Saturday, February 12, 2011

Greenville Bean Growers Association

Today's photo shows the Greenville Bean Growers Association warehouse at S. Greenville St. and W. Alton Ave. in Santa Ana in 1973. For last week's Orange County Historical Society "Show & Tell" meeting, I brought a bunch of railroad spikes from this spur and shared some information about the site's history...
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In 1909, the Pacific Electric Railway opened a new line between Huntington Beach and Santa Ana. The "Big Red Cars" also shared the tracks with freight.
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The Greenville Bean Growers Association was established in 1918, and their "fireproof warehouse" (so far, so good) was built that same year. The Association's founding and long-time member families included the Borchards, the Plavans, the Tedfords and the Wakehams. It was a virtual who's-who of Gospel Swamp pioneers. Board meetings were held in the warehouse.
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The Greenville (a.ka. Gospel Swamp, a.k.a. Old Newport) area was chiefly known for its limas and other beans. Sugar beets were also common.
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In 1922, the railroad tracks washed out along the Santa Ana River in a flood. From then on, the remaining track between Greenville and Santa Ana was used for freight only.
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The warehouse was still a busy operation. In 1926, about 70,000 sacks of beans were expedited through that building to market. (I suspect that quantity of beans would be expedited through anyone.)
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The Association used the warehouse into the 1980s. Later, it was purchased by longtime Association members, C.J. Segerstrom & Sons.
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My thanks to everyone who attended the OCHS Show & Tell. It was a great program and went in fascinating directions I never would have expected. I think we'll make Show & Tell one of our annual traditions.
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Thanks also to those who attended the "Amazing Neutras of Orange County" program today at the Old Courthouse. I was very pleased by the large turnout, and the good questions from the audience. If you'd told me 10 years ago that I'd be sitting on a panel with Dion Neutra, Alan Hess and Barbara Lamprecht, I would have said you were crazy. In the strange world I live in, these folks are sort of the equivalent of rock stars.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

We moved to Costa Mesa in 1963 and for a few years after that going between CM and Santa Ana via Fairview took one through Greenville. There was open space between the two cities then. The tracks were still in place at the time. Now it is just a seamless expanse of urbanity.

Connie Moreno said...

Very interesting. Sorry I missed the Show and Tell. bummer....

Carlota said...

Great story. Thank you for the spurs!