History of Banning, California
From: History of Riverside County, California
with Biographical Sketches.
History By: Elmer Wallace Holmes
Historic Record Company.
Los Angeles, Califirnia 1912


Banning, which lies midway between its western neighbor Beaumont, and the town of Cabazon to the east, is situated at the narrowest point in the pass, at an elevation of 2,317 feet. The place was named for Gen. Phineas Banning, who in the early days pastured sheep in the pass.

Although the railroad did not establish a depot at Banning when, in 1875 it marked the sites of San Gorgonio (Beaumont) and Cabazon with small stations and telegraph offices, it was really the first town of any importance in the San Gorgonio Pass. When the industries of the little frontier town warranted it, the railroad built a station and installed an agent and telegraph operator, whose name was Burke. This occurred in 1878. Later, however, it became a flag station and no agent was maintained until about 1885.

In 1878 Banning consisted of a few small buildings clustered in a haphazard fashion near the railroad track, at about the place now occupied by the business section of the town. There were, besides a few tents and other places of habitation, three saloons, a boarding house, the depot, and a store, which was owned by the San Gorgonio Fluming Company and was in charge of C. F. Jost. This company was the one which was carrying on lumber operations in Water canyon, and the lumber flume, after leaving the canyon came across the pass and ended at a point nearby the railroad, about the site now occupied by the lumber yard. To maintain the level of the flume, it was built up on trestles, and in the town was high enough above the ground so that wagons drove under it easily. The people of the town got their supply of water from this flume, although they did not use a very great amount, there being at that time no irrigated lands.

It is related that on one occasion, in an exceptionally cold winter, the water in the flume froze after a heavy snow storm, so that the trestle and flume were solid with ice. For several days, at that time, the people had to cut the ice and melt it for water. The town depended upon this flume for its water supply until 1884, when it was torn down. In 1884 severe rainstorms so washed out the railroad track that the train service was demoralized. No trains came through the town for two weeks, and certain food supplies became so scarce that it was necessary to send a wagon to Colton to obtain them. In 1895, when a big railroad strike effectually isolated the towns of the pass, a similar experience was gone through.

During the few years that the lumber company was in operation it furnished occupation for quite a number of men. In those days there was a saloon conveniently placed in the canyon, nearby the point now called Camp Comfort. As has been seen, the company failed, and when it ceased operations some of the men who had been interested in its management took up land here. George W. Scott, uncle of Winfield Scott, a Baptist minister of Los Angeles, who was in charge of the lumber company, furnished most of the money for the running expenses of the company, and lost many thousands of dollars in the project. Winfield Scott took up land on Section 4, which is in the northern part of Banning, and Wellwood Murray took up land which he afterwards sold to the Catholic Missions, and where the industrial school for Indians is now located.

In 1883 C. W. Filkins of Riverside came to Banning and bought some land, and in 1884 the Banning Land Company and the Banning Water Company were formed. The other men who were interested in the companies with Filkins were George W. Bryant, also of Riverside, and Jacob Kline and T. F. Hofer of Carson City, Nev. Later, Wilson Hays of San Jose was interested in the company. Bryant was elected the first president of the two companies

When the capitalists invested here a flume was built up the Water canyon (which at that time was still called the Johnny Moore canyon), and water was brought down eight miles and pipes laid in the valley to convey it to users. The first reservoir was the lower reservoir, which was enlarged at a comparatively recent date; the upper reservoir was not built until a few years later. There were no wells put down in the canyon by the company until 1899, when one was sunk in a cienega about five or six miles up the canyon. About a year later another one was dug, at some distance below the first. The increasing acreage and thus the need for more and more water to irrigate the orchards and vineyards was the cause of the wells being sunk, and not the fact that the water supply was decreasing. In old histories the water supply at Banning was mentioned as "probably the best between Colton and Yuma," and this fact seems to have been proven with the succeeding years. During the past three years a tunnel and well in the lower cienega, at the mouth of the Water canyon, has been installed, and a well and sixty horsepower pump have been put in at Camp Comfort, eight miles up the canyon. The company owns the canyon lands, the watershed and the water, and as the company is composed of the property owners and users of irrigating water, the Banning people are possessors of a precious piece of property. Since the first land was sold by the comany in the early years of the town, the purchasers have bought with it water shares. Banning is one of the few places in the state where this condition exists, for in the majority of communities a limited company owns the water, selling it, not outright, but by measurement, to consumers. Stockholders in the Banning Water Company elect five directors annually. Very little trouble has ever arisen over the water rights, although at one time a company called the Mountain Spring Water Company attempted to prove prior rights to the water, but was not successful.

The Consolidated Reservoir and Power Company is at present undertaking a large project in the transporting westward across the mountains by ditch line, a portion of the Whitewater river flow. The water will be brought from high up in the hills across the head of the Water canyon north of Banning, and will be used on the large mesa known as Barker's bench, of which the company now has control. Work was begun three years ago on the ditch, the altitude making labor in the winter time impossible, and it is expected that it will be completed to the bench land by the end of the present summer. The mesa has been surveyed preparatory to subdivision and when the water is brought to it will no doubt be sold as ranching land, thus adding a valuable "back country" section to the San Gorgonio Pass.

The Banning company did not purchase at once all the land which they subsequently owned, but bought it in several different parcels and at different times. They first obtained from Rains Moore his rights to land and water claimed by him. The land lay near the mouth of the canyon, and reached down to a point just above the lower reservoir. The Moores had one house near the lower reservoir, which in a remodeled form is still in use, and an adobe farther north on the land. In 1884 the company bought from old Johnny Moore (who had a place in the canyon near the spot now called Camp Comfort, where the most recent of the wells of the water company is located) his possessory rights to both land and water. The same year they obtained like rights from Sam Black, who then claimed the land and cienegas about the place formerly occupied by "French George" Munnon, where the two lower wells of the company are now situated. It was not until 1885 or 1886 that the land now included in that portion of Banning lying west of San Gorgonio avenue and north of the railroad was purchased from Gideon Scott, where the main residence district of the town is now built up.

In 1883 Filkins sold to the San Jose Fruit Packing and Canning Company, which had plants at San Jose and also at Colton, land lying south of the railroad. With the land they acquired right to twenty four inches continuous flow of water. This company planted many acres of deciduous fruit trees, and built a house where their manager resided. J. H. Barbour was secretary of the company, and Zellwood Murray was for a time the manager. After a few years the company found that their project was not much of a financial success, so the land was subdivided. It is still known as the San Jose tract, and water rights in that portion of the town differ from those in other parts of the community.

When water had been piped to the land bought by the company in charge of the Banning project, a town was platted and acreage was also arranged for. The first three lots sold by the company were purchased by W. S. Hathaway, who came to the pass in 1883. He erected a small residence on his property, which was located facing the railroad track near the present lumber yard.

In 1884 a hotel, called the Bryant house, was built at Banning. At this time there was a store (owned by Dr. John C. King and F. A. Barr, who purchased it in 1883 from George C. Egan, who had it from the first owner, Jack Worsham), a postoffice, a saloon, the depot, with telegraph station, and a schoolhouse. The store did a very extensive business, acting also in the capacity of bank. There were a few more and better residences than had existed a short time before that, and the tearing down of the lumber flume changed the appearance of the frontier town greatly.

When the San Jose company began developing orchard lands there were some other orchards planted, and fine fruit was raised. But although it was the intention of the corporation owning the land to make Banning an agricultural center, its superior climate soon made it more of a health resort than a farming district.

The cultivation of the soil grew steadily as an important industry, however, and every year saw the increase in acreage of deciduous fruits Almonds began to be planted, also, and proved profitable. It has recently been estimated that the total acreage of deciduous fruits, including peaches, apricots, prunes, plums, pears, grapes, olives, etc, planted prior to 1911 totaled about 1400 acres, while the acreage of almonds up to that date had reached nearly five hundred acres, bringing Banning to the head of communities in the southern part of the state engaged in the almond raising industry. In 1911 about seven hundred and twenty acres of fruit and nuts were planted, while during the present year nearly three hundred and fifty acres have been planted. This brings the present total acreage very near to three thousand. In the early days Banning fruit was considered of excellent quality, and still bears that reputation. In 1911 nearly twenty five hundred and fifty tons of green and dried fruit and nuts were shipped out of Banning. The fruit was dried at small establishments in the early days, or shipped fresh, but with the growth of the output larger establishments sprang up, and at present there are several large driers doing business, and two fresh fruit packing houses. Fruit is also shipped in quantities to canneries, and the almonds, for the most part, are handled in a special hulling establishment. A two hundred acre grove of eucalyptus trees, owned by the American Eucalyptus Company, is located in the western part of town. The first trees were set out in 1909, and already have made excellent growth. Vegetables are also successfully grown, and in the early days fine berries were produced, but proved less profitable than orchard fruits.

As more of the company lands were disposed of the population of the town gradually increased. There has never been a "boom" at Banning, and the growth has been steady. In 1888 the population was estimated at about three hundred, while at present it is about one thousand.

The first school in Banning was conducted in a small frame building located in the northern part of the town, the first sessions being held in 1877 or 78. The first teacher was a Mrs. Sanderson. This old building, a small, one roomed affair, is still in existence, being now located back of C. S. Holcomb's blacksmith shop, where it does humble duty as a paint shop. In 1884 a new schoolhouse was erected on Murray street, and this with several subsequent additions needed to accommodate the ever growing community (as well as a kindergarten, which existed from 1892 to 1895), was in use until 1903, when a new frame building was put up, this time on Williams street between First and Second. The new building was only in use a few years and was destroyed by fire early in 1908. The remainder of the term then in progress was finished under great difficulties, the primary grades being taught in the old Foresters' hall on Livingstone avenue, the intermediate grades in the old Baptist church and the high school in the Methodist church. The high school was establisher in the late '90s, the first class graduating in 1899. Paul G. Ward was the first principal of the high school. Until this year the high school was under the direction of the grammar school trustees, but at present it includes the Cabazon district, is known as the Banning Union High school district, and has a special board of trustees.

When the school house was burned, bonds were at once voted for a new structure, which was immediately erected. This building is still in use, with an additional room which was later found necessary; this is a plaster structure, with tile roof, and is of Mission style. During the term closed last May there were one hundred and eighty one children enrolled in the school, and six teachers were employed. The number of teachers has been increased to seven for the coming term.

Although there were two school districts in Banning before the establishment of the present county, no school was ever held in the San Diego district of Banning, for oddly enough that part of the town belonged in a district which maintained a school in the San Jacinto valley, the other side of the mountain. So the children living in the southern portion of the town attended the San Bernardino county school, north of the railroad track, it being obviously impossible for them to attend the other school.

No history of the educational institutions of Banning would be complete without mention of the St. Boniface Industrial School for Indians, which was erected in 1890. This school is situated in the northern part of Banning near the foothills at the mouth of Priest canyon. This canyon was formerly known as Murray canyon, when the land there was owned by Wellwood Murray, who sold his water rights and sixty acres of land to the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions of Washington, D. C., in 1889. The first building, a large two story brick structure, was erected in that year at a cost of approximately $40,000, the money being furnished by Miss Drexel of New York. Father Stephan was the director of the work, and the first priest placed in charge was Father Willard, but lie was taken ill and died at Beaumont in 1890. Father B. Florian Hahn was at once placed in charge, and under his direction the school began its first active work. Father Hahn is still in charge of the work begun by him so long ago, and under his capable management the school has grown and prospered. The school obtains water from the canyon and also owns five inches of water from the Water canyon. The lands have been cultivated profitably and improved. To the original building have been added two more. A frame two story building was erected in 1894 for use as a boy's dormitory and school rooms. This was in use until July of this year, when it was unfortunately destroyed by fire. It will be replaced in the near future. A chapel of attractive appearance was built by the boys of the school under the direction of Father Hahn in 1899. Indian children of both sexes from the reservation of Southern California receive industrial training and educational advantages at the school, a number of Sisters of St. Joseph acting as teachers. Over eight hundred young Indians have passed through this institution since its first year. Until 1899 government aid was given the school, but since that year it has been entirely supported by the mission bureau. On the grounds there is a small cemetery, but this has not been in use for a number of years.

For a good many years the chapel at St. Boniface was the only available place of worship for white people of the Catholic religion in the pass, but Banning people of that faith were provided with a church when a small building was erected in 1911. This church is on San Gorgonio avenue, and was dedicated by Rt. Rev. Bishop Thomas J. Conaty on Easter morning of that year, and is called the Church of the Most Precious Blood.

The Baptist congregation also built a fine new church the same year, at the site of their old building, which was erected in 1884, on the corner of Murray and Ramsey streets. The corner stone of the new building was laid in 1910 and in December, 1911, the church was dedicated. The old building was used for a time as a union church, and in 1885 Rev. Sibley conducted services for the inter denominational congregation. Prior to the building of the church, occasional services were held in the schoolhouse. In January, 1889, a formal organization of the union church was attempted, which was called the Church Aid Society. Officers of the society were: Dr. J. C. King, president; Mrs. Lulu Carpenter, vice president; Prof. E. D. Roberts, secretary; Charles D Hamilton, treasurer; and Alex. Mackey, W. S. Hathaway, T. E. Fraser, W. H. Ingelow, and C. H. Ingelow. This organization lasted only until November, when the Baptists organized their church and took possession of the building, Rev. Sibley being their first pastor.

About a year later, in October of 1890, the Methodists organized, holding their services in the Fraser-Kelley hall, then a new two story brick building. The brick for this building was mannfactered in Banning, at a kiln in the southwestern part of town, which was owned by T. E. Fraser. At this kiln the brick for the first building at the Catholic school was also made. A few years later operations at the kiln were discontinued and the place is now marked by a small heap of crumbled brick. The first pastor of the new congregation was Rev. A. H. Holden. In 1892 a small church was built on San Gorgonio avenue, near the corner of Ramsey street, and this structure later received an additional wing. This building was moved, in 1907, to a site on the corner of Ramsey and Second streets, where it was remodeled and substantially enlarged, and forms the building in use at the present time. The original church organization was under the direction of the mission, and the local minister frequently exchanged pulpits with one of the Beaumont pastors.

In the earliest days of the town there was no postoffice, but the mail was thrown off passing trains for those living at the small towns in the pass. In 1880 J. S. Moore was appointed postmaster at Banning. The postoffice was for a good many years maintained at different store buildings, and very often the storekeeper acted as postmaster. About 1894 the postoffice attained the dignity of a separate establishment, and at present is located in a small frame building which was built in 1910 in the center of town.

The first hotel, which has already been mentioned, was the Bryant house, and in 1888 was known as The Banning. The name was changed when Capt. and Mrs. T. E. Fraser became owners and managers in December of that year. This hotel is still in use as a rooming house. For a good many years this house was the social center of the little community. The Spokane hotel, on the corner of San Gorgonio avenue and Ramsey streets, was formerly known as the Coplin house, when it was owned and managed by Mrs. Mary Coplin, one of the pioneer residents of this vicinity. The Alta Vista hotel, which occupies the second story of the Dudley block, was opened in 1905, when the building was erected, and is at present in operation.

With the growth of the number of residents coming to Banning to obtain the benefit of the curative powers of the climate came the need for a local hospital, and at present there are two small sanitoriums in the town. Although in the early '90s it seemed for a time that Banning would become more important as a health resort than as a fruit producing district, this has not proven to be the case, and while a great many sufferers find relief here now, the chief income of the prosperous community is derived from the orchards.

It has been seen that Banning about 1884 was a tiny frontier town, very crude in appearance. A grain field produced a yield about that time on land which is now occupied by some of the main business houses of the place, and rabbits and quail were shot within a block of the center of town. As the years went by and the population increased many changes in the business section took place, and gradually the town took on a somewhat more thrifty appearance. Not only was the business section improved, but the residences by degrees became of a better class. In 1890 there were two grocery stores, a meat market, blacksmith shop, livery stable, postoffice, depot, hotel, church, schoolhouse, a large hay warehouse, and one saloon, besides other buildings and residences. The saloon was maintained until about two years later. Trees both in the orchards and along the streets had attained such a growth that they added materially to the beauty of the place, taking away from the raw, "frontier" look of the town. About this time the railroad commenced running a local train between Los Angeles and Banning, called the "Banning Flyer," and built a small engine shed and turn table at the town, although these were later removed and the local done away with.

In 1888 the people of the town were a good deal stirred up over the action of the government in evicting white settlers from land set apart for the use of the Indians, which has already been mentioned, and many editions of the first newspaper ever published in Banning were filled with articles concerning it. This paper was The Herald of Banning, and the first issue was in August of '88. Louis Munson, a young Chicago lawyer who came to California in search of lost health, was the editor. He was a remarkably clever man, and under his hands the Herald took on much more importance than a weekly published in a small town usually assumes and did much to favorably advertise Banning. In 1891 Mr. Munson was unfortunately stricken and died at Arlington, April 23rd, having gone there upon the occasion of a visit from President Benjamin Harrison, who had passed through Banning the day before and had been greeted upon the brief stop of his train by practically the whole population of the town and nearby ranches. For the occasion of the short visit of the distinguished man the little depot at Banning was elaborately decorated with yuccas and poppies (which in those days before the extensive cultivation of the soil were much more plentiful than they are at present) and fruit and flowers were presented to the presidential party. It is related that the fruit was necessarily canned because the fresh fruit season had not yet commenced, but that it was no less graciously received on that account. On the day previous to his death Mr. Munson did his last duty to the place of his adoption when he voiced the sentiments of Banningites in an address of welcome to the president. He was most sincerely mourned not only by the residents of Banning, but by newspapermen all over the state, who recognized him as a fearless and brilliant journalist An unusual act on the part of several citizens of Banning, which plainly showed their sentiments towards the little weekly which had become one of the livest features of the town, as well as toward the departed editor, was the forming of a committee which edited the paper until a legal successor could be secured. The committee was made up of the following people: Mrs. James F. Bird, Dr. J. C. King, M. French Gilman, W. H. Ingelow and W. S. Hathaway. After a short time Harry Patton, a newspaper man from San Francisco, undertook the work, and later the paper passed into several hands. It gradually dwindled, however, and never reached the importance it had enjoyed during the first years of its existence. The last issues were published about 1895, and it was not until 1908 that Banning had another newspaper. In that year Harvey Johnson, editor and owner of the Record, began printing locally the weekly, which is still published here.

The lodges organized in the town have been few in number. About 1897 a chapter of the Foresters' lodge was established, but was not active for many years, although during its flourishing period it owned a building. A branch of the Knights of Maccabees was established in 1905, but is not now in active existence. In 1907 the Odd Fellows installed a lodge, which is at present the only active lodge for men in Banning. The auxiliary lodge of the Rebekahs was brought into the town in 1908. Among the business men there are now two organizations, and an Almond Growers' Association affiliated with the state organization was formed in 1910. The first women's club in Banning was the Saturday Afternoon Club, which was founded in 1904, affiliated with the C. F. W. C. in 1905, and in 1909, in order to better control property consisting of real estate, was incorporated under the laws of the state.

For a good many years there was no telephone system to connect the town with the outside world, but in 1905 the Southwestern Telephone Company of Redlands extended its lines from that city. Since that date Banning has had the central office for the whole pass. Before the installation of the present system a locally owned telephone was in use for several years, but did not extend its lines beyond Banning. In 1890 a number of people living in the town had a private telegraph line with instruments in their homes, but this was not a money making project. In 1909 a company of local capitalists installed .a gas plant, and are still supplying the town with this fuel.

The people of Banning have always taken advantage of the fact that they live within traveling distance of the beauty spots in the mountains, but until the Banning-Idyllwild road was constructed in the San Jacinto mountains and opened up travel in 1910, no very easy means of access into those mountains was available, and the journey by trail or by the almost perpendicular Hall grade was difficult. This road opens up the mountains to the people of the pass, and is now a favorite automobile trip. In the mountains are several ranches, some of them dating back in occupancy to the very early days of the valley, but the sawmills which were in operation as late as the early '90s, are now not in use. In the mountain places cattle, hogs and fruit are raised Mines have been located in the foothills to either side of the town, but no valuable ledges were ever found.

It is said that in the early '80s the mountains were more populous than the valley towns, and the lumbermen, together with the cowboys from places near Banning, and the miners going to and from the gold mines on the Colorado desert, made Banning their headquarters for both wet and dry goods. In 1884 the one store and the lone saloon did a rushing business, satisfying the needs of these rough customers. Sunday, far from being the day of peace and quiet, was the chief day for rowdyism and unrest, and hardly a week ended without a shooting scrap. Dr. J. C. King, who did not begin practice regularly in the town until 1885, was nevertheless called upon very frequently in surgical cases, as he was the only physician within a radius of a great many miles for years. He is still practicing in Banning. The gradual discontinuance of the lumber industry lessened the number of mountain residents as the years went by, and the dwindling of the cattle ranges cut down the number of happy go lucky followers of the herds. Banning continued as the shopping center for the desert miners, however, until a comparatively recent date, when towns nearer the desert sprang up. To this day, however, the merchants of the town do a considerable business with the miners, who convey the supplies obtained here to their mines by means of wagon freight. These freight teams in the '90s were numerous and very picturesque: A wagon and a trail wagon attached would be loaded with merchandise and start desertward, drawn by twelve or more mules and horses. The driver often rode one of the beasts, and instead of managing his team with reins, used one long "jerk line" which was fastened to the bridle of one of the clever lead animals, and a long whip. Bells were attached to the collars of a few of the animals, so that the team could be heard long before anything but the cloud of dust which usually surrounded it could be seen. The freight wagons today are of a less picturesque type.

The citizens of Banning make up today a peaceful community, but as late as 1895 or thereabouts there were shooting scraps on the main street, and in 1890 the place earned the right to be called a typical "wild West" town when a horse thief was taken from the custody of the law and hanged to a telegraph pole east of town. It must be borne in mind that, as in the case of any other community, it was not the highest minded men of the place who disgraced the town by such actions, and that there were always good and law abiding citizens who deplored such affairs. The jail from which the half breed horse thief was taken to be hung was simply a makeshift, prisoners at that time being chained in an empty stall of the livery stable. A good many years later a tiny wooden "calaboose" was built, and when this was destroyed by fire about 1908 the town again lacked a place of detention for the offenders against law and order. A small jail, built in 1911, of concrete blocks, now serves as temporary place of incarceration for those falling into the hands of the constable, this being located near the gas plant east of the town.

The history of the San Gorgonio Pass or of any part of it is not one of startlingly sudden growth, but of the steady and gradual development of the resources with which Nature has endowed it. And very often years passed before residents realized the value of certain resources. One concrete instance of this concerns a point of hills south of Banning, which was called Rocky Point because it was a mass of huge boulders, and was considered valueless. Within the past four years experts in search of granite for paving blocks discovered this point within easy hauling distance of the railroad, and since then a quarry has been established there. When lumber cutting or cattle herding was being exploited, the soil and water which since then have combined to produce such valuable crops, were thought worthless except as they could be utilized in the industries which were then considered profitable. Historical facts concerning people are always more interesting than those relating to mere things, and are correspondingly difficult to obtain. A full account of the multitude of incidents, tragic, humorous or ordinary, which made up the lives of the pioneers would possess a great deal more fascination than can possibly be obtained in the enumeration of the stages of development of the country where they lived, and which their efforts made more and more habitable as the years went by.

Nothing has been said of the work of the pioneer women, but they, although few in number, did their part in the upbuilding of Banning as surely as did the men who developed the soil and water of the place and brought it to its present sound basis. In 1884 there were just four white women in the town and about five more living in the nearby canyons and ranches. The women of Banning have always been interested in the growth of the place and have aided materially its institutions, especially its schools and churches. Mrs. James F. Bird was the first and only woman on the school board of trustees in the town, serving in all twelve years; and it was a small group of women who last year organized the Parent Teacher Association with the idea of bringing the school and home closer together. The women of the churches through their aid societies have always been particularly helpful to those institutions. Banning housekeepers who today think they have few advantages would not complain if they had lived here in the early days and kept house under such conditions as those with which the pioneers had to contend. One of the most annoying features to which the first housekeepers in Banning had to become accustomed was the extreme interest with which the Indians, both men and women, viewed their simple housekeeping arrangements. Although the Indians were friendly, it was rather disconcerting for a woman, engaged in cooking or washing, to suddenly find herself the observed of several dusky observers whose faces were pressed against the windows of her little home, and this was by no means an uncommon occurrence. Although the early housekeepers of Banning did not have to contend with bears and wildcats, the coyotes were much more numerous and bolder in the days when the settlement was small, and the thrifty housewife who had a flock of chickens knew the annoyance the beasts could cause. Pioneer women who are still residents of Banning include Mrs. J. M. Gilman, Mrs. C. F. Jost, Mrs. J. M. Forquer, Mrs. J. C. King, Mrs. Charles Ingelow, Mrs. H. M. Rodway, and Mrs. O. Hamilton.

Banning at present is a well laid out community, and a bird's eye view from the nearby foothills today shows streets bordened with magnificent pepper trees, planted by the water company many years ago, the main business section of the town clustered in a neat and orderly fashion near the railroad track in the center of the residence portions and the orchards, which reach from mountain to mountain and give the town the appearance of a huge checker board, with the orchards as the squares. The homes of the Banning people today, while they are none of them palatial, are for the most part attractive and comfortable with flowers and lawns surrounding them, and are in marked contrast to the shacks with which the first residents of the place had to content themselves. The business section now contains three general merchandise stores, a meat market, ice plant, garage, jewelry store, drug store, furniture store, two pool rooms, a bakery, two barber shops, two confectioneries, two hardware stores, a livery stable, a hay and grain establishment, a mill where grain is crushed, a lumber yard, a dry goods store, and various other places of business and amusement. New business buildings of a modern type are even now in the course of construction and in 1911 five business blocks were erected. The same year thirty one residences were built. The place has a First National bank, which occupies a building in the center of town, and which was first organized in 1904 as a state bank, and was nationalized in 1909. Property both in town lots and acreage has greatly increased in value and the property owners of Banning are prosperous and contented in the assurance that their holdings are of sound value. It might also be noted that the matter of incorporating Banning into a city of the sixth class is to come before the citizens of that place in January, 1913, a special election having been ordered by the county supervisors for that purpose.

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