Saturday, March 17, 2012

Something Orange for St. Patrick's Day

The Anaheim Orange & Lemon Association incorporated in 1918. It's mission-style packinghouse (shown above) at 424 S. Los Angeles St. (now Anaheim Blvd), was completed in 1919. Over a period of almost 40 years, millions and millions of locally grown citrus fruits were packed in this building and sent to markets all over the country in railroad cars. Neglected for the past half-century, something interesting is now happening to this old packinghouse. Soon we'll all be able to enjoy another re-purposed bit of historic Orange County. But first, a little background,...
According to Mike Tucker's Anaheim Colony website, "The Anaheim Orange and Lemon Association hired Duncan Gleason to create five brand labels:  Doria, Sonia, Delicia, Favorita [Red Ball], and Meritoria [Orchard Run].  The women on all five are modeled after Gleason's wife, Dorothy.  He used the money he earned from the label designs to finance his honeymoon."
Other brands used by the Association included Oriental (Choice) and Bohemia (Standard).

In his book, Citrus Powered the Economy of Orange County, Dick Barker writes, "Gerald W. Sandilands, who helped organize the association, served as secretary and manager from 1918 until his death... in September 1951."

The Association stopped handling lemons in 1931, and in 1936 they changed their name to the Anaheim Valencia Orange Association. The packing house's last season was 1957, and the association disbanded in 1958.
I'm happy to report that the exterior of the Anaheim Orange & Lemon Association packinghouse is now being restored and the interior converted into a sort of gourmet food court by the same people who developed "The LAB Antimall" and "The Camp" shopping center, near South Coast Plaza. Three cheers for adaptive reuse! The Anaheim Historical Society's blog (maintained by Kevin Kidney) has been covering the project's progress. (See an earlier post here, and a more recent post here.)

Also, the developers themselves have a website called Tracking the Packing, which features some great photos and some rather iffy history. (For example, Orange County was NOT named for our citrus industry -- which did not yet exist.) We'll happily overlook the research glitches, since they seem to be doing a beautiful job with the restoration.


Connie Moreno said...

What beautiful labels! That was very interesting, Chris! How funny, that just the other day, I went to the Riverside Citrus Historic State Park and will soon be doing a little blog post on that. Tis the season for citurs, no? LOL! Thanks for that blog link, too. I'm gonna go check it out. OH! And yes, three cheers (and many more) for fixing up that gorgeous building!

Anonymous said...

Interesting, and pretty neat that it's being preserved. I went to google maps and punched in the address and got a good street view. Apparently the restoration had already begum when google took the photos.

Jim, Magnolia, TX