Anaheim, California – Thriving in Times of Change

Anaheim is not the only community in Orange County to have reinvented itself over the years. But the fact that Anaheim accomplished it so many times, and that each time was a success, says a lot about the ingenuity of its business leaders. Cattle ranches, vineyards, packing houses, amusement parks – each new industry that springs up in Anaheim seems to bring prosperity on a level that did not exist before. Now the economy is changing again. As we move further into the digital age of the 21st century, how will Anaheim adapt, and who will lead the effort?

Neale & Fhima helps vehicle owners file lemon law claims in California. Keep reading to learn more about how Anaheim has changed through the years, and if you need assistance with a lemon vehicle, give us a call.

German Immigrants Build their “Home by the River”

The 1850s was a time of mass migration. Hundreds of thousands of people arrived in California during this period. Many came from the eastern U.S., hoping to strike it rich in the gold fields near San Francisco. Others, like those who would eventually found Anaheim, came from Europe in order to escape violent uprisings breaking out across the continent.

Inflated property values made settling in San Francisco difficult, though, so aspiring land developers looked southward. In 1857, a man named George Hansen and 49 other German immigrants pooled their resources and purchased a large tract of land south of Los Angeles. For $2,330, the group acquired 1,165 acres of cattle grazing land, including the rights to plenty of water from the Santa Ana River. These water rights were crucial. The settlers did not plan to graze cattle on the open range – they planned to make wine.

When it came time to choose a name for their grape-growing community, the group combined part of their new life with part of their old one. “Ana” refers to the Santa Ana River, without which their enormous vineyard would not be possible. “Heim” is a German word meaning home. Anaheim, or “home by the river,” would soon be producing more grapes than any other region of California.

The Grapes of Wrath – 2 Million Vines Destroyed

Anaheim residents enjoyed the fruits of their labor for nearly a quarter century. At its peak, the community was home to 47 wineries producing a combined 1.25 million gallons of wine annually. Then, in 1885, the grape vines showed signs of disease. Within five years, all two million vines were dead. The industry never recovered.

Brilliant Marketing Makes the Anaheim Citrus Industry a Success

Citrus growers were next to take the helm of the Anaheim economy. Prior to 1890, individual growers struggled with the seasonal risks inherent in the farming business. They also lacked the collective bargaining power to deal with the labor force on favorable terms. That all changed in 1893. Orange growers in Anaheim and elsewhere in the region formed the Southern California Fruit Exchange – or as we know it today, Sunkist Growers, Inc.

Founded by Dutch immigrant P.J. Dreher and his son Edward, Sunkist solved the problems facing individual farmers prior to that time. But that was just the beginning. The cooperative’s greatest accomplishment was a simple yet revolutionary idea – branding fruit. Here is how it worked:

  • Sunkist took the phrase “sun-kissed oranges” and created a short, memorable name that was sufficiently unique to qualify for trademark protection.
  • All Sunkist oranges were sold wrapped in a paper label displaying the brand.
  • National advertising efforts included extremely popular customer loyalty programs.
  • One such program allowed customers to mail back 12 wrappers and receive a Sunkist brand spoon as a prize.
  • In 1909, the first year of the program, customers claimed an astonishing one million Sunkist spoons.

Family-Friendly Tourism Transforms the City

Even the famed citrus groves of Anaheim would eventually give way to a new industry. In the early 1950s, Walter Elias “Walt” Disney paved 160 acres of farmland and built his iconic Disneyland amusement park. The venture was an immediate success. As of 2015, more than 18 million guests visit Disneyland each year and the park employs 20,000 residents. Only time will tell if tourism continues to dominate the Anaheim economy, or if it too becomes merely another chapter in the city’s history.