Whittier Citrus 
and the beginings of 
citrus in the family

 

Harmon and Louisa moved and finally rooted in southern California. Great-Great Grandfather Reed planted lemon orchards in Whittier and thus began the "citrus roots" of the family tradition.

The County Road
The County Road

In 1876 the railroad reached Southern California, the next year the first shipment of California oranges left the Southern California area bound for St Louis, Missouri. From the 1880’s through World War II, the citrus industry was the driving force behind California’s economy and ‘had passed the cash returns from gold’. By 1900 California was the leading producer of fruit, surpassing Florida, and has been described by some as the “Orange Empire’.

Whittier's Orange Empire
Whittier's Orange Empire

The 1917 Whittier Chamber of Commerce’s brochure reads: "Oranges—Whittier soil is particularly adapted to the Valencia orange. Although ' the values placed upon full bearing orange and lemon groves seem exorbitant to the eastern farmer, they are determined by actual returns. The highest prices are frequently paid by old residents and experienced growers. Frequent annual returns of from $600 to $1000 per acre are recorded."

My First Orange Crop, circa 1931
My First Orange Crop, circa 1931

Everybody wanted to be a part of this growing industry.

The County Road
The County Road

In 1876 the railroad reached Southern California, the next year the first shipment of California oranges left the Southern California area bound for St Louis, Missouri. From the 1880’s through World War II, the citrus industry was the driving force behind California’s economy and ‘had passed the cash returns from gold’. By 1900 California was the leading producer of fruit, surpassing Florida, and has been described by some as the “Orange Empire’.

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mouse over pictures for captions - click for expanded view

Special thanks to Whittier Public Library for use of images from their Historical Photograph Collection.

"A farmer’s day begins and ends with the sun, but a women’s work is never done."

—Anonymous