Historic Packing Houses and Other Industrial Structures in Southern California

Virtual Tour of Los Angeles County: Duarte

Copyright 2003 by Jim Lancaster.
Photos by the author.

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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Duarte (ATSF)

Duarte is on the Santa Fe's Second District main line that runs from Los Angeles to San Bernardino, and is about 10 miles east of Pasadena. A packing house, just north of Duarte Road between Mountain and Buena Vista, is somewhat hidden from view by a residential area on the north side and a row of tall Oleander bushes on the south side.

A 1908 Sanborn Map shows five packing houses in Duarte. The Duarte-Monrovia Fruit Exchange was at 3rd Street and Oak Ave. on the Southern Pacific Duarte Branch, which was north of the Santa Fe tracks. The Duarte Fruit Exchange was also located on the SP with the notation "3/4 mi SE of PO." The Post Office was at Duarte Street (later Foothill Blvd) and Highland Ave. Newhall's packing house was identified simply as "2 mi E of PO." The remaining two packing houses were on the north side of the Santa Fe tracks, "1 mi SW of PO." One was the Randolph Fruit Co. and adjacent to it on the east side was the Santa Fe packing house. A notation next to the east end of the latter said "330' to depot." The Santa Fe depot was on the same side of the tracks just east of what is today Buena Vista Street.

A 1929 Sanborn Map shows the Duarte-Monrovia Fruit Exchange at the same location on the SP as in 1908. Also on the SP was Pepper's Fruit Company, "3/4 mi SE of PO." The Duarte Foothills Citrus Association was "1 1/2 mi E of PO" and adjacent to the "Pac. Elec. right of way" although no track is shown. Only one packing house is shown on the Santa Fe. It was Duarte Orchards and was in the same location as was the Santa Fe packing house in 1908, i.e., "330' to depot." The current (i.e., 2003) address of this location is 1150 Three Ranch Road (or 1159 Duarte Road).

On September 16, 1937 a building permit for the Three Ranch Road location was issued to Duarte Monrovia Citrus for a new foundation. A subsequent building permit for the same location was issued to Western Fruit Growers on November 19, 1942 for a new foundation and repairs for a storage box. Although the packing house is still standing as of April, 2003, the 1942 building permit is currently the last known record for the location.

The photo below shows the north side of the main part of the packing house as it looks today (April 2003).

The next view shows the NW end of the packing house, an obvious addition possibly constructed as a result of either the 1937 or 1942 building permits.

Additional photos show the north side loading dock (Photo-JL) and the brick office building at the east end of the main structure (Photo-JL).

This next photo shows the south side of the packing house looking west along the ex-Santa Fe track to Pasadena.

At near the right is the south side of the brick office building. A close-up photo of the office shows the location of a former loading door, now filled in with concrete blocks and a window (Photo-JL). A final view looks west along the south side of the packing house (Photo-JL). In all, there were at least five loading doors that opened onto a Santa Fe siding that is long gone.

I wish to thank Nora Corona Hernandez, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Cal Poly University, Pomona CA, for alerting me about the existence of the packing house and providing the data on the building permits. Ms. Hernandez is working with the City of Duarte to possibly have the packing house designated as a historic building. If you have any additional information for the sixty year period since 1942, please feel free to contact me at ljames1@ix.netcom.com.

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