Marty Quaas' Photo Tour

of the Pacific Electric and Santa Fe
in Corona, CA

Sunday, May 31, 1964

Copyright 2009 by James E. Lancaster, Ph.D.

Page created February 14, 2009
Last updated
February 15, 2009

All photos are by Marty Quaas and are Copyright 2009. They may not be used for any purpose without the permission of the photographer.

Photo Gallery

Marty wrote the following about the day he spent in Corona and about his photos:

"On May 31, 1964 I had left the family at the City Park to play on the swings and I set-out to walk the Pacific Electric route which was on 3rd Street.  I think that I got on the PE tracks at Grand and then proceeded to go west on 3rd.  

"At Merrill, the tracks turned to the north, crossed Grand, and went under the freeway where there was a run-around track.  As I remember, even though the PE and Santa Fe tracks were only a few feet apart at the end of the PE line, there was no connection and it looked like there never was.  This was the end of Huntington's dream connection with Yorba Linda.

"I then proceeded east along the Santa Fe and took several more pictures - the sand car, the depot, the GP9, the shanties, and then the scale house. I then think that I went south back toward the City Park where I got pictures of two oil companies off the east end of 3rd St."

Pacific Electric map of northwest Corona showing locations of Marty Quaas' photos.
(Map from Cliff Prather collection)

Photo 1. This view is looking east along Third Street. The nearest cross street is Belle Avenue. The car crossing Third Avenue in the distance is on Main Street. The Standard service station is at Third and Main. The PE's Corona depot was previously located on the site of the service station. It was torn down in 1961. For photos of the PE depot, click here (a new window will open).

Photo 2. This view is looking northwest from Third Street where the PE track turned to go north to the W. H. Jameson packing house. According to the most recent Sanborn map for this area (dated 1942), the Corona Foothill Lemon Co. operated a pump plant just west of the curving track (left side of the photo). The tank that's half visible was an oil tank. The building behind it was for pipe storage. One of the pump plant buildings that is out of view in the photo is still standing on Grand Ave.

Robert Gaddie provided the following description of the pump plant:

"Water was pumped from this point several miles south into reservoirs at the base of the mountains.  From these reservoirs the water flowed by gravity through canals and pipelines to the orchards.
"I was in the pumping plant a few times with my Dad when I was a kid.  My Dad said the pumps were originally powered by steam engines.  The engines powered large wheels.  The wheels were so large that pits were dug into the floor.  Half of the wheel was down in the pit.  These large wheels powered a belt that went to a smaller wheel.  The small wheel powered a shaft that powered the pump.  By the time I have any memory of the pumping plant the steam engines had been replaced by electric motors that powered the pump shafts directly.
"The pits for the large wheels were still in the building when I was in there.  I can remember looking down into them and thinking they were very deep.  But for a kid everything looks larger than it is.
"The tank at the left in the May 1964 photo was probably for fuel oil for the steam engines.  In the Corona PE depot was a blueprint map of the PE tracks in Corona.  It was made during the 1920's.  ...  The map showed a short spur into the pumping plant property.  I assume this spur was for the delivery of tank cars of fuel for the steam engines.
"There was also a house on the pumping plant property.  A Foothill employee lived in the house.  He operated the pumps."

Photo 3. This view is looking almost north to where the PE track went under the Riverside Freeway (SR 91). Just beyond the freeway was a siding used as a runaround track. At the very end of the PE's Corona line, the track curved toward the west and paralleled the Santa Fe's Third District main line. Both the PE and the Santa Fe had spurs serving the W. H. Jameson packing house but there was no connection between the two. For a view of the spurs and the packing house, click here and scroll down to the Bob Gaddie photo (a new window will open).

Photo 4. This photo shows the Corona Citrus Association packing house. The wigwag is on N. Sheridan St. For additional photos of Corona Citrus Association, click here and look at Figures 5-7 (a new window will open).

Photo 5. This car labled "ENGINE SAND" was just west of the Santa Fe's Corona depot. The building behind the car was at one time a packing house that operated under several names: Corona Packing Company, Randolph Fruit Company, Riverside County Select Groves and Corona Mutual Groves.

Photo 6. This photo was taken from the east end of the Corona depot. Geep 709 and a caboose are in front of the freight end of the depot. Beyond the depot is the packing house shown in Photo 5. 

Photo 7. This photo is looking west. To the left of Geep 709 is the corner of the packing house shown in Photo 5. To the right and further down the Third District main line toward Fullerton, a reefer is spotted at the Jameson packing house. Further to the right is the arched roof of the Corona Citrus Association packing house. For similar views from this location, click here and look at Figures 8 and 9 (a new window will open).

Photo 8. A closer look at GP9 709.

Photo 9. This photo is looking east from a location about 1/2 block east of the depot. The buildings in the distance (with the water tower) are part of the Exchange Lemon Products facility. The track curving off at the far left went behind part of the Exchange Lemon buildings. For more photos of Exchange Lemon Products, click here and look at Figures 18-23 (a new window will open).

Pacific Electric map of northeast Corona showing locations of Marty Quaas' photos.
(Map from Cliff Prather collection)

Photo 10. This photo is looking west toward the depot area. The Jameson packing house is visible at the far end of the tracks. Exchange Lemon Products is on the right beyond the string of freight cars with the gondolas. The scale house is on the left and the scale track is in the  center of the photo.

Photo 11. The scale house has a sign on the front that reads "NEVER ALLOW ENGINE ON SCALE." The building in the rear is the Orange Heights Orange Association packing house. It was served by the PE, which is why PFE reefers are spotted at the packing house. For more photos of the Orange Heights Orange Association packing house and the scale house, click here and look at Figures 26 and 27, as well as Figures 35-38 (a new window will open).

Photo 12. Marty's last stop that day was back on the PE, just east of the intersection of Third Street and Grand Avenue, to photograph these two bulk oil dealers. The trees on the far left were close to Grand Ave.

Photo 13. The final photo is a closeup showing the connectors used to connect a tank car to the oil dealers.

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