text by Phil Brigandi
The citrus industry has been a vital component in the economy and growth of Orange County, and the City of Orange was no exception. The first orange trees in Orange were two small seedlings planted in front of Captain William Glassell's tract office. Commercial plantings began in 1873, and the first marketable crop was produced around 1876. Instead of a few large and wealthy growers, Orange's citrus industry was generated by hundreds of small growers. To facilitate marketing the fruit, cooperative marketing organizations developed. In 1893 the Southern California Fruit Exchange was formed, comprised of seven original members, including the Orange County Fruit Exchange, headquartered in Orange. The Sunkist brand was introduced in 1905 by this cooperative. Also in the same year, Orange's first cooperative packing house, Santiago Orange Growers Association (SOGA), opened. In 1929, SOGA handled and shipped more oranges than any other house in the world - 2,000 carloads! There would eventually be more than 40 cooperative packing houses in Orange and its surrounding areas.
Portions of the Orange Public Library's Historic Orange Preservation Online project were supported in whole or in part by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian.