Thursday, April 12, 2007

Last Orange Grove in Rialto Turns 100 (Daily Bulletin)

Last orange grove in Rialto turns 100
By Andrew Silva, Staff Writer
Article Launched: 04/01/2007 12:00:00 AM PDT

RIALTO - In a city with nearly 100,000 people, a shady 10-acre oasis of the early 20th century still stands.
"It's just like what it was 100 years ago," said John Adams, 63, whose grandfather planted the orange trees and built the houses for what is now the last orange grove in Rialto.

Adams, who still lives on the little spread on Cactus Avenue, celebrated the 100th anniversary of his grandfather's grove Saturday.

The festival doubled as a reunion for Rialto natives who attended Rialto Junior High School and Eisenhower High School in the late 1950s and 1960s.

It was just a fortunate coincidence that it also turned out to be the anniversary of the year Adams' grandfather planted the first orange trees in 1907.

Some people may know their ancestors farmed in the past, he said, but not many get the chance to live amid the same trees and the memories they represent.

"We'd play softball for hours (in the road) without having to stop for a car," he said. "The birds and the winds were the only sounds you'd hear."

Ron Featherstone, 63, who now lives in Bullhead City, Ariz., graduated from Eisenhower High in 1962, as Adams did.

He remembers a Tom Sawyer-like boyhood when Rialto

was half orange groves and half undeveloped land.

"All the little critters and varmints were here," he said. "I caught hundreds of rattlesnakes."

He was bitten twice as a youngster, but continued catching the dangerous reptiles.

"I used to trade the rattles to the guys with the really good marbles," he said. "We found ways to have fun that didn't cost money."

The group of old friends used to stay in touch with phone calls and letters, but now they have a Web site to keep track of each other.

Jennifer Selbert, also from the class of 1962, said everyone remembers the smell of the orange blossoms, so they decided to have a reunion in the spring.

The centennial celebration was a bonus.

"We thought about doing the reunion when the oranges were blossoming and didn't even think it was the 100th anniversary," Selbert said.

BS Ranch Perspective:

I think that it is time that the 100 year old Orchard should be made a Historical Land Mark and then told that they cannot sell, build, or do anything to that property except keep the Tree's in the Orchard happy, with Water and Plant Food and the like. They might have to pull or call in the pickers and pick or harvest the oranges from the threes, and then send them to the orchard.

But See I am mean that way!! However, really taking the history of the area, that would not be such a bad idea, if it was tied to the Historical Society, and part of the museum.

BS Ranch!!

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