Historic Packing Houses and Other Industrial Structures in Southern California

Virtual Tour of Los Angeles County: Glendora

Copyright 2005 by William Messecar and James Lancaster.

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Glendora (ATSF, PE) 

Glendora is on the Santa Fe's Second District mainline that runs between Los Angeles and San Bernardino via Pasadena. This line was built in 1887 by the Los Angeles and San Gabriel Valley RR (later part of the Santa Fe). Like many towns on the railroad, its arrival set off a land boom in development and planting of citrus orchards. This led in turn to the building of packing houses to pack the fruit for shipment. The Pacific Electric decided to tap this area for passengers and commerce by extending its Los Angeles line in 1907.

Two Sanborn Insurance maps, covering 1910 and 1931 were used to trace development of the packing house industry in Glendora. The old LA&SGV RR depot was built in 1887 on the corner of W. Ada Ave. and So. Michigan (later Glendora St.) (Photo) and remained in use until 1945 when it was replaced by a modern small stucco structure. The PE depot is also shown in the RR Stations of Route 66 by Gordon Glattenberg (Photo). The PE depot was located on the East side of Glendora Ave. and the PE mainline. Across the street on the NE corner of W. Third and Walnut was located the Glendora Citrus Association, one of the largest packing houses at the time. The Fay Fruit Co. (wooden packing house) was built in the late 1890s and located on the NW corner of W. Ada and Vermont. However, this packing house was gone by the 1920s. Both the ATSF and PE served the Glendora Heights Orange Growers Ass'n packing house. Surrounded by orange groves it was located on the NE corner of Grand and Foothill Blvd. (formerly Minnehaha Ave.). The final packing house built around the turn of the century – the California Citrus Union PH – and was later enlarged and renamed the Glendora Co-op Citrus Ass’n.

By 1931 several new packing houses were built and others expanded. In a large lot next to the Glendora Heights packing house, a second packing house was built in the 1920s and shared the same ATSF spur. It was the Glendora Lemon Growers Association packing house located on Foothill Blvd. east of Grand Ave. A second packing house, the Glendora Mutual Orange Ass’n built in the 1920s, was located on W. Foothill Blvd. west of Grand Ave. The Santa Fe RR served both of these packing houses.

The former Glendora Co-operative Citrus Ass'n (Pure Gold) on S. Vermont Ave. and W. Ada Ave. was still standing in 2002. A photo taken in March 2002 shows the track with the foreground structure, a later commercial addition after the packing house closed in the late 1950s.

William Messecar Photo

An east side view (Photo-WM) shows some of the original packing house skylights and a north side view (Photo-WM) shows its current usage as “The Old Packinghouse.” It now serves as an antique store, secondhand trading post, and church and antique auction house.

In a 1945 report to the Board of Directors the Santa Fe reported serving three packing houses alone and two jointly with the PE. The ATSF packing houses shipped 792 cars of citrus in 1943 and 913 cars in 1944. A distant shot of the east end of this packing house and the old Glendora depot can be found on page 207 of Donald Duke’s “Santa Fe Volume 1 Chicago-Los Angeles-San Diego.”

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