horse in those days. No one had a car yet." His grandparents, the Capfers, had a blacksmith shop and drove the first car in Loma Linda, a Reo Speedwagon.

Unger/Moncrief Collection

The Capfer family came to Loma Linda shortly after 1906. They moved here "so they could put their children in church school." (Van Unger)

The church school was very important to Seventh-day Adventists. People were willing to work hard and move long distances so their children could go to a school that was run by the church.

Here you see the Capfer barn and some of the people and animals on their farm. They lived right around the corner of Anderson Street and Redlands Blvd. Loma Linda Academy students walk across the Capfer place when they walk to lunch at Bakers or Del Taco!

Unger/Moncrief Collection

You can't find this house today. There is a Bakers Drive-Through restaurant there now. In the 1910's it was the Capfer house and blacksmith shop. Most people in those days rode horses and horses needed lots of new horseshoes. Mr. Capfer used the bottom floor as his blacksmith shop. The family lived upstairs.

Unger/Moncrief Collection

Van Unger met Agnes, a young lady who worked in the Diet Kitchen of the Sanitarium. They sneaked away from town to go roller skating in Redlands. This was considered very risky entertainment by the Adventists. Agnes was sent back to her home in the East.

Agnes and Van met again later in Glendale.

They married and raised their family in Loma Linda.

Unger/Moncrief Collection

A River Runs Through It

Judge Unger's daughter Jacqueline still lives in Loma Linda. She remembers that the Gage Canal ran just behind her father's pasture. "We used to swim in the canal. If you swam fast you could just keep up with the current. We were sad when they covered the canal." (Jacqueline Moncrief)

The Gage Canal took water from the San Bernardino Mountains to Riverside. As water became more scarce the canal was covered. That stopped evaporation and made sure more water got to Riverside.

Unger/Moncrief Collection

He Was the Law!

Judge Van Unger continued his service station business, but was elected as Justice of the Peace. He dealt with traffic fines, petty crimes, and could even marry people. He had a constable, like a policeman, to make sure that his sentences were carried out.

After several years of holding court in his service station, a modern courtroom was built in downtown Loma Linda. It's now part of the University buildings across Anderson St. from the Campus Hill Church.

Unger/Moncrief Collection

Fill 'er up?

Van Unger's service stations met the needs of a growing town. Gasoline sold for 12 1/2 cents a gallon.

The Ungers bought 13 acres from Mrs. Allen in 1943. The land on the west side of town cost $3500. "I thought I paid too much" says Judge Unger. They raised cattle and grew hay on the land. Judge Unger always kept horses, and even though he's now ninety years old, still rides horses regularly.

Unger/Moncrief Collection