Water was vital to the success of the Chaffey brothers' vision of Ontario, the Model Colony. To bring water down from the
mountains north of their land they formed the San Antonio Mutual Water Company in 1882. Water was distributed to shareholders
based upon the amount of stock held by the respective owners. This business model of a “mutual water company” was very successful
and many more local mutual water companies were formed between 1910 and 1926. With names like Arena, Fifth Street, Mountain
View, Euclid, Canyon Ridge, Cucamonga, South Side and West Ontario, these companies formed the backbone of the irrigation
systems necessary for the area’s explosive growth as a national citrus producing center.
Two of these companies – West Ontario Mutual Water Company and South Side Mutual Water Company – are included in this collection.
West Ontario was incorporated by the state of California 1910 and South Side in 1919. Local gentry were among the shareholders
in these companies.
In 1957, the West Ontario Mutual Water Company shareholders voted to sell the company to the City of Ontario for $12,000.
It is assumed that South Side followed suit, as records show that the city purchased at least one well from the company in
1966 and no further business records are in existence after 1967.