Lecture: Rialto Citrus

Vintage orange crate label from Rialto Canal BrandPfau Library’s Rheubottom-Webster Local History Lecture Series presents:

“Rialto Citrus … from the Label to the Grove”

By Richard McInnis

Saturday, Nov. 14, 2009

Desserts: 1:30 p.m.

Lecture: 2 p.m.

Location: CSUSB/Pfau Library-4005

FREE Parking in LOT D

Southern California was developed on the shoulders of two key industries: railroads and citrus. Rialto, from its first Methodist settlers in the late 1880s until the 1950s and 60s, when grove land became more valuable as possible subdivisions, was a central player in the region’s citrus industry. Rialto’s citrus history reflects that of Southern California. The labels pasted on boxes shipped from Rialto packing houses touched every corner of the Inland Empire. Although Redlands had more packing houses and Colton started shipping citrus earlier, Rialto had more than 80 different labels used by the companies that occupied “Packing House Row” near the Santa Fe tracks south of town. This lecture will offer insights into the industry that created the labels as well as a look at the unique nature of the labels themselves as collectible art objects and historical documents.

About the speaker: Richard McInnis is a third-generation Californian, born in San Bernardino. His father worked for Santa Fe and Richard spent his early years growing up in the shadow of the Santa Fe smokestack. In 1953 his family moved to Rialto, before all the groves were destroyed to make room for subdivisions. He was lucky enough to be able to cut through an orange grove (sometimes picking an orange for lunch) on the way to school.

Mr. McInnis has a bachelor’s degree in telecommunications, a master’s in education, and a diploma in graphic design. He currently works as a substitute teacher for Rialto Adult Education and the Colton Joint Unified school and also teaches ROP classes.

As a board member of the Rialto Historical Society, where he does historical research, he provides computer support and docent assistance to visitors of the society’s museum. He also is a member of the City of San Bernardino Historic Preservation Commission.

Posted in Lectures & Presentations, Rheubottom-Webster