In the 1890s, it became clear that the marshier, wetter areas of Orange County (e.g. South Santa Ana and Huntington Beach) were perfect for growing sugar beets. In 1897, the first of five local sugar processing plant was built in Los Alamitos. The Holly Sugar Plant shown above, was built in Huntington Beach in 1911, when more than 30,000 acres of O.C. was planted in sugar beets. The plant cost $1,250,000 to construct, and would remain H.B.'s primary industry until oil was discovered in 1920.
Many people who grew up in Orange County also remember Holly's plant in South Santa Ana, near the 55 Freeway.
Below is a mid-1950s Holly Sugar billboard ad by Theodor "Dr. Seuss" Geisel. You can see more at the UC San Diego website.
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