Books, and Videos
Kevin has teamed with family and friends, as well as on his own, to write several Norco history, Norconian and local Navy based books and articles to tell the story of the community and bring attention to preservation efforts. All books are available at Amazon and other book sellers: proceeds go to the Lake Norconian Club Foundation.
He has also put together several simple videos telling our communities stories and to garner support for preservation and National Register listing. And, he has been the subject of several documentaries and interviews.
Norco: A Brief History
Kevin Bash/Angelique Bash
Legend has it that Rex Clark won fifteen square miles of failed farms, rutted roads and broken water mains in a poker game. Using his wife’s newspaper fortune, Clark tried orchards and then poultry. Local hot springs
inspired Clark’s creation of a giant recreational resort. U.S. presidents and Hollywood royalty sojourned at the fabulous Norconian until the Great Depression hit. The spa was converted to U.S. Naval Hospital #1
during World War II and then a top Cold War missile lab. Norco became a
horse-raising enclave while staving off annexation from nearby southwestern Riverside County cities. Today, the city is known nationwide as Horse Town, USA. Join former mayor Kevin Bash and his coauthor daughter Angelique Bash for this engaging trail ride through Norco’s colorful past.
The Norconian Resort
Kevin Bash/Brigitte Bash
The Norconian Resort Supreme was a magnificent disaster. A chance discovery of "hot sulfur water" in 1926 led entrepreneur Rex Clark to construct one of the finest and most comprehensive recreation facilities on the West Coast. Movie stars, Olympic champions, and the richest of the rich flocked to it. Sadly the Norconian debuted just months before the onset of the Great Depression, and very quickly Rex Clark's $4.5-million dream became known as "Rex's Folly." The resort eventually became one of the preeminent naval hospitals in the nation, a top-secret think tank, and a medium-security prison. Miraculously most of the original structures still exist. The old hotel, despite its placement on the National Register of Historic Places, has become a political hot potato and now sits languishing in the middle of the California Rehabilitation Center--abandoned yet stunning, with fabulous chandeliers, tile work, and breathtaking paintings still intact.
The Navy in Norco
Kevin Bash/Brigitte Bash
On December 8, 1941, sixty miles from the ocean, the US Navy rolled into Norco. There, on the grounds of the former Norconian Resort, the federal government built what may have been the finest and most complete World War II naval hospital in the nation. The first patients to arrive were those wounded during the attack on Pearl Harbor; they were cared for in luxurious rooms once reserved for movie stars. By 1945, approximately 5,000 sailors and Marines were being treated. In 1951, the smartest physicists, engineers, and mathematicians in the world set up laboratories in the hospital's tubercular wards and entered into the Cold War. Today the hospital is gone, but the magnificent buildings and top secret naval laboratory remain, along with thousands of photographs of one of the most historic and colorful sites in America.
Legendary Locals of Norco
From its beginning as a poultry powerhouse to World War II Navy town and to Horse Town USA, Norco has been known over time as a community of go-getters and dreamers with unparalleled volunteerism, stubbornly protecting a rural way of life. Founder Rex Clark wished for families to be self-sustaining with what they could grow and raise on their property; wounded Marine Johnny Winterholler, against incredible odds, led the way for other disabled veterans as the star of the famed wheelchair basketball team the Rolling Devils; and Tamara Ivie fulfilled her impossible dream to play professional baseball. And regular folks, known once as "Acres of Neighbors," stepped up to create a city of "elbow room," stopping cold, big-money developers wishing to cut the community into small lots. Today, Norco is an equestrian paradise with trails on most streets and plentiful open space. For decades, this small community has produced activists, ballplayers, college presidents, physicians, actors, cowboys, and lots of Norconians who give back to the community that raised them.
From One Room: The 125 - Year History of Corona - Norco - Eastvale Schools
Kevin Bash, Mary Brownlow, Nita Grantham, Don Williamson
The Corona-Norco Schools Education Foundation (CNSEF) has brought together leading local historians and educators to tell the remarkable, poignant and at times humorous 125-year history of the Corona-Norco Unified School District. Follow the evolution of how a sparsely populated region of Southern California, grew into an urban center and the effect the population growth had on the education and life of its citizens over the decades. You will read about the first schools in the region, the ugly policies of segregation, how schools coped with world wars and pandemics that forced school closures for weeks. You will learn how local control of schools shifted to County, State and Federal policies. There is a list of famous District alumni and much, much more. Anyone interested in the history and challenges of California education will find value in this book. This book is of heirloom quality with binding and paper quality that is designed to withstand the decades. It is filled with dozens of rare photos, computer enhanced often resulting in photos that are sharper than the originals. This publication is an all volunteer project with 100% of the proceeds going to the Corona-Norco Educational Foundation (CNSEF) for student activities.