Samuel Armor.

History of Orange County, California : with biographical sketches of the leading men and women of the county who have been identified with its earliest growth and development from the early days to the present online

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Online LibrarySamuel ArmorHistory of Orange County, California : with biographical sketches of the leading men and women of the county who have been identified with its earliest growth and development from the early days to the present → online text (page 5 of 191)
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the Santa Ana River has its source, averages nearly three feet of water per year.
During the violent or long continued storms in winter, vast quantities of water
rush down the steep slopes of the hills and mountains into the canyons and valleys,
and unite, forming streams that carry the surplus to the sea. It is estimated that
fully fifty per cent of the rainfall is lost by evaporation and Tun-off. The other
fifty per cent sinks into the ground and percolates slowly through the porous soil,
fructifying it and replenishing the underground reservoirs formed by pockets or
strata of gravel at various depths below the surface. Gradually the excess of this
underground water oozes into the channels of the streams at lower levels, thus
continuing their flow throughout the year and even through a peridil cif twu or
three dry years, like the one from 1897 to 1900. when the rainfall was 5.32-0. (>4-
8.86 inches, respectively.


The streams of Orange County, that carry more or less water to the ocean in
times of floods, are: Coyote Creek; Santa Ana River, including Santiago Creek
and its branches; Laguna Canyon; Aliso Creek, and its tributaries; Trabuco
Creek, which receives the waters from a half dozen canyons northwest of Capis-
trano; and a number of arroyos and lagoons which drain the plains between the
streams and the lowlands near the ocean. Coyote Creek, forming the boundar}-
between Orange County and Los Angeles County, draws its water from the ad-
joining plains in both counties. The Santa Ana River takes its rise in the San
Bernardino ^Mountains, from seventy-five to one hundred miles distant, and is one
of the most important streams for irrigating purposes in Southern California. The
rest of the streams mentioned are wholly within the confines of Orange County.

The area of the catchment-basin of the Santa Ana River has been estimated
by J. B. Lippincott, former resident hydrographer of the Federal Government, as
follows : mountain section, 557 square miles ; hill section, 382 square miles ; valley
section, 525 square miles; making a total of 1,464 square miles. From records
of observers as widely scattered as possible over this area, it has been found that
the average annual rainfall for a long period of years has been 33.84 inches in
the mountains, 20 inches in the hills and 14.98 inches in the valleys. Applying
these figures to the three classes of territory involved and adding the result, we
find the average annual rainfall in the basin of the Santa Ana River amounts to
the enormous sum of 79,819,529,856 cubic feet of water. If three-quarters of the
rainfall in the mountains, two-thirds of that in the hills and half of that in the
valleys be discarded for evaporation and run-oft, and if the remainder be drawn
into running water and distributed over the entire year, there would be 41,201
inches of perennial water still left within the basin of the stream. Probably not
much over a quarter of that amount is actually available in the irrigating season
and four-fifths of that quarter is appropriated before the stream reaches Orange
County. However, a considerable portion of the underflow of the river finds its
way into the county, thereby adding its quota to the underground water which the
county gets from its own rainfall.

All the water entering Orange Count}' through the Santa Ana River is equally
divided between the two sides of the stream; that for the northwest side is distrib-
uted to the users by the Anaheim Union Water Company, and that for the
southeast side by the Santa Ana Valley Irrigation Company.

The Anaheim Union Water Company, as its name indicates, was formed
by the union of the Anaheim Water Company, the Cajon Irrigation Company, the
North Anaheim Canal Company, and the Farmers' Ditch Company. The Anaheim
Water Company was established in 1857, its water rights having been purchased
in that year with the land on which Anaheim is located, from Juan Pacifico On-
tiveras. The Cajon Irrigation Company was formed in 1877 to irrigate the Pla-
centia and Fullerton sections. The other two companies were formed, or re-
organized in 1882. These four companies consolidated under the name of the
-Vnaheim Union Water Company in the year 1884. The capital stock of this com-
pany was fixed at $1,200,000, which was divided into 12,000 shares of a par value
of $100 each. Two-thirds of this stock has been issued and the other one-third
remains unsold in the treasury. The use of the stock is confined to about 12,000
acres of land susceptible of irrigation by gravity from the company's ditches.

The facilities of the Anaheim Union Water Company for supplying its stock-
holders with water consist of a half interest in the waters of the Santa Ana
River at the division-gate; many miles of ditches, of which over fifty are lined
with cement concrete ; five pumping plants, capable together of furnishing about
1,400 inches of water; and two reservoirs for storing night water for dav use
and winter water for summer use. The Tuffree reservoir will hold the entire flow
of the main canal over night, and the Yorba reservoir will store enough of the
winter floods to furnish 300 miner's inches for three months in the irrigating
season. In addition to the foregoing facilities, the company owns a half interest


in nearly 2,400 acres of riparian land up the river, as well as several huiulreil
acres in its own right. These lands strengthen and protect the company's rights
in the river and give opportunity for further development, when needed. Oil has
been found on some of this land and money enough is being received from leases
to meet all the expenses of the company.

The Santa Ana ^'alley Irrigation Company, which distributes the waters of
the Santa Ana River to the territory southeast of said river, like the Anaheim
Union Water Company, is the outgrowth and legatee of previous efforts and or-
ganizations for the irrigation of the territory which it now serves. The right to
use the waters of said river on the Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana i^ based on
the appropriations of such waters by the early Spanish settlers as well as on the
riparian character of the land itself. Col. John J. Warner, who died in Los An-
geles a number of years ago, at an advanced age, testified, in the suit of the Ana-
heim Water Company vs. the Semi-Tropic ^^'ater Company, that he found Don
Bernardo Yorba with a large retinue of servants, irrigating his ranch from the
Santa Ana River in the year 1834. These water rights were handed down from
owner to owner with the land, and in 1868 they were parceled out by the court.
pro rata to the acreage, regardless of the distance of each subdivision from the
river. The court also protected the exercise of these rights by granting to the
holders of the lower allotments a right of way over the upper allotments for
ditches to convey water to their respective holdings. In order to irrigate the por-
tion of the Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana, purchased by A. B. Chapman and
Andrew Glassell, a ditch, called the Chapman ditch, was constructed during the
winter of 1870-71, which delivered water as far down as the present site of
Orange the following July. Two years later, !May 24, 1873, these same persons
incorporated the Semi-Tropic Water Company and transferred to it all the rights
and interests of the Chapman ditch. As the land was subdivided and sold, stock
in this water company was furnished to the purchasers, who thus came into pos-
session and control of the company. In 1877 this company was superseded by
a larger and stronger one in the name of the Santa Ana A'alley Irrigation Com-
panv. The property and rights of the old company were purchased and trans-
ferred to the new. and all the water rights on the southeast side of the river below
the intake were absorbed in exchange for eciuivalent rights in the new company.

The capital stock of the Santa Ana A'alley Irrigation Company w^as fixed at
SIOO.OOO, divided into 20,000 shares of a par value of $5 each. This stock was
made appurtenant to the land, one share to each acre, and is transferable only
with the land which is described in the certificate. All the assessments, together
with ten per cent interest, have been added to the par value of the stock until
at the present writing the market value has reached $120. which amount must be
paid for any new stock purchased for unstocked land. There are now in force
17,437 shares held by 2,Z31 stockholders, making an average of less than eight
shares to each stockholder in the company. Over $500,000 has been spent on the
canals, pipe lines, pumping plants and reservoirs : nearly another $100,000 has
been paid for riparian lands and water rights, making about two-thirds of a million
dollars invested in water facilities by this company, to say nothing about current
expenses, etc. These large sums have been drawn gradually from the stock-
holders during the past fifty years in such low water rates and moderate assess-
ments that the burden has scarcely been felt. In fact, this company has long
enjoyed the reputation of being one of the least expensive of the large water
companies of Southern California.

The facilities of the Santa Ana \'alley Irrigation Company for supplying its
stockholders with water are very similar to those of the Anaheim Union \\'ater
Company and consist of a half interest in the waters of the Santa Ana River at
the division-gate: about 141 miles of ditches, of which 117 miles are pipe lines and
the rest are lined with cement concrete : eight pumping plants capable together of
furnishing about 1.520 inches of water ; and one small reservoir at Olive for regu-
lating the flow of the water in the ditches. In addition to the foregoing the com-


pany owns a half interest in nearly 2,400 acres of riparian land up the river, as
well as several hundred acres in its own right. These lands strengthen and pro-
tect the company's rights in the river and give opportunity for further develop-
ment, when needed.

The stream next inimportance to the Santa Ana River for irrigation purposes
is the Santiago Creek, which is a tributary of said river. 'I'his creek rises in the
Trabuco National Forest Reserve in the eastern end of the county, flows in a
nortlnvesterly direction across the San Joaquin ranch to the mouth of the canyon
and from there proceeds in a southwesterly direction to its junction with the Santa
Ana River. The creek and its branches drain about 127 square miles on the
western slope of the Santa Ana ^fountains and the foothills adjacent. Assuming
that the average annual rainfall within the drainage basin of this stream is fifteen
inches, which is under rather than over the mark, the precipitation would aggre-
gate 4,425,696,000 cubic feet of water per year, or one-eighteenth of the rainfall
in the great catchment-basin of the Santa Ana River. Like most of the streams
between the coast range and the sea, this creek carries off the greater part of the
rainfall .shortly after it is precipitated. However, a small per cent sinks into the
soil and gradually percolates into the channel, thereby continuing the stream
throughout the year. The ciuantity thus saved and utilized can be greatly in-
creased by storage reservoirs and by spreading part of the storm water over waste
lands to sink into the gravel beds and find its way into the stream later in the
season. Some of this work has already been done and more is being planned fnr
the future.

The parties who are interested in the waters of the Santiago Creek are the
Irvine Company, owner of the San Joaquin ranch, and the settlers on the lands
about the mouth of the canyon, above ditch A of the Santa .Ana \'alley Irrigation
Company, who are represented by the Serrano Water Association on the north side
of the creek and by the John T. Carpenter Water Company on the south side.
Naturally, the Irvine Company would have large riparian rights in the stream on
account of furnishing a large part of the catchment-basin and owning land on both
sides of the stream for ten or eleven miles. These rights have never been adjudi-
cated, although the attempt to take water over the water shed to other parts of
the ranch was successfully resisted in the courts by the settlers. An agreement
was finally reached whereby the water of the creek will be apportioned to the
dift'ercnt ])arties in interest and an opportunity be given to increase such water
by diminishing the run-off^. The stipulations of this agreement were made the
judgment of the court, thereby making them binding on all concerned.

l!y the terms of this agreement the two water companies, designated as the
party of the first part, get practically all the water of the creek up to 600 inches
during the five irrigating months, from June 20, to November. 20, of each year ;
the Irvine Company, designated as the party of the second part, gets the next 50
inches, and all above the 650 inches will be divided equally between the two parties.
For the rest of the year the party of the first part will have the first 60 inches and
the party of the second part the next 60 inches ; and all above the 120 inches
will be equally divided. .An easement to three tracts of land, aggregating about
500 acres, is granted for spreading the storm water, and also an option to build
a dam across Fremont Canyon and impound water therein, together with rights
of way for roads and ditches. The party of the first part covenant to .spend not
less than $14,000 during the next five years in spreading water on the two upper
tracts, and may spend other large sums within the next ten years; the party of
the second part agrees to refund one-third of all the money thus expended each
year, up to a limit of $16,666.67 for the third, during the ten years. In return
for the liberal concession of the Irvine Company, that company is permitted to
take its share of the water over the watershed to other parts of the ranch. The
time within which a dam might be built in Fremont Canyon having expired, it
is understood that the option, with all its agreements and conditions, given by
the Irvine Company for that purpose, has lapsed. The two water companies.


designated the party of the first part in the agreement, together own the Barhani
ranch upon which they have constructed a shallow reservoir of considerable area.
Below this ranch they built a bedrock dam across the creek in 1892, at a cost of
$3,600, the deepest point being nineteen feet below the surface of the creek-bed.
The water intercepted and raised to the surface by this dam is carried off in a
28-inch cement pipe 72'^ feet to the division-gate, where it is divided equally
between the two companies.

The Serrano Water Company was organized in 1875 by the Lotspiech
Brothers, J. W. Anderson, Dr. Worrell, Charles Tiebout and a few others. The
association has no capital stock, but the water is distributed among the sixty-six
owners according to the acreage of each, with the limitation that two-thirds of the
association's water belongs to the 631 acres in the Lotspiech tract and the other
one-third to the 672 acres in the Gray tract. To serve these owners the association
has laid below the division-gate 6,288 feet of 20-inch pipe and 2,679 feet of
16-inch pipe, while individual members have laid three and one-half miles of from
10 to 16-inch pipe.

The John T. Carpenter Water Company is capitalized for $16,000, divided
into 1,600 shares of $10 each. This stock is held by 115 owners, who use the
water on 900 acres of land. The company has laid about four miles of 16 and
20-inch pipe and about eight miles of 10 and 12-inch pipe.

Trabuco Creek, with its tributaries, furnishes water for quite an area of land
in the vicinity of Capistrano. The greater portion of the water from this stream
is distributed by the Trabuco Water Company, which irrigates about 500 acres.

In addition to the irrigation from the three streams just described, there are
a few farms that take out more or less water from Coyote Creek, Laguna Creek,
Aliso Creek and other sources. Then, too, there are thousands of acres irrigated
from wells, either artesian or pumped. As already described, large quantities of
water from the rainfall sink into the ground and percolate through the gravel
strata on their way from the higher elevations to the sea. This water may be
found at various depths in nearly every part of the plains forming the major
portion of the county ; but it is particularly abundant about Anaheim and in the
western part of the county, where it is undoubtedly supplied by the underflow of
the Santa Ana River. According to the assessor's report there are 1,224 pumping
plants in Orange County valued at $3,060,000. These raise from 25 to 125 inches
of water each from a single well, while in a number of cases a large plant fur-
nishes from 200 to 400 inches from a group of wells. The lower lands near the
ocean are either damp enough or they are irrigated from artesian wells. The
number of acres irrigated from wells, pumping or artesian, is about 12,000: the
total nimiber of acres irrigated from all sources in the countv is approximatel_y

If anything further were needed to prove that Orange County is well watered,
it might be found in the vast quantities of nearly every kind of grain, fruit, nut
and vegetable grown in the temperate zone, as well as many kinds indigenous
to the torrid zone, which are produced in this county and sent to market every
year, not only supporting the farmers and fruit growers, but actually enriching
them. Surely Orange County may take rank alongside of the land of Canaan as
described by Moses in the following paragraph :

"For the Lord, thy God, bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks
of water, of fountains, and depths that spring out of valleys and hills ; a land of
wheat and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates, a land of oil, olive,
and honey : a land wherein thou shalt eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not
lack anything in it : a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou
mayest dig brass. When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the
Lord, thy God, for the good land which he hath given thee."




Supplemented by E. B. Merritt

The city of Anaheim is the oldest city in Orange County and was founded
and settled by some Germans who had been residents of San Francisco for some
time. They were all citizens of the United States and were looking about for
cheap land that would be suitable for the growing of grapes. They traveled about
the state and especially turned their attention to the southern part, and soon
decided that the section that is the present site of Anaheim was best suited to
the growing of grapes and the making of wine.

This corporation was organized in 1857 by fifty men, among whom were the
following: George Hansen, John Fisher, John Froelich, Charles Kohler, Utmar
Caler, C. C. Kuchel, C. Biltsen, Henry Kroeger, H. Schenck, H. Bunnellman, Julius
Weiser, John P. Zeyn. Benjamin Dreyfus, Hugo Currance. and others. Their
organization was known as the Los Angeles Vineyard Company. Each man pur-
chased a share, which was valued at $750. They bought about 1,200 acres of
land, being a part of the Rancho San Juan Cajon de Santa Ana, and owned by
Juan Pacifico Ontiveras, to whom they paid two dollars per acre. This tract was
laid out in twenty-acre lots, and work was at once begun upon it under the man-
agement of George Hansen, who was selected for their superintendent. He began
leveling, building fences, digging ditches, etc. Expenses were $216 per day, a
considerable amount for that period. The tract was one and one-half miles long
and one and a quarter wide, fenced in with 40,000 willow poles, six feet above the
ground and one and one-half feet apart ; these were strengthened by three hori-
zontal poles. These poles eventually took root and soon the colony was sur-
rounded by a living willow wall. The whole was defended by a ditch four feet
deep, six feet wide at the top, sloping to one foot at the bottom. Streets were
laid out through the tract, a gate constructed across the end of the main street
and when this was closed it made the enclosure secure from invasion. Thousands
of wild Spanish cattle and horses roamed the plains at that time and these would
have devastated the growing vines and other crops unless so protected.

These sturdy pioneers gave the name of Anaheim to their new found home,
from the German, heim — home— and the Spanish, Ana — a proper name. Home
by' the Santa Ana River. A ditch was dug to convey water for irrigation, seven
and one-half miles in length, and several miles of laterals were constructed. On
each twenty-acre tract eight acres of vines were planted the first year. At the
end of two years these vines had come into bearing. All assessments had been
paid by each shareholder, which brought the total amount to $1,200 each. At this
time each lot had a valuation placed upon it according to location and improve-
ments, at from $600 to $1,400. Division was made by lot. As each man had paid
in $1,200, the ones who drew the $1,400 lots paid in $200 and those who drew
under that figure received balance in cash ; and, besides all this, each shareholder
received one lot in the town plot. During these two years the men of the com-
pany had continued their residence in San Francisco, but at this date they as-
sumed control of their separate properties. They began building houses, having
to haul lumber and necessities from Los Angeles, that being their nearest supply
point. Thirty miles was a long distance to bring their necessities and as soon as
possible they established a landing on the coast where boats could land supplies.
This was but twelve miles west and was known for many years as Anaheim

Their main object was to grow grapes and manufacture wine, but of the
entire number there was but one man who understood the art of wine making.
They were mostly mechanics and carpenters, besides whom there was a watch-
maker, blacksmith, a gunsmith, an engraver, a brewer, teacher, bookbinder, miller,


shoemaker, poet, merchants, musicians and a hotelkeeper. Benjamin Dreyfus
built the first house in 1857. John Fischer erected the first hotel in 1865 : this was
destroyed by fire in 1871 and the following year Henry Kroeger built the Anaheim
hotel. In the town plot of forty acres, which occupied the center of the tract, one
lot was reserved for a school building and this was among the very first structures
erected. This was very commodious and was put up to serve as a school-
house and assembly hall. During the flood of 1861-62 the Santa Ana River over-
flowed and damaged the foundations, rendering its unsafe and school was then
held in the water company's building on Center Street until 1869, wdnen a new
building was built. It was a severe struggle against all kinds of odds for several
years, but their patient industry and perseverance won the struggle and at the
end of ten years each stockholder's property was worth from $5,000 to $10,000.
In the meantime they made their improvements and supported their families. The
company had its officers, electing Utmar Caler, president : G. C. Kohler, vice-presi-
dent ; Cyrus l)iltsen, treasurer, and John Fischer, secretary.

A fire occurred in the town on January 16, 1877. which destroyed Enterprise
Hall, a saloon, a Chinese wash-house and the Daily Gazette building, entailing a
loss of about $18,000, half covered by insurance. The Anaheim Hide & Leather
Company was established in 1879 and was operated less than a year, when it
quit business. A. Guy Smith & Company built a steam grist and planing mill in
1875. Hinds Brewery was established by Theodore Reiser in 1874. \'ines were
set out in Anaheim and vicinity each year from 1857 until 1887. In 1884 a disease
n-as discovered among the vines and in 1885 it was seen that the grape industry
^vas doomed. A'ines that had produced ten tons to the acre dwindled to nothing.
It seemed to attack the ^Mission variety first and the oldest and strongest vines
were the first to die. In 1885 there were about 500,000 vines in that vicinit}- an.l
about fifty wineries, which up to that time had been making money. For twentv-
five years Anaheim and vicinity was the greatest wine producing center in Cali-
fornia. .After the vines began to die out walnuts and oranges took their places
and this is now one of the best sections in Orange County for these products.

Online LibrarySamuel ArmorHistory of Orange County, California : with biographical sketches of the leading men and women of the county who have been identified with its earliest growth and development from the early days to the present → online text (page 5 of 191)