Historic Packing Houses and Other Industrial Structures in Southern California

Virtual Tour of Redlands, CA
San Bernardino County

Copyright 2012, 2013 by James E. Lancaster and Bill Messecar

All photos are copyrighted. They remain the property of the individual contributors and may not be used without permission.


Redlands (ATSF, SP, PE)

Like many Southern California cities, Redlands was incorporated in 1888 with the arrival of the California Southern RR that same year. The Southern Pacific (SP) followed in the early 1890s with a branch northeast from its mainline at Bryn Mawr. The Pacific Electric (PE) was extended from San Bernardino into Redlands to their car barn on 6th & Citrus Ave. in the early 1900s.

The area was quickly planted in citrus trees and by the early 1900s over 30 packing houses (PHs) were located in Redlands and nearby Bryn Mawr. In 1945 the Santa Fe reported to their board of directors that they served three citrus PHs exclusively and four PHs jointly with the SP. Growers shipped 802 cars of citrus in 1943 and 1,281 cars in 1944. Altogether the entire Redlands loop (known at one time as part of the 'Kite-Shaped Route'), including Highland, East Highlands and Mentone, shipped 2,164 cars of citrus in 1943 and 3,677 cars in 1944.

Three references have been used to create a list of names and locations packing houses and related businesses that were in operation in Redlands between the late 1920s and the mid-1950s. The list of names is not all-inclusive since packing houses frequently changed names.

References:

  1. Sanborn Fire Insurance maps dated December 1929.
  2. Sanborn Fire Insurance maps dated December 1929 - Updated to October 1948.
  3. Sunkist packing house map ca. 1957.

List of Packing Houses and Related Businesses from References 1-3.

 
A Redlands local crosses the Pacific Electric on the south side of downtown San Bernardino as it heads back to the Santa Fe A Yard in July 1972. Cliff Prather photo.



Crown Jewel Groves - Redlands Select Groves - United Citrus Growers

This p
acking house on the Pacific Electric line to Redlands was built in the 1920ís as Crown Jewel Groves Inc. Orange packing house. Located on the SW corner of Alabama and San Bernardino Ave. it has been converted to use as a Calvary Chapel church with an additional structure added to the SW end. By the 1940s the packing house was named Redlands Select Groves and 20 years later again switched names to United Citrus Growers packing for Sunkist.




1955 Bekins map showing location of packing house on
PE. (Jim Lancaster collection)


Redlands Select Groves (Sanborn Map, October 1948)


View of packing house looking east with the PE track and spur in the foreground.
Rich Hunn photo, October 1979



North side along San Bernardino Ave. A PE spur for loading reefers originally ran next to this side.
Jim Lancaster
photo, February, 2008


Another view of the north side. Bill Messecar photo, 2002

South side. Bill Messecar photo, 2002



PE track along San Bernardino Ave. The view is looking east. Rich Hunn photo, October 1979.


Redlands Heights Groves - Redlands Heights Citrus - Blue Goose Growers

Two miles east on the PE line at San Bernardino Ave. and Texas St. another packing house was built in the 1920s. It was originally named Redlands Heights Groves Orange packing house and packed for Pure Gold. It was substantially expanded in the 1930s and again after 1979.  It last packed under the name of Redlands Heights Citrus Co. for Sunkist. The packing house was still in operation as late as 2002 and was still standing in 2007. It has since been torn down.



1955 Bekins map showing location of packing house on PE. (
Jim Lancaster collection)


Redlands Heights Groves (Sanborn Map, October 1948)


View looking east along San Bernardino Ave. By this time this was the end of the PE's line to Redlands. Robert Gaddie photo, November 1961.


A single point switch leads to the tracks for loading reefers.
Marty Quaas photo, March 1963.


Close-up view of single point switch. Marty Quaas photo, March 1963.


Another view looking east. Rich Hunn Photo, October 1979.


West side. Bill Messecar photo, 2002.


North side with field boxes used to transport oranges from the groves to the packing house.
Bill Messecar
photo, 2002.


Southeast corner. The higher part is an extension that was added sometime after Rich Hunn's 1979 photo. Bill Messecar photo, 2002.


South side with loading doors where reefers were spotted. Bob Chaparro photo,
January 2007.


South side. Bob Chaparro photo, January 2007.


Redlands Protective Association - Redlands Orangedale Groves -
Redlands Orangedale Association -
Orangedale Bryn-Mawr Association

The history of this packing house is unclear. It was shown on the Sanborn Fire Insurance maps in 1915 and 1949, but not in 1908 and 1929. The packing house was on the Santa Fe, 2 miles west of the center of Redlands. It operated under various names and ceased operations in 1969.



1955 Bekins map showing location of packing house on Santa Fe. (Jim Lancaster collection)



Orangedale Protective Ass'n and Redlands Orangedale Ass'n (Sanborn Map, October 1948)


Jim Lancaster collection, date unknown.


This Jack Stodelle photo from the John Signor collection was taken in 1956.  The Redlands local had a heavyweight coach in the consist so this was probably part of a railfan excursion.  Note the wigwag crossing signal at the far left of the photo protecting the crossing at Nevada Street.


A Santa Fe local headed for Redlands passes the foundation of the former Redlands Orangedale packing house. The smudge oil tanks at the right belonged to the Orangedale Protective Association.
Cliff Prather photo, March 4, 1984.


The wigwag crossing signal shown in the Jack Stodelle photo was still in operation
in 2002 when Bill Messecar took this photo. The vacant lot on the far side of
Nevada Street was where the Orangedale packing house had been located.
Interstate 10 is in the background.



Most of Redlands' packing houses were located in the central part of the city that was served by both the Santa Fe and Southern Pacific railroads (dashed green rectangle).  On the map below, the PE line is shown in orange, the Santa Fe in blue and the SP in red.

The PE line originated in San Bernardino and terminated in central Redlands before being cut back as shown on the map.  The Santa Fe line was known as the Redlands Loop and originated and terminated in
San Bernardino, passing through Redlands, Mentone, East Highlands, Highland and Patton.  The SP line branched off the Sunset Route mainline at Bryn Mawr and passed through Redlands and Crafton before terminating at Greenspot, a lone packing house on the north bank of the Santa Ana River northeast of Mentone.



Smudge Oil Tanks


These smudge oil tanks were along the Santa Fe tracks on the west side of central Redlands.
(Bob Chaparro photo, 2006)


Smudge oil tanks. (Bob Chaparro photo, 2006)


Smudge oil tank. (Bob Chaparro photo, 2006)


Close-up of piping for loading smudge oil into trucks.  The faintly visible writing at the top of the tank says "J. F. Holbrook Co," a Los-Angeles based manufacturer of water and oil tanks in the first half of the 20th century. (Jim Lancaster photo)


Redlands Mutual Orange Association

Redlands Mutual Orange Assín began in 1900 as a fruit packing house and barley mill located south of the Santa Fe depot on the NW corner of 3rd and Redlands Ave. served by the SP.  By 1915 it had been renamed Redlands Mutual Orange Assín and expanded to its final size in the 1930s. In 2002 the packing house was still surrounded by orange groves.


1955 Bekins map showing location of packing house. (
Jim Lancaster collection)



West side. Jim Lancaster photo, February, 2008.


Close-up view of the cull bin on the west side. Jim Lancaster photo, February, 2008.


Southwest corner.  At one time an SP spur ran along the south side (rigtht). Bill Messecar photo, 2002


East side was for truck loading and unloading. Jim Lancaster photo, February 2008.

North side. Bill Messecar photo, 2002.


North side.
Jim Lancaster photo, February 2008.



Haight Fruit Company

The Haight Fruit Company was the first packing house in Redlands. The packing house was built in 1890 and is shown on a February 1900 Sanborn Map.  They also packed citrus for the Redlands Orange Growersí Association. The packing house was served by both the Santa Fe and SP as shown on the Sanborn map.



North side of the former Haight Fruit Company packing house.  The Redlands Santa Fe depot is on the far right. Jim Lancaster photo.


East side of the former Haight Fruit Company packing house showing a later office addition.
Jim Lancaster
photo.



Redlands Cooperative Fruit Association

Jack Delano (August 1, 1914 Ė August 12, 1997) was an American photographer for the Farm Security Administration (FSA) and a composer noted for his use of Puerto Rican folk material. In addition to his FSA work Delano is known for the striking color photographs he took at rail yards during the 1940s. In March 1943 Delano was in Redlands, CA and photographed the operations at the Redlands Co-operative Fruit Association. His photographs are on a separate web page, accessible by clicking here.


1955 Bekins map showing location of packing house. (Jim Lancaster collection)


I. L. Lyon and Son - Redlands Orange Growers Association

The I. L. Lyon and Son packing house was built in the late 1890s and served by the Santa Fe and the SP. The packing house expanded and was renamed the Redlands Orange Growers Association in the 1940s. It continued operating into the 1960s packing for Sunkist. It now serves as a Christian Church located on 7th St., north of E. Redlands Ave.


1955 Bekins map showing location of packing house. (Jim Lancaster collection)



West side of former I. L. Lyon packing house. Jim Lancaster photo, February 2008.


Southwest corner. Bill Messecar
photo, 2002.


South side that was served by the SP. Bill Messecar photo, 2002.


East side showing typical skylight roof and loading dock. A Santa Fe spur came into this side.
Bill Messecar photo, 2002.


View of northeast corner. Jim Lancaster photo, February 2008.


Gold Banner Association

The packing house dates back to at least 1908 when it was known as the the Redlands Golden Orange Association. It had been renamed the Gold Banner Association by 1915. It was evidently rebuilt sometime after 1915 but before 1928. The building is still standing and is used for motorcycle and ATV sales. It was served by the SP.


1955 Bekins map showing location of packing house. (Jim Lancaster collection)



This photo shows the packing house as rebuilt after 1915. Jim Lancaster collection, date unknown.


The photo shows the south and east sides of the former packing house. The SP served the rear of the building. Jim Lancaster photo, February 2008.


Redlands Foothill Groves

Redlands Foothill Groves built a new packing house on the southeast corner of 9th St. and E. Park Ave. in the 1940s. An addition on the northwest corner was made in the early 1970s when the older Redlands Foothill Groves packing house on 6th St. and Central Ave. closed. Packing until 1985 for Pure Gold they are now (2013) the last Redlands packing house still in operation, packing for Sunkist.


1955 Bekins map showing location of packing house. (
Jim Lancaster collection)



West side of main packing house. Bill Messecar photo, 2002.


Bob Chaparro photo, June 2005.


Jim Lancaster photo, February 2008.


1970s addition at northwest corner. Bill Messecar photo, 2002.


1970s addition. Jim Lancaster photo, February 2008.


A local freight headed for Mentone is shown passing the northeast corner of the packing house in 1984. The track nearest the camera belonged to the SP. Next to it is a Santa Fe spur where the SFRC reefer is sitting. Both of these spurs came in from the east. The SP spur  was the inside track and at one time the Santa Fe cars were loaded through PFE reefers. However, by the time of this photo the SP had aban-
doned their line into Redlands, there were no more PFE reefers, and the SFRC reefer had to be loaded by some other means. The packing house later built a bridge across the SP track. Still later a new loading dock was built where the SP spur had been. Cliff Prather photo, March 4, 1984.



View looking east along the Santa Fe track. The Redlands Foothill Groves packing house is on the right. Jim Lancaster photo, March 2008.


The loading dock along the Santa Fe tracks on the north side of the packing house was built after the SP abandoned their line into Redlands. The dock was built over the location of the earlier SP spur.
Jim Lancaster photo, February 2008
.


Cull bin and field boxes containing oranges. Bill Messecar photo, 2002.


Cull bin. Jim Lancaster photo, February 2008.


East side of packing house complex and the Santa Fe spur. Jim Lancaster photo, February 2008.

Mutual Orange Distributors

With so many growers in one area belonging to the Mutual Orange Distributors (MOD), itís natural that their marketing agent, Pure Gold, would have a large office in Redlands to handle the marketing and distribution chores. The Mutual Orange Distributors were the second largest cooperative association of shippers in California. The Pure Gold office shown in the photo closed in 1985 when the last packer switched to Sunkist.


1955 Bekins map showing location of MOD (Pure Gold) office. (Jim Lancaster collection)


Former MOD Pure Gold office. Jim Lancaster photo.



Redlands-Highland Fruit Exchange


1955 Bekins map showing location of Redlands-Highland Fruit Exchange (Sunkist) office.
(
Jim Lancaster collection)


Former Redlands-Highland Fruit Exchange (Sunkist) office. Note the plaque on the right side of the entrance (enlarged below).  Jim Lancaster photo.





Former Santa Fe depot. Jim Lancaster photo, Februray 2008.


Former Pacific Electric Redlands carbarn
. Jim Lancaster photo, Februray 2012.


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

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Web page created 1/27/2012
Last update 1/4/2014