Today we visit the 1930’s in an excerpt from our soon-to-be released book Chula Vista Centennial: A Century of People and Progress.
The Great Depression closed industries, but agriculture thrived. Lemon exports grew to nearly $1 million a year. Dairies flourished in Castle Park and Proctor Valley. Stafford and Chino organized the Celery Association, and the Vegetable Exchange opened on K Street.
Lima bean crops were introduced in the eastern valleys.
Chula Vistan Emily Fenton Hunte, recalled that during the Depression, her father Henry G. Fenton, who had planted 3,000 acres of lima beans and barley on Rancho Janal, “would turn the fields over to the needy, once the harvest had been completed. There still were thousands of lima beans lying on the ground, and people would flock to the ranch by the hundreds to scoop them up into sacks to take home.”
Henry also grew tomatoes, declaring in 1937 that his were the best ever, “some as big around as a saucer!”
Chula Vistans have a history of reinventing themselves in tough times, as well as taking care of each other, and growing healthy local produce. As we celebrate this Centennial Year of Service, you can continue to take part in these traditions at our Farmer’s Markets’ on Mondays on Main St., Tuesdays at Otay Ranch Town Center and Thursdays at Center and Third Avenue downtown. And while you’re there, buy three sacks of lima beans and tomatoes and share two with your neighbors.
The 1940’s is our focus today, excerpted from the upcoming book that celebrates our history, Chula Vista Centennial: A Century of People and Progress.
The 1940s brought major changes to the city. Rohr Aircraft Corporation built a large plant on the bayfront to manufacture aircraft engine power units, just as the war in Europe was revving up and war defense housing was built at Hilltop Village and Vista Square and at several other areas.
The City of Chula Vista, in partnership with the United States Olympic Training Center, Chula Vista (OTC), announces the city’s Centennial Celebration will be hosted on the scenic OTC campus on Saturday, October 15, 2011.
Admission to the event, commemorating Chula Vista’s 100th anniversary, is free and open to the public. Residents and visitors are encouraged to check out ChulaVista100.com and “friend” the Centennial Facebook page to receive the latest updates.
Do you remember Rohr's famous "Silver Dollar Payday?" Or the day President Eisenhower paid a visit to Chula Vista? Or when H Street dead-ended at what is now interstate 805? Relive those memories - and learn more about the people and events that shaped today's Chula Vista - during a lecture sponsored by the Friends of the Chula Vista Library at 6 p.m.Wednesday, July 20.
Dr. Steven Schoenherr will show photographs and talk about Chula Vista in the 1950s and '60s in a free presentation at the Civic Center Library auditorium. This is the third in a series of programs on Chula Vista history sponsored by the Friends in celebration of Chula Vista's 100th year. The January lecture focused on the period from 1888 to 1925, and the April presentation covered local events during the Great Depression and World War II.