L. Burr Belden

L. Burr Belden

Birth
Unadilla, Otsego County, New York, USA
Death 18 Feb 1977 (aged 78)
San Bernardino, San Bernardino County, California, USA
Burial Colton, San Bernardino County, California, USA
Plot Space 52, Urn Garden, Court of Faith, Valley View Mausoleum
Memorial ID 27803349 · View Source
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In the early 1920's, Belden wandered Death Valley as a young reporter for the San Bernardino Sun-Telegram. He befriended old-timers and reclusive miners who shared with him their confidences, many told for the first time in this book. Belden made the Death Valley area a field of intense personal study and research.

He loved the desert, an in particular, he loved all that had to do with Death Valley, its history, landscape and its people. Belden spent more than 50 years at the Sun-Telegram and later served on the California History Commission and Conference of Historical Societies, appointed by then California Governors Jerry Brown and Ronald Reagan.

Belden also served as chair of the Death Valley Forty-Niners. Other books "Searles Lake Borax 1862-1962", also "San Bernardino 150 Years Old Today" "PADRE FOUNDS CITY IN 1810 AND GIVES VALLEY ITS NAME" By L. BURR BELDEN (Sun-Telegram Historical Writer)Copyright (1960).

First Noble Grand Humbug of the Billy Holcome chapter in 1968, of the Ancient and Honorable order of E Clampus Vitus.


A gruff, deep-voiced, oak tree of a man, Belden was a colorful part of the San Bernardino Sun newspaper staff for nearly 48 years as a reporter, editor and columnist. But it was while serving as the newspaper’s official historian that he made a lasting impression that helped pave the way for all local history researchers to this day.

From 1951 through 1964, he wrote a weekly column exploring the county’s past. During those years, Belden wrote well over 600 articles in 13 historical series between 1951 and 1964.

A native of Unadilla, New York, Lawrence Burr Belden (1898-1977) served in the U.S.Marines as a teenager during Word War I and during World War II was one of the organizers of the California Guards, serving as a colonel in command of the 38thInfantry.

Belden first joined the Sun-Telegram (as the paper was called back then) staff in 1922 as a reporter while an undergraduate majoring in history at the University of Redlands.

With the Sun, Belden served ascityeditor,countyeditor andnewseditor before accepting the position as the newspaper’shistorian. His captivating weekly column, History In The Making, which began in 1951 and continued every Sunday for fourteen years, covered seemingly every aspect of Inland Empire history. His many years of research and millions of words written about San Bernardino County’s past took this adventurer to hundreds of places and countless interviews with individuals who were connected with his articles.

His wide range of stories in his History in the Making column included the various local Indian tribes, the Mexican Rancho days, the great floods of 1862 and 1938, outlaws and horse thieves, the Civil War’s impact on San Bernardino, mining camps and military forts in the Mojave Desert, trappers and traders venturing through the Cajon Pass, the arrival of the Mormons in San Bernardino and the plethora of pioneers who made an impact in the Inland Empire.

Belden also authored five books about Death Valley, a book on travel in Baja California and numerous booklets and brochures on the history of other parts of Southern California. Some of these are out of print and have become collector’s items.

Burr Belden’s love of history and strong desire for making our region a better place was evident by the many organizations that he was involved with.

He helped found the San Bernardino County Historical Society, San Bernardino County Museum, American Legion Post No. 14 and the Death Valley 49ers.

In 1969, a few men from Riverside and San Bernardinocounties, which included L. Burr Belden, formed the Billy Holcomb Chapter 1069 of E Clampus Vitus, a prolific erector of plaques commemorating the memory of important people, places and events in the past. The first honored “Humbug” for this chapter was Belden.

Over the years, Belden served as commander of the San Bernardino Legion Post No. 14 and wascounty anddistrictcounsel for the Legion andstatevicecommander. He was bothstate andnationalcommander of the United Veterans of the Republic.

Belden was an early advocate of proposals to build a veterans hospital in the San Bernardino area. These efforts culminated in the Jerry L. Pettis VA Hospital in Loma Linda.

He also played a part in saving Norton AFB that was scheduled for dismantlement after World War II. Belden and two other Inland Empire spokesmen traveled to Washington D.C. in 1947 and were successful in convincing Congress to appropriate $200 million to keep the base going.

Belden was a charter member of Calvary Baptist Church of San Bernardino, was a director of the San Bernardino Chamber of Commerce and the Roads to Romance Association, served as president of the Conference of California Historical Societies, was an officer for the Jedediah Smith Association, and was a sponsor of the California Historical Foundation.

In 1958, Belden received a plaque from the California Library Association as its outstanding trustee and the following year received a commendation from the California State Senate for his efforts toward preserving the history of the Inland Empire.

Gov. Edmund G. Brown appointed Belden to the California History Commission andGov. Ronald Reagan appointed him to the California Bicentennial Celebration Commission.

During his frequent traveling explorations out in the Mojave Desert, the bristly mustached Belden would often be seen wearing a curled-rim sombrero, western shirt and corduroy pants while taking part in every encampment of the Death Valley 49ers — an all-volunteer, non-profit organization that seeks to expand public awareness of Death Valley — from its founding in 1949 until 1976 when the encampment was dedicated to him.

After suffering a series of debilitating strokes, L. Burr Belden passed away in San Bernardino on February 18, 1977 at the age of 78. He is buried at Montecito Park in Colton.


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  • Created by: Lester Letson
  • Added: 24 Jun 2008
  • Find a Grave Memorial 27803349
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for L. Burr Belden (26 Apr 1898–18 Feb 1977), Find a Grave Memorial no. 27803349, citing Montecito Memorial Park, Colton, San Bernardino County, California, USA ; Maintained by Lester Letson (contributor 46627920) .