FULLERTON, ORANGE COUNTY
By W.W. Kerr
No visitor to Southern California, whether seeking a home or for pleasure, should ever return East without first paying a visit to Orange county – one of the smallest in the State, and yet one of the most beautiful, productive and wealthy. The first town of prominence on the Santa Fe railway, twenty-three miles southeast of Los Angeles, in one of the most favored sections of this most favored county, is the town of Fullerton, and this is the point at which he should begin his investigations, and beyond which he need not go if he is seeking a quiet, comfortable residence in a small town or an investment in ranch-property.
It is a place of about 2,000 inhabitants, within easy reach by rail of Santa Ana, the county town; Los Angeles, the metropolis of Southern California; or the beach and mountain resorts. It is situated in the midst of a country excelled in its productiveness, whether the quantity, quality or variety of its products is considered, or the profitableness of their culture.
Its actual existence dates back some eighteen years, but its real progress towards its present prominence is measured by less than five years. Within that time its population has increased two hundred per cent, and practically all of its other interests, have been born and brought to their present state of perfection, so that it may truthfully say, as merchants are in the habit of saying when they advertise their wares, “everything is new and fresh; no shop-worn goods.” From this it must not be concluded that social conditions are in a crude, disorganized state, as is sometimes the case in new towns; on the contrary, it has been settled up with people from the far East, Middle West and South, who were civilized and polished before they came here, and have made it their home because it offered them advantages that they could find nowhere else. They brought with them the peculiarities characteristic of the several sections from which they emigrated, and these have become so blended as to form a composite picture, showing the better traits of all by preserving only the best features of each.
Its religious advantages leave nothing to be desired. There are four churches –the Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian and Christian – all occupying their own neat buildings and all working together harmoniously in building up the spiritual welfare of the town.
In the matter of education it is fully up to the times. It possesses one high school and one grammar school, both housed in elegant brick buildings especially adapted to the requirements of such institutions. The former employs six teachers, and includes a curriculum and physical laboratories competent to carry its students up to the demands of the State Universities without examination. In the latter seven teachers are employed, and it has an average of 250 scholars.
The fraternal societies are represented by the Masons, Odd Fellows, Woodmen, Fraternal Brotherhood, Ancient Order of United Workmen, and so on almost to the end of the list.
When we come to speak of the climate, we would be modest if the subject would admit of it, but it can be said truthfully that whatever can be rightfully claimed for it in any part of this country, can be boasted of in Fullerton. On the north and east is a line of low foot-hills that shut off all strong north winds in winter, while to the westward is the Pacific ocean (at a distance of fourteen miles at the nearest point), whose gentle breezes fan away the heat in summer, making an equable climate throughout the year that is particularly grateful to people who come from a country where both winters and summers are severe.
Fullerton has a complete system of electric lighting, water works, and local and long-distance telephones, giving to its citizens all the advantages in these directions enjoyed by larger places.
Among her business enterprises may be found everything necessary for the convenience of her people. There are two substantial banking institutions, two weekly newspapers, several general stores, two hardware stores, a large agricultural-implement house, two lumber-yards, one planning-mill and wood-working establishment, eight packing-houses, besides a number of smaller businesses of varied character.
Its streets are graded and undergoing constant improvement, while nice cement sidewalks are laid all over the business portion and most of the residence part, so that it is possible to walk almost all over the place dry-shod. Ornamental shade-trees have been planted along the- curb which in a very few years will form a grateful shadow for the comfort of pedestrians. An elegant little flower park has been laid out and planted, and will in a short time be an ornament that any town might be proud of.
The country around Fullerton is level, with a gradual slope from the foothills to the ocean. The soil is a rich, sandy loam, fully adapted to the growth of almost any crop that may be entrusted to its bosom, especially oranges and walnuts, for the successful and profitable cultivation of which it is not excelled, if equaled, by any other section of Southern California. The famous Valencia, the most profitable orange grown, grows here in its greatest perfection.
As the best evidence of the productiveness of this country, it is only necessary to call attention to what it has done. Speaking generally, it may be said that Fullerton is the largest shipping point for agricultural products between Los Angeles and San Diego. There were shipped from this place last season 750 carloads of oranges, at a profit of $600,000. In addition there were shipped 100 cars of walnuts, realizing $250,000; 250 cars of cabbages, netting $30,000; besides ico carloads of various other kinds of vegetables, and about 25,000 tons of hay and grain.
With the above showing, which has been kept entirely within the truth, and without any gloss or glamour, what better country could any home-seeker want?
By Wm. Starbuck
Fullerton hospital is located in the midst of the great walnut and orange-growing section of Fullerton, 23 miles from Los Angeles on the Santa Fe railway. It is in a quiet but progressive little suburban city, about 14 miles from the ocean, by direct line. As there are no hills to cut off the ocean breeze, it is near enough to have the semi-tropic sun’s rays tempered by the ocean breeze, but far enough away to get the delightful breezes from the mountains that lie back of the little city. It is equipped in a complete way for surgical and confinement cases, and, in fact, for caring for every nature of disease, except contagious, which are not taken.
(Out West, December 1906)
A Well-Governed and Progressive City
Compiled by Norman Le Marquand
Secretary, Chamber of Commerce
The northern part of Orange County is known as the Fullerton District. Here, twenty-three miles southeast of Los Angeles and fifteen miles by air line from the Pacific Ocean, lies the City of Fullerton. Near enough to the Pacific to share in the benefit of its cooling breezes, yet far enough to escape its humidity, and shielded from the hot winds, little wonder indeed that Fullerton has acquired the distinction of having the most salubrious and equable climate even in a country where the climate is one of the chief assets.
Again, the peculiar situation of this district makes of it the most desirable winter resort in this country, if not in the world. Far enough from the snow-capped mountains of the San Gabriel and San Jacinto ranges to escape the cold north winds which occasionally sweep down in the valleys below their slopes, Fullerton district is almost entirely free of the occasional frosts that are the dread of fruit growers in some parts of Southern California. In these mountains are brewed the heavy cold rains which at times sweep this region. As they near the coast these rains come down more gently and are of far greater benefit to the rancher and fruit grower, the heavier winds sweeping down to the ocean in the beds of the San Gabriel and Santa Ana rivers.
In the mountains are beautiful cañons with groves of live oak and sycamore, and sparkling streams and mineral springs, and sweet-smelling mountain plants and flowers; all easy of access from every part of the county, affording many delightful spots for a day’s picnic or a month’s outing. Along thirty-five miles of seashore are many beautiful seaside resorts on bay and ocean front, with clean sandy beaches or picturesque rocky cliffs and shores, with boating, bathing and fishing advantages that cannot be surpassed. These places, also, are easy to reach from any part of the county, the trip to any of the beaches from the farthest part of the county requiring only two hour’s time by automobile. This is a good roads county, and when the improvements now proposed and under way are completed it will have one of the finest systems of boulevards in the world.
The town of Fullerton is approaching its tenth birthday. It was incorporated in January, 1904. Its transportation facilities are furnished by the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Company, on whose main line it is situated. Twenty trans-continental and local trains stop there daily, and the importance of its busy little depot may be judged from the fact that during the nine months ending September 30, revenue from freight traffic amounted to $308,111.84, and from passenger traffic, $43,099.56.
The principal exports from Fullerton consist of oranges, lemons, walnuts, tomatoes, cabbages, sweet potatoes, asparagus and tobacco. The soil, a rich mixture of silt and loam, is so productive that a recitation of what has been accomplished with it reads like a fairy tale. The pioneers of Fullerton raised little but pasture for their sheep and cattle. In seasons of abundant rainfall they would produce large crops of barley and other grains. At other times they would wait for the rain until their necessities compelled them to seek a means whereby the plentiful waters of the Santa Ana River could be transported over the twelve miles of intervening rough land, gullies, ravines, canyons and hills. The Cajon Irrigation Company, incorporated in 1879, has since become the Anaheim Union Water Company, which furnishes water to its stockholders who are the occupants of the fifteen thousand acres in this vicinity. The riparian rights of this company rest upon such old titles and are so entrenched behind legal decisions that there is no possibility of their being disputed. Now, with the growth of modern ideas, the capacity of the Cajon canal, which in early times was small, has been increased many fold. Wooden flumes have been replaced by substantial fills; where the ditch formerly wound tortuously around the faces of hills and was liable at any time to break away, tunnels have been cut so that what was once the weakest part has become the strongest. These tunnels have been fined with concrete so that now the water rushes through these rock-lined hills. It is this straightening of alignment and the cementing of the walls of the tunnels and ditches that have so greatly increased the capacity of the main canal. Perhaps the greatest development has been in the improvement of the lateral or distributing ditches. During the past fourteen years fifty miles of the main and important lateral ditches have been lined with a two or three-inch coat of concrete, or the open ditches have been replaced by cement pipe-lines. These improvements add greatly to the efficiency of the water distribution and prevent undue waste from seepage and evaporation during the few summer months when all the water is needed.
Of oranges, the kings of fruits, a specialty in the Fullerton district is the Valencia, an orange which ripens late in the year, and always obtains a high price in the markets of the country. In the immediate vicinity of Fullerton is the district above all others peculiarly adapted to the cultivation of this orange. Here it reaches its most perfect development. Here it remains on the trees for a long time, and can, therefore, be placed on the market at a time when oranges are scarce, and therefore command the highest price.
Valencia orange groves with full-bearing trees command a price of two thousand dollars an acre and, with careful and scientific cultivation yield large returns even on such an investment.
Within the city the value of building lots of fifty feet in width ranges from $500 to $1200, while business blocks are disposed of at from $50 to $150 per front foot. The population is now estimated at three thousand, and there is an optimistic “booster” organization predicting an early increase to five thousand. The growth of the city has been most marked. In the first six months of the present calendar year the building permits granted amounted to the astounding total of $203,925, as compared with the corresponding period of the proceeding year. Receipts of the local post office for the year ending June 30, 1918, amounted to $12,401.38, and an application is now before the postal authorities at Washington for free mail delivery with every indication that favorable action may be expected.
One of the most modern and complete institutions of its class is the Fullerton Union High School located on fifteen acres of ground within three blocks of the business section. Its Auditorium seats twelve thousand people. The students from the rural districts are taken to and from school in three omnibuses and their courses include, in addition to the usual high school courses, training in manual arts and agriculture. The post-graduate course of the school is one which serves for matriculation to the universities of the State. The buildings, eleven in number, are fireproof and the whole cost $300,000.
There is now being erected a two-story grammar school building within two blocks of the High School at a cost of $70,000.
The Public Library, one block from the center of the city, was erected at a cost of $10,000, and its Mission-style architecture makes it one of the city’s beauty spots.
There are churches of six denominations conveniently located, and there is in course of construction a fire-proof hospital which, in its conveniences and equipment, will be second to none.
The site has been purchased for a City Hall, which will be located in the center of the town. The city has also purchased a forty-acre tract for septic tanks for the sewer outfall and the sewer system, costing to date about $60,000, is about completed.
Another large municipal project of this progressive town is the water system, which has just been completed. Two twelve-inch wells 400 feet in depth pump the water to a reservoir with a capacity for one million gallons, which is situated high above the city. The water is as pure and soft as rain-water, and the citizens of Fullerton feel well recompensed for the $80,000 expended in securing it.
Arrangements are now being made to supply the city with natural gas, which it is estimated can be done at the rate of seventy-five cents per thousand cubic feet delivered to the consumer. This will be secured from the large oil fields located six miles north of Fullerton.
The production of oil in the fields north of the city has for years been one of the staple industries. Drilling commenced there practically twenty years ago and the operations now cover an area of approximately sixty square miles. The wells for the most part are deep, some to exceed four thousand feet and the drilling operations are expensive; yet despite this, large returns are made on investments. One of the recent wells near Fullerton flowed for a period to exceed a year at the rate of 2500 barrels a day of 30 gravity oil, for which there was a ready market at one dollar per barrel. The Standard Oil Company, The Union Oil Company, The Brea Canyon Oil Company, and The Petroleum Development Company, among others, have large holdings, but there is still remaining a large area of proven territory on which wells have not yet been drilled.
Among the local industries are eleven large packing houses, which handle over two million dollars' worth of oranges and lemons annually. The city also has a thoroughly modern ice plant, a steam laundry and four large garages.
Fullerton offers exceptional inducements to the enterprising and energetic business man, there being numerous openings there in almost every line of business. It is also a splendid field for manufacturing establishments; its close vicinity to the splendid oil fields, which means permanent and cheap fuel, its excellent railroad facilities and equable climate all contributing towards this end. The city, through its excellent Chamber of Commerce, welcomes all such enterprises and extends to them every possible aid and encouragement. For the stranger seeking a new home, Fullerton offers unusual advantages.
(Out West, November-December 1913)