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Fontana, city (1990 pop. 87,535), San Bernardino co., S Calif., at the foot of the San Bernardino Mts.; inc. 1952. Fabricated metal products, construction materials, and transportation equipment are manufactured, and there is a small steel mill. Mormons farmed on the site in the 1850s; in the early 1900s extensive orchards were planted. During World War II the huge 22-story Kaiser steel mill was built, and Fontana began its transformation from an agricultural to an industrial community. The city has grown extensively along with the development of southern California, and the population increased fourfold from the 1970s to 1990s. Fontana suffered a significant economic blow in 1983 when Kaiser closed its plant; in the early 1990s, parts of the factory complex were dismantled and shipped to China. The California Speedway is on located on the former mill site.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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