:: Riverside Navel Growers Association

Introduction

The Navel Growers Association Records is a small collection containing a book of minutes, mostly records from the board of directors' meetings as well as the annual stockholders' meetings. The items in the book range from the October 1923 Articles of Incorporation to the July 1926 contract between the association and the Santa Fe Land Improvement Company that terminated the Navel Growers Association operations. Other papers in the collection relate information regarding business conducted between the Navel Growers Association and Citizens National Bank of Riverside, the Fruit Growers Supply Company, Anaheim Valencia Growers Association, and the Riverside-Arlington Heights Fruit Exchange.

Though the company was in business for less than three years, it is a microcosm of the citrus industry. When combined with other similar firms like Blue Ribbon Groves and the Riverside Fruit Company, it can help reconstruct the activities of small citrus businesses operating in Riverside in the early part of the 20th century. The records of the Navel Growers Association also can relate information of an American firm in business during one of its golden ages: the 1920s.

The collection is .5 linear feet and contained in one box. Further conservation work may be needed as the metal binding of the book is mildly rusted.

Administrative History

The Riverside Navel Growers Association began and ended its operations during the 1920s. Two trends marked this period: an increase in the standard of living, and the rise of the consumer culture. During this time, there was an increase in spending, often using installment plans. Many Americans lived beyond their means, requiring households to have more than one income. Rising debts went ignored. The Riverside Navel Growers operated in this historical context, and it seems that many of its directors shared this mentality.

The association started in the offices of the Anaheim Valencia Growers Association, Orange County, in October 1923 by three Fullerton men: William Webster, C.H. Webster, and Guss Hagenstein. The corporation had a capital stock of $25,000, divided into 2500 shares worth $10 each. Stockholders of the association were to be active citrus growers. Apparently, payment was set according to a subscription agreement and a sales contract, whereas the purchaser agreed to pay 10 cents per citrus box sold through the company. Directors were paid $2 for each meeting they attended. In the 1923 Articles of Incorporation, the three Fullerton men are listed as having one share each. In the November 1923 board of directors meeting, they agreed to give William Webster 1500 shares in exchange for his lease with the Santa Fe Improvement Company and the rented premises on west Ninth Street and Santa Fe Avenue, near Pepper Avenue. This was later modified to 1250 shares in January 1924.

The purpose of the Navel Growers Association was to sell, buy, pack, cure, and market citrus and other fruits and vegetables. In the Articles of Incorporation, they also listed their intent to act as an agency and representative of the growers, to engage in the trucking of the produce, and to participate in the business of general fumigation of orchards.

By September of 1924, the association moved out of their temporary offices in Anaheim to their location in Riverside, but without William and C.H. Webster, who resigned as directors of the corporation, and Guss Hagenstein, who had sold his stock. Local Riverside men took over as officers of the company, including Clayton Troxel, who represented the Navel Growers Association on the Riverside-Arlington Heights Fruit Exchange, and Rawlin J. Asbury, who also served as assistant manager of the Fruit Exchange. Though the company had a change in leadership, they continued one practice that marked this business: loan agreements with Citizens National Bank. The minutes also indicate debts owed to the Fruit Growers Supply Company and the Anaheim Valencia Growers Association. The company's inability to pay its creditors, notably the Santa Fe Improvement Company, resulted in their dissolution. The Santa Fe Improvement Company repossessed in 1926 its packing house and equipment at the west Ninth Street location. After the company folded, Rawlin Asbury continued his association with the Fruit Exchange, while Clayton Troxel became a realtor with Citizens National Bank.

Scope and Content

The Riverside Navel Growers Association Records consists of two series. Series I, Folder 1, has the book of minutes from the regular and special meetings of the board of directors. The 1923 by-laws called for the directors to meet once a month. The book does not have the minutes from every monthly meeting, indicating either a gap in the sequence or else the possibility that the directors did not follow the dictates of the by-laws exactly. The book also contains the minutes from the annual stockholders meetings for the years 1923, 1924, and 1925. Also included in the minutes book are the 1923 by-laws; two copies of the Articles of Incorporation (one signed); the 1923 Certification Copy of the Articles of Incorporation; and the 1926 agreement between the Santa Fe Improvement Company and the Riverside Navel Growers Association regarding the repossession of the packing house and other leased items.

Series II, Folder 1, contains the original 1923 Articles of Incorporation certificate, which had been inserted in the middle of the minute book. Also found in this folder are two 1906 Notices to Redeem regarding property in Riverside and an A.E. Robinson. These items were originally found inside the front cover of the minute book, but their relationship with the Riverside Navel Growers Association is unclear.

Series Description

Series I: Book of Minutes

The items in the book of minutes (Folder 1) are arranged in reverse chronological order. It appears that papers were added to the book in front of the older documents. Most of the items are from 1923 and 1924. Sizable gaps appear in the book. For instance, there are no documents between November 1924 and October 1925 or October 1925 and July 1926. One item that is noticeably missing is the October 1923 lease agreement between the Santa Fe Improvement Company and William Webster.

Folder 1: Minute Book, 1923-1926 (one item)

Series II: Legal Document and Miscellaneous

Folder 1: Articles of Incorporation certificate, 1923, and Notices to Redeem, 1906 (three items)

Related Collections

The W.T. Henderson Scrapbook Collection

The Riverside Blue Ribbon Groves Records

References

Norton, Mary Beth, et al. A People and a Nation: A History of the United States. Fourth Edition. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1994.

Riverside City Directory, 1925 and 1926.

Riverside Navel Growers Association Records. Book of Minutes. 1923-26.

 

Local History