Time Capsule Tuesday: A 1941 Aerial Photo of the Homestead and City of Industry

by Paul R. Spitzzeri

As the City of Industry celebrates the 60th anniversary of its incorporation, which took place on 16 June 1957, here’s another early 1940s view of part of what became the city, including the Homestead.

Probably taken by Harry and Lois Brown, who purchased what was then known as the Workman Homestead in October 1940 for the operation of their El Encanto Sanitarium (now El Encanto Healthcare and Habilitation Center, which still operates next door to the Homestead, at the right side of the image, and is also owned by the city), the view looks to have been taken from about the intersection of Hacienda Boulevard (then called Hudson Road) and Valley Boulevard.

Homestead Aerial 1941

Looking to the southwest, the image shows the 92-acre Homestead at the center.  At the lower right, there are two white pillars that mark the entrance to the ranch from a long driveway extending south from Valley Boulevard (the right of way is still intact, being an alley and then El Encanto Drive).

The Workman House and La Casa Nueva are just about dead center, along with the late 19th century water tower that still stands.  To the lower left is El Campo Santo cemetery, which has existed since the early 1850s.  Moving from the historic houses to the center right is Evergreen Lane, so named for the trees planted by Walter Temple along its course–this roughly corresponds to Don Julian Road, which did exist at the time, but west of Turnbull Canyon Road (also known as 10th Avenue).

Note the expanses of walnut groves that formed much of the Homestead’s acreage from the 1920s onward and just behind the trees south of the historic homes is San Jose Creek meandering through the area on its way to emptying into the San Gabriel River.  While it is a flood control channel now, the creek had water year-round and was used for irrigation in the 19th century.

Behind the creek and the farmland next to it is the railroad line of what was the San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad, which was built through the area in the first years of the 1900s and paralleled the Southern Pacific line which was built along Valley Boulevard in the 1870s.  Renamed the Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad in 1916, the line was purchased five years later by the Union Pacific, which now owns both lines running through the city.  An echo of the original railroad, though, remains in the name of Salt Lake Avenue, which parallels the track from roughly Hacienda Boulevard to 7th Avenue in the city.

Note how farmland and citrus groves dominate most of the landscape around the Homestead in what is now part of the City of Industry as well as what was known in 1941 as North Whittier Heights, changed around 1960 to Hacienda Heights, perhaps in reference to the Homestead.  Towards the upper right of the photo are a group of buildings that comprised the North Whittier Heights packing house for citrus.  Located along Clark Avenue (William Andrews Clark, a Montana mining magnate and U.S. Senator, was the leading figure in the San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad), the buildings are gone now, as was the small depot that was there.

In the distance are the western extremity of the Puente Hills, which was largely untouched by development, though there were a few houses in the North Whittier Heights portion.  Also years away was the Puente Hills Landfill, which opened in 1957, the same year the city was formed, and closed in 2013.  It is now the site of a regional park that is in the planning stages.

Check back next Tuesday for another installment in the “Time Capsule Tuesday” series.

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