Santa Ana "The Substantial"

Marvelous Thrift of Orange County’s Metropolis

By Linn L. Shaw, Postmaster

One of the chief lines of tourist travel in Southern California is the Santa Fe system from Los Angeles to San Diego, the luxurious trains of which carry many thousands of delighted sightseers annually. It is doubtful, however, if any considerable proportion of these fortunate enough to enjoy this trip realize that for some forty miles of the distance they are traversing the heart of the richest and most wonderful region in all the world, for such is the claim with which Orange County challenges any other section of the universe.

Thirty-five miles southeasterly from Los Angeles, on the Santa Fe line to San Diego, is situated the thriving city of Santa Ana, the County Seat of this wonderful region, which is now rapidly forging to the front as one of the leading points of Southern California. Located in almost the exact center of the rich Santa Ana Valley, this city is a natural commercial center, besides offering all the climatic advantages obtainable elsewhere. Two other great railway systems enter the town from Los Angeles – the Southern Pacific and the Pacific Electric – and there is also both steam and electric connection with the beach, only twelve miles distant.

To the eastward, at about the same distance, rises a majestic mountain range where many beautiful canyons are easy of access. The vast area lying between the ocean and these mountains is almost all under cultivation, and presents a most surprisingly diversified list of farm and orchard products.

Proximity to the ocean provides an even and enjoyable climate, the ocean breezes tempering the atmosphere in winter and summer alike. Extremes of either heat or cold are unknown, which condition has brought Orange County to the front rank with many products which do not reach their highest state of perfection elsewhere. In this category may be mentioned the Valencia orange, for which delicious fruit this county has held the world’s record for price for many years.

While the orange industry reaches very majestic proportions in this favored county (4,500 carloads having been marketed last year) it is far from being the most important one. Foremost in point of value comes the sugar beet, of which crop 35,000 acres are planted, yielding a return of $3,500,000 to the farmers. Another great crop is that of Lima beans, comprising about 30,000 acres, of which twenty five square miles lie in one unbroken field. Twelve million pounds of English walnuts valued at $1,400,000.00 were also raised last year in this snug little County, while 10,000,000 barrels of crude oil, valued at $7,000,000 helped very materially in swelling the total value of products, which reached over $25,000,000 or more than $700 for every man, woman and child its population.

Over 75,000 acres were last year planted to cereals and hay yielding a return of $1,127,000 and yet this very respectable sum was exceeded over two hundred dollars by the out-put from poultry and eggs. Other important crops, with their annual value, are apricots, $360,000; lemons, $175,000; celery, $600,000; potatoes, $800,000; honey, $110,000; butter and cream, $150,000; berries, $50,000; olives $30,000; chili peppers, $30,000; tomatoes, $50,000; cabbage, $60,000; wool $26,000; fish, $27,000; onions, $30,000; while many other products are exported in lesser quantities, including apples, peaches, pears, grape fruit, peanuts, cauliflower, green corn, wine and brandy.

Orange County leads the world in at least two great products, namely, the sugar beet and English walnut and may claim the same distinction as regards the Valencia orange. There are five large beet sugar factories in the county, (two of which are located at Santa Ana) out of a total of fourteen in the state, or seventy-seven in the United States.As before stated, this city is the county seat and commercial center of this favored county, and its stability is perhaps best indicated from the fact that with a population of about 12,000 the resources of its six banks aggregate nearly $6,000,000. The city is growing very rapidly, the building permits for 1911 reaching well over half a million dollars, while, for 1912 they promise to total double that amount.

Santa Ana’s school facilities are of the best, including the kindergarten, grammar and high school courses, a feature of the latter department being the most efficient commercial school on the coast. Two hundred thousand dollars were recently voted for a magnificent polytechnic high school, and practical courses in manual training, domestic science and art work are furnished pupils in the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth grades. A very reliable index of the city’s growth and importance are shown in its postal receipts, which amounted to $33,000 for the year just closed, as against $11,640 for the same period ten years ago, being an increase of over 275%.

The city is provided with an efficient free delivery service, with seven city letter carriers, and seven rural routes are also in operation from its post office.

Santa Ana’s assessed valuation is considerably over $6,000,000 on a 40% basis, which furnishes ample revenue for its requirements under a reasonable tax rate. The city has over ten miles of improved streets and one hundred miles of splendid cement sidewalks. Automobiles and bicycles are in use in remarkable numbers the year round, good roads being provided throughout the valley and to the mountain and coast resorts.

(Out West, September 1912)