Important Information for Researchers
Collection Scope and Content Summary
Title: Irvine Valencia Growers packing house records
Collection Number: MS-R114
Irvine Valencia Growers
23.6 linear feet
Languages: The collection is in English.
University of California, Irvine. Library. Special Collections and Archives.
Irvine, California 92623-9557
Abstract: This collection comprises records created and collected during a Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) project completed
prior to the demolition of the Irvine Valencia Growers (IVG) packing house in Irvine, California, which belonged to the Irvine
Company. The IVG packing house played a significant role in the growth of the Valencia orange industry in Orange County.
The records of the packing house provide insights into the agricultural business and labor history of the county and constitute
a rare and extensive set of resources for the study of citrus agriculture in Southern California.
Important Information for Researchers
Collection is open for research. For preservation purposes, access to materials in boxes 1 and 3 is restricted. Researcher
use copies of these materials are available.
Property rights reside with the University of California. Intellectual property rights are retained by the creators of the
records and their heirs. Some of these materials are in the public domain. For permissions to reproduce or to publish, please
contact the Head of Special Collections and Archives.
Irvine Valencia Growers Packing House Records. MS-R114. Special Collections and Archives, The UC Irvine Libraries, Irvine,
Gift of the Irvine Company, 2004.
Preliminary processing done by Hatheway and Associates and reviewed by William Landis in 2004. Finding aid begun by Andre
Ambrus in 2005 and completed by Cyndi Shein in 2007.
Planning for the Irvine Valencia Growers (IVG) packing house in Orange County, California began as early as 1926. Initial
plans, which were abandoned in 1928, included a joint facility with the Frances Citrus Association. Ultimately, the contract
for the project, including all plans and specification and supervision of construction, was awarded to F. S. Bishop. IVG
reached an agreement with the A. T. & S. F. Railroad on April 29, 1929 to provide railroad access to the facility. The land
was acquired from the Irvine Company on July 1, 1929. The main purpose of the packing house was to protect the fruit from
injury and decay during its journey from the citrus groves to the consumer. Oranges were picked by hand and transported by
truck to the packing house. At the packing house they were sorted, graded, washed, and waxed. The oranges were then systematically
and carefully packed in cartons, stacked on pallets, and stored in the pre-cooler until loaded onto the trucks or railway
freight cars that transported them to their final destinations.
The first orange trees were planted in California in 1804 at the San Gabriel Mission, but the Californians did not send their
product east in any significant quantity until 1877 after the opening of the transcontinental railroad. Citrus fruit soon
became one of California's few export products and provided a significant economic base for the young state. The earliest
California orange crops consisted of Navel oranges, which were harvested during the winter in Riverside County, and Valencia
oranges, which ripened during the summer in Orange County. Complications in distribution in the early 1890s resulted in financial
hardship for many growers and led them to band together into cooperatives. The growers established the Southern California
Fruit Exchange in 1893 to protect their interests. The organization was renamed the California Fruit Growers Exchange in
1905 and renamed Sunkist Growers, Inc. in 1952. Throughout the years, the term "Sunkist" had been used by the exchange to
identify their highest quality fruit.
James Irvine, owner of the Irvine Ranch in the early 1900s, was a supporter of the co-operative principle of marketing produce.
The Irvine Ranch joined the California Fruit Growers Exchange. The Irvine Ranch had three co-operatives: The Valencia Growers
Association, the Golden West Citrus Association, and the Frances Citrus Association. The first articles of association for
IVG show the company name "Valencia Growers Association" crossed out and replaced by the name Irvine Valencia Growers. From
its inception, the Irvine Valencia Growers was directed by men who were employed by the Irvine Ranch and/or close friends
of the Irvine family, providing the Irvine Company with the potential to exert a strong influence over IVG. Case in point:
IVG's first president, A. J. McFadden was also the president of the Irvine Foundation and later president of the Irvine Company.
The Irvine Company acquired the packing house at some point, thus becoming the owner of its records.
Over the years, several alterations were made to the Irvine Valencia Growers building complex, greatly changing its appearance
from its original state and compromising its historical significance from an architectural standpoint. Although the packing
house was recognized as a cultural resource, an environmental impact report in 2003 recommended demolition of the complex
due to its fragile condition and the prohibitive cost of preserving it. The historic status of the packing house led to a
Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) project in accordance with the guidelines set forth by the U.S. Department of the
Interior, National Park Service. HABS is administered by Heritage Documentation Programs and is the Federal Government's
oldest preservation program. HABS was created in 1933 to document America's architectural heritage by recording the history
of significant built environments prior to their destruction. The site upon which IVG once stood is now part of the Jeffrey
Open Space Trail in Irvine; it is commemorated by a historical marker and a large mosaic.
Keith Companies and Hatheway and Associates.
Irvine Valencia Growers Packing House HABS "Outline Format" Documentation Report. Irvine, California, 2003. Box 47: Folder 1. Irvine Valencia Growers Packing House Records. MS-R114. Special Collections
and Archives, The UC Irvine Libraries, Irvine, California.
National Parks Service. "Heritage Documentation Programs. HABS." U.S. Department of the Interior: 2007. http://www.nps.gov/hdp/habs/index.htm
(accessed January 31, 2008).
Collection Scope and Content Summary
This collection comprises records created and collected during a Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) project completed
prior to the demolition of the Irvine Valencia Growers (IVG) packing house in Irvine, California. The IVG packing house played
a significant role in the growth of the Valencia orange industry in Orange County. Spanning 70 years, its records provide
insights into the agricultural business and labor history of the county and constitute an invaluable resource for the study
of citrus agriculture in Southern California. The collection documents the day-to-day business, practices, and environment
of IVG. The collection also documents such topics as the early 20th-century cooperative approach to fruit growing in California,
the pervasive influence of the Irvine Company on the cooperative, and the association of the IVG packing house with significant
citrus worker strikes that took place in the county from 1935 to 1936.
These materials are the product of an agreement between the City of Irvine, the Irvine Company, and the Keith Companies to
document the packing house prior to its demolition in 2003. The collection primarily comprises photocopies of historic documents
owned by the Irvine Company and original documentation created by the Keith Company for the HABS project. The narrative text
of the HABS report conveys the historical context and significance of the IVG. The HABS project also provides maps, architectural
records, and photographs that documented the IVG complex prior to its demolition. Materials include incorporation articles
and by-laws, board and shareholders' meeting minutes, financial records, audit reports, annual reports, trademark files, growers'
pool records and accounts, appraisals and inventories, correspondence concerning machinery and equipment, worker training
and safety materials, and fruit crate labels, oral histories, and other interviews.
This collection is arranged in two series.
- Series 1. Historical American Building Survey (HABS) project documentation, 2001-2003. 3.5 linear feet
- Series 2. Irvine Valencia Growers business records and historic documents, 1923-1998. 20.1 linear ft.
Prior to their donation to UC Irvine, the materials were compiled and organized by Hatheway and Associates, consultants for
the Keith Companies, who contracted with the City of Irvine to perform the HABS project. For the most part, Hatheway's organizational
scheme and description of materials has been retained.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Irvine Valencia Growers -- Archives.
Citrus fruit industry -- California -- Irvine -- Archives.
Citrus fruits --Cooperative marketing -- California -- Irvine -- Archives.
Historic buildings -- California -- Irvine -- Archives.
Land use -- California -- Irvine -- Archives.
Orange County (Calif.) -- Archives.
Irvine (Calif.) -- Archives.
Irvine Company -- Archives.
Genres and Formats of Materials
Photographic prints -- California -- Orange County -- 20th century.
Photographic prints -- California -- Orange County -- 21st century.
Film negatives -- California -- Orange County -- 20th century.
Slides -- 20th century.
Maps -- California -- Orange County -- 20th century.
Architectural drawings --20th century.
Fruit crate labels -- California -- Orange County -- 20th century.
Historic American Buildings Survey.