Sunday, 17 March 2013

Oranges in San Bernardino

Orange trees in San Bernardino in the early 1920s.

The first orange trees were brought to the San Bernardino valley in California in 1857. In the early 1920s there were already a few more of them .....

The National Orange Show website has this information about the history of oranges in the valley:

According to Ingersoll’s Century Annals of San Bernardino County, Anson Van Leuven brought the first orange trees, six in number, to San Bernardino Valley from San Gabriel Valley in 1857. In 1869, Lewis F. Cram was given the opportunity to buy 500 trees, but opted to purchase only enough rootstock to plant 1 ¾ acres. By 1887, he showed a net profit of $1,757 on this meager planting, over $1,100 net per acre–a good fortune in those days. In 1873, the U.S. Department of Agriculture sent California’s two original orange trees to Eliza Tibbets. The tree’s seemingly endless oranges won awards at major expositions for their superior quality and taste. Ms. Tibbets soon had a booming business selling buds from her celebrated stock. By 1910, one year before the National Orange Show began, at least 100,000 acres in California were planted with the progeny of her trees and California navel orange sales had reached $200 million.

The economic importance of the oranges has been considerable for the area:

 For example, the 7,511 orange trees in 1872 had grown to 1,347,911 by 1900; the 15,000 boxes of oranges shipped in 1881 stood at 1,562,108 boxes by 1902-03; and the cash value of the orange crop had grown from $2,450 in 1860 to $1,634,783 in 1900. This introduction provided the setting and circumstances for the genesis of the National Orange Show, which has taken place every year since its inception in 1911, with the exception of four years during World War II.

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