Olive Through the Ages
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Olive Milling Company was the first significant
industry in Olive and in the Santa Ana Valley, before Orange County
was formed. Its early success can be attributed to its skillful and
efficient management in the Dillin father and son team along with partner
Louis Schorn, its state of the art equipment, and its prime location.
The mill, run by water power, was situated near the mighty Santa Ana
River, and carloads of the goods it processed and delivered were transported
via railway. The mill also had the advantage of being one of only a
few in Southern California, and because of its fine reputation, the
business remained strong for more than two decades, before the milling
industry was replaced over time by the citrus industry.
My thanks to Chris Jepsen for providing the image of the Olive Milling
Company advertisement from 1901, and to Gordon McClelland for supplying
many of the older articles used in this essay. Gordon used varied search
terms to come up with these results, many articles which would otherwise
have remained buried in the immense, online database.
Click/tap the thumbnail images below to view larger images in a separate
browser window or tab.
The beginnings of Olive's first major
Olive Milling Co. was founded by Thomas Dillin and his
eldest son Curtis who came to the Santa Ana Valley from Iowa in 1881.
On January 16, 1882, the Dillins were granted a 10-year lease by the
Santa Ana Valley Irrigation (S.A.V.I.) Company Board of Directors for
water and power on five acres of land at Burruel Point (Olive), on a
site identified today at the northwestern edge of Eisenhower Park in
Orange. Here the Dillins began constructing a three-story flour mill
beside the S.A.V.I. Co. irrigation canal that was established in the
From the beginning, much excitement surrounded the construction of the
mill, since it offered promise to a new region being cultivated. The
Los Angeles Times closely followed activities at the site of
the proposed mill and reported on June 6, 1882: "...Messrs. Dillon
[sic] & Co. are building a three-story grist mill, to run by water.
It will be seventy horse power, with five run of stones—three
run 3-1/2 French burrs and two run 20-inch burrs for middlings, with
two Garden City middlings purifiers. The mill will have a capacity of
sixty or seventy barrels of flour every twenty-four hours and they have
plenty of water power to double the capacity when desired. They expect
to have it completed and ready for operation in October."
The Times followed up on July 4: "...We understand that
the flour mill of Dillon [sic] & Co., at Berrell [sic] Point, is
about completed and ready for machinery, which is now on the way from
the East, and will reach here in about ten days. The mill building is
practically four stories in height, finished in good shape and supplied
with all the latest and most improved machinery."
|Olive Milling Co. building photographed
between late 1882 and early 1890
The Dillin Mill (or Santa Ana Valley Roller Mill), began
operating on November 4, 1882, and on January 31, 1883, German emigrant
Louis Schorn—a miller, tradesman, and farmer, whose wife was the
sister of Curtis Dillin's spouse—bought a half interest in the
mill. The company quickly became the principal industry in the Santa
Ana Valley, with wheat brought in from cities such as Pomona, Spadra,
and Wilmington. Thus it was serious news when the Times reported
on May 22: "The flour mill at Buruel [sic] Point is not turning
out any flour at present, being unable to procure wheat. Agents have
been diligently scouring the country to obtain it, but without success.
The mill is running on feed, etc." However, by August 7 operations
at the mill were back on track, the mill having "purchased several
car loads of wheat from the San Fernando valley."
Wheat growing was an important industry in Southern California during
this era. On January 1, 1885, the Times cited the Los Angeles
Milling Company and Capitol Flour Mills as the only two flour mills
in the county. In that same news edition, the Times commented
on the importance of the mill in the Santa Ana Valley: "At Buruell
[sic] Point, a few miles distant [from Orange], is a large steel-roller
flouring-mill, manufacturing nearly all the flour used in the valley."
And on February 10: "...Messrs. Dillin & Schorn [were found]
busy making flour and grinding corn. They are running the mill about
fourteen hours per day at present. Mr. Dillin finds no trouble in getting
all the first-class wheat he wants, and he says that grain has not been
at so low a price for years as at present. The price is lower in Liverpool
to day than it has been for over a hundred years. The mills are turning
out a first-class quality of flour with their patent rollers."
As evidenced by these words in the press, the presence of the mill at
Olive was quite significant, being one of few in Southern California
before the turn of the century.
Olive Milling, Land and Improvement Company is founded
The ongoing success of the mill brought positive press
about Burruel Point, even though its name continued to be misspelled.
On January 1, 1887, the Times reported: "Burrel [sic] Point,
4 miles north of Orange, has a fine flouring mill, a general merchandise
store, and is the center of a flourishing neighborhood." Within
a few months, though, the name "Burruel Point" was replaced
by one that would be easier to remember: "Olive." On May 7,
1887, the Times announced: "New Development Company—Increase
of Capital Stock. Articles of incorporation were filed by the Olive
Milling, Land and Improvement Company. The purpose is to carry on the
flouring and milling business. The directors are Louis Schorn of Anaheim;
Thomas Dillin, of Olive; R.J. Blee, of Santa Ana, W.W. Martin, of Tustin
City; George T. Insley, of Santa Ana; C.Z. Culver, of Orange, and P.
Vandermeulen, of Tustin City. Capital stock, $50,000, all subscribed."
|Olive Milling, Land and Improvement
Co. map of Olive Heights in 1887
The Olive Milling, Land & Improvement Company did
more than further the flouring and milling business. The Company purchased
and subdivided the land west of the mill, forming the Olive Heights
tract. The original tract included the following avenues running north
and south: Railroad Street (now called Orange-Olive Road) which ran
alongside the California Southern Railway railroad tracks, Olive Avenue,
Magnolia Avenue, Orange Avenue, Palm Avenue, Ocean View Avenue, and
Mill Street (which no longer exists); and the following streets running
east and west: Buena Vista Street, Main Street, Hope Street (now called
Lincoln Avenue), and Short Street (which exists in part). Nearly six
years later, on February 6, 1893, the Times would report: "The
residents of the Olive school district have decided to change the site
of their schoolhouse from its present location to a point west of Mr.
Upham's place. The Olive Milling Company has agreed to donate one-half
acre of land, pipe water to the grounds, grade the two streets forming
the approach, and furnish water free for two years for the school, in
order to bring about the change of location."
But presently in the late 1880s, Olive was just one of many towns in
the region that would comprise the region soon to be known as Orange
County. As history would play out, many of these "paper towns"
would vanish within a few years. Olive, however, continued to thrive,
most likely because of its successful mill.
The mill had the advantages of being the only one of its kind in the
region, running state of the art equipment, and managed by hard working,
experienced personnel in the Dillins and Louis Schorn. These factors
contributed to the quality goods produced by the mill, earning the company
its fine reputation. Equally important, the mill was flanked by two
prominent and successful allies: S.A.V.I. Co. and Santa Fe Railway that
transported goods to and from the mill since having laid down tracks
by Olive in 1887. Years later, on March 27, 1892, a Times article
that praised the mill and its importance in Orange County named the
railway and irrigation company in association with the mill: "The
principal manufacturing enterprise is the Olive Milling Company, the
only establishment of its kind in the county. This one establishment
ships over 125 tons of freight per week, and is obliged to run day and
night to fill its orders. The mill is run by water power, and of this
there is a sufficiency to run all the manufactories in the county were
they located with a view to utilizing the water."
The mill faces a few setbacks, but remains strong
Business at the Olive Milling Company did not always run
smoothly. Not long after the establishment of Olive Heights, the mill
faced some challenges that threatened its success. Tom Dillin retired
and moved to Los Angeles in 1888, and then passed away on September
16, 1889. Louis Schorn was immediately appointed president and put to
the test less than two weeks later, when breaking news was released
by the Times:
"A destructive fire occurred last evening [September 29, 1889]...
the three-story mill at Olive Heights being entirely consumed.... The
mill was located at the mouth of the tunnel of the big irrigating ditch,
which supplied the motive power, about four miles northeast of Orange,
near Burrell [sic] Point, and was formerly known as the Burrell [sic]
Point Mill.... It was one of the best equipped mills in the country,
having the gradual roller process machinery throughout. Some of the
gentlemen interested in the company are L. Schorn, of Anaheim; R.J.
Blee, B.G. Balcom, of Santa Ana, and B.H. Reavis, of Orange. It was
under the management of H.K. Small, as superintendent, and J. [James]
P. Small, as bookkeeper. Mr. Rose, who resides near the mill, was the
first to discover large volumes of smoke issuing from the building and
called for help. He endeavored to do something to extinguish the flames,
but the building was doomed to destruction by that time, and only some
of the stored flour from the warehouse was saved."
The article concluded: "That the fire was incendiary is believed,
as no one was about the mill yesterday, it being Sunday, and everything
was left in a safe condition on Saturday night. The fire originated
on the outside."
|Second Olive Milling Co. building
from 1890, taken in 1910
|Lakeside Professional Building, 2009
Like the phoenix rising out of ashes, by spring of the
following year, the mill was just about completely rebuilt at its new
location on the northeastern corner of Hope and Ocean View, designated
today as 1405 E. Lincoln Avenue, where the Lakeside Professional Building
stands. On April 2, 1890 the Times announced: "The new flouring
mill of the Olive Milling Company, Anaheim, is nearly completed, and
the machinery will be started in a few days. There are several sets
of flour rollers, corn shellers, separators, etc., which will enable
the company to manufacture the very best grades of wheat and flour."
The rebuilt mill opened on April 8 with much fanfare (see image
from April 8, 1890). At the request of the Olive Milling Company, the
railway company ran a spur track along Hope Street to the railroad tracks
at Railroad Street (Orange-Olive Road). In August that same year, the
railway relocated their depot from the now fading boomtown of St. James
to the prosperous town of Olive a half mile up the tracks to accommodate
the lucrative Olive flour mill, advertised as the most important manufacturer
in Orange County that October.
Under the leadership of Louis Schorn, the mill remained an industry
leader in Orange County, but relationships with Santa Fe Railway and
the S.A.V.I. Co. were sometimes strained.
Santa Fe Railway's influence on the mill
In 1891, head officials at the railway complained about
the selection of wheat processed by the mill and run on their line.
In a letter published in the LA Times on November 18, 1891, S.B.
Hynes, General Freight Agent from Southern California (Santa Fe) Railway
addressed H.K. Small of the Olive Milling Company on November 7: "I
have found a good deal of complaint this fall regarding the condition
of wheat that is being marketed, both in regard to it cleanliness and
the character of the wheat, also being mixed with other grain....
"From the fact that you purchase a large quantity in the San Joaquin
Valley, which must cost you more than the wheat purchased in the interior
of this section, I assume that it has advantages over our own local
product, and it is possible that we can assist our farmers in producing
a grade of wheat that will more fully meet your requirements, and perhaps
enable you to pay a better price for that grain in this territory...."
Two days, a reply came later from Secretary James Small of the Olive
Milling Company: "...Until this season we have not been able to
get a single car of pure White Australian wheat on the line of your
road, but last month we obtained a fine lot of two cars at Elsinore
and made a special run on it, and successfully demonstrated that it
would produce as fine a quality of flour as say San Joaquin county wheat
that we ever ground. While the farmer in the San Jacinto and adjacent
valleys have attempted to raise White Australian, they have almost invariably
had a mixture of either Sonora or Defiance wheat with it, either of
which will not make good flour, thereby cutting off the price from milling
to No. 2 shipping.
"We also find the same fault, though not so universal, in the White
Russian variety grown along your line from Pasadena to San Bernardino,
and in this valley it is more or less mixed.
"We obtained a few cars of straight white Russian, grown near Ontario,
for which we gladly paid 10 cents per cental above the general market
price then ruling.
"... But above East Riverside, in all the mountain valleys, from
wherever we have drawn any wheat, we feel sure that with good, clean
cultivation the white Australian will yield a good crop of milling wheat
that will invariably command a higer price. It should not be sown in
ground that has had mixed wheat on the year previous, as only a small
mixture of Sonora or Defiance will preclude it from grading as milling
wheat. Also, that if preferable to sow northern grown seed if possible,
as it seems to get a more vigorous growth early in the season when it
is most under.
"Pure seed, thorough cultivation and early seeding, we believe,
will bring more dollars into the farmers' pockets of Southern California
than it will possibly do on an average in the San Joaquin Valley. It
also means more dollars for your people and ourselves."
A few years later after the publication of this correspondence, on February
5, 1894, the Times published a paragraph from The Orange News
regarding this matter: "The Orange News, in its recent issue, has
the following paragraph concerning the Small Bros. [H.K. and James P.
Small] of this county, and their project of introducing the raising
of wheat by the farmers of Southern California: "...The white Australian
seed imported by the Olive Milling Company has proved a great hit. The
quality of flour manufactured from it is first-class. The Olive Milling
Company has not bought a pound of wheat from north of Tehachepi [sic]
this season, being able to get all they required from the southern counties,
and the quality of the flour manufactured has been equal, if not superior,
to any made in former years."
The mill's dependence on the S.A.V.I. Company
In working to serve their needs of the community, the
S.A.V.I. Co. helped the mill further its business. On April 15, 1892,
the Times reported the Olive Milling Company and S.A.V.I. Co.
had hosted a luncheon-dinner for attendees of the opening of the concrete
conduit the S.A.V.I. Co. constructed near the mill, and 2500 people
from Orange, Los Angeles, and San Bernardino counties had attended the
event. "The syphon is one of the largest in the world and its completion
marks an era of prosperity in the history of the upper Santa Ana valley...."
the article proclaimed.
Despite the hype about the concrete canal, the tunnel needed some re-work
before it held up sufficiently. The Times reported on December
13: "The cement on the break in the tunnel at Olive has been raised
nearly a foot higher than formerly, and a concrete spout placed further
back to deliver the overflow safely down the bank in case of another
obstruction. The water has again been turned into the ditches and the
machinery of the Olive mills once more operates by water power."
On August 1, 1894, the Times reported the main S.A.V.I. canal
again needed repair work, affecting operations at the mill: "During
the break in the main canal of the Santa Ana Valley Irrigation Company,
where the canal crosses Santiago Creek, the water has to be run around
in the upper ditch, and as a result, the Olive Mills have had to shut
down until the break is repaired and the water again turned into the
lower ditch. It will, perhaps be several days yet before all the damage
of the break will be repaired."
During the interim years, the mill had other problems with the S.A.V.I.
Co. as reported by the Times. The S.A.V.I. Co. board of directors
claimed the Olive Milling Company owed them rent due on March 1, 1894.
The rent owed by the mill apparently went unpaid for months, as H.K.
Small had appeared before the board in late May that year, asking for
"a rebate on the Olive Milling Company's rent to cover the time
the water had been out of the ditch since October 21, 1889, and also
for the time that the mill was being constructed...." Closure to
this matter was published on August 1, with the board of directors deciding
they did "not consider the Olive Milling Company entitled to a
rebate on rent during the four years that they had free water."
By August 31 "the matter was referred to the Litigation Committee
The ongoing conflict between the mill and the water company ensued over
the years, as indicated by these comments on January 1, 1896 following
the S.A.V.I. Co.'s board meeting: "...the case of L. Schorn, president
of the Olive Milling Company, charged with interfering with sluice-gates
at the head of ditch B was called. After hearing evidence in the matter,
Mr. Schorn was found guilty as charged, by a vote of 4 to 1 of the directors.
The charge was, therefore, sustained, and Mr. Schorn, as president of
the Olive Milling Company, was fined $25. The employees of the S.A.V.I.
Company were then instructed to deliver no water to the Olive Milling
Company for domestic or irrigation purposes, after the first Monday
in March, until the fine is paid."
The mill reaches its height of prosperity at the
turn of the century
The progressive and business savvy Schorn and associates
let no obstacles stand in their way. They continually sought alternative
ways of cutting costs in business operations, as announced in the "Southern
California News" column of the Times on February 29, 1896:
"The Olive Milling Company at Olive, this county, have begun using
crude oil as fuel and the Orange News says the company find it fully
one-half cheaper than wood or coal." At this time the mill's output
of goods remained strong as published by the Times on April 19,
1897: "The Olive Milling Company at Olive has received a shipment
of five carloads of corn from Capistrano, a section of country that
heretofore has not enjoyed the reputation of being a corn-producing
locality." The Citrograph reported on August 21 that year:
"The Olive Flouring Mills company, for the year closing July 31,
turned out over 10,000,000 pounds of breadstuffs. This means nearly
450 carloads, valued at $140,000." The mill was likely still one
of the only one of its kind in the region, hence retaining its position
as a significant business entity in Southern California, as this article
concluded: "It does seem that Redlands, with cheap electric power,
ought to have a flour mill, even if it only turned out enough to supply
the home market."
The mill reached its peak of productivity just before the turn of the
century. On June 5, 1898, the Times published an article from
a recent issue the Plaindealer of Anaheim, stating:
"The importance and scope of the work of this big flour-milling
establishment is realized by but few people outside of the number directly
interested. The announcement that the books of the company show sales
to the amount of $17,000 during April will be a surprise to the great
majority, and gives an idea of the large business conducted. This month
a greater volume is being done than last, and up to the 24th sales aggregating
over $15,000 had been made. The business for the month it is expected
will be over $20,000, or $3000 better in May than April.
"The mill is now running, and has been for the past month, twenty-four
hours a day. For months previous it ran eighteen hours a day. At the
present time it is pushed to the utmost capacity to keep up with orders,
and the great warerooms, which it is the aim to keep well stocked so
that orders may be filled without delay, contains constantly moving
goods, and are comparatively empty. Twelve men are regularly employed
at the mill, while several teams are operated. During April the output
of goods was 1,096,000 pounds. The office force which directs this big
business enterprise is composed of General Manager L. Schorn and Secretary
E.P. Stafford [James P. Small reportedly resigned from the latter position
in early October 1894]. In direct charge of the mechanical department
of the mill is J.E. Van Pelt, one of the most competent millers on the
Coast. The success of the milling company is due entirely to the exercise
of splendid business sense on the part of its officers and the ability
and capacity in their respective positions of Mr. Schorn and Mr. Stafford.
The former has been longer at the wheel, and by wise and judicious management
has earned an enviable reputation in the business world of Southern
California. That the mill is in good hands is shown by the business
it is doing, and emphasized by the fact that there is not another flour-producing
concern south of Los Angeles, the mill at San Diego having recently
closed it doors. Los Angeles has but three mills.
"The Olive mill is equipped throughout with the latest and best
machinery and appliances for the producing of high-grade flour. There
is not an inch of waste room in the big building. Every available spot
is occupied, from cellar to garret, and the task of Miller Van Pelt
is no light one, a vast amount of machinery demanding his constant care.
From the first floor the grain is carried to the third, going through
one set of rollers and one process of cleaning and separating after
another until it again reaches the first floor in the form of the best
flour made, and is ready for the sack. In the large cellar beneath the
building are the engines and the 100-horse-power water motor, which
keeps things moving throughout the year, with the exception of during
about six weeks when the water supply usually falls and steam must be
resorted to. This is the average, but this year is an exception, there
having been no shortage of water experienced as yet. When steam has
to be called upon a plant some distance back of the mill proper, where
oil is used for fuel, is always in readiness. The water motor in service
occupies but a few feet of room. It receives a flow of water through
a pipe brought from an irrigating ditch some distance above, and discharges
it back into an irrigating ditch on a lower level, so that it is kept
moving and loses nothing by use. The capacity of the mill, to which
it is now working, is 100 barrels per day. Four grades of flour, all
excellent and popular sellers, are made. The brands are Perfection,
Orange Blossom, Southern Belt and Bear Valley. At the present time the
grain used at the mill is being brought from Northern California, Kansas
and Nebraska. But for one improvement, aside from the building of an
addition and increasing of capacity which at the present rate of progress
will soon be absolutely necessary, is there room in the well-regulated
mill, and that is the placing in it of its own electric plant. This
step is now being arranged for."
On January 23, 1899, the Times reported: "The Olive Milling
Company has decided on the purchase of a large amount of new machinery.
The capacity of the mill at Olive is to be increased, and a greater
variety of grades of flour made. The latest improved machinery is to
be employed. The mill was thoroughly modernized about four years ago.
It is now one of the largest in the State, and does an extensive business.
Manager Stafford was north last week, looking at patterns of late machinery
and arranging for the improvements it is intended to make. The year
just closed was one of the most successful the mill has ever had."
|Olive Milling Co. ad, 1901
The following year on January 21, 1900, the Times
published an updated article from The Anaheim Plain-Dealer of Anaheim:
"Ten men are employed steadily in operating the Olive mill. It
has not been shut down in several years for more than the few days required
annually for repair work. It is now running twenty-four hours a day.
It never operates less than twelve. Its product goes throughout Southern
California. In the last year its freights amounted to above $20,000.
Freight bills aggregating $2000 were paid last Saturday and there are
always from two to ten cars sidetracked at the mill being either loaded
or unloaded. The company pays over $400 in tax annually.
"The excellence of Olive flour has brought a steady increase in
trade, demand growing constantly. No better flour is made on the Coast
nor does any better come to the Coast market. Northern wheat is now
being used at the mill because other cannot be secured. All the home
wheat the mill could get, because of shortage in crop, was 10,000 sacks.
It will possibly get 5000 more in the county that has not yet been put
on the market. Manager Schorn prefers the home wheat, which he says
is as good as obtainable, and further because the company desire to
help home industry and advance it in every manner possible. About two
hundred sacks a day are used and in the event of a good season this
year the company will buy of Orange county ranchers above seventy-five
thousand sacks of wheat. Beside wheat, rolled and crushed barley, rolled
and crushed corn and feed products of both are turned out in large quantity
by the mill. Barley and corn used are bought of the home rancher whenever
possible. Many other benefits accrue to the Orange county rancher from
the operation of the Olive flour mill. It is nothing less than suicidal
for the rancher, in particular, to buy other than Orange county made
flour. It is support for him in reality. Not a pound of other flour
should be sold in the county. There is no place here, in justice, for
The milling industry gradually yields to the citrus
In 1906, then about the age of 67, Louis Schorn sold his
interest in the Olive Milling Company and was succeeded as president
of the Company by D.C. (Dewitt Clinton) Pixley of Orange. Under the
leadership of Pixley, the mill remained productive and busy, as ever.
A couple of years later, on July 16, 1908 the Times wrote: "The
Olive Milling Company has received 300 tons of Oregon blue-stem wheat
from Portland by steamer. A ten carload shipment of high-grade barley
has also been received from Perris, Hemet and Murietta...." The
following year, the Times announced on August 16, 1909: "The
Olive Milling Company has elected as officers and directors for the
coming year: D.C. Pixley, president and superintendent; R.J. Blee, vice-president;
F.A. Blake, Jr., secretary; Bank of Orange, treasurer; W.H. Burnham,
N.T. Edwards, P.W. Ehlen and G.J. Mosbaugh. The company has issued a
report showing that the mill is in a flourishing condition and that
there has been a material increase in both tonnage and pront over the
previous year. During the past few months many improvements have been
made in the plant and the machinery, including a pressure pump and improved
solar oil burner, which greatly reduces oil consumption."
But the milling industry in Olive was beginning to wind down, soon to
be replaced by the up and coming citrus industry, as foreshadowed by
the appearance of the first citrus packing house in Olive in 1911. On
January 1, 1912, the Times summarized commerce activity in the
prior year: "Olive maintained its high standard for produce and
shipments. A new packing-house [Grower's Fruit Company] was built. The
Olive Milling Company, producing flour by use of water power from the
Santa Ana Valley Irrigation Company ditch, employed many men and paid
good dividends." The Santa Ana Daily Register published an article
in 1913 about Olive, and regarding the mill, wrote: "Located here
is the mill of the Olive Milling Co., which gives employment to about
twenty-two men. Water power from the pipe line of the S.A.V.I. Co. is
the chief source of power, though steam power is also used. This mill
makes an excellent flour, cornmeal and food stuffs, utilizing so far
as possible the products of the county, and the mill itself has a wide
patronage among the people of the entire valley. The output of this
splendid institution in round figures is about $250,0000 annually."
By 1915 Olive Hillside Groves and Olive Heights Citrus Association had
built citrus packing houses around the corner and up the street from
the mill. A new industry had surplanted itself in Olive, gaining steam
as the flouring industry began to decline.
On October 17, 1919 Olive Milling Company sold the flour mill to Central
Milling Company of Los Angeles, though the mill continued business
at its current location. In a report by the Times on January
1, 1920 that summed up the previous year's progress in Orange County,
the Olive Milling Company was named among "other industrial concerns
which continued progress in 1919...."
The mill at Olive was put up for sale on July 22, 1924, as indicated
by a notice that ran in the Times on July 3, stating the highest
bidder would obtain: "...The Central Milling Plant buildings and
some three and one-half acres of land situate at Olive, California,
together with all machinery, equipment and appliances of every nature
contained in said buildings and improvements on said real property,—automobiles,
all accounts receivable uncollected at the time of said sale and the
good will of said business."
Operations at the mill ceased soon after, and Padre Tile Company began
operating at this site. The mill building remained for another seven
and a half years, and was dismantled in the spring of 1932.
A marker for the Olive Mill
Though all traces of the mill have since been removed,
in 1976 a marker for the original mill site was placed in Eisenhower
Park (click/tap here
to see an image of the marker). This marker reads as follows:
FIRST SITE OF THE OLIVE MILL
The 3-story flour and feed mill established by Thomas Dillin and his
sons began operation Nov. 4, 1882. Its motive power was derived from
a turbine turned by Santa Ana River irrigation water flowing down to
the valley below. On Sept. 29, 1889, fire razed the structure. Due to
its vital function in early Orange County's economy, it was rebuilt.
The second site was on the S. W. corner of this park. It continued in
operation there until 1932.
Erected by the Orange North Rotary Club February 3, 1976 Orange Bicentennial
Sources: ProQuest Historical Newspaper Los Angeles Times
articles; Wayne Dell Gibson, The Olive Mill: Orange County's Pioneer
Industry. Santa Ana, CA: Orange County Historical Society, 1975; The
Citrograph, August 21, 1897; The Santa Ana Daily Register, 1913; First
American Historical Collection; Orange Public Library Collection; Orange
County Archives; Orange County Directory.