History of Corona, California Part 2
From: History of Riverside County, California
with Biographical Sketches.
History By: Elmer Wallace Holmes
Historic Record Company.
Los Angeles, Califirnia 1912

In May, 1894, the Baptist Association, which had been holding services in the schoolhouse for some time, decided to erect a church building on their property, corner of Main and Eighth streets, at a cost of $5000 and on October 11 of the same year the cornerstone was laid with fitting ceremonies. The pastor, assisted by the pastors of other local churches, conducted the service, which was very impressive and attended by a large and appreciative audience. The building was completed early the following year. It was much appreciated by the people of the town, as its ornate exterior vastly improved Main street and its beautiful interior was a pleasure to the worshippers. This building in a few years proved to be inadequate and a handsome Sunday school room was added and within the last year a magnificent banquet hall in the basement. This makes the Baptist Church one of the finest in the southland.

The Episcopal Society also commenced the construction of their church building in December of 1893, on the corner of Washburn and Eighth streets, which was also finished early in 1894 under the pastorate of the Rev. Mr. Fletcher. Within the last year they have also added to the building a handsome guild room through the efforts of the Rev. Mr. Scott.

The town had now reached considerable proportions and it was felt that improvements were in order so that we might keep up with the outside world. To this end there was formed a Board of Trade in April, 1894. E. E. Hamilton was elected the first president and S. W. Lockett secretary. Improvements were undertaken by the board and carried through, such as planting trees along both sides of Main street from Sixth to the depot and caring for them. They also urged that a volunteer fire department be formed. This met with instant response and a fire department was formed with E. M. Sheffield as chief. C. S. McMillen as first foreman, O. A. Arborn as second foreman, and D. F. Connell as secretary. Other members were J. F. Edwards, J. R. Riddell, A. N. Schoneman, John Schleishmann, J. H. Brumbaugh, C. C. Wall and Charles Schmeiser, Jr. Hose and cart were secured and thus the first fire company formed.

In 1894 the St. John the Baptist Church, Catholic, was erected on their property on West Sixth street. It was not dedicated until October, 1898. The services were conducted by the Rev. Montgomery. In 1909 there was added to the property a fine parsonage. The Rev. Father Corcoran is now the pastor in charge.

In another part of this history it was mentioned that the name of the town was a matter of discontent with almost every citizen and the matter was taken up by the Board of Trade. It was decided that the town must be incorporated with change of name, but the question was, what should the name be? Everyone had a different name. A trial election was had and the following were some of the names voted: Rochelle, Magnolia, Regina, Bernice, Grevilla, City of the Hesperides, Southside, Southland, Superior, Montello, and Circle City. Obviously all these names could not be used, but the battle raged, meetings were held, elections were had, but no conclusion could be reached. For months the agitation went on, but finally quieted down and the matter dropped for the time

Hundreds of acres were being set to the orange and lemon; the product of the groves growing larger, packing was done in the depot or in the groves and it was obvious that proper places must be prepared to handle the fast increasing crop. It was also evident that some method should be adopted to not only protect the grower, but to properly market the fruit. The matter was taken up and a temporary fruit exchange formed with Dr. R. D. Barber as manager. The name adopted was The Queen Colony Fruit Exchange, which name it has held until today, and the exchange is well and favorably known throughout the country. The need of a packing house was great and in December of 1894 the following named, gentlemen commenced the construction of the Sunset packing house: Frank Scoville, George Brown, and T. P. Drinkwater. The building was of concrete and was supplied with the then modern equipment for the packing of fruit. The first year, 1895, there was packed in this house 13,062 boxes of fruit or forty four cars; the output increased to 430 cars in 1898, when other houses were erected. The area soon proved too small and great improvements were made, giving them vast area and the house is still doing a great business. From the beginning Frank Scoville has been manager of the Sunset packing house and is well known in the fruit world and held in the highest estimation by the people of his home town. About this time occurred a serious drouth which lasted for three or more years. At the time it was felt as a misfortune, but in the end it proved a blessing. At that time there were few or no wells from which water was used for the irrigating of crops. Almost all the farming done was dry farming, so called, the sole dependence being on the winter rains, but the dry years made the farmers think of something more dependable than rain and they began to dig for water. The result was surprising; many hundreds of acres of alfalfa were started, and the chug of the gasoline engine was heard on every hand, thus bringing to the town, as it has brought to other towns, a magnificent addition to the wealth of the people, and instead of barren ground there is a carpet of living green. Land that at one time was thought almost worthless is now worth large sums.

In February of 1895 a meeting was held in the Congregational Church by a number of men for the purpose of forming a Y. M. C. A. A board of directors was chosen, and from this number the writer was selected as corresponding member It was found that the town was much too small for a regular Y. M. C. A., so the organization was called a provisional Y. M. C. A. This spasms was not of long duration, but. it was the means of bringing into being an institution of which we are proud. It has been stated that the W. C. T. U. inaugurated the reading room and maintained it. The so called Y. M. C. A. was desirous of doing something and concluded that they would take over the reading room and care for it in the future. With the consent of the ladies this was done, the room was enlarged and Sabbath meetings were held in the room. A committee was selected consisting of the writer, W. C. Barth. C. H. Cornell and J. N. Anderson to see to raising funds and to keeping the room supplied with literature, etc. The writer had direct charge of the reading room and while caring for it conceived the idea of creating a public library. Some two years previous to this time a number of citizens had bought a Parmelee Library, consisting of perhaps one hundred and fifty volumes, using it as a circulating library among the members. But at this time it was little used and the writer solicited the members to turn over the books to him as the neuclus of a permanent library to be free to the people of the town and with the promise that as many other books should be added. From this sourced the writer secured about one hundred volumes. He then started on a crusade to secure books and by the early summer of 1896 had about two hundred and fifty volumes. Charles McMillan donated his services in building space in the reading room for the library and on the 1st of June, 1896, the library was thrown open to the public. At once it was appreciated and the first year there were loaned twelve hundred books, showing that it was really appreciated. The writer was librarian and general manager, having the library open three nights each week; Wilbur Purrier assisted the writer. The men having taken over the reading room the ladies ceased supplying the literature, the committee soliciting contributions for that purpose. The library was not a charge on the reading room other than occupying the shelving. Thus it will be seen that the library was dependent on the perpetuation of the reading room for quarters and the closing of the reading room meant the closing of the library. Subscriptions fell off and soon it was a hard matter to keep the room open. Mr. Barth, an earnest worker for all that is good for the town, worked earnestly to keep the work going and took from his private funds from time to time, but towards the summer of 1897 the outlook was very gloomy. C. B. Webster, A. L. Taber and W. A. Wheeler were added to the committee and a great effort was made and for a time it was thought that the future of the reading room was secure. But soon it fell off; the room occupied was demanded for other purposes and the quarters were removed to the building. now occupied by Mr. Gilmore near the Baptist Church. Here it was kept open for a time, but finally closed with the hope of soon reopening. George Cook, assisted by others, reopened the reading room in the store now occupied by Newton and Warner. It was open but a short time, however.

In February, 1899, was formed the Woman's Improvement Club with twenty five charter, members. This club from its beginning has been a power in the town, taking the initiative or cooperating with others along the line of progress. In April of 1899 they reopened the reading room and library in the building formerly used, the Gilmore Building, and again the good work was carried on. More books were added by the ladies and the best literature supplied the tables. Mrs. Stanley Peach and Mrs. S. E. French had charge and most faithfully did they discharge their duty. In the early part of 1900 a petition was presented to the city trustees asking them to place upon the ballot at the April election the question of instituting a public library. This they acceded to and the question carried. S. S. Willard, T. C. Jameson: G. R. Freeman, F. M. Baldwin and F. F. Thompson were elected as library trustees. On April 23, 1900, the trustees met and organized, naming S. S. Willard president and F. M. Baldwin secretary. At last the library was an established fact with no fear of closing. The trustees at once rented the two upper rooms over the Geith grocery store, in the bank building and fitted them up for reading and library purposes. The books which the Improvement Club had taken charge of, together with what they had added, were turned over to the city, a number of new books were added and an excellent selection of magazines and other literature was placed in the reading room and opened to the public. Miss Grace Taber was selected as librarian, which position she has held until the present.

Some time after the institution of the library it was removed to the rooms directly over the First National Bank. Subsequently it became evident that more commodious quarters must be had, as the library was growing, as also was the attendance of the reading room. Application was made by the trustees to Andrew Carnerie, soliciting funds for a library building. Such application had been made by the Improvement Club previously, but no answer had been received. W. H. Jameson having business relations with Henry Flagler, and knowing Mr. Flagler to be an intimate acquaintance of Mr. Carnegie, urged Mr. Flagler to present the matter to Mr. Carnegie. Mr. Flagler presented the matter to the steel magnate and shortly after the library trustees received a letter from Mr. Carnegie's agent stating that a donation of $10,000 would be made if the usual terms were agreed to by the city board. The terms were acceded to and in July of 1895 the library trustees were notified that the money was available. At once the trustees proceeded to secure plans for the new building. The plans drawn by F. Burnham, of Los Angeles, were accepted; the contract was let to S. L. Bloom, the amount of the bid being $9,897. This sum would eat up nearly all of the donation, and to cut the plans would be to spoil the building. A subscription was started and the business men and others subscribed about $600. On the strength of this the building was started and ground was broken on the 10th of August, 1905. But still the sum available was insufficient to properly finish and furnish the building and in November the trustees made application for a further donation of $1,500. The further donation was promptly granted and the trustees were enabled to properly complete the work. The result was a most beautiful building, well equipped and of which all are justly proud. While changes have been made in some of the trustees S. S. Willard and T. C. Jameson have held their positions since the beginning of their work; they may be justly proud, as their management has been of the highest and our library ranks with the best in the state. The number of volumes at present is 6,400. The circulation of books the first year of the little library in the room 10x10 was 1,200; the present circulation is 2,300 per month. Thus from the smallest beginning has grown an institution that has been a pleasure and profit to many and that will be a permanent source of education to coming generations.

The sad event of 1896 was the death of George L. Joy on April 18th. His sudden demise shocked the entire community. Mr. Joy was one of the founders of South Riverside and was president of the Land and Water Co. for several years. A gentleman in every sense of the term, always helpful and kind, he possessed to an unusual degree a high sense of manly honor and gentleness. He was a man of magnificent physique that would compel attention and admiration anywhere. All old residents look back and feel that it was a privilege to have known George L. Joy.

In the early spring of 1896 the question of changing the name and incorporating again began to be agitated and on the 23rd of April a meeting was held and steps taken to incorporate as a city of the sixth class. The following were nominated for city trustees: R. B. Taylor, T. P. Drinkwater, Ellwood Lilly, William Corkhill, F. Scoville, H. F. Sykes, G. R. Freeman, W. C. Barth, J. T. Burton and P.M. Coburn, clerk D. F. Connell, H. A. Wood, J. L. Merriam; treasurer N. C. Hudson, O. A. Smith, V. O. Harter; marshal F. H. Robinson, William Baker and W. B. Roberds. A petition was presented to the supervisors, who passed on it favorably and June 26th was named as election day, and the name to be voted for was Corona. It may be readily understood that the 26th of June was an exciting day for the town, and when the votes were counted there were, for incorporation 157, against 97. The following were elected as the first officers: Trustees, W. C. Barth, P. M. Coburn, Ellwood Lilly, H. F. Sykes and J. T. Burton; clerk, J. L. Merriam; marshal, F. H. Robinson; treasurer, V. O. Harter. Thus South Riverside died and Corona was born. The men elected were well qualified to fill the several positions, each having an earnest desire for the welfare of the city.

While the name Corona had been endorsed as the name of the new city, few knew, and few still know, how the name came to be presented. Some few months prior to the election the writer happened into the office of the South Riverside Bee. At that time all that could be talked of was a name for the town; the writer and H. C. Foster began to talk of how to get a name that would settle the matter and later R. B. Taylor coming into the office also joined in the conversation. He stated that he had received a letter from Baron Hickey, then in Tucson, Arizona, and in the letter the Baron suggested the name Corona. Mr. Taylor thought the name would perhaps be a compromise and stop the struggle. His view was concurred in by both the writer and Mr. Foster. The writer suggested that if Mr. Foster got out a petition that he, the writer, would see that it was circulated. This was done, the writer passed the petition to Justice Phillips, who circulated it and the name was adopted. Some time after election the Baron Hickey died. R. B. Taylor removed to South America. Justice Phillips removed to Kentucky and there died. H. C. Foster removed to Los Angeles and the writer is left to shoulder the blame for the name.

It was agreed, by the ones who favored incorporating the town that the city tax should not be more than ten cents per $100 for the first year this because it was said that taxes would be a burden in the event of city government. Thus it may be understood that the trustees had no enviable job to steer the municipal craft with so little income, and much credit is due the first trustees for the excellent manner in which they managed the finances of the city the first year.

On Monday, July 20th, the newly elected officers took the oath of office and organized. J. T. Burton had the honor to be selected as the first chairman of the board of trustees of the new city. The writer was appointed the city recorder and. Marshal Robinson the street superintendent. Perhaps the first important measure of the city board was the granting of a franchise to the Sunset Telephone Co., after which the company installed their system in the city and Corona was really in touch with the outside world by telephone. It may be said that there had been a long distance office in the Hotel Temescal for some years, but now every business house and many private dwellings were connected.

On May 9, 1897, occurred the death of N. C. Hudson and again the town was bereaved, for it would be hard to find a more gentle and kind friend, a more consistent Christian and a more zealous worker for the town than was Mr. Hudson. Esteemed by all who knew him and lamented by all when he departed this life, Mr. Hudson had been identified with South Riverside since its inception and had been secretary of the Land and Water Co. for many years.

On August 5, 1897, was celebrated the tenth anniversary of the town. Mr. and Mrs. R. B. Taylor gave a banquet in the Hotel Temescal to a large number of the old settlers. Memories of times gone by were recalled and it was unanimously felt that the town was a decided success. With the renaming of the town the name of the South Riverside Bee was changed to the Corona Courier, which name it carries today. Subsequently the Corona Courier was purchased by C. B. Webster and W. N. Bowen. H. C. Foster had been identified with the publication almost since its inception.

It has been pointed out that the Temescal Water Co. had been organized and the domestic water was sold directly to the user by that company, but in October of 1897 there was formed the Corona City Water Co., incorporated under that name, Frank Scoville president, S. W. Lockett secretary, and the Citizens' Bank treasurer. Though it was still a part of the Temescal Water Co., yet this course was taken to simplify the handling of the town system.

Through all these changes the town was expanding, new orchards were being set, and from different parts of the country came people to swell the population, and best of all the products of the Queen Colony carried through the country the assurance that the desert had been conquered and Corona was on a solid foundation. One of the changes which was much regretted by the whole community was the death of O. A. Smith, of the Hotel Temescal on October 23, 1897. This was the means of the utter despoiling of the fine hotel grounds, which had long been the pride of Corona. Mr. Smith was, perhaps, the best known hotel man in the south country; he was justly proud of what he had done, and 'was at all times on the alert for the betterment of the town. Shortly after the death of Mr. Smith the property was purchased by J. T. Burton, who moved the hotel to the west side of the block with the idea of making room for building lots on Main street.

In April, 1898, came the declaration of war with Spain, and, with every other town from Maine to California Corona was intensely stirred. Enthusiastic meetings were held, Charles Corkhill called for recruits to form a company of volunteers, but before the company could be formed the following named joined Company K of San Bernardino: Charles Corkhill, Leroy Coburn, J. McDonald, R. Nicholson, C. Gully, R. Nelson and Fred Hazard. These enlisted and were sent to San Francisco where they were kept for months, every day expecting to go to the Philippines, but suffered disappointment and were mustered out in the fall. Their homecoming was made a festival, as the people were as proud of them as though they had been at the front. Nearly a year after the opening of the war Vern Gleason and Arthur Austin enlisted and were sent to the Islands, where they saw much service and at the end of their term were honorably discharged, both as sergeants.

Up to this time there had been only one packing house, the Sunset. In August, 1898, W. H. Jameson erected a large packing house near the Sunset house and installed modern machinery. At the same time Oscar Theime began the erection of what is now known as the Orange Heights house on Main street near the depot. This Mr. Theime intended to be the finest house for the purpose in the southern country and succeeded in making it such. Both of these houses have been much enlarged since they were first built. Somewhat later Henry Flagler erected a large house east of the Theime house, so that the following season Corona had tout great packing houses to pack the golden fruit raised within the Emile of the town.

In December, 1898, M. M. Randall and A. M. Phillips purchased seventy five feet of the old hotel grounds fronting on Main street and commenced the building of a three story structure with an opera house in the basement. Later Mr. Randall retired, leaving Mr. Phillips to complete the building, which was completed in the spring of 1900.

The year 1899 saw many buildings erected, notably the residence of Mason Terpening, now owned by C. B. McConnell, the two buildings on Main street, one occupied by the Corona Hardware and Implement Co. and the other building afterward occupied by the Corona National Bank, also the residence of G. F. Dean, on upper Howard street. On November 23 opened the last chapter of the Hotel Temescal, for on that day it was totally destroyed by fire with much of the contents; thus was finished the destruction of Corona's beauty spot. Nothing that has happened since the foundation of the town has been more regretted,by those who were living in the town at the time. In 1898 a Mr. Remsburg started a publication called the Corona Review; in the early part of 1899 Charles Corkhill and Leroy Coburn purchased the plant. The Review was published by these gentlemen for some months, when it consolidated with the Corona Courier, which was later owned by H. C. Foster.

At the time of incorporation of the city the territory embraced reached from the Cerreto Rancho on the east to the Colony line on the west, and from the hills south to the Santa Ana river north. The territory on the north, from the Santa Fe tracks, was almost a barren plain. In the early day it had been platted and was known as Auburndale. Some time after election the few people residing in the above mentioned district and many in town proper wished to disincorporate the Auburndale tract. Petitions were presented to the city trustees to that effect with the result that at the regular election in April, 1900, a large vote was in favor of disincorporating the said territory, which was done, thus narrowing the territory embraced in the city, which seemed satisfactory to all.

It has been noted in this history that the water from the Elsinore lake had a killing effect on the trees. After discontinuing the use of the water the growers were supplied with water from Temescal, but there not being suficient for the regular runs they were pro rated and received just enough water to keep their trees alive. Early in 1901 A. F. Call, a noted lawyer of Iowa, advised the purchasing of one hundred and sixty acres of water bearing land in the town of Ethanac, in the Perris valley. The water must be carried in cement ditches for a distance of eighteen miles to connect with the pipe lines, which was a great undertaking. In order to put through the deal the Corona Power and Water Co. was formed with a capital stock of $250,000, the directors being W. C. Barth, M. Terpening, L. R. Curtis, E. N. Currier and T. P. Drinkwater. The deal was consummated and sixteen wells put down, from which water was pumped into the open ditch and so to the lands of Corona. Thus the danger from the shortage of water was permanently overcome and today the town of Corona possesses perhaps the best water system in the south.

In 1893 the Chase Bros., of Riverside, exchanged nearly four thousand acres of water bearing and grain land in the Perris valley for fifteen hundred shares of the stock of the Temescal Water Co. They at once purchased twelve hundred acres of land above the upper pipe line from the Pacific Mutual Insurance Co. and began to improve the same by setting to oranges. Today the people of Corona are proud of the beautiful Chase tract with its handsome drives and well cared for groves; every effort is being made to make it a beauty spot second to none in the Southland.

On April 13, 1901, there was formed a pioneer society by a number of the old settlers. The writer was elected president and Dr. J. C. Gleason secretary. For several years the society held annual reunions, but latterly it seems to have been forgotten. In May, 1901, E. A. McGillivray and G. F. Dean, together with the Masonic Lodge, commenced the erection of the Masonic Building on the west side of Main near Seventh. The above named gentlemen built the lower story and the Masons the upper story, which was to be used for lodge purposes. This Was another fine addition to Main street, as the building was on modern lines and presented a beautiful appearance.

About this time another Board of Trade was formed, the old organization having died. The officers were W. C. Barth, president; A. L. Walton, secretary; executive board, W. Corkhill, O. Theime and W. H. Hiveley. This organization commenced work in earnest and accomplished considerable, but soon went the way of the other board of trade. This year the Iowa and California Land Co. built a large packing house on the south side of the railroad, now the Call packing house. The Corona Fruit Co. bought the brick warehouse west of the Santa Fe depot which they enlarged and used as a packing house.

In the beginning the land of South Riverside was tolerably level, with a good grade from the hills south. As the different parcels of land were set to fruit and the streets were graded the waste water, together with the storm water, began to have a bad effect in washing out the roads and streets. These cuts grew deeper with each succeeding year until, in some places, they became veritable chasms, which threatened not only the roads, but in many places the groves. In the winter of 1900 the citizens petitioned the city trustees to look into the matter, find out the cost of storm water ditches and call an election to bond the city for the sum needed to do the work. The trustees being anxious to see said work done, carefully considered the matter, engaged engineers, who gave estimates of the cost as $125,000. This sum was larger than the city could bond for under the state law, but it was thought that the work could be done by leaving out certain parts for the sum of $95,000. Hence an election was called to be held on December 23, 1901, to vote on the last named sum. The bonds were badly defeated at the polls; many who were anxious for the election voted against the bonds, so the cutting of the roads continued.

Early in 1902 was formed the Odd Fellows Hall Association for the purpose of building a home for the lodge. Ground was secured on the east side of Main street, near Seventh; work was commenced in April, 1902, and the building was dedicated January 30, 1903. One incident in the building of this structure was the tragic death of Vern Gleason, son of Dr. J. C. Gleason, who fell from the roof line to the lower floor. Mr.Gleason had not been long home from the Philippine Islands, where he had served for two years, enlisting in September, 1899, and seeing much active service.

The town was now assuming considerable importance, the shipments of fruits, clay goods, clay and rock, showing the world that Corona was a place of busy people and people of progress. In October, 1902, the matter of municipal electric lighting was urged upon the city trustees. This resulted in a bond election; April 3, 1903, bonds in the sum of $60,000 were voted upon and defeated by one vote. But Corona was not destined to be long without such light, for in July, 1903, a company was formed organizing the Corona Gas and Electric Co., with the following officers: M. W. Findley, president; F. C. Cooper, vice president; A. F. Legay, secretary; M. Terpening, treasurer; directors: George Brown, E. A. McGillivray, M. B. Huff, M. W. Findley and F. C. Cooper. Said company bought the franchise on July 28, and Corona was assured of gas and electric light. Work was commenced at once, the plant being located on Railroad street west of the depot; pipes were laid, poles erected and wires strung and on Christmas, 1903, Corona had electric light; sometime later gas was turned on. Thus Corona had made another stride in the path of progress. In the same month in which the electric company was formed the Corona Pressed Brick and Terra Cotta Co. was organized, directors C. E. Kennedy and A. A. Caldwell of Riverside and M. W. Findley, E. A. McGillivray and A. F. Legay of Corona. A large plat of ground was secured west of the electric plant, great sheds were built, kilns and modern machinery installed and soon the best quality of clay goods were being turned out, giving employment to many men.

The schoolhouse, which many thought would be sufficient for many years, was now too small to accommodate the scholars, hence on January 19, 1904, the school directors were authorized to get option on the land now occupied by the high school. An election was called to vote on the formation of a high school district, which carried. A district had been formed some years before but it had not been legally complete, hence the election. An election was called for April 6, 1904, to determine whether the district should be bonded in the sum of $20,000 for the purpose of buying land and erecting a high school building. The bonds were defeated by one vote. On Friday, June 4th, the school board was again instructed to call another election to bond the district for the sum of $25,000 for a high school. On July 5th the election was held and again the bonds were lost. This was a disappointment to many, as the building was sorely needed.

The most notable building operations this year were the residences of W. J. Pentelow, J. M. Gaylord, Frank Geith, all on the Boulevard south, also the Del Rey Hotel, built by Henry Frazier, erected on the corner of Sixth and Victoria street. The hotel was a welcome addition, as there had not been a hotel since the destruction of the Hotel Temescal. The first of the year 1905 saw the transfer of the Corona Courier from Foster and Corkhill to the Hildreth Bros., who at once began to prepare for a new building for their publication. The formation of boards of trade has been mentioned at different times, all of which died a natural death, but on February 25 a brand new board of trade was organized with W. J. Pentelow as president. This time the board of trade lived and has been productive of the greatest good; the great part of the improvements since the formation of the organization has no doubt been due to their efforts. Much of the success attending the efforts of the board was no doubt due to the president, Mr. Pentelow, who was so well fitted for the position in every respect that he has held it until the present time.

With steady progress the town forged ahead. Heretofore the streets and roads had received but nominal care; this year, 1905, Main street, from the depot to the Boulevard, was improved with sidewalks, curb and gutters, and the roadway oiled. Tenth street and the south Boulevard were also improved in like fashion. The membership of the Methodist Episcopal Church had now grown so large that the old building was much too small and this year an addition was made to the old building at a cost of $2,500. This was but temporary, as it was patent that at an early date more room would be needed. In July was organized the Home Telephone Co. This was organized by local men and to co-operate with the Los Angeles Home Co. in the long distance business. The directors were A. C. Wood, F. H. Roberts, H. A. Prizer, F. A. Perkins and J. Triola.

The First National Bank of Corona was organized August 11, 1905, with the following named officers and directors: Ernest H. May, president; W. Edward Hubbard, vice president; John P. Key, cashier; W. C. Patterson and A. J. Ware. The bank was opened for business in the Phillips Block, and in the spring of 1906 was moved to its present location and the Citizens' Bank was converted into a savings bank.

In the early part of 1906 the matter of a high school began to be again agitated, which resulted in the call for another election, held on March 26. This time the sum called for was $35,000, and the bonds carried with a fair majority. The land was bought and the building erected, which for a time overcame the difficulty of room for the scholars. While all these improvements were going forward the banking business was not forgotten, for in October, 1906, the Corona National Bank was organized, with its place of business on the southwest corner of Main street. W. J. Pentelow was president, Jacob Stoner, vice president; M. Terpening, cashier; directors: M. W. Findley, A. W. Veach, W. N. Tilson, F. F. Thompson, J. T. Hamner, C. D. McNeil and W. A. Bounge.

In the winter of 1906 and 7 the Hildreth Bros. erected the handsome building on the corner of Sixth and Ramona streets and installed therein the finest publishing plant in the Southland outside of Los Angeles.

For some years the Christian Church had used the first schoolhouse of the town, but in the spring of 1908 they built a new home, where they at present worship. Since then the building has been improved with a handsome Sunday school room. In March, 1909, the Home Telephone Co. bought the interest of the Sunset Co., thus giving the town but one telephone company, which was much appreciated. The year of 1909 saw great strides in building, the Glass building, Todd building, Huff building, Newton and Warner building, Lillibridge and Lyon building, Dean building and the Taber garage, all fine business buildings. The Methodist Episcopal Church, in July, let the contract for a Sunday school building to cost $14,000, and the building was dedicated the following spring.

The storm water cuttings had now reached such proportion that steps were deemed necessary to remedy the trouble, hence an election was called for May 17 to vote on the question of bonding the city for the sum of $135,000 for sewer, drainage and street improvement. The bonds carried and the work successfully carried out, thus putting the town in an excellent condition in the way of sewer privileges and forever doing away with the unsightly cuts in the roads and streets.

The time had again arrived when school facilities were insufficient and in order to meet the condition another schoolhouse was needed. The people of the west side naturally felt that they should have the building on their side. Several meetings were held and some confusion as to the site, but it was finally decided to purchase, if the bonds carried, the land on which the west side school now stands. In February, 1910, an election was held and bonds to the amount of $30,000 voted. The ground was secured and a handsome one story building erected which, for a time, will suffice.

The Congregational Society had for some time been contemplating the erection of a new church building. In the fall of 1910 contracts were let for a fine brick and stone building, which was commenced in November of the same year, the cornerstone laid on January 25, 1911, and the building dedicated October 15 of the same year. This gave them one of the finest church buildings in Riverside county.

In March, 1911, was formed the Country Club. This was formerly the Corona Tennis Club, but after purchasing the fine property on West Olive street the name was changed. The property consists of several acres of land with a fine club house well appointed. In June, 1911, the Knights of Pythias organized a large lodge and later organized a uniform rank This order many years ago organized a lodge in the town which lasted but a short time, when the charter was surrendered.

The town was growing rapidly and progress seemed to animate every citizen. A new city hall, park, street work, and the extension of Sixth street east, were the improvements that were urged. The city trustees took the matter up and an election was ordered for October 3, 1911, at which the sum of $137,000 was voted, fire apparatus $6,000, streets $86,000, park site $13,500, and extension of Sixth street $6,500. The bonds were sold and at once the work of improvement commenced and is still in progress. The question of park site was referred to a committee appointed by the board for the purpose. Several sites were considered and the majority of the committee advised the purchasing of the tract of nineteen acres known as the San Jacinto tract. Many were not in favor of the said tract. The trustees were asked to place the question of park site on the ticket at the city election in April, 1912. This was done and resulted in a large majority in favor of the San Jacinto tract. The ground was purchased for the sum of $9,000. A park commission was appointed by the city trustees, namely: W. J. Pentelow, Mrs. C. Case. Miss Stella Platt, William Corkhill, Dr. E. H. Smith and L. R. Nichols. This committee at once took steps to clear the land, which is now in progress.

In 1911 the Corona National Bank purchased the building they occupied, on the corner of Main and Sixth streets, and in the fall of the same year the building was remodeled and made two story, the upper story in fine office rooms and the lower floor for banking purposes. This is the handsomest building the town possesses at the present time.

In the spring of the present year the St. John's Church, Episcopal, added to their property a handsome parish house which is much appreciated by the membership. At the present writing Mrs. W. H. Jameson is remodeling the beautiful family residence, on the south Boulevard, which when completed will compare favorably with the finest residences in the county. W. H. Jameson is contemplating the erection of a magnificent tourist hotel on West Sixth street in the near future. It is also anticipated that the Pacific Electric Co. will in the near future connect with Riverside and Los Angeles.

The shipments of fruits, clay goods, clay, rock, alfalfa and other products are growing rapidly. Today Corona ships more freight than any town in Southern California outside of Los Angeles. The future is bright, all that there is to Corona has been created in twenty five years, then a desert, today a city of beautiful homes.

[Return to History of Corona, California Part 1]


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