How could we not mention citrus as we highlight our region’s local history? Many of suburban Southern California’s communities were formed around agriculture, especially citrus. Here at the National Archives at Riverside, we share our city with the beautiful California State Citrus Park, and we even have our own orange tree in front of our building. And yes, a few of us actually do go out there and pick the fruit for a midday snack. That orange is from our tree, enjoyed at the desk of one of our student employees.
The citrus industry was involved in many aspects of the development of southern California. We have a letter from the Chief of Engineers for the Los Angeles District, and its purpose was to show the support of the Orange County Fruit Exchange for the Newport Harbor project by the US Army Corps of Engineers. Note that they were members of the powerful Southern California Fruit Exchange (SUNKIST). And that the growers were looking to buy 6 ships just to move fruit to the east coast!
The detailed diagram is part of the patent for a fruit grader. This machine sorted fruit by size. The document is held in the civil case files of the US Circuit Court for the Southern Division of California. We hold many such cases as innovators struggled to get money and credit for the inventions that revolutionized the industry.
Throughout the month of July, the National Archives at Riverside is taking the opportunity to share images, documents, and records that celebrate our local history. As the archives that holds permanent federal records for Southern California, Arizona, and Clark County, we have records from the states’ Territorial eras, records relating to the development of the region as a center of commerce and culture, and records depicting the natural beauty and built environments of our unique home. This July, join us in celebrating our heritage as Americans and our heritage as stewards of the Pacific Southwest!