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their mountain soil and sharp frosts,
produce apples and pears which com-
mand the highest prices paid in the
city markets. Even raisin-growing
has proved successful.

The largest fruit orchards in Cali-
fornia are those of General Bidwell of
Chico. They consist of 65,250 trees,
and in 1891 produced 5, 780,000 pounds
of fruit.

The rapid increase in the produc-
tion of deciduous fruits during late
years, is shown by the annual ship-
ments of fresh fruits to the East. In
1888, there were sent 851 carloads;
in 1889, the amount reached 991 car-
loads ; in 1890, it increased to 1373
carloads, and in 1891, it was 1,387
carloads. In 1892, the amount was
fully 200 carloads in excess of the
last-named figures. The experimental
shipments of fresh fruits from the
southern part of the State proved so
satisfactory that many growers acted
upon the suggestion, and, as already
remarked, extensive shipments were
forwarded last year. This has stimu-
lated horticulturists to plant extensive

areas in deciduous fruits in that

During the season of 1892, a most
important event connected with the
deciduous fruit interest occurred ; it
was the inauguration of shipments to
England. Several hundred tons of
assorted fruit were shipped thither,
being carried in refrigerator cars to
New York, there transferred to cold
storerooms on Atlantic steamers and
conveyed to Liverpool. The time of
transit from California to the place of
destination was fifteen days. The
fruit arrived in fair condition, and
brought good prices at auction. As
far as the feasibility goes of sending
fresh fruit to England in good condi-
tion, the experiment was completely
successful ; but the transportation
charges ate up nearly all the returns,
and material reduction in the cost of
transportation will have to be made
before fruit shipments to England
reach large proportions. Neverthe-
less a new market for California fresh
fruit has been pointed out, and during
the present year numerous carloads
of oranges have been shipped from
Pomona and other places of Southern
California to England. That the
financial returns have been very satis-
factory to the growers and shippers is

Fig culture in California deserves
more than passing notice, since this
ornamental and profitable tree will
take a prominent position in the
future. The first carload of California
figs sent to New York was dispatched
last year, and from the fact that the
tree is being extensively planted, it is
reasonable to conclude that henceforth
it will continue to make an annual
showing on the fruit shippers' freight
bills. That the increase in produc-
tion has already set in is shown by
the outputs for the years 1889, 1890,
1891, which were respectively 200,000
pounds, 350,000 pounds and 360,000
pounds. The finest and oldest fig
orchard is at Knight's Ferry, Stanis-
laus County. The trees are over
thirty years old and produce large



crops. Near Burson, Calaveras
County, there is a fig tree measuring
over eleven feet in circumference, and
is considered to be the largest tree of
its kind in California.

Another beautiful tree to which at-
tention is being paid on account of the

ning to bring forth fruit. Orange
Count}- alone has 26,220 bearing trees,
and 55,026 not bearing.

In San Luis Obispo, a walnut tree
carelessly planted in the garden of one
of the city fathers, produced last year
a crop that sold for thirty-five dollars —


profits yielded by it is the walnut.
From Rivera, Los Angeles County,
seventy carloads of the nuts were
shipped last year, while from Los
Nietos, of the same county, the first
trainload of English walnuts, consist-
ing of twenty cars, that was ever sent
Hast, left in October last. Walnut
groves planted years ago are begin-
Vol. IV— 14

an encouraging fact to those who have
already planted walnut orchards.
The largest English walnut tree sup-
posed to exist in the State is at Valle-
cito, Calaveras County. It measures
nine feet in circumference and an-
nually yields a large crop of superior

The same wide range as regards



variety, is observable in small fruits
and vegetables, with the additional
inducement to the cultivator that
many of the latter may be grown all
the year round, while strawberries are
produced early in March, a time when
the table in other States can only be
supplied from the green-house. Other
fruits are proportionately early ; goose-
berries and raspberries appearing at
the end of April, and blackberries and
currants the first week in May. This
early fructification gives the California
gardener an advantage over his con-
freres in all other States, enabling him
to make shipments of produce long
before the crops elsewhere are ready
for picking. Nor is the advantage in
this respect confined to small fruits ;
deciduous fruits arrive at a corre-
spondingly prior maturity. On May
9th, last year, a carload of cherries was
sent East from Vacaville, Solano
County ; on May 19th, a carload of
apricots from the same place ; and on
June 4th, one of peaches from Winters,
Yolo County.

People who visit San Francisco for
the first time during the winter will be
surprised to find asparagus, cucumbers
and green peas upon the table in Feb-
ruary and new potatoes in March.
They may be inclined to believe that
these vegetables are provided from
green-houses, but such is not the case.
Last year green peas began to arrive
from Niles, Alameda County, on Feb-
ruary 17th ; cucumbers came from
Winters, Yolo County, on February
1 6th, and asparagus from Blondin
Island, Sacramento, on the 10th of
the same month. The season this
year has been somewhat backward.

It is impossible to estimate the im-
mense proportions that the industry of
vegetable productions will assume in
this State. Its present importance is
shown by the fact that in 1892 the
large amount of 95,939,000 pounds of
such produce was shipped to the
Eastern market. This is a certain in-
dication of the great interest taken by
California farmers in an industry
which is capable of almost indefinite




notice, and that is the enormous size
which they attain. ' ' San Luis Obispo
County," says a writer in one of the
leading daily papers of San Francisco,
"seems to take the lead in the
production of large vegetables. San
Luis raises the biggest onions in the
world, some of them weighing four

expansion. There is no portion of
the State, north or south, that is not
interested in this business, and the
vegetable productions of these two
physical divisions of California are
nearly equal. With regard to this
industry a prominent railroad man has
remarked that "The cultivation of
vegetables is one of the strongest
points or factors in the immediate
future development of this territory.
The volume of the traffic has now in-
creased to a point where it is not ex-
perimental, and people are as sure of
fair returns as they would be in the
Eastern States."

One feature with regard to Cali-
fornia vegetables deserves especial

pounds apiece.

Her cabbages

are Brobding-

nagiau ;


might be converted into coaches with-
out the fairy wand of Cinderella's
godmother. Her potatoes are simply
monstrous; one of them would prove a
meal to Gargantua himself. ' ' But San
Luis Obispo County has potent rivals
in this respect. At Pomona, Los Ange-
les County, a squash was grown which
weighed 283 pounds, and was four
feet in diameter ; at Fresno a sweet
potato was exhibited last summer
which weighed forty-four and three-
fourths pounds ; Capistrano, Orange



County, could boast of a watermelon
weighing 150 pounds, having a cir-
cumference of four feet nine inches,
and a length of five, feet six inches.
In the same year an onion was on
exhibition at L,os Angeles which

weighed seven pounds, and had a cir-
cumference of thirty-six inches. Other
vegetables also have their Goliaths.
An Irish potato has acquired the
weight of thirteen pounds — this from
San Luis Obispo County — and the




beet sometimes reaches colossal pro-
portions. One of the attractive fea-
tures of the California exhibits at the
World's Fair is the vegetable display.
Though somewhat out of place in
the order of classification, attention
should be called to the importance of
the bean crop, which last year yielded
a total of 76,594,500 pounds, 23,897

{Aphis phrodoii) in that State, Cali-
fornia passed to the front, the respect-
ive yields being 35,500 bales and
39,750 bales. The average annual
crop of our State is 6,500,000 pounds,
and last year 5,439,245 pounds w r ere
exported, a very small portion of
which (158,175 pounds) w r as sent by
sea. The appearance of the above


tons of which were shipped overland.
Ventura County is the largest pro-
ducer of L/ima beans in the world ;
one ranch alone produced fifty-six
carloads in one season. Nor must the
humble peanut and its county home
be forgotten. Tehama takes the lead
in California in its production, over
1,000,000 pounds being raised in that
.section, annually.

Two other important agricultural
productions remain to be noticed,
namely the hop and the beet.
Washington takes the lead in Pacific
Coast hop crops, but in 1892, owing
to the ravages of the hop louse

named hop pest will doubtless lead to
a thorough study of the subject of
spraying, which seems not to have
been properly understood in Washing-
ton. Sacramento is the leading county
in California, and indeed in the United
States, in the production of hops.

There is little doubt that the pro-
duction of beets will become at no dis-
tant date one of the most important
industries of the State. No other article
of consumption increases in the same
proportion as sugar. This is a mark
of the progress of civilization. Sav-
age or wild tribes do not use the arti-
cle ; the Arab drinks his coffee without



it, and the Chinaman his tea.
In the earlier stages of civil-
ization sugar was a luxury,
enjoyed only by the rich ; in
the present advanced develop-
ment it has become a necessi-
ty, and the consumption of it
is enormous, no class of the
community going without it.
Its cheap production at the
present time has placed it
within the reach of the poor-
est laborer and mechanic.
When it is borne in mind
that more than one-half of all
the sugar manufactured in the
world is obtained from the
beet, the immense importance
of this vegetable as a supplier
of one of the greatest neces-
sities of modern life will be

In California the cultiva-
tion of the beet has only
recently obtained a foothold,
and the State is indebted for
the introduction of the new
industry to Mr. Claus Sprec-
kels, who established some
years ago a beet-sugar factory
at Alvarado, Alameda Coun-
ty. At the time of writing
there are three such factories
in full operation, while several
others are in contemplation.

The stimulus given to beet
culture by the establishment
of the mill at Alvarado was
so great that its machinery had to be
increased in capacity, with the result
that 5,000,000 pounds of refined sugar
were produced, as against less than
2,000,000 pounds for the season pre-
ceding the improvement. For the
manufacture of this large amount of
sugar, 20,000 tons of beet were bought
at an average price of five dollars a

In 1888, a factory was established
at Watsonville, Santa Cruz County,
the first year's output being 2,920,000
pounds of sugar. Season by season
the product increased, and in 1891 the
amount reached 4,340,000 pounds,


which, however, was little in excess
of the output of the previous season.
The prospects for the following year
were, however, most favorable. The
acreage planted to beets has been
largely increased, the result being that
the product reached 10,000,000 pounds,
which was more than the outputs of
the two preceding seasons combined.

The third establishment of the kind
was erected at Chino, San Bernardino
County. It was completed in time to
handle the beet crop of 189 1. and very
marked success has attended the en-
terprise. The output for the first
season was 1,946,000 pounds of re-



fined sugar. During the following
year 27,098 tons of beet were delivered
at the factory, at an average cost of four
dollars and twenty-five cents a ton.
About 3,000 acres of virgin soil had
been brought under a high state of
cultivation for the first time, and
planted in beets. The result was that
the output reached 7,903,541 pounds,
a result so encouraging that the factory
has been enlarged, and it is estimated
that 5,000 acres will be planted for
this season's supply. This enterprise
at Chino is proving to be of the high-
est industrial value, not only to the
county, but indirectly, by way of
stimulus, to other places in Southern
California. At Anaheim, Orange
County, a company has been formed
for the erection of a similar factory,
and a sufficient area of land for the
culture of beet has been secured to
ensure the successful establishment of
the enterprise. The company will
commence operations during the pres-

ent year. At Santa Ana, also, a com-
mittee has been at work securing
acreage and making arrangements for
the erection of a similar factory near
the city. In fact, the success of the
beet-sugar factories already established
has stimulated interest in this indus-
try all over the State, and it is said
that an old refinery on one of the San
Joaquin river islands will be equipped
for the manufacture of beet sugar.

There are three potent facts which
point authoritatively to the magnitude
which the cultivation of the beet will
reach in California at no distant date,
and these are: (1) the great. area
upon which the plant can be success-
fully cultivated ; (2) the heaviness of
the crops, guaranteed by the richness
of the soil ; (3) the abundance of sac-
charine matter in the California beet.
The last important desideratum can-
not be doubted, for it has been shown
by repeated tests that the beet of our
State contains considerably more sac-



charine matter than that produced in
the vegetable grown elsewhere in this
country or in foreign lands.

The manufacture of sugar from the
beet root has been very disastrous to
cultivators of the .sugar cane. Within
a comparatively short period of time
the sugar plantations of the West
Indies were sources of wealth that sent
proud Creoles of French, Spanish and
English origin to the lands of their
ancestors, resplendent with display,
lavish of riches, and contemptuous in
demeanor. Half a century ago the
sugar cane was king, as cotton was in
the present generation. But those
times are past. The sugar cane plant-
ations in every part of the world no
longer yield fortunes to the slave
owner, or hold out much promise of
return under the system of free labor.
And this is due to the attention that
is turned to the cultivation of beet
on both sides of the Atlantic.

It is not in the spirit of boast or
envy that we have thus held the index
finger pointing to California's capa-

bilities under the master touch of
agricultural progress. These western
lands must still be regarded as lying
in their swaddling clothes. To regard
the few generations of Spanish descent
that led a pastoral life in California,
as rapid developers would in this age
of impatient haste and expansion, be
a folly and out of time ; but it ought
not to be forgotten that they built the
cradle in which was rocked the infant
Jupiter and carefully fed Amalthea.
To those Spanish pioneers California
is indebted for the introduction of the
orange tree, the olive and the vine,
and trees planted by the padres and
their followers still bear fruit and are
mute witnesses to earl)' efforts at
agricultural development.

It may be boldly asserted that no
country in the world has taken more
rapid strides in agricultural industries
than California has done, after the
fierce excitement of gold-hunting
abated ; and in no other country has
experimental effort in that direction
been more thoroughly, more persist-



ently and more successfully made.
Cereals, fruits, vegetables and flowers
have all been cultivated in a country
only lately released from the shackles
of indolence and stagnation, to an
extent that is almost incredible. The
result has been the discovery that in
every branch of agriculture, suc-
cess attends the efforts of the intelli-
gent producer in California. Cereals,
fruits and vegetables thrive with equal
vigor, and yield exceptionally large
crops. Many of the large ranches
which formerly were planted to a sin-
gle article of produce, are being cut
up into small holdings, all the way
upward from ten to one hundred acres
and converted into family homes.
Each owner cultivates his land accord-

ing to his taste ; one planting cherries,
another prunes ; this one forms a
market garden of his patch and that
one a nursery ; some prefer uniformity,
others variety. Thus a great diversity
of productions is the result, changing
the very aspect of the country. Santa
Clara Valley is a notable illustration
of this metamorphosis. Where form-
erly, monotonous reaches of grain met
the eye without a suggestion of the
beautiful, picturesque rural homes
with their flower gardens, ornamental
trees and prolific orchards now please
the sight and delight the mind. As
Santa Clara Valley is now considered
by all the garden of California, Cal-
ifornia, ere long, will be pointed out
as the garden of the world.

[The importance of orange and lemon cultivation in California will necessitate a sepa-
rate paper which will appear in the August number of this magazine. — The Editor.]


Sil vered sabers ! Swords of fire !

Flume-fed horses shod with gold !
Unloosed light, high-born and higher,

God's first born in glory rolled !
Lo, what chariots ! Holy light
Hurled against the hosts of night !
Back, brave Indus ! Trench thy braves
In their thousand coral caves.


(Kroin photograph by Taber.)




gggwgWffg^IIK District of Alas-
ka, if it has been
unfortunate in
many respects, is
at any rate to be
congratulated up-
on its name.

When Secretary
Seward recommended its purchase
from its former Muscovite owners,
many foolish appellations were sug-
gested by journalistic jokers. But
fortunately, such inapt suggestions
as Polaria, Walrussia, Zero Islands,
et id genus omnc, were rejected in
favor of the original native name,
Al-ay-ek-sa, the Great Land, slight-
ly shortened into Alaska. And a
1 ■ Great Land ' ' it truly is, for it
includes about 580,000 square miles,
and is twelve times as large as the
State of New York. Its coast line,
owing to the exceedingly indented
character of the shores of Southeastern
Alaska, is longer than that of the
Atlantic and Pacific seaboards com-
bined, being upwards of 25,000 miles.
When a citizen of the United States
stands in San Francisco, which is
generally supposed to be pretty far
west, he has more miles of his native

or adopted land to the west of him
than he has to the East, for from the
chief city of California to Attu, the
most westerly of the Aleutian Islands,
exceeds by several hundreds of miles
the distance from the Golden Gate
to Cape Cod in Maine.

Alaska includes within her broad
domain the greatest glaciers except
those of Greenland and the South Polar
region, and also the highest peak of
the noblest mountain range on the

Mount St. Elias is between 18,000
and 19,000 feet high, and as it rises
sheer from the ocean, every foot of
this height tells upon the eye of the
spectator, rendering it fully as impos-
ing as a mountain of 25,000 feet stand-
ing on high ground. The glacier-fields
of Mt. St. Elias are of vast extent,
amounting in all to several thousands
of square miles. The peak itself is
rarely visible amid its encircling
mists and clouds, and has never yet
been trodden by the foot of man.

The great river, the Yukon, is 2,044
miles long, and is navigable for nearly
its entire length. In some parts it is
several miles wide and is crowded
with almost countless islands. Miners



2I 7

and prospectors who wish to reach the
Yukon River District and Forty-mile
Creek, usually proceed overland from
Chilkat, at the head of Lynn Channel,
through the Chilkat Pass to Fort
Yukon, the old trading post of the
Hudson Bay Company, and, when the
short season of work is over, go down
the river to St. Michael's. Lieutenant
Schwatka descended the Yukon on a
raft, and this exploit has been fre-
quently accomplished, but it is a

erfully engined to make headway
against the strong stream. White
whales run up the river for 400 or
500 miles from the sea in pursuit of
the king and red salmon which
throng its waters. The Eskimos and
Athabaskans who dwell upon its
banks eat the king salmon fresh, but
preserve the red salmon as winter food
for themselves and their dogs.

The price paid to the Russian Gov-
ernment for this vast region was


decidedly ticklish business, not to be
recommended to people of weak nerves,
for it involves much labor and anxiety
where rapids occur and the raft gets
stranded on sandbanks, or caught by
"sweepers." The most picturesque
and most dangerous portions of the
river are the Upper and Lower ram-
parts, where the mighty stream is con-
fined within a narrow channel between
high banks and the current runs at a
rate of several miles an hour. The
navigation of the river is carried on
by steamers of light draught and pow-

$7,200,000 — that is, $7,000,000 for the
territory itself, and $200,000 for
various buildings and property owned
by the Russians. The property in-
cluded several mules and some white
men born in Alaska, who are thus
"citizens by purchase," and "Amer-
icans by treaty." The treaty of pur-
chase was signed on March 30th, 1867,
confirmed by the United States Senate
on April 10th, ratified May 8th, and
exchanged and proclaimed June 20th
of the same year. As regards revenue,
by far the most important part of the



purchase was the Pribylof or Seal
Islands, of which the Alaska Commer-
cial Company took a twenty years'
lease, from 1870 to 1890, paying there-
for a yearly rent of $55,000 plus
$2,625 for each fur seal captured, with
the proviso that not more than 100,000
seals should be taken in any one year —
it being rightly thought that the in-
discriminate slaughter of any valuable

cared for furs only, and Prince Baranoff,
the ablest and most autocratic of the
Russian Governors, is said to have
ordered a man who brought specimens
of gold-bearing quartz to him to be
flogged, for he feared lest the
' ' accursed lust for gold ' ' should
seduce his followers from the faithful
pursuit of valuable pelts. Furs still
remain one of the chief elements of


animal is certain to lead ultimately to
its extermination. In 1891, upwards
of 62,000 seals were taken in the
ocean by illicit sealing vessels, which
destroyed probably five times that
number. Nor was this the worst of the
damage done, for killing as they did,
for the most part, the females, as being
more easily caught, the harm was still
further increased. Illicit sealing was
so profitable a business that the
United States Revenue cutters were
unable to cope with the numerous
piratical vessels, manned by desperate
crews, engaged in it.

The Russians made no effort to
develop the mineral or agricultural
resources of their province. They

wealth, but the resources in fish, min-
erals and timber are much better
appreciated by Americans than they
were by the Russians. The value of
the fur-seal skins sent from Alaska to
London since 1867 amounts to nearly
$33,000,000, and of the skins of sea-
otter, silver fox, black fox, black and

Online LibraryCharles Frederick HolderThe Californian (Volume 4) → online text (page 29 of 120)