Mentone's Gazebo Gazette
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Mentone, California is a unique community nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Madre mountains of Southern California. Our main highway is Highway 38, that runs through the heart of our community. Our elevation is approximately 1700 feet, and presently, we have about 9000 inhabitants.
Mentone has a very colorful history, dating back to the late 1870's. It's residents are proud of their community and strive to maintain their independence. It is one of the last vestiges of orange production, that at one time was predominant in the Redlands, Mentone, Crafton and surrounding areas.
Originally California Central Railway laid-out the initial plan for the development of Mentone in 1888.
Eventually Southern Pacific railroad took them over a few years later. Two railroads served Mentone; the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe, which connected Southern California to San Francisco and Salt Lake, Utah, and Southern Pacific. The railroads played an important part in the development of Mentone's citrus industry, for as many as 1000 railroad cars of oranges left Mentone annually.
The total acreage of Mentone oranges was in the vicinity of 4000 acres, 75% of which were of the Navel variety. There were four packing houses in Mentone to handle the large volume. The only one remaining is the old Elephant Orchard packing house (built in 1939), on the corner of Opal Avenue and Mentone Blvd. The packing house was built on the site of the old Santa Fe Railroad station that was razed in 1938.
In those early days, Mentone prospered and experienced growth due to Eastern advertising by the railroads. The railroad's initial lay-out was sectioned into lots that were 25'X50'. Most were sold in the half to full-acre sections.
When they photographed the area to add to their advertisements, they could not help but to picture the many rocks and boulders that are found just about everywhere. The caption under the photos stated: "You can see the sheep grazing on the open fields."
It sure wasn't "truth in advertising", but it sold the lots. And, it kept a couple of men with a team of donkeys very busy clearing the rocks and boulders from the land.
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