A Ride through the Cornfields of this Thriving District – Huge crops of Corn – Thrifty growth of Trees – Some of the Advantages offered to Immigrants

(Anaheim Semi-Weekly Gazette, July 20, 1878)

            A ride through the cornfields of Centralia convinces the most skeptical of the unbelievers in the extraordinary richness of the soil of this district, and fully demonstrates the fact that as a corn-producing region Centralia has no superior, not even excepting the far-famed Gospel Swamp region, prolific in ministers, big pumpkins, and huge crops of corn. Hundreds and hundreds of acres are seen, covered with blanche-tasseled corn from 10 to 12 feet high, rarely falling below the former and frequently exceeding the latter figure. The farmers of Centralia have displayed much wisdom this year. Instead of sowing their lands with wheat or barley, to rust and lodge, they have planted the yellow corn and will gather a golden harvest for their toil. Perhaps the finest field of corn in Centralia is that which belongs to Mr. James S. Landell. He has over 70 acres of splendid corn averaging 12 feet in height, and which will yield considerably more than 100 bushels to the acre. Mr. Landell showed me several stalks which had four, five and even six ears on a stalk.

            Owing to the intelligence and vigor of its population, Centralia is rapidly improving, and its wonderful natural resources are duly appreciated and will soon be developed to the utmost extent. Indeed, we would not be at all surprised if a tide of immigration would set in towards this favored locality, causing it to become an agricultural center of no small importance. The advantages which this section of country offer to settlers comprise lands of exceeding fertility, possessing superb drainage and an abundance of water for irrigating purposes, and last, but not least, a refined and energetic population.

            To give a particular description of each ranch would occupy too much space, yet we cannot forbear to mention a few places where thrift and improvement are especially noticeable. The ranch owned by Mr. Potter is a handsome, well-improved place containing many fruit and shade trees, looking remarkably well. Near by, Mr. Forster, recently from New York, has erected a comfortable dwelling house, and is proceeding to improve his fine quarter section of land. He had recently built a corn house 27 x 45 feet, and of a corresponding heighth. It is roofed over, and is thoroughly water-proof. Mr. Lyon has a small but exceedingly well tilled place, and raises good crops every year. There is not a weed to be seen on his place, and there is not a square yard of land but produces something. Mr. Hill has finished his new house and has improved his farm considerably. Mr. Upson rejoices in the possession of a splendid apple and pear orchard and a large variety of miscellaneous fruit trees. Mr. Hickox has a fine peach orchard which will bear heavily this year. All of the trees that have been set out in this district are thriving splendidly and in a few years Centralia will present a forest-like appearance.

            The last meeting of the Centralia Literary Society was a complete success in every respect. Notwithstanding the warm weather and busy harvest season, this Society still meets regularly and is always well attended. There is a great deal of intellectual ozone in this district, and excellent musical and literary performances are easily gotten up and finely executed. We had the pleasure of attending this meeting, and we were delighted with the variety and excellence of the entertainment. The exercises of the evening were decidedly patriotic, which was very appropriate, as the anniversary of our nation’s birthday had so recently occurred. “America” was finely sung by the choir, after which Mrs. Landell read a humorous selection in a very sprightly manner, and Miss hill delivered a recitation. A violin solo was next in order by F.L. Crane. This gentleman received several encores, playing patriotic airs in a very patriotic manner. This was followed by a declamation by Chas. Calloway, and a song by Mr. Landell. Mr. McDowell read a selection and Miss Alice Hickox declaimed. A quartet by Mrs. Cummins and others, declamations by F.L. Crane, Alva Upson, and John Landell, a song by Mrs. Hill, and a farce acted by Messrs. Goodhue and Glasscock, and Misses Metcalf and Calloway, concluded the entertainment. We must not forget to mention the beautiful floral cornucopias, made by the artistic hands of Mrs. Upson, which decorated the walls; nor the fine display of wreaths and bouquets that added so much to the attractiveness of the occasion. The next meeting of the society will take place on the evening of July 20th, at 8:30, at which time the following programme will be carried out:

            Selection, Mr. McDowell; violin solo, F.L. Crane; selection, Mrs. Hughes; son, Mrs. Cummins; selection, Rufus Burkhead; recitation, Miss Hill; duet, Mrs. Butler and Mr. Landell; declamation, Mr. Goodhue; son, Mr. Potter; recitation, “Auld Robin Gray,” Nettie Metcalf; selection, Mr. Landell; declamation, W. Cummins; recitation, Annie Williams; tableau, F.L. Crane; harp solo, Don Jose Gandara.

            There is a fine Sabbath school in Centralia, which is very well attended. Mrs. Hughes is Superintendent, and a very good one she makes. Religious services are held in the public school house every alternate Sunday, Rev. Mr. Mitchell of Anaheim officiating.

            There is evidently a bright future for Centralia. Not many years will elapse before it will be a prosperous village in the midst of a solid tract of gardens, orchards, and cornfields. [s] Croydon

["Croydon" was the pen-name of E.F. Webber, a local teacher who wrote a number of features for the Gazette in the late 1870s. -- P.B.]