SMHPS Program: California’s Second Gold Rush – The Rise of the Citrus Industry

Citrus washing apparatus at the Pegler Ranch, circa 1900. Photo courtesy of Sierra Madre Historical Preservation Society

Citrus washing apparatus at the Pegler Ranch, circa 1900. Photo courtesy of Sierra Madre Historical Preservation Society, click to enlarge

Press Release posted 10/10/12 – If you missed it the last time, you have a second chance to see this interesting program! By special request, local resident Joe Feeney will present his talk on the rise of the citrus industry, called California’s second gold rush, and how this economic juggernaut enabled the rapid growth of Southern California following WWII.

Feeney, who has been in the Huntington Westerners history organization for twenty years and on the board for four years says, “I have been collecting orange crate labels for 30 years. It was through collecting them that I got interested in the fascinating history of the citrus industry. At one time, Los Angeles County was the highest dollar volume agricultural county in the United States, due largely to navel orange production.

“The citrus industry revolutionized Southern California, but this change didn’t happen overnight or without difficulties. This is a great story, and it is our historical biography too! My talk will have plenty of pictures of the early citrus industry, some of Sierra Madre, and plenty of images of the beautiful crate label art.”

Feeney has been on the board of directors of the historic “Campo de Cahuenga” for the last twenty years; and was vice president of the “Civil War Roundtable of Baton Rouge” for two years. He has an M.A. from L.S.U. in political philosophy. Joe’s family moved to Sierra Madre in 1962, into the Wistaria house.

The program will be presented Thursday, October 18th at 7:30 at the Hart House in Memorial Park in Sierra Madre.  Admission is free, light refreshment will be served. The program is sponsored by the Sierra Madre Historical Preservation Society. For more info email SMHPS@outlook.com.

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