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More than What Meets the Eye

What is currently known as the Naval Surface Warfare Center and California Rehabilitation Center was once a playground for the wealthy and well-known early in the 20th century. This playground was known as the grand Norconian Hotel and Resort, founded by Rex B. Clark, also the City of Norco'sfirst serious developer. Since the building of the resort supreme (Cobbe, Snow, Bruinsma 12), the facility underwent three distinct phases. Thefirst was the hotel, the next being a Naval hospital and presently the NSWC and CRC. Recently purchased by the City of Norco for an undisclosed amount, it is rumored that the NSWC is leaving the remains, mainly because of earthquake standards, and that the City will be restoring this magnificent property to the luxurious standards it once upheld. The once majestic Norconian Hotel and Resort was revered as a main attraction in Southern California prior to Palm Springs, competing only with Riverside's Mission Inn.
Norco hasn't always been the rural horse community it is now either lovingly or hatefully known as. The name "Norco" came from a purchase by the North Corona Land Company, and has been retained since. As stated in Norco Remembers, Norco started out as vacant land, "part of a Mexican grant [that] was granted from Mexico to Vicenta Sepulveda and was [known] as the Little La Seirra [sic] Rancho." (Cobbe, Snow, Bruinsma 12) "The Rancho" wasfirst observed in 1862 by W.P. Reynolds, and was approved in 1862 by a surveyor by the name of H.G. Rowlins, Surveyor General of California. Eventually the San Jacinto Land company, followed by W.J. Hole in 1908 purchased this area (Hayward 1). Finally bought by the wealthy Rex B. Clark, the development of Norco began, classified as a city in 1964. With the purchase of several thousand acres of ground in what was then North Corona, most of the tract was laid out in small acreage farms. He started by building roads, …

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