Version 2013 July 21
FROM Mexican Independence TO Diversified Farming Era (1822-1893)
Link to Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848) in this page (below)
Link to RAILROADS (1876 to 1967) in this page (below)
Mexican Independence (1824-1848):
Under Spanish rule, California had been dominated by Missions. Their plan to teach European ways to California Indians had been based on unrealistic assumptions and was unsuccessful. Much of the land that had been freely roamed by “hunter-gatherer” Indians was adopted by the Missions for agriculture, mostly cattle ranges. The main cattle products were hides and tallow, which were traded for articles (such as clothing and tools) that the Missions could not produce. Beef was usually discarded.
The land where Eastvale is now located was controlled by San Gabriel Mission, which had an outpost at Redlands, south of San Bernardino. The main travel route from the Mission to the outpost turned south along what is now known as Chino Creek, avoiding the arid Cucamonga Valley, and traversed the Santa Ana River valley to Redlands.
Soon after independence, Mexico “secularized” the Missions, removing them from church control – but the Indians could not resume their “hunter-gatherer” life style on land that had been transformed to cattle ranges. Some (especially women) moved into the labor pool.
Mission lands, including most of the California coastal plains, were distributed as land grants to prominent Mexican citizens. Most grants continued as cattle ranches, with a few of the surviving Mission Indians as Vaqueros (expert horsemen and cattle herders). Grantees were required to construct a residence, usually adobe, and some of these buildings survived into the twentieth century.
Don Juan Bandini received two large grants of land on the north side of the Santa Ana River valley, between Chino Creek and San Bernardino. These were Rancho Jurupa, later owned by Abel Stearns and Louis Robidoux, and Rancho El Rincon, later owned by Bernardo Yorba.
Much of California, including Los Angeles and the inland valleys of southern California, became a feudal society under land grantee “Dons,” with Indians and poor Mexican immigrants as peons. The Dons developed a life of leisure with dances, rodeos, and imported luxuries – also featuring hospitality for visiting Dons and travelers.
Immigration had been restricted to Spaniards (including native Mexicans, and others who adopted Spanish citizenship – notably Yankee entrepreneur Abel Stearns, who became a citizen of Spain, and was permitted to marry a daughter of Don Juan Bandini). After Mexican independence, these immigration restrictions were not enforced, so population pressure from the US increased. But unavailability of land (still tied up in large Ranchos) caused discontent, and encouraged “squatters.”
* Link to WIKI -> Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848)
The Guadalupe Hidalgo treaty at the end of the US-Mexican war (during Polk’s administration in 1848) hastened downfall of the Rancho system, whose future may already have become questionable due to soil exhaustion and other economic factors. The Treaty expressed intent to respect Mexican era land ownership, but this proved difficult to implement, due to the legal expense of proving vague Spanish and Mexican era land titles according to strict US standards – exacerbated by exorbitant legal fees and interest rates. Dons continued to occupy most Rancho lands as cattle ranches, pending resolution of titles (most of which were “patented” 25-35 years later).
Gold Rush (approximately 1849-1855)
The Dons had a temporary windfall – food was scarce in gold mining areas because workers would rather mine than farm. Cattle were driven from southern CA Ranchos to the gold country. But as the gold rush ended, northerners turned to farming or left the state, and demand for southern CA beef decreased abruptly. The Dons’ windfall became a disaster.
California Statehood (1851)
Population pressure and discontent increased – immigrants and unsuccessful gold miners found most potential farm land still occupied by Dons. (Meanwhile, beef had replaced hides and tallow as the principal products of cattle ranches.)
Civil War (1860-1864)
Had little effect in CA till end of war, when displaced southerners added to immigration and to discontent.
Weather problems for Ranchos (1861-1865)
Severe floods (1861-62) were followed by three years of major drought. Along with Guadalupe-Hidalgo land losses and legal debts, this led to financial devastation of cattle ranches. (“Ranchers learned to plant feed crops in order to lessen their reliance on natural forage. The raising of sheep – a far more ‘drought-tolerant’ animal than a cow – became popular.”) But sheep depleted pasture land by grazing it to bare earth.
Guadalupe-Hidalgo “land patent” settlements during the 1870s made subdivision practical: small landowners could now obtain a reliable legal title. This hastened the end of the Rancho system, allowing the Dons to sell out by subdividing, and thus settle their accrued weather and legal debts. Abel Stearns would have become a rich subdivider if he hadn’t died in 1871. Many present-day California land titles are derived from Guadalupe-Hidalgo patent settlements.
Near Eastvale (Bandini grants):
Jurupa-Robidoux (eastern 15% of Jurupa grant) patented 1876
Jurupa-Stearns (western 85% of Jurupa grant) and El Rincon-Yorba patented 1879.
Oranges and Irrigation
“Around 1875 a mutant Brazilian orange tree that produced fruit with no seeds was brought to the city. In the rich soil by the Santa Ana River the fruit flourished under the abundant sunshine. By 1887 the navel orange had become the dominant crop in Riverside and other California cities.
About the same time, with the financial aid of people from England, Matthew Gage, an immigrant from Canada, began work on a canal to bring water to all of Riverside, parts of which had no water available. With the irrigation made possible by Gage's canal, Riverside's greatest growth period began. Three new subdivisions—White's Addition, Hall's Addition, and Arlington Heights—were developed.
Economic strides were made in the 1880s when a number of local fruit growers joined together to pick and sell fruit under one brand name they could all use, and to grade their oranges for quality. The plan expanded and by 1893 a group of all the growers of California was formed under the name of the Southern California Fruit Exchange, now known as Sunkist. The development of refrigerated railroad cars [about 1880: see WIKI ‘Refrigerator Car’] and innovative irrigation systems established Riverside as the state's wealthiest city per capita by 1895.”
RAILROADS MADE THE “NEW ERA” POSSIBLE
= IN THE BEGINNING:
Central Pacific rails, laid eastward from northern California, linked with Union Pacific westward from Omaha NE. This link, celebrated by the “Golden Spike” ceremony at Promontory UT on 10 May 1869, increased the demand for a route to southern California.
Southern Pacific (a subsidiary of the “Big Four” Central Pacific transcontinental railroad company) completed the first rail connection between Los Angeles and the eastern US in Sep 1876. Its route went through, around, and over the mountains to Mojave and Bakersfield; and then north to meet Central Pacific. The last link constructed was the San Fernando Tunnel (see Santa Clarita History).
Southern Pacific Railroad route between Los Angeles and Bakersfield includes impressive features:
= Between Los Angeles and Palmdale, the San Fernando Tunnel, 1.3 mi long, was longest in the US when completed Sep 1876.
= At the Tehachapi Loop between Mojave and Bakersfield, the railroad crosses itself. The Loop adds almost a mile of length, to decrease the steepness of the grade. From the Loop, the railroad descends to Bakersfield (northwest, upper left), and rises to Tehachapi (southeast, lower right).
Tehachapi Loop: “It was completed in 1876 under the direction of William Hood, Southern Pacific Railroad engineer. In gaining elevation around central hill of the Loop a 4000-foot train will cross 77 feet above its rear cars in the tunnel below.” A train of this length could include about 100 “twentieth-century standard” 40-foot boxcars.
TIME LINE (1876-1905):
= Southern Pacific connected Los Angeles with Bakersfield in 1876, via San Fernando Tunnel, Palmdale, Mojave, and Tehachapi Loop. This was the final link in the first rail connection between Los Angeles and the eastern US – via existing Central Pacific lines (from Bakersfield to northern CA, and eastward to the 1869 “Golden Spike” site in UT), and Union Pacific to Omaha NE.
Soon afterward (1881), Southern Pacific linked Los Angeles with the southeast US via Colton, San Gorgonio Pass, Palm Springs, Yuma AZ, and El Paso TX. (This Yuma line proposal had been an important incentive for the 1853 Gadsden Purchase, but became entangled in pre-Civil War politics.)
= Santa Fe ran to the east from Mojave (1883) via Barstow, Needles, and Santa Fe NM, sharing Southern Pacific tracks over Tehachapi Pass to connect with Bakersfield and northern CA.
California Southern railroad (later absorbed by Santa Fe) connected the Santa Fe route at Barstow with San Diego, via Cajon Pass (1885), Colton, Perris, Temecula, and Oceanside. Sponsors of this line hoped to establish San Diego as a major West Coast seaport, but this plan was soon abandoned due to washouts in the canyons between Temecula and Oceanside. Santa Fe took over (1887) and completed two connecting routes from Colton to Los Angeles, via Upland and through Santa Ana Canyon. A coastal track ran from the city of Santa Ana to Oceanside, and from there to San Diego via the 1885 railroad.
= Union Pacific went northeast (1905) from San Bernardino to Barstow, Las Vegas, and Salt Lake City, sharing Santa Fe tracks over Cajon Pass.
= LATER DEVELOPMENTS
Los Angeles Union Railroad Station (1926)
Southern Pacific (1967) constructed “Palmdale cutoff” from Colton to Mojave, paralleling Santa Fe (not sharing tracks) through Cajon Pass and then turning west near Victorville. This improved the connection from southwestern US to northern CA, avoiding congestion near downtown Los Angeles.
= I can remember lying in bed on quiet nights, hearing Union Pacific trains whistle as they approached Etiwanda Ave at Mission Blvd, about 3 miles north of where I lived.
The railroad companies have been reorganized and renamed during recent decades. Some of the original routes now provide Metrolink light rail service throughout the Los Angeles basin (including the Antelope Valley line which still uses San Fernando Tunnel).
= AMTRAK passenger service from Los Angeles to eastern US runs about once a day on each of two traditional routes: Santa Fe via Santa Fe NM, and Southern Pacific via Yuma AZ. Also AMTRAK runs daily trains along the CA coast, south to San Diego and north to Sacramento, and an AMTRAK bus service between Los Angeles and Bakersfield meets Central Valley trains. There are AMTRAK connections from Bakersfield and Sacramento to the Pacific Northwest and to the eastern US.
= High speed passenger rail service between San Francisco and Los Angeles, via Bakersfield and new tunnels through the southern mountains, is being studied.
= = = = =
CLICK HERE FOR EASTVALE INDEX – LINKS TO:
EAST VALE AREA HISTORY before 1950
HISTORIC AERIAL VIEWS OF EASTVALE 1938 to present
RIVER WALKS – Essays by LPM
or go to “meiszen.net”: Meissner Family Web Site