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supplies sufficient moisture to prevent the heat being very oppressive. In the rainy season, which commences sometimes as early as November, never later than January, these plains are covered with wild grasses, oats and clover, even to the roads, if they are not well traveled. At this season, a ride over them presents some of the most beautiful views of southern California scenery. On the one hand are the vineyards, orange groves, and apple orchards, clothed in the variegated tints of autumn, and backed by brown mountain ranges, tipped on their crests with silvery snow, or fringed with dark pines, forming a serrated edge against the bright blue sky, while over the sloping plain all is green and brilliant as a bed of emeralds. On the other han J, the placid ocean, pale azure in tint, just rippled on its surface by a gentle breeze, dotted here and there with the white sail of some coasting craft, and margined by the vividly green plain, forms a series of pictures that a Bierstadt might well delight to copy.
The equable temperature and rich soil of this section of Los Angeles county, render it one of the most attractive portions of Southern California. Here the grape, of all varieties, from all countries, thrives luxuriantly. The orange, lemon, fig, and other semi-tropical fruits, also grow to perfection, while the facilities for irrigation enable the farmer to raise heavy crops of wheat, barley, corn, and all the vegetables.
The City of Los Angeles (formerly Pueblo de Los Angeles—City of the Angels) is situated in a narrow valley, about three fourths of a mile wide, formed on the west by low hills which extend from the Santa Monica mountains, about forty miles distant, and by the rising land of the San Gabriel plain on the east, through which the Los Angeles river winds on its way to the sea, supplying plenty of water to innumerable ditches above the town, which are used for irrigating purposes. The city, one of the oldest in the State, is about twenty-two miles from the sea shore. The old Mexican portion of it extends up the valley for nearly a mile, forming the two principal streets. The old adobe houses with flat roofs, covered with asphaltum, or brea, and surrounded by broad verandahs, or high walls, are gradually being supplanted by stores and residences more suited to American ideas of domestic and commercial convenience. Many neat brick dwellings and commodious stores are to be seen in all directions. These, mingling among the old Mexican cases, together with the groves of orange, lemon, olive, lime, fig, pomegranate, peach, apple, and pear, with here and there a towering, feathery palm, and solid cactus fence around a field of wheat or barley, form a strange, but pleasing picture, such as can be seen nowhere outside of California. Los Angeles city contains about six thousand inhabitants, more than one half of whom are Americans, who own about three-fourths of all the land in the county, and are rapidly developing its resources. It is proposed to build a railroad from the city to Wilmington, and arrangements have been made to light Los Angeles with gas.
In this county, the semi-tropical fruits are more extensively cultivated than in any other. The following particulars relating to two of the largest orange groves near Los Angeles, will convey an idea of the proportions and nature of this branch of fruit culture. Mr. Wm. Wolfskill, one of the oldest American settlers in the county, has a grove containing 2,000 trees, which have attained an average height of twenty feet. These are about sixteen years old, planted from seedlings, there being no grafted or inoculated trees in the orchard. Their annual product averages 1,500 oranges to each tree. They generally ripen in January, and remain on the tree in a perfect condition for nearly a year, if not sooner picked. Mr. D. B. Wilson has a grove of 1,650 trees, eight years old, some of which bear as many as 4,000, but the entire number will average 1,500 oranges each.
The tuna, or gigantic fruit-bearing cactus, grows here to a very large size, frequently attaining an altitude of fifteen feet, and twenty feet in diameter. This fruit, about the size of a Bartlett pear, grows on the margin of the leaf, from thirty to forty each, and is esteemed a great luxury.
There were 6,000,000 grape vines growing in the vicinity of Los Angeles city, in 1867. The vintage of that year, throughout the county, amounted to 1,500,000 gallons of wine and 100,000 gallons brandy, in addition to which a considerable quantity of the choicest grapes were shipped to San Francisco.
Wilmington, the principal shipping-port of the county, is located on the southern side of the Los Angeles plain, on the northern extremity of San Pedro bay, twenty-two miles from the city of Los Angeles. It was founded in 1858, under the name of New San Pedro, the present name having been adopted in 1863. It now contains a large number of stores and dwellings, and about twelve hundred inhabitants. The water along the shore, being too shallow to admit ordinary sailing vessels to enter the estuary, steamers and lighters have been constructed, which carry from forty to two hundred tons to a very light draft . These are used for loading and unloading vessels at the anchorage. They come up to the wharf, and through a canal which passes into the central part of the town, where the military warehouses are located—this being the headquarters for the "Southern District of the Pacific." About a mile north of the landing, are Drum barracks, containing accommodations for ten companies of infantry, or cavalry. Wilmington, in addition to being the principal port for Los Angeles county, is also the shipping port for San Bernardino county, for the Clear Creek mining district, and a considerable part of the territory of Arizona.
A large portion of the Los Angeles plain north of Wilmington promises hereafter to be greatly benefited, for horticultural and vinicultural purposes, by means of a ditch and flume, upwards of twelve miles in length, bringing the water of the San Gabriel river to where it is required.
Anaheim is the name of a village settled by a company of German wine-growers, on a dead-level plain, about twenty-four miles east of Wilmington. The location is twelve miles from the Santiago mountains, eight miles from the sea, and three miles from the Santa Ana river.
The growth of this village, now one of the most important winedistricts in the county, is so illustrative of what may be accomplished by the well directed labors of poor men, that we give the particulars somewhat in detail, for general information.
In 1857, the site where the village stands was a barren, dry, sandy plain, similar to such as extends around it, for miles, at the present time. In the summer of that year, a company of Germans, acquainted with the culture of the grape in the "faderland," purchased 1,265 acres of the plain, at $2 per acre, to test its adaptation to the raising of the vine. This land was divided into fifty rectangular lots, of twenty acres each, with streets between them. A town site was laid out in the center, with sixty building lots—one for each shareholder, and ten for public purposes. The lots were all fenced with willows, sycamores and poplars, and about ten acres of each planted with vines. A ditch, seven miles in length was cut to bring water from the Santa Ana river. The land was cultivated for two years, at the expense of the company, by hired labor. At the end of that time the lots were distributed to the shareholders. Those who were so fortunate as to obtain the best, were required to pay a certain sum to those whose lots were inferior in location, or any other quality. After all the expenses were paid, each share of twenty acres fenced, partly planted in vines two years old, with a town lot, 100 by 200 feet, cost $1,400. Each of these shares is worth a small fortune to the owner, at the present time, and will be worth a great deal more a few years hence. There are nearly 1,000,000 vines growing in this village, about 750,000 of which bear fruit. There are also 10,000 fruit-trees of various kinds, the whole place resembling a forest and flower-garden, divided into squares with fences of willow, poplar, and sycamore, which shelter the fruit from every wind. Nearly every lot contains a comfortable homestead, and the inhabitants of the village number about four hundred, There is a good public school, several stores, and a post-office in. the town, but neither a lawyer, doctor, nor minister. There are hundreds of places in the southern counties where such villages might be founded, with equal or even greater advantages.
The town of San Juan Capistrano, from the old mission of that name located here, is in striking contrast to the flourishing village of Anaheim, from which it is distant about thirty miles on the main road, between Los Angeles and San Diego. The valley in which this town is situated, is about nine miles in length by something less than a mile wide. The San Juan, a never-failing stream, passing through its entire length, furnishes an abundant supply of water. The rich grasses, fine timber, and dense underbrush, that cover the whole face of the valley, afford evidence of the richness of the soil, but it is almost wholly uncultivated. The population of the town numbers about six hundred, of whom four hundred ai e Mexicans and native Calif ornians, and about two hundred Indians. There are not more than half a dozen Americans or Europeans in the place; these are generally thrifty and prosperous. This is the most thoroughly Mexican town in the State, the houses being built of adobe, with low flat roofs, while the streets are laid out without much regard to regularity. The only apparent employment of the men is horse-racing, or practising with the reata. The women are rarely seen, except at the fandango or church. The children literally swarm in the streets, and are of all hues, except that of the lily; they wear little or no clothing.
The San Gabriel township, which embraces upwards of 75,000 acres of the table-lands between Los Angeles and San Bernardino, is extremely well adapted to the growth of the vine and semi-tropical fruits. There are upwards of 800,000 vines under cultivation in this township, besides thousands of orange, lemon, olive, walnut, almond, and other fruit-trees, It is estimated that there were, at the close of 1867, twenty-five thousand acres of unoccupied land in this township, suitable for cultivation, and conveniently located for irrigation.
There is another belt of country east of the above, about ten miles wide by about forty miles in length, extending into San Bernardino county, which is remarkably well adapted for the cultivation of the vine and semi-tropical fruits. It is warm, and sheltered from th e cool sea-breeze; the soil is rich and deep, and could be conveniently irrigated. In this district, about twenty-four miles east from tha city of Los Angeles, connected by good roads, is the valley of San Jose—a very fine agricultural district in the foot-hills, which extends to the plains in El Chino, and into the adjoining county about twenty miles. The Puento district forms a portion of this valley, the soil of which is a red loam on the hill sides, but a nearly black, sandy clay on the bottom. It is watered by the San Gabriel and San Jose' rivers, and by numerous tributaries that have their source among the snow-covered peaks of the Sierra Nevada. This valley produces very fine wheat and barley, as well as grapes, apples, and peaches.
A great many mulberry trees have been planted in this county during the past year, for the purpose of raising silk worms, which thrive in a climate in which the orange, lemon, and fig grow to perfection. Dr. De Witt Franklin raised both the Japanese and Chinese silk worm during 1867, and there is little room to doubt the success of the silk culture here.
Northerly from the city of Los Angeles about seventy miles, on the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada, bordering on Kern county, there are a number of valleys and many broad, fertile canons, equal in beauty to any portion of the State. The valley in which Fort Tejon is located is one of such. sheltered from the hot winds of the desert by mountains four thousand to five thousand feet high, nothing can exceed it in picturesque and rural beauty. Huge old oaks cast their shadows upon the greensward, and miles of the rich foliage of the wild vine drape the banks of the stream of clear water that courses through the Canada de las Uvas.
The first gold known to have been found in the State, was obtained, in 1833, in the valley of Santa Clara, on the western border of this county. Other gold mines of some importance have been discovered at various points in the Sierra Madre mountains, particularly on the eastern border of the county. Silver mines are in course of development in the Santa Susana mountains, about twenty miles north from San Fernando, and in the Soledad Pass. Copper mines have been partially explored in the Soledad mountains and pass, about fifty miles north of Los Angeles. Near Anaheim, marble and coal are known to exist.
About seven miles west of Los Angeles there are immense deposits of petroleum and asphaltum. Over a space of twenty acres, in this locality, petroleum, of the consistency and color of coal tar, issues