Historic Packing Houses and Other Industrial Structures in Southern California

Virtual Tour of Orange County: Olive

Copyright 2002 by James E. Lancaster, Ph.D.

Notice:The images - photographs, drawings, maps and track diagrams - presented in this web site are the property of the respective contributors and may not be used for any purpose without permission. For more information see Photo Credits and Restrictions.

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Olive (ATSF)

The Olive Heights Citrus Association packing house was on the west side of the Santa Fe's Olive Subdivision tracks, opposite the small Olive, CA station. The cover of the 3rd Quarter 1991 issue of Santa Fe Modeler has a color painting by John Signor of a San Diego-bound, F-unit powered freight passing the packing house at Olive, CA in 1963 (Painting).

John photographed the packing house in March 1977.

Inside the packing house he photographed an aerial view of both the packing house and the Olive station (Photo-JS). The aerial photo was hanging on the packing house office wall. Note the spur curving to the right at the bottom right of the photo. For more about this spur, see below. John Signor photos, used by permision.

The packing house was demolished in the 1990s. However, before it dissapeared Darrel Lansing photographed it from trackside (Photo-DL). Note the boarded-up doors, the tall weeds, and the tree growing through the loading dock next to the pre-cooling building (Photo-DL). Darrel Lansing photos, used by permision.

John Signor built a condensed, HO scale model of the Olive Heights Citrus Association packing house for his home layout (although he named it the Placentia Mutual Orange Association). These two photos show the southeast (Photo-JL) and northeast (Photo-JL) corners of the model.

The Olive station was on the Orange-Olive Road, just north of what is today Lincoln Boulevard. A spur left the main line just south of the station and curved across Orange-Olive Road to serve two additional packing houses: the Olive Hillside Growers and the Olive Fruit Company.

The front of the Olive Hillside Growers packing house faced west onto the Olive-Orange Road. The packing house is still there and is now occupied by Merlex Stucco, Inc., as shown in this photo looking east from the west side of Olive-Orange Road.

James Lancaster Photo

A virtual walkaround of the former packing house provides these additional views: (1) the south side where reefers were loaded (Photo-JL), (2) the northwest corner (Photo-JL), (3) the north side with truck loading doors (Photo-JL), (4) the east (back) side (Photo-JL), and (5) the south side again, this time looking from the back (Photo-JL).

During a recent search for packing house photos at the Pomona Public Library, Bill Messecar found this old B&W photo of the Olive Heights Citrus Association.

Pomona Public Library Photo

The photo probably dates from the 1920s but the surprising thing is that at that time the Olive Heights Citrus Association was in the location that was later that of the Olive Hillside Growers described above. Since both buildings have a sawtooth roof over the back part it is likely that at least part of the original structure is preserved in the current Merlex Stucco building [look at this close-up view of the packing house (Photo-Pomona Public Library)]. Note the church in the right background of the wider view. It is still there as of January 2004.

To tour other Orange County cities, or other counties, return to the Virtual Tour of Orange County Page.

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