The Downtown Report: Early November Edition

Orange is the New Green

orange grove

Orange grove at former Kimberly Clark plant.

If you live in Fullerton, you likely know a bit about our history when it comes to Charles Chapman and his extensive range of Valencia orange groves. You also may have driven by Kimberly-Clark on Orangethorpe as well as Cal State Fullerton on Nutwood and noticed an abundance of orange trees. The ones at Cal State Fullerton are from fairly recent plantings, but some of the trees at Kimberly-Clark date back many decades. You may have a Valencia tree in your own neighborhood that dates back to the 1920s or so.  Since my first home was located in an orange grove, it must be in my genes to be nostalgic about the huge groves that used to exist here.

orange trees at Cal State Fullerton

Orange trees at Cal State Fullerton.

Kimberly-Clark sold their property and, as you may have read in the last issue of the Observer, large warehouses are scheduled to be built on the property, and the many varieties of trees may soon be gone forever. Orange trees, avocado trees, persimmons and more are still there. Do we care? Is our agricultural heritage worth preserving? Would the new owners, Goodman Logistics, be interested in being great new neighbors and getting a huge amount of positive PR by saving some of them?

On this page, we are waxing nostalgic about giant ice cream cones, ancient bears, and fruit trees that rhyme with nothing yet surely have a poetic place here in Fullerton. Perhaps the familiar Mission Brand orange crate label will pique your interest in following what happens when our City Council takes up this issue on November 2.

Chapman's Old Mission Brand label

FUHS Gym Demolition

Here are some photo updates of the Fullerton Union High School Gym demolition.

FUHS gym demolition

FUHS gym demolition.

FUHS gym demolition

FUHS gym demolition.

Hillcrest Park Duck Pond

Here’s a photo update of the Hillcrest Park Duck Pond currently under construction.

Hillcrest Park Duck Pond

The Hillcrest Park Duck Pond is under construction.

Photo Question

Wow, some amazing photos, info, and even a video surfaced when we posted the photo of “The Big Cone” in the last issue,  which was one of several official locations all over Southern California selling Chapman’s Ice Cream. It was located at 900 North Spadra [now Harbor Blvd] and thanks to Bill McAulay, you can see some video footage at or search YouTube for “Dinky Pinky” and hit ‘subscribe’ when you see the image of Benny Hill. Not kidding.

Here is another vintage photo (above), showing where the Ice Cream stand was back in the 1920s and ‘30s, and as you can see (below), Bill’s family business is now where the cone once was.

McAulay Wallace

The video includes footage of its removal in 1941—no clue where the cone ended up. And oh, as I was taking the ‘after’ photo, who should drive up and tell me “Hey, you can’t take a photo of that without a permit!.” It was none other than Bill himself. Guess I got his permission, ha.

Oh yeah, the bear. A bear skull was unearthed during excavation for elevators at FUHS, but with things being what they are, we have to wait until the next issue for a photo and more info. Can you imagine bears roaming our downtown? Hmm, if the Fullerton Indians name is going to be changed, well, why not the Bears? This is how rumors start.

Photo Quiz

What are these? Did you ever use one? Send your answer to Mike at

2 replies »

  1. Thank you for highlighting these last orange (and avocado) groves! Plus, they are more than nostalgia: they provide food, wildlife habitat, and areas so rainfall doesn’t just run off. To contact city council: Attend, phone or e-mail Councilmembers: 714-738-6311 /

    EComment: It’s Item 8 for the orange and avocado groves issue (open space in south Fullerton!) if you “flip” to page 3 of the eComments. It’s Item 9 to save the creek at Bastanchury Tree Park. Or, try: