Thursday, December 15, 2011

F.Q. Story -- Sunkist in Alhambra
502 N. Story Place

Francis Quarles Story (1845-1932) came to L.A in 1883 from San Francisco, where he'd been in the wool business. He'd come west from Boston in 1877 for health reasons, where he had learned the wool trade. He must have had some success in San Francisco as after arriving in L.A. he bought 30+ acres in today's Alhambra, became a lead investor in the First National Bank of Los Angeles, built a new house, and started in the orange grove business. He married Miss Charlotte S.F. Devereux in 1876 in Boston, who accompanied him to Alhambra. She was to pass away in 1897. He had two older brothers, Maj. General John P. Story (1841-1915), U.S. Army retired, and Judge William Story (1843-1921) of Colorado.

By 1910 the yard in Alhambra was filled with mature trees. A photo of the house and surroundings:

F. Q. Story Residence 1910

In 1902 Francis was elected President of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce. He also was a member of the Southern California Fruit Growers Exchange, a cooperative of fruit growers founded to assist local associations in harvesting/marketing their fruit. Until the associations were begun, middlemen were collecting greater profits than the growers. In 1904 Francis was elected president, and in 1905 the organization became the California Fruit Growers Exchange, with Francis still president.  In fact, he remained president of the organization until his retirement in 1920 at age 75.

A crate label for Sunkist (from Wikipedia)
In 1908 as president he led a marketing campaign that went down in history as one of the greatest. How could someone "brand" oranges? After a test in Iowa showed the brand oranges increased per capita consumption by 47% in just one year vs. a national average increase of 17%, the Exchange knew it was on to something. They decided to keep the new name "Sunkist".

In an early effort to get the name Sunkist into the minds of customers, each orange was wrapped in branded paper. Customers who sent in those wrappers were entitled to premiums such as silverware and glass orange juicers.

Besides his fruit growing, Francis was also an early investor in Phoenix, Arizona. He purchased tracts in the 1880's, eventually selling the land in the early 1920's. One of those tracts today is known as the F.Q. Story Historic District.

As forward thinking a man as he was, Francis still stuck to some tried and true things.  This article from an issue of the 1909 Los Angeles Herald told it all.

July, 1909 courtesy of UCR

He did recover from the accident and continued to live in his same house in Alhambra. In 1928 he donated a portion of his land to the city of Alhambra which became the north half of today's Story Park.  And in 1930 the census shows him still there with a chauffeur, a cook, and two servants (the word nurse was crossed out!). Francis passed away in July, 1932 at age 86. He is buried alongside Charlotte in nearby San Gabriel Cemetery.

That year the California Growers report was introduced with the following honorarium:

"Another of the sturdy, clear-visioned pioneers of the Exchange passed away during the season—Francis Q. Story, honorary life president, who died on July 1 at the ripe old age of 87 years.

"For a quarter of a century the history of the Exchange and the life of Mr. Story were inseparably interwoven. Elected director of the organization in 1897, chosen vice-president the same year and president in 1904, he continued to head the organization until 1920, when he retired at the age of 75 years.

"While every forward movement in the industry had his support, Mr. Story is especially well known as father of the great Sunkist national advertising campaign. It was in recognition of his invaluable contribution to the prosperity of the Exchange that the position of honorary life president was created for him at the time of his retirement.

Mr. Story's largest contribution consists not, however, in the concrete enterprises sponsored and effected, but in his spirit of true altruism and devoted service, which will long continue to be an inspiration to all who knew him."

Today the house still stands in private ownership, with the tower and decoration removed.

502 Story Place today (courtesy of Google Maps)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

John Fremont Salyer -- 705 East Adams

Born in Iowa in 1862, J. F. Salyer came west to Los Angeles in 1890 with his wife Rosa (1870-1914), and two sons Edwin (1885-1951) and Roy (1887-1950), and soon joined the Bartlett Music Co., formed by the Bartlett Brothers a few years before. As company fortunes rose, so too did J.F.'s.  By 1905 the family had moved to this new house on Adams Street. In fact they held a Valentine party there that very year.

705 East Adams in 1910

The next year found the Salyers (J.F. and Rosa) vacationing in Yosemite with neighbors Mrs. Lida McGauhey and daughter Byrda. Rosa and Byrda were both ranking members in the same chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, and Byrda's brother Benjamin was noted as an employee at the Bartlett Music Co. in 1901 (a "polisher" according to the directory). But it turned out Byrda had known J.F. since at least early 1900. In March of that year J.F. and Byrda had applied for passports on the same day using the same notary. Byrda was a stenographer and may have also worked at Bartlett. And during this period an application often included a wife--although Rosa is not named in the application. Here's the signature part of their applications.

John F. Salyer

Byrda McGauhey

Both were approved on April 2, 1900 along with Byrda's sister Opal's application which had been filed five days prior to Byrda's. Opal and Byrda had their passports mailed to their residence. J.F. had his mailed to the office. The three of them are missing from the 1901 directory for Los Angeles--perhaps they were out of the country?

J.F. was promoted from manager to Secretary of the business, and in 1906 when the Bartletts wished to retire due to health reasons, J.F. led a buyout of the Bartletts, subsequently installing himself as President of the business. No doubt success continued, as evidenced by the large advertisements posted in the L.A. Herald paper. This one took up 3/4 of the page.

Bartlett Ad 1908

J. F. in 1910
J.F. was a member of the Society clubs in town, including the Jonathan and City Clubs, and in 1910 he was found in the census residing at the Jonathan. Rosa was still at home with son Edwin, and the census indicated Rosa and J.F. were still married. But by 1912 they had divorced and J.F. had remarried. His new bride?  Byrda McGauhey. By 1915 it appeared that everyone had moved out of the house (the directory that year showed the only resident at 705 E. Adams was a  "Fremont Salyer, elev. opr.").

By 1920 J.F. and Byrda were living again in the house at 705 E. Adams. J.F. had decided to retire and they then traveled extensively.  By 1930 they were living in San Gabriel, although their voter registration in 1934 remained at 705 E. Adams.  They were registered as Democrats.

In the meantime since J.F.'s retirement, Bartlett Music seemed to fade away. Three locations in 1923 became zero locations by 1927, and both sons were no longer listed as working with music. Edwin became an insurance salesman and Roy became a carpenter, moving to San Clemente.

J.F. passed away in the late 1930's, and Byrda ultimately passed away in Ventura in 1950.

 And the house at 705 E. Adams? Gone and replaced by a commercial building.

705 E. Adams today (courtesy of Google Maps)
 But wait--there's hope...see the comments.