Beautiful RARE certificate from the Pacific Land Improvement Company
issued in 1887. This historic document was
printed by the Times Mirror Printing and Binding House and has an
ornate border around it with the company's name on top. This item has the signatures of the Company’s President, H. Jones and Secretary, Almon Porter Maginnis. This Rare certificate was issued to and signed by George W. Fullerton.
Fullerton, California was founded in 1887 by George and Edward Amerige and named for George H. Fullerton, who secured the land on behalf of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. Historically it was a center of agriculture, notably groves of Valencia oranges and other citrus crops; petroleum extraction; transportation; and manufacturing. It is home to several educational institutions, notably the California State University, Fullerton.
Evidence of prehistoric habitation is present in Ralph B. Clark Regional Park in the northwest of the city. Europeans first passed through the area in 1769 when Gaspar de Portolà led an expedition north to establish Mission San Gabriel Arcangel, after whom the local Native American population were dubbed the Gabrieliños. The land later became part of Rancho San Juan Cajon de Santa Ana, granted to Juan Pacifico Ontiveros, a Spanish soldier.
Ontiveros began to sell parcels of the Rancho to settlers flooding California in the aftermath of the 1849 Gold Rush, including Massachusetts native Abel Stearns. In the 1860s, Stearns sold in turn to Domingo Bastanchury, a Basque shepherd.
In 1886 while in the area on a duck hunting vacation, Malden brothers George and Edward Amerige, heard rumors that the California Central Railroad, a subsidiary of the Santa Fe Railway, was looking for land. Sensing opportunity, they arranged to buy 430 acres (1.7 km²) north of Anaheim for approximately $68,000.
They then began negotiations with George H. Fullerton, president of the Pacific Land and Improvement Company, also a Santa Fe subsidiary. They offered free right-of-way and half interest in the land to the railroad if Fullerton's survey were revised to include the proposed town site, and on July 5, 1887 Edward Amerige formally staked his claim at what is now the intersection of Harbor Boulevard and Commonwealth Avenue.
In 1894 Charles Chapman, a retired Chicago publisher and a descendant of John "Johnny Appleseed" Chapman, purchased an orange orchard in eastern Fullerton. The Valencia variety of oranges he promoted from his Santa Ysabel Ranch, well suited to the local climate, proved a boon to producers; Fullerton boasted more orange groves than any other municipality in the United States. Cultivation of walnuts and avocados also flourished, and the Western railroad town became an agricultural center. Fullerton incorporated in 1904.
The Pacific Land Improvement Company also bought 365 acres and staked out plots to sell in a new community which its Boston-based board of directors chose to name Claremont, "to indicate its clear mountain air and water"-or perhaps just with the thought of Claremont, New Hampshire, in mind. The company constructed a few homes and a spacious hotel for visitors. But after a few sales, the real estate market collapsed and Claremont appeared to be a town without a future.
Meanwhile, in nearby Pomona, a fledgling college started by the Congregational Churches in Southern California was outgrowing its quarters but had not yet been able to build new facilities. The land company's trustees offered Pomona College its vacant hotel and surrounding land at a bargain price and the college accepted.
Running out of room in the college's one building, the faculty soon built their own homes and became the backbone of the community. Claremont, a California town set amongst sagebrush, oak trees, and artesian wells, quickly took on many of the characteristics of the New England towns that nurtured the small Eastern colleges which Pomona College hoped to emulate. Orange trees arrived in Claremont about the same time as the college. Together the citrus industry and the educational institution ensured the continued viability of the community, helped in the early 1900s by the arrival of electric railway service placing Claremont on a line between San Bernardino and Los Angeles.
Notables of the Southwest, Published 1912 by The Los Angeles Examiner
Almon Porter Maginnis, Tax Commissioner,
Atchison, Topeka and Santa
Fe Railway, Los Angeles,
California, is a native of Nelson,
Ohio, where he was born January
1, 1848. His father was Franklin
Maginnis and his mother Lucy Ann (Porter)
Maginnis. On December 25, 1878, he married
Alice J. Harpham at
Hutchins, Texas, and as
a result of this union
there are three children,
Frank A., Grace and Earl
Mr. Maginnis was educated
in the public
schools of Cleveland,
Ohio, and graduated from
the high school of that
city. He also attended
the Western Reserve College,
Hudson, Ohio, graduating
His first venture into
the business world was in
1866, shortly after graduating
from college. He
took up civil engineering
on the Kansas Pacific
Railroad, being employed
largely in Kansas and
Colorado. He continued
for four years.
In 1872 he went to
Texas with the Texas
and St. Louis Railroad.
With this system he constructed bridges
throughout the Lone Star State, a notable
piece of work being the bridge of the T. &
St. L. Ry., between Texarkana and Waco. At
a later period he had timber contracts on the
Texas Pacific Railroad, from Marshall west.
In 1882, having been in Texas for over ten
years, he resigned to accept a position with
the Santa Fe Railroad, shortly afterward
working up the bond issue of the Chicago,
Kansas and Wrestern Railway. In 1885 he
bought the right-of-way through Missouri
and Iowa for the Chicago line of the Santa
Fe. In December, 1887, he went to California
to take charge of the land department of
the Santa Fe system, known as the Pacific
Land Improvement Co. This organization
was in reality an expansion of the Santa Fe
system and Mr. Maginnis was put in full
charge. His success in handling this weighty
proposition was so marked that he was short-
A. P. MAGINNIS made claim agent for the road. Within a short time he was made land commissioner, and later tax commissioner, which important office he now holds. The territory covered under these positions extends from Albuquerque west. With the rapid growth of Santa Fe interests the duties of Mr. Maginnis became double. As a result he dropped the claim department, as well as the land department, retaining but the tax commis- sionership. Mr. Maginnis has personal interests that are widely distributed. He is president of the Santa Fe Car Icing Co., president of the Winslow Electric Light & Power Co. and holds a similar position with the Navajo Ice & Cold Storage Co. and the Gate City Ice & Pre-Cooling Co. These interests alone demand a considerable amount of Mr. Maginnis' time. He is a director in the Mexican Petroleum Co., in which he was one of the original .investors. Other corporations and organizations in which he is more or less interested are the Italy Mining Co., the Mason Smokeless Combustion Co., the Mechanical Appliance Co. and the Los Angeles Harbor Co.
The plant of the Santa Fe Car Icing Co., located at Argentine, Kansas, and that of the Navajo Ice & Cold Storage Co.. situated at Winslow, Arizona, are corporations in which Mr. Maginnis owns controlling interests. He possesses similar interests in the Winslow Electric Light & Power Co. The Gate City Ice & Pre-Cooling Co., located at San Bernardino, Ca!.. between the hot Mojave desert and Southern California, possesses a capacity of two hundred and twenty-five tons and has a contract with the Santa Fe system to ice all of the citrus fruit shipped over its lines. This in itself is a concern of great importance to the citrus fruit industry, yet it is but one of many important institutions under the personal direction of Mr. Maginnis. Mr. Maginnis is a member of the California Club.