By William Corkhill
But a few years ago, comparatively speaking, California was a mysterious stretch of country in the far, far
west - the population Mexicans and adventurous white men the Mexicans living their usual life of ease, the white
men seeking gold - hardy, determined men, who faced all kinds of danger in search of the yellow metal. They could
not see any possibilities in the arid wastes in which they dug, only that it might yield the valuable metal. This
was mostly in the northern part of the state, and those who had to travel in the southern part could only see dry
and drear wastes of mesa, with here and there an oasis. Charles A. Dana, in his "Two Years Before the Mast,"
remarking on this part of the state, said: "Many times I took rides horseback into the interior, where there
were great reaches of level country, that no doubt would be valuable for grazing." Little did Mr. Dana think,
when he rode over those reaches of mesas, that the time would soon come when they would blossom like the rose -
be the wonder of the world in products. Little did he think that in a few years the ports in which he helped to
cure and pack hides would teem with mighty commerce; that the mesas would be redolent with the perfume of orange
blossoms, and that its golden fruit would fill the markets of the country; that great cities would spring up as
if by magic, and that it would be considered the favored corner of the world in all that goes to make life worth
South Riverside was born in the time of the great boom; the time when it was supposed that every piece of land
would grow oranges successfully; the time when men lost their heads, when fortunes were lost in wild speculation;
when two real estate offices and a hotel and the promise of water would set men wild to buy. Many towns were born
at this time, and many died in the horning, as it was soon discovered that not all lands were capable of raising
the golden. fruit. The orange was all that was thought of, the thousand and one things that since have made fortunes
were not then thought of. And so the towns born at that time, and that survived, were the favored spots on which
citrus fruits could be raised successfully. This was the reason that South Riverside survived And though the transforming
of a desert into a garden had many 'serious drawbacks, yet success came, and the Queen Colony of 1887 is today
a large factor in Southern California
In February, 1886, R. B. Taylor of Sioux City, Iowa, conceived the idea of planting a colony in Southern California.
He succeeded in organizing a company composed of the following gentlemen: R. B. Taylor, Adolph Rimpau, George L.
Joy, S. Merrill, ex-governor of Iowa, and A. S. Garretson. They succeeded in buying from the heirs of B. Yorba
nearly 12,000 acres of land, and at once began the transformation. The name chosen for the new townsite was South
Riverside, and they christened it the Queen Colony. Why the name South Riverside was chosen is not known; but Riverside,
even at that time, had a wide reputation, and no doubt the promoters of the new town thought the name chosen would
give it prestige. The lands were situated in the southwest corner of the great county of San Bernardino, on an
inclined plain, or mesa, sloping to the north from the Temescal mountains. To the east the Temescal canyon, to
the west the Santa Ana canyon. It was said later by Prof. Hilgard of the State University that the upper mesa would
no doubt always be comparatively frostless by reason of air currents caused by the peculiar situation of the two
canyons, and time has demonstrated that the professor was correct. It would be hard to find a more glorious prospect
that the one from the upper mesa. Looking over miles of valley, to the west the towns of Pomona and Chino; to the
north the towns of Ontario and Uplands; to the northeast beautiful Riverside, and in the far distance old San Bernardino,
while stretching almost east and west are the great Sierras. Directly north stands Old Baldy, grim old sentinel,
keeping guard, as it were, of the beautiful towns at his feet. As a background to Old San Bernardino stands grand
Mount San Bernardino, his hoary head seeming to touch the sky. To the east, beyond the Gavilan hills, can be seen
the crest of stately Mount San Jacinto. 'Tis truly a sight once seen never forgotten.
Here then was where the townsite of South Riverside was located. A perfect desert in summer; a perfect garden in
winter, when the rains brought forth the alfilaree and flowers in the greatest profusion. Great patches of cactus
were here and there, and the coyote and rabbit were lords of it all. There were a few trails or roads, and over
one of these, it is said, General Fremont led his troops to Monterey in the long ago. We must understand that the
lands were sixteen miles away from the nearest railroad, it reaching only to Riverside, but plans had been laid
to continue the railroad through to Los Angeles in the near future. Everything needed in starting the new town
had to be hauled by teams this sixteen miles, as Riverside was the nearest point.
R. B. Taylor may well be called the father of South Riverside, for he not only saw the possibilities of the venture,
but he threw into it his great executive ability, and as the first superintendent forced the work along with tireless
energy. To transform a desert into a habitable place was the task. The land was there; the marvelous climate was
there, and that was all. Water, the king of the far west, must be developed, for without water the whole scheme
would come to naught. The town must be platted, streets and roads marked out and graded, and a great pipe line
laid to deliver the water to the lands. Immediately after the lands were acquired development was started. Lands
in the Temescal canyon, some twelve miles east of the townsite, had been acquired, where water was to be developed,
and operations were commenced at once. H. C. Kellogg of Anaheim, a civil engineer of excellent ability, was engaged
to survey and plat the town and outside acre property. On June 6, 1886, he drove the first stake in what is now
the intersection of Main and Sixth streets. From thence he ran a line to what is now the intersection of the Boulevard
and Main street, south. He then ran a line in a grand circle, one mile in diameter. This was the Grand Boulevard
surrounding the town, a feature possessed, perhaps, by no other town. Inside the circle the streets were laid out
at right angles, outside the roads were laid out radiating from the circle, like spokes from a hub. Magnolia avenue,
the pride of Riverside at that time, was only laid out to the arroyo, or wash northeast of town, but this avenue
was continued through the colony lands clear to the foothills, and in time it will be the marvel of this part of
The development of water went merrily on, and sufficient having been developed to warrant a pipe line, the construction
of a thirty six inch line was commenced. This pipe line was commenced about August, 1886, and was completed in
the spring of 1887 at a cost of 545,000.
The first building erected was an office for the use of R. B. Taylor, in the rear of the present First National
Bank. Its size was 16x24. In the rear of this building a well had been sunk which supplied the wants in that line
until water could be delivered from the main pipe line. The first house built was on Sixth street, between Ramona
and Victoria streets, on the south side of the street. This was for the use of H. C. Kellogg, engineer, as a residence.
In October, 1887, the house was bought by J. L. Taber and used by the Taber family until it was moved in 1910 to
make room for the concrete garage built by A. L. Taber.
The real settlement of South Riverside began in 1887, and this year was a very busy one for the new colony. Early
in the year settlers began to arrive. Most of the newcomers were from the state of Iowa, though several other states
were represented, as also was Canada. Among them were William Dyer and family, F. H. Robinson and family, Andrew
Wheaten, B. C. Turner, Harry Woodhall, John, Allan and Ted Fraser, I. A. Newton and family and William Wall and
family. Charles Wall and R B Taylor have the honor of being the first to sleep in the new town, having the whole
townsite as their bedstead and the sky as the coverlet. Charles Wall also had the privilege of being the first
zanjero. These were among some of the first comers to South Riverside, and the desert began to resound with the
hum of hammer and saw. The mere fact that all material had to be hauled sixteen miles was no deterrent, for the
ones who came from their homes in the east meant business - they had come here to make homes, and no little thing
could stop them.
The first building of magnitude was the Hotel Temescal. This was built by A. S. Garretson, and he tried to make
it the equal of any hostelry in the southern country. The grounds comprised a whole block of ground in the center
of town, bounded by Main, Sixth, Washburn and Seventh streets. The building was a five story structure and was
up to date in every appointment. O. A. Smith was made manager, and it must be said that no hotel ever had a more
genial host. Mr. Smith took delight in making the grounds beautiful, and it was not long until they were the most
beautiful of any hotel grounds in the south, and for many years, were the beauty spot of the town.
The hotel was commenced in the spring, of 1887, and here, in the midst of the lumber in front of the unfinished
building, was held the first church service in the new colony - the pulpit a pile of boards - the pews whatever
there might to be to sit upon. The Rev. Mr. Houlding of the Congregational Society was the preacher, he having
since become a missionary to China. This same year the Congregational Society built a church on the corner of Ramona
and Eighth streets. The Rev. Goulding was installed as pastor, but held the position but a few months. Here worshipped
all denominations for many months, or until they severally organized. In May the Citizens Bank was organized and
commenced business August 1, with R. B. Taylor as president and H. Woodhall, cashier. The bank had its home in
the small office of Mr. Taylor, before mentioned, for several months, or until the present bank building was finished.
This building was commenced in June of this year on the northeast corner of Sixth and Main streets. The corner
room was for the home of the Citizens Bank, besides which there were two large storerooms, and in the upper story
At this time the building operations in Southern California were so great that much difficulty was experienced
in getting materials, and with South Riverside so far from supplies, made it so much worse, so the Taylor or Bank
Block was not finished until the following April.
The first orange grove in the new colony was set by Patrick Harrington, an old resident of Temescal. They were
old trees taken up in the Temescal and transplanted in the southwest of town, on the grove now owned by Leo Kroonan.
Mr. Harrington also started a brick yard north of town and supplied bricks for the town in its building operations.
On Thursday, June 2nd, the first newspaper was issued under the name of the South Riverside Bee, by F. T. Sheppard.
The office was located on the west side of Main street, below Fifth. Shortly after the first issue Frank Dyer bought
one half interest. and still later H. C. Foster bought the interest of Mr. Sheppard. R. B. Taylor had built a fine
residence on the corner of Eighth and Victoria streets, which furnished the first fire in the new colony, as it
burned before it was quite finished.
The great need was the railroad; the roadbed was made; the rails were laid, and longing eyes were looking for the
ears. All mail was directed to Riverside, from whence it was carried by stage, and although P. M. Coburn carried
it gratis, yet the people wanted the railroad and a postoffice. At last, on June 30, the first train pulled into
South Riverside, whereat there was much rejoicing. On the 12th of July an excursion was run to South Riverside
from the surrounding towns. An auction sale of lots and acre property had been advertised, and on the day appointed
the crowds were there and much property was sold and many decided to locate.
No postoffice had yet been located by the government, but very shortly after the railroad was an established fact,
O. A. Smith was appointed postmaster. He appointed J. H. Taylor of the Taylor & Lawrence hardware firm, his
deputy, and the postoffice was opened in the hardware store, on the site of the present Corona Lumber Company.
It is a commendable fact that every new American community must have schools, and South Riverside was no exception
to the rule. Settlers were coming in, and the necessity of schools very soon began to be felt. The matter was agitated,
and the first school meeting was held in the drug store of B. C. Turner, on the 12th of October. B. W. Sloan was
chairman and John Priest, secretary. There being no provision as yet for schools by the county, it was ordered
that every male resident should pay the sum of $2 per month and three months in advance, and that the school should
commence November 5th. Miss Gertie McEwen was appointed teacher. A schoolhouse was built on the corner of Eighth
and Howard streets, largely by the Land and Water Company. The building was bought later by the Christian Church
organization, and later still by the Christian Scientists. Here school was kept for over one year, or until the
schoolhouse was built in the next block. Shortly after the school was started the Yorba School District was formed
and funds were provided in the usual manner.
Some time after the advent of the railroad a new enterprise was started. This was to build a railroad from Pomona
to Elsinore. A company was formed, consisting of Ex-Governor Merrill, George L. Joy, R. Gird of Chino, F. H. Heald
of Elsinore, H. A. Palmer of Berkeley, A. F. Naftzger and G. H. Fullerton of Riverside. At once work was commenced;
following the surveyors the road was graded to or near the Hoags canyon, wben work ceased. Had the road been carried
through it would no doubt have opened up a large area of country, but whatever the reason was the work ceased,
and the Pomona and Elsinore passed into history as a joke.
The first child born in the new colony was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. F. H. Robinson, in September of '87; and
the first death was the infant daughter of H. E. Taylor, who at that time held the position of station agent.
The South Riverside Land and Water Company was putting forth every effort to make the settlement a success. They
had donated one quarter block each to the Methodist, Episcopal, Baptist, Congregational and Catholic denominations.
As I have noted, the Congregationalists were the first to use their land, but the Methodists in the fall of this
year laid plans for meetings and organization. The Rev. Mr. Sowden was stationed here, and a small parsonage was
built on their lot on Ramona and Tenth streets. The company also offered prizes for those who beautified their
lots, and a prize to the one who would build the first brick dwelling. This prize went to Col. Allan Fraser, who
built the two story brick house now standing on the corner of Howard and Seventh streets. Settlers were coming
in fast and dwellings going up in all parts of the colony. George L. Joy was laying plans for a fine residence.
W. H. Jameson, son in law of Mr. Joy, had plans for a modern dwelling, which was erected the following spring.
N. C. Hudson also planned to build a fine residence. These gentlemen, all interested in the company, were men of
energy, and evidenced their faith in the new colony by making it their home. It is hard to think of Mr. Joy and
Mr. Hudson without feeling that it was something to have known them. Mr. Joy was a man of magnificent physique,
always kindly and courteous willing to lend a helping hand to the one in distress; Mr. Hudson, than whom a more
lovable character never lived, was always ready to give a gentle and kind word, and when these gentlemen died the
town suffered a great loss.
Everyone had faith in the new colony. Those who had bought acre property were preparing to set out trees. It must
be understood that though oranges had been grown successfully for some years, yet the raising of oranges was but
in its infancy. Much had to be learned; to the man from the east everything was different from the old home, yet
men came across the continent and invested their money in an enterprise wholly new to them, with the usual American
courage, willing to take whatever might come, but always hoping for success. And so the year 1887 closed with everyone
hopeful and every prospect pointing to a great future for South Riverside. The winter of 1887 and '88 was blessed
with abundant rains, so necessary to this country, and the mesas were a sea of white and gold; the flowers were
perhaps more abundant than at any time since. Soon the young orange trees began to come in, and the different acre
pieces were soon dotted with the young buds. O. A. Smith had the honor of raising the first orange in the new colony.
It has been stated that Mr. Smith very early planted different kinds of trees, and this orange grew on a young
bud in the rear of the hotel. It is useless to say that Mr. Smith was proud of his early success, or that the orange
was of much interest to the colonists. This was what so many had located here for, to raise oranges, and to see
the first successful result only spurred them on.
Early in April the Taylor, or Bank block, was finished and the Citizens Bank took possession of its new home, where
it has been for many years. The Land and Water Company had their quarters in the rear of the Citizens Bank, or
in the room now used as the Citizens Bank.
The year '88 was a busy year in every way. Dr. R. D. Barber of Worthington, Minn., erected the building bearing
his name, on the west side of Main street, below the Bank Building, and later located here and built a fine residence
on Victoria street near the Boulevard. Messrs. Nowlin and Burton built the brick building on the east side of Main,
below Fifth, both of these gentlemen locating here and purchasing acre property. The building of dwelling houses
continued, and the new town began to assume a most prosperous appearance.
It must be understood that no revenue was being derived from the new lands, this was all in the future. Young trees
were costly, ranging from $1.50 to $2.00 per tree for good stock. The country was new to nearly all who located
here. Little or nothing was known as to what would or would not grow to advantage and find a market. Experience
has taught that certain localities are right for certain products, and the same would be a failure in other localities.
But this had to be learned, and to some it proved somewhat costly. Again, the caring for citrus orchards had to
be learned, for even in the older communities, where citrus fruits had been raised for some years, the growers
had not arrived at near the perfection since acquired Many mistakes were made, but on the whole South Riverside
measured up with other communities in this respect, and time has demonstrated that advantage has been taken of
the early mistakes.
It was early discovered that there was a great deposit of porphyry rock to the east of the colony, and this year
a company was formed, crushers installed, and the quarry opened. The railroad company ran a spur to the quarry
and crushed rock was shipped to different towns to be used in road and street work, thus opening the first industry
of the new town and giving work to many. It was also known that the hills to the south abounded in clays of different
kinds for use in making pottery. This year C. B. Hewit, later superintendent of the Southern California Sewer Pipe
Company, investigated and found that the deposit of clay was of the best. The above company secured a tract of
land about one and a half miles from town, a building 80x160 feet was erected, kilns were built, and soon an excellent
quality of clay goods was being turned out, thus giving to the new town another industry that gave employment to
many men. This, now known as the Pacific Clay Company, has established a reputation for clay goods second to none
on the Pacific coast and is still turning out great quantities of its products.
In 1857 there was discovered what was supposed to be the richest tin mine in the world. The location of the
mine was in the San Jacinto hills, commonly known as the Gavilan hills. For a great many years these mines had
been in litigation, but in 1888 the litigation was brought to a close. With the settlement of a doubtful title,
an English syndicate obtained control of not only the mines, but a vast territory surrounding them, styling themselves
The San Jacinto Co., Limited, of England. Many Californians are familiar with the history of the legal proceedings
involving the title of the property, but few know the story of their discovery. Near the close of 1857 an old Indian
chief of the Cahuilla tribe, residing with Mr. Sexton, of San Gabriel, Los Angeles county, became sick and felt
himself dying. There was a secret on his mind which he wished to reveal to the man who had shown him so much kindness.
He feared to do so, however, as it had been trusted to his faithful guardianship, and yet he felt that it would
eventually become known through the prying curiosity of the white man who was penetrating every portion of the
country, and from whom no secret could be much longer kept. Arguing thus within himself, and being anxious to benefit
his friend by imparting to him the secret, he consulted his medicine man, whdwhos in attendance upon him, but whose
simples were now unavailing. Meeting at first with opposition from his counsellor, lie had to overcome his scruples
and finally obtained his consent to obey his orders when he should pass away to the land of spirits. Having thus
conciliated his counsellor, he called to his side his generous friend Sexton and informed him that he was about
to die and before dying he wished to impart to him a secret which would be the means of making him a rich man.
He then informed him that he had given orders to his medicine man to conduct Sexton to the place where they obtained
their medicine. He knew that the rock contained precious metal, and that he wished him to have the benefit of the
knowledge of its existence, satisfied that the Americans would soon find out what it was and its value. He was
the last of his name and his family, and there were none to whom his obligations bound him to transmit his cherished
secret. Accordingly, after the death of the old chief, Mr. Sexton, taking with him F. M. Slaughter, set out with
his Indian guide to find the place where the medicine was obtained. The Indian made his way to Temescal, then bore
off to the mountains and finally came to the base of the Cajalco hill. On reaching this place the Indian seemed
to be terribly exercised. Standing apart from his companions he commenced uttering strange sounds; shortly he broke
into a sort of a chant or lamentation; his cries became louder and louder, his body became distorted, and swaying
to and fro, he fell to the earth. This he repeated; then he spread out his hands to the east, then to the west,
and in a moment started off on a run up the hill in a straight line to a hole which was in the ground. Arriving
at this he went through much the same gyrations and contortions. He then beckoned to his white companions to come
up, pointing to the hole as the medicine hole. On being opened it was found to be a mineral vein and on being tested
it was found to be tin. That lead is called the medicine lead on Cajalco hill and that is the manner in which its
existence became known. The medicine was oxide of copper. Whether this story be true or not, the fact remains that
the English company obtained control of the mines and a vast territory surrounding them. This year the English
company sent an expert, a Mr. Crase, to examine the mines and report on what he found. The report he took back
to England was most flattering, and the people of South Riverside had reason to believe that a vast industry would
be opened right at their door. South Riverside was the nearest point to the mines. All supplies, and in fact everything
that must go to the mines, would go from or through the new town. Therefore it was only reasonable that the people
should expect great things from the tin mines and patiently awaited results. The school facilities were of the
most meager sort, with no margin for the growth of the district, and soon the matter began to be agitated. All
was of the belief that a schoolhouse should be built, the only question was, how much of a schoolhouse should be
The result of the agitation was a bond election and the voter's, by a fair majority, voted to bond the district
for $20,000. Twenty thousand dollars seemed something immense to those who voted against the measure, but the bonds
were voted and sold at a small premium. A whole block of land was secured, after much debate, bounded by Ninth,
Tenth, Victoria and Howard streets. The contract was let to A. W. Boggs, of Riverside, and work was commenced late
in the winter.
It must be stated that the trustees, R. B. Taylor, F. H. Robinson and P. M. Coburn, set aside from the $20,000,
$1,500 for the purpose of building a schoolhouse in the new town of Auburndale, then in the Yorba school district.
The trustees experienced much troubled with the contractor and finally took the work from him and finished it themselves.
On Sunday, July 8th, occurred the first church dedication in the new town. The Congregational church, though built
in 1887, was not finished; the walls were unfinished, the seats were boards laid on boxes and the early worshippers
felt that they really were at the ragged edge of civilization when they entered the edifice. But now the building
was finished and well seated, and the walls tastefully decorated. The Rev. C. B. Sumer, of Pomona, preached the
dedicatory sermon and the event marked an epoch in the history of the new town, this being the only place of worship.
The building at That time faced the west and later was moved to the position it now occupies.
Late in the fall George L. Joy began the erection of a magnificent residence on the corner of Garretson avenue
and the Boulevard, the present residence of the Platt sisters. Mr. Joy intended this for his residence, but before
it was finished a Mr. McCarty, who had fallen in love with South Riverside, persuaded Mr. Joy to sell him the house.
Mr. Joy did so and at once began plans for a still larger residence. And so the colony grew. Every prospect was
bright and 1889 opened auspiciously. The groves that had been set out were thriving wonderfully, and many new ones
were being set. The growers were looking forward to golden profits. But now the colonists were to be tested by
adversity, for as the weather began to grow warm came that scourge of new California towns, the grasshopper. In
millions they came and soon the bright prospects were turned to gloom. The fight with the hopper was on in earnest.
It was a condition that must be met and conquered or lose the valuable trees. One grower had a drove of turkeys
which he drove up and down the rows of trees devouring hoppers as they walked. Another had ducks for the same purpose.
Many pounds of strychnine were placed at the base of young trees and thousands of hoppers were thus killed, but
all to no purpose. The scheme of enclosing the trees in cheesecloth sacks was tried, but the hoppers ate their
way into the sacks and made the matter worse, and as a last resort gunny bags were tried and they were a success,
keeping the hoppers out, or away from the trees. But this was not resorted to until the trees had suffered considerable
damage, and it was long before many of the trees overcame the damage done, and perhaps some were injured permanently.
The hoppers were present for two seasons, but the second season little damage was done. Although the hopper created
so much trouble and damage, yet new settlers came and new groves were set out, and though building was not as brisk
as the year previous, still new houses continued to be erected.
About this time considerable dissatisfaction began to be manifest in regard to the name of the town. It was said
that people in the east carried the idea that South Riverside was a suburb of Riverside and that through this misconception
South Riverside lost many who would otherwise have settled here, and it was said that many Riversiders encouraged
this misconception. However that may have been, the dissatisfaction existed and intensified as time passed, culminating
in the final changing of the name.
The pipe line that was first laid irrigated land only below Ontario avenue; above this point was perhaps the best
land in the colony and this year the Land and Water Company laid plans to add another pipe line, the same to be
about on a line with Lemon street. This would give water to about two thousand acres of fine mesa land, on which
are raised the finest lemons in the world. The year 1889 was somewhat of a blue year for the orchardist and the
year 1890 was a year of anxiety, but though the hopper was very much in evidence, yet constant watchfulness prevented
the damage that might otherwise have been done. It is said by old Californians that every new community must have
the fight with hoppers until the land, or the most of it, has been cultivated. In the early part of 1891 a company
was formed in St. Louis, Mo., styled the Boston and South Riverside Fruit Company. This company bought many acres
of land which was set with trees under the able management of T. P. Drinkwater, who held the position for many
In the early part of 1891 the tin mines opened in earnest. A Colonel Robinson was placed in charge by the company
and he proceeded to make the mountains ring with the hum of labor. A large number of skilled and unskilled workmen
were employed, vast quantities of material of all kinds were ordered, all of which was brought from or through
South Riverside; many teams were needed, as the road to the mines was but a trail after leaving the county road,
and before Cajalco hill was reached much hard hill and treacherous grade had to be passed, thus making it necessary
to load as light as possible. Soon great pigs of pure tin began to come over the trail and down to the South Riverside
railroad depot for shipment and it was published to the world that the only tin mine in the United States, near
South Riverside, was proving an immense success, and the settlers of the colony felt sure that this great industry
had come to stay. Everyone had a small piece of tin which he showed with pride to those who visited the town. Through
the tin mines the town was the recipient of an honor not usually accorded to small towns. President Harrison and
the governor of the state, Markham, honored the town by stopping here a short time. Near the railroad depot was
erected a great pyramid of tin. Surmounting it was an inscription telling that this was the first tin produced
in the United States. The president stood near the pyramid and was photographed, as also was the governor, after
hich the president spoke briefly and congratulated South Riverside and California on having such a magnificent
industry. Thus the fact that an actual tin mine was in operation and turning out tons of tin was spread broadcast
over the country. Everything pertaining to the tin mines was done on a magnificent scale, the buildings were of
the best, the machinery of the finest; the superintendent and his staff lived like princes; money was poured out
lavishly, and the amount of tin produced began to grow less. But great plans were made; in the Hoags canyon they
began the construction of a dam, and lower down the canyon vast masonry work was done with the intention of tunneling
the hill to the base of the shaft and reducing the ore in the canyon instead of doing so at the hill top. This
was no doubt good, had the amount of tin that was being produced warranted such procedure. But Mr. Robinson was
called to London by the directors and roundly censured for the reckless manner in which he had spent the money
meant to operate the mines, and he was dismissed. In his place was sent a Mr. Harris to look over the situation
and report to the directors. But the shipment of tin gradually fell off, work gradually ceased, until, about July
of 1892, work ceased entirely and the following winter all of the buildings, machinery, and whatever could be moved
was sold at auction to satisfy claims. Thus died the great tin mines; many claims were not satisfied and the loss
to some was great. Although the mines were a seeming failure, and though many were financial losers thereby, yet
the mines were a boon to South Riverside. Much of the money spent so lavishly found its way to the town, and many
settled here on account of the mines. The money so spent came at a time when there was no income from the lands
planted and perhaps the gain to the people, indirectly, was greater than the loss. It is not now known how great
or how small the deposit of tin is in the lands worked thus far. It may be that in the future the belief of the
dying Indian may prove true and vast deposits of tin be found. Today the masonry in the Hoags canyon is overgrown
with weeds and trees. The site of the dam may be found by the evidences of past labor and Cajalco hill and the
trail leading thereto has gone back to the primitive; where once was the hurry and bustle of labor is given over
to the jack rabbit and coyote. While the tin was being smelted on Cajalco South Riverside was growing; acre after
acre was being planted, a solid foundation being laid which would yield future wealth. In January, 1892, the Land
and Water Co. let the contract to construct the upper pipe line. As before noted this would irrigate about two
thousand acres of the finest land. Work was pushed along rapidly and in May of the same year the opening of the
pipe line was celebrated. The whole population took part and made it a time of great jollification. Many acres
were sold on that day and very soon the tract began to fill up with oranges and lemons.
The St. Louis Fruit Co. bought largely of the orange heights tract. This company was formed in 1892 and has been
a factor in town ever since. At present the company owns one hundred and eighty acres of lemons, employs seventy
five men and this year shipped two hundred and twenty carloads of lemons. It was organized under the name of the
St. Louis Fruit Co., but several years ago the name was changed to the Corona Lemon Co. and since the change has
been under the very able management of S. B. Hampton.
The social side of the young community also began to take form. In June of this year the Independent Order of Foresters
organized with a large membership, the first organization of the kind in the new town. Later the Odd Fellows and
Masons organized, and so the town began to take on an air of a really settled community and the little fruit thus
far grown was an encouraging sample of what the future would bring.
In the beginning the Land and Water Co. set aside, for cemetery purposes, land beyond the wash, north of town.
This was used for burial purposes until 1892. The winter of 1891-2 brought copious rains, so much that the low
ground north of the depot was full of water and it was impossible to get to the cemetery. This was an unfortunate
condition, as there was no place to bury the dead and those who died during the flood period had to be buried in
the most convenient place. This caused an agitation for a different place for a cemetery. A few citizens met and
proposed to secure a cemetery site and form an association. The first trustees elected were R. D. Barber, William
Corkhill, N. C. Hudson, P. M. Coburn, T. P. Drinkwater and O. A. Smith. After looking at several proposed sites
the spot now used as a cemetery was chosen and bought from the Land and Water Co. The land is beautifully located
on the bluff near Commercial street on the northeast and on Rimpau street on the southeast. The bodies that were
in the older cemetery were removed to the new site and the change was very acceptable to everyone. It was incorporated
under the name of the South Riverside Cemetery Association, and though the corporate name has not been changed,
the name it is known by is Sunny Slope Cemetery, a name selected by Mrs. E. L. S. Joy.
The building operations this year were considerable. Many new houses were built, and Main street was improved by
the building of the one story brick building next to the Bank Building on west side of Main, also J. C. Stege,
a pioneer merchant, built the two story brick building on the east side of Main street below Sixth street. This
was a very fine building and added much to the appearance of the town.
The first gratifying results to the orange growers came in January, 1893, when the first carload of oranges was
shipped; the fruit was grown by George L. Joy, A. S. Fraser and N. C. Hudson. There being no packing house built
as yet the fruit was packed in the groves. The fruit proved to be of the finest quality and an excellent advertisement
for the new colony.
In April of this year the Woman's Christian Temperance Union was reorganized; in the first year of the colony this
organization started, but soon died out. A number of ladies felt that there was much need of a reading room in
the town for the use of many men who had no means of obtaining good literature, and that the organization could
take this matter up along with the other work of their society. In fact this work was a part of their duty. Hence
they reorganized and at once started a movement for the establishment of a reading room. The churches co-operated
with them and the latter part of this year a reading room was opened in the store room now occupied by George Allensworth
as a grocery. It was very successful and was kept open for a number of years.
The movement that interested the citizens of the town and county this year was the division of the county or the
formation of the new county of Riverside. The county bill was passed by the legislature in February and signed
by the governor on March 11. An election was held on the 2nd of May to ratify and elect county officers. South
Riverside voted almost solid for the new county. There was much disappointment that one or more of the offices
did not come to South Riverside. Perhaps Riverside thought that we asked for too much at the convention. Be that
as it may, South Riverside felt sorely disappointed not to have one representative in the county government. The
change meant but little for the town of South Riverside, yet everyone felt satisfied. This year the Episcopalians
organized with ten members. The Rev. Alfred Fletcher was pastor; for several years, or until they built the present
church building, the members met in the schoolhouse. In June of this year a Grand Army Post was organized by the
veterans of the town, naming it Carleton Post. At the time there were but few veterans in the town, but as time
passed their numbers were increased by new arrivals. The Post is still flourishing.
George L. Joy perfected plans for a new residence and the beautiful residence on the Grand Boulevard was the result.
Mr. Porter of Riverside was the contractor and it was finished in the year 1893. This is perhaps one of the finest
residences, if not the finest, in the town and is located in the finest resident portion of the town.
There was no cessation of tree planting, new groves springing up all through the colony. The experiment had proven
that there was no better land or location for citrus fruits and it soon got abroad that South Riverside was a very
favored corner of the world. But one thing marred the prospect, and that was the fear of shortage of water. The
lands purchased by the Land and Water Co. in the Temescal canyon were no doubt expected to furnish enough water
for the colony for many years. The years from the beginning had been favored in winter with a good supply of rain,
but in 1893 began a series of dry years, and while new wells were sunk in the water bearing lands, yet it did not
materially increase the total water supply. The fast increase of acreage set to fruit soon made it apparent that
the water supply was not sufficient. This was a most serious condition, as water being king, a possible shortage
was not comforting to think of, in fact not enough water meant ruin to many who had put their all in citrus fruit.
The matter began to be agitated and meetings were held to devise ways and means of increasing the supply. At this
time the water was under the supervision of the Land and Water Co., each buyer of land with water on it being a
stockholder. The company made every effort to increase the supply, but in vain, and it was evident that some other
location than the Temescal must be found for the development of water.
The cry, not enough water, has been the cry of very many California towns, and when all is considered it is not
strange that such should be the case. The people of the east knew little or nothing of irrigation, and thousands
who came here knew as much of the value of water as the natives of the Peruvian mountains. Hence it is not strange
that the promoters of the colony believed that they had plenty of water. However this may have been, the shortage
existed and after much discussion it was decided to buy the Lake Elsinore. This lake, about twenty miles from the
town, contained a large volume of water and had it been pure would have been a veritable Godsend to the people
of South Riverside. The lake was tapped in 1895 and the water conducted to the lands and used in the orchards.
The difficulty seemed to be overcome and the land owners were satisfied that the water question was permanently
settled. But their hopes were soon shattered, as the water began to have a damaging effect on the trees and it
was found by analysis that continued use of the water would eventually destroy the trees. This was sad for the
orchardists and it began to look as though fate was certainly against them. First the grasshopper, then shortage
of water and then water that was killing the trees. Irrigation with it was discontinued and the growers had to
be put on short allowance of water until something could be done. One ray of light to the grower was the quick
recovery of the trees as soon as the water from the lake was stopped. There may have been some groves that took
years to recover, but the majority were soon restored.
In this same year of 1893 Oscar Theime, a native of Holland, bought the piece of land on the corner of Lester and
Lemon streets and began to improve it. It was Mr. Theime's intention to make it very beautiful and he succeeded
in so doing. A part of the land was set to citrus fruit and the balance of it was laid out in an artistic manner.
Costly and rare trees of many species were set out, many rare and beautiful shrubs and plants, and today Lemonia
Grove is the show place of the town. Mr. Theime made this his home for a number of years, and finally, on leaving
the town, the place was purchased by W. H. Jameson, who takes pride in keeping it beautiful.
At this time R. B. Taylor purchased the property which he named Cerrito Rancho, on the edge of the colony lands
southeast of town. This property Mr. Taylor improved by setting it out to citrus fruits, mostly lemons. Near the
center of the property is an elevation or hill, rising in a gradual slope to a height of about one hundred feet
and from which a grand view of the country around may be had. Later Mr. Taylor sold the property to the Baroness
Hickey, daughter of the oil magnate, Henry M. Flagler. Later it passed into the hands of Mr. Flagler, who still
The Temeseal Water Co. was formed this year, in April, 1893. Up to this time the Land and Water Co. had charge
of all the water, each buyer of land becoming a stockholder, and now the Land and Water Co. turned the system over
to the stockholders and the present company was formed. The Temescal Water Co. have, succeeded in building up a
water plant second to none in the state.
This year Daniel Lord built a magnificent residence on Magnolia avenue, the building, two story and of splendid
proportions, has a fine location, on the southwest side of the avenue, and a clear view from Riverside to the town
of Pomona is afforded. Frank Scoville also started the erection of a fine residence on the corner of Ontario avenue
and Main street which was completed early the following year.
[Continued in History of Corona, California Part 2]