For centuries the Cajon Pass has been an important thoroughfare for travelers and traders between the Mojave Desert and Southern California. Following the route of the Old Spanish Trail, most travelers transited the pass on its east side. This route, however, was very narrow and rocky, and was less than suitable for wagon travel. In 1850, William T. B. Sanford constructed a much better wagon road through the West Cajon pass. This route, a few miles south of this marker, departed from the Old Spanish Trail near present day Victorville, crossed Baldy Mesa Ridge and turned down West Cajon Canyon to Mormon Rocks, then rejoined the Old Spanish Trail near the present location of the Interstate 15 Truck Scales. Known variously as the Sanford Crossing, Sanford Cutoff, or Sanford Pass Route, this westerly transit was less rocky than its eastern counterpart, but was still very steep at its summit. On the descent, cattle and wagons often slid the first fifty feet; on the ascent, it was necessary to hitch as many as 32 mules to each wagon. In 1855, Sanford and Phineas Banning constructed a new alignment about one and one-half miles west of his original road. Although it was an improvement over his earlier route, grades were still as steep as 30%. The arduous ascent and descent of the Sanford Cutoff troubled freighters until the completion of the John Brown Toll Road through Coyote Canyon (now called Crowder Canyon) on the east side of Cajon Pass in 1861.
William T. B. Sanford was killed in the 1863 explosion of the steamer Ada Hancock in San Pedro Harbor.
Plaque Dedicated May 3, 2015 by the Billy Holcomb Chapter of the Ancient and Honorable Order of E Clampus Vitus.