JAN 1896 – Dyer and Capitain enter in agreement to sell bonds for the Cerritos Sugar Company. They agreed to sell enough bonds to raise $4[00,000?]. After that sum had been reached, they could begin to deduct their expenses and [earn/draw] a commission; all of this had to be accomplished before November 1, 1896. Apparently, the bonds were never sold, which is not surprising since the United States was suffering through its worst economic depression prior to the 1930s.

10 JUN 1896 –

On June 10, 1896, the Bixbys sell the Clarks 8,139 acres of land that will eventually become Los Alamitos, Lakewood, the Long Beach airport and the land around it. Clark also lays out a townsite that will be part of a huge sugar beet factory complex under the name Los Alamitos Sugar Company.
The new Sugar Company arranges with Southern Pacific Railroad to build a spur to the factory. The line ran due south from (then) Anaheim Station (near pesent I-5 and Lincoln) due south to about a half mile from present Disneyland where it curved and ran due west and traveled about nine miles across the flat ground to the factory. At the end of the line a depot, turntable and water tank were installed. First it was used to deliver the machinery for the factory and later to ship the refined sugar. (History of Bixby Land Company)

10 JUN 1896 – Bixby Land Company minutes;

On June 10, 1896, the secretary continues in his minutes that when Dyer and Capitain [made] satisfactory assurances that they have made arrangements for the erection upon the [land] a beet sugar factory,” the Bixbys and Flint would transfer 2,497 shares of the Bixby Land Company stock to them within thirty days. All of this land had to be accomplished by November __, 1896, the same deadline that was set for the sale of the Cerritos Sugar Company bonds.

On June 10, 1896, On June 10, 1896, the secretary continues in his minutes, Dyer and Capitain entered into an agreement with William A. Clark of Butte, Montana and J.Ross Clark of Los Angeles to build a beet sugar factory on Bixby’s land. To cement the deal, the Bixby Land Company grantd 40 acres for the factory site, a right of way for drainage from the site into nearby Coyote Creek and an additional 520 acres to the Clarks.

13 JUN 1896 — Bixby Land Company is founded — its first project to subdivide a portion of land for the raising and processing of sugar beets. Jotham Bixby was president; Lewellyn Bixby, vice president, and other stockholders included Jotham’s oldest son, George H.; Dr. Thomas Flint, and and two men who were not family members, Edward F. Dyer and Frank J. Capitain, the company secretary .

22 JUN 1896 – LA Times, p9 — Plenty of Sugar Beet Rumors Are Floating About.

On June 30, 1896, the Clarks incorporated the Los Alamitos Sugar Company for the purpose of erecting, maintaing and operating” the new factory. It’s owners were William A. Clark, William A. Clark, Jr., J. Ross Clark, T.F. Miller, and E.F. Dyer. The Clarks owned 3,980 shares; Dyer and Miller each owned ten shares.

18 JUL 1896 – LA Times, p.6 – A Great Enterprise Announced — 18 JUL 1896 – LA Times, p.9 – “To Make Sugar”. The Times runs a long story on the genesis of the project, giving most credit to Frank Capitain.

04 AUG 1896 — LB Press-Telegram, p11, col. 3; Work on building a sugar beet factory on Alamitos Ranch has begun.

10 SEP 1896 – Anaheim Gazette – Factory spur to be Built from this city.  Article describes how the SP spur line to the new Los Alamitos sugar factory will be connected from Anaheim.

LA Times and Santa Ana Newspapers falsely reported that 60-80 workers were already busy at Los Alamitos, causing unemployed laborers to head out that direction and then be disappointed to learn that hiring for the factory construction was at least a month away. The article also mentioned that Frank Capitain was in charge of the construction crews on site, which consisted of men cutting down wood along the New River. Capitain was living in comfortable quarters and had an office in the old shooting club. His daughter was living with him.

Judge I.N. Marks was the assistant secretary of the new beet factory company.

The factory is located in Section 19, 9 miles west of town. To get there, you head to Weisel’s Corner and then head seven mils straight west,

21 SEP 1896 – LA Times – $200,000 Factory equipment contract is signed.

26 SEP 1896 – LA Times, p.13 – Anaheim column:

ANAHEIM, Sept. 25— (Regular correspondence) The grading outfit of Grant Bros, consisting of sixty men and 90 mules, with their tent, fixtures and grading impliments, filed through town yesterday, and proceeded to the Southern Pacific depot.  After a few hours rest, the first sod was broken in the railroad that within 12 days will connect Anaheim with the Alamitos Sugar Factory, making its terminal at Long Beach.

On Thursday, the force of graders was augmented by 100 men and 120 mules.  In a day or two this forced will be futhern increased by a band of tracklayers.  The scene of operations was visited by crowds of townspeople during the day, and the camping grounds of the graders excited much interest.

L.A. Grant of Grant Bros. and E.F. Dyer were in Anaheim Wednesday.  They tested some gravel beds at McPherson on their way to town and have decided to haul gravel from that point to the factory for foundation purposes.

Dave Rogers, the walking encyclopedia of Westminster news, was in town the other day offering to bet $100 to $5 that the whistle of the Santa Fe engine would shrill through Westminster  within the space of six weeks.  The route, according to Mr. Rogers —and he seems to know—will be from Santa Ana through Garden Grove and Westminster to Long Beach.  One thing is certain, and that is, railroad surveyors have recently been through Westminster and left their stakes behind them on the road.

M.F. Durham of Magnolia has broken the record for big beet loads.  He recently hauled 13,175 pounds from his beet field to the depot in Anaheim.  No wonder the roads around Anaheim are a disgrace to civilization.  If nothing else can be done in the interest of light-vehicle traffic, two separate road tracks, one for beet wagons and one for buggies, should be made.

The following are the names of the gentlemen who have become responsible to the Southern Pacific for the $1500 required for the purchase of a right of way to the factory:  H.A. Dickel, Jacob Everhardy, T.J.F. Boege, H. Cahen, N. Nebelung, Gus Hansen, Fritz Ruhman, W.T. Brown, John Meredith, Jospeh Backs and L. Goldwater.



29 SEP 1896 – LA Times, p. Deed filed in Orange County transferring 40 acres from Bixby Land Company to Alamitos Sugar Company.

October 3, 1896 – LA Times – LA Times, p13  –  Anaheim column:  The railroad is now graded more than halfway to the factory and the tracklayers have commenced work in earnest, with the intention of overtaking the graders on this side of the factory site.

7 OCT1896 –  LA Times, p.13.

Anaheim column…  By every indication, the factory at Alamitos will be the nucleus of a town.  A postoffice with a daily mail is already assured and several enterprising people from Santa Ana have been arranging for lots on which to build a hotel and stores, both dry goods and grocery.

The discovery of a large percentage of sulphur in the water near the factory site holds out the probability that  the neighborhood may one day develop into a health resort. All depends on the sulphur springs being found at a respectable distance from the odor of the factory

9 OCT 1896 – LA Times, p. 11:  House and Lot:


An encouraging feature of the real estate business in Los Angeles just now is the disposition that is displayed to develop and improve outlying sections.Two most important development undertakings are now underway in Southern California, one at Alamitos, about twenty miles southeast of Los Angeles, and the other at Chino.

Work on the new big sugar factory enterprise between Los Angeles and Anaheim  a few miles northeast of Alamitos Beach , concerning which full particulars were give in the Times a few months ago, is now actively under way.  Many doubts have been expressed as to the good faith of the parties interested in this project but these have been set atv rest by the actual commencement of the work.

The tract upon which the beet sugar factory is to be located and upon which beets for the factory will be grown , embraces 7,000 acres, extending eight miles and a half east and west.  Graders are actively working on the factory site. They have already graded seven miles of tract, and it is expected that the first construction train will be run to the factory wite in about a week.  The factory site is about in the center of the tract, and nine miles and a half west of Anaheim.

The interest that is felt by the farming community in the beet sugar industry was strikingly shown by the fact that within three weeks, the time required to lay out the tract in twenty acre lots, applications were made by 127 farmers from all parts of California for leases on land aggregating 5795 acres.  Up to date about 6000 acres have been allotted.  Many of those who have leased land have had experience  edperience with beet-growing at Chino and Anaheim.  The land is rented for one-fourth of the crop.  During the first season, about 1000 acres of the tract will be planted in beets, which it is expected will yield from 30,000 to 35,000 tons of beets from which nearly 4,000 tons of sugar should be manufactured.

Contracts have already been let and, and work on the factory should commence as soon as the branch railroad reaches the factory site, which as stated, will be about the 16th of this month.  The factory is being laid out by E.F. Dyer, and experienced expert of much experience in this line of work.

A townsite of 250 acres has been laid out, and a sale of lots will be held toward the end of this month.  The town will be known as “Los Alamitos.”  Judging from the growth of Chino, this should become a town of considerable importance.  It will possess advantages over the former place, having a pleasanter climate and being within a half hour’s drive to the beach and being less than an hour’s ride by rail from Los Angeles, as soon as direct transportation shall have been supplied.  Frank J. Capitain to whose efforts the location of this sugar factory is due, is kept very busy in attending to the numerous details of the work.  He is firmly convinced that this will be the most successful beet sugar factory that has yet been started in the United States, and that it will soon be followed by several others in Southern California.


15 OCT 1896 – Anaheim Gazette

17 OCT 1896 – LA Times, p.13.  Anaheim column.

The railroad spur from Anaheim to the factory site at Los Alamitos was completed on the 14th, one day before the time stipulated in the contract.  The engineer in charge, Mr. Boschke, has broken the record for track-laying in California, having laid and spiked the rails at the rate of 10,000 feet a day.

Five hundred and fifty carloads of building material will be hauled to the factory site at Alamitos at the earliest possible moment.  The lumber is supplied by the local firm of the Griffith Company.

20 CT 1896  – LA Times, Railroad Record.  p.8?

THE SUGAR ROAD- SAN FRANCISCO— The line of the railroad extending from Anaheim to Los Alamitos. a distanmce of 9.3 miles, will be opened for business tomorrow.  It is a part of the Southern Pacific system, and is known as the sugar line, as its principal purpose is to serve the beet sugar refinery at Los Alamitos.  There will be an intermediary stop at Benedict.

NEW BRANCH COMPLETED: Trains to Los Alamitos will Begin Running Tomorrow.  Tomorrow morinng the new branch line constructed by the Southern Pacifi9c Company from  Anaheim to the site of the new sugar factory in Los Alamitos will be turned over to the operating department and regular train will be inaugurated.  Trains will leave Los Alamitos at 7:35 am and 3:50 pm, connecting at Santa Ana with the Santa Ana branch trains now reaching Los Amngeles at 9am and 5:20p.m.  Outgoing passengers will leave Los Angeles on the regular Santa Ana trains at 9:10 a.m and 5:10 p.m., transferring at Anaheim to the local train operating on the branch.

The new branch is 9.3. miles long and was constructed in about five days.  There is but one intermediate station, which is located four and one half miles from Anaheim on the Stearns Rancho Company lands, and will be nown as Westminster, it being the nearest stopping post to that place.  At the terjminus the Southern Pacific will pout in extensive tracks, a combination depot, turntable, ashpit, engine water tank, etc. as it is expected that a flourishing town will be developed at this point.  It is probably that the name of the townsite will be changed from Los Alamitos to some other, to be selected by the Sugar factory people.

25 OCT 1896 – LA Times, p.31.  Anaheim:  Superintendent Tracey is in town with a force of telegraph men, connecting Anaheim with the factory at Los Alamitos.  He will complete the job in about ten days.

It is not definitely known that Los Alamitos will be permanent name of the new town at the factory site.  The owners of the factory will have something to say about it.

The two trains that run daily to the factory are being well-patronized, and for the track to be a new one, the ride on it is both smooth and pleasant.  The hotel is getting well underway and the next building of importance will be a residence for J.Ross Clark, one of the owners of the factory.

6 NOV 1896 – LA Times, p11.

ANAHEIM:  Now that the election is over, the new town of Los Alamitos is absorbing general interest and several of the citizens of Anaheim have invested in town lots.  Amng others, F. Conrad of the brewewry, has bought a lot with a forntage of 50 feet, at $500, which is ample evidence there is a future for the new town.

The railroad spur which it is thought would have its terminus at the factory is going throughj to Long Beach.  The track is nbeing surveyed and grading will begin in a week or so.  This will bring the new town within touch of Los Angeles, and more than anything else guarantee its prosperity.

About seventy five people visited the works at Los Alamitos Sunday, and strangers with an I-would-like-to-invest sort of air, are constantly coming and going.

The machinery for the factory is expected to be here Monday.  No doubt exists but the big building will be ready for the local beet crop ahead of time and the farmers of the neighborhood are proportionately happy.

Judge I.N. Marsh (Marks?) has been appointed agent for the sale and renting of town lots and land adjacent ton the factory, and is kept busy looking at intending investors and answering letters that come to him daily from all oints of the compass.  E.C. (sic) Dyer and J.Ross Clarke (sic) will oversee the placing of the machinery.  The new restaurant is doing a thriving trade, catering to sixty five permanent boarders, with the prospect of entertaining a hundred within a week or two.

The new railroad agent at the temporary depot is J.H. Badgely who has just arrived form Idaho.  The brain power of the enterprise is F.J. Capitain, who has his offices in the restaurant.

8 NOV 1896 – LA Times, p27


A correspondent from Orange writes that everybody in this section of the valley is looking happy now, and he gives the cause of __ on account of the elctiuon of McKinley and the removal of the heretofore troublesome “cracker” house in the suburbs of that usually quiet city to the vicinity of the Los Alamitos beet-sugar factory site.


14 NOV 1896 – LA Times, p.13 –

Anaheim:  The Southern Pacific people have announced their intention of building a $5000 depot at Los Alamitos.
The first installment of machinery arrived at the factory on Saturday and ten additional carloads are expected on Monday.

16 NOV 1896, LA Times, p.9

ORANGE COUNTY BREVITIES – J.G. Marks was in Santa Ana from Alamitos Sunday and he states there are about sixty men at work now on the big beet-sugar factory.  The cement work will be finished Monday and then the carpenters and bricklayers will be on hand to perform the more skilled work.  The construction of the factory is progressing as rapidly as possible, and now that the foundation is up, the other work will progress more rapidly.

22 NOV 1896 – LA Times, p29

LOS ALAMITOS – (Regular Correspondence) The railroad company’s six-inch artesian well has already reached a depth of 150 feet and they are still going down.
The foundation for the factory is all in, ready for the ___ and the machinery.  Already a thousand barrels of cement and a hundred carloads of gravel have been used.  The concrete work was put in ____ three weeks.  The machinery is arriving by the trainload and by July 1 next, the farmers of this section will have a ___ market for their products.
The railroad company has been running a train of fifty carloads a day with gravel from McPherson’s for the grading of Los Alamitos switch yards.  The trains are still bringing in about twenty carloads a day of gravel which is being stored at the factory before the rains so that work may not be delayed when the Santa Ana River rises.

8 DEC 1896 – LA Times, p.13.

LONG BEACH BREVITIES – The effect of the opening of a sugar manufacturing plant at Los Alamitos is already felt in this town.  It has made a material improvem,ent in retail trade from that direction.



13 DEC 1896 – LA Times, p.33.

LOS ALAMITOS, Dec. 11 —(Regular Correspondence) Work on the sugar factory is progressing rapidly.   J.J. Kelley, of Pittsburgh, is overseeing the putting in of the steel work.  Several carloads of machinery are on the ground, and more is arriving every day.  Thirty men are now at work on the factory, which will be ready for the brick work in about two weeks.  Judge Marks, of Santa Ana, is is assistant secretary of the company, says that all the land on the great Alamitos ranch is rented. There are 9000 acres in all.  Beets are to be planted on 3,600 acres of this tract amd 5000 acres will be devoted to corn and barley.  The parcels of land average 40 acres to each farmer.

New buildings are going up everywhere.  Four weeks ago there was not a new house to be seen on the plain and now there is a score or more of them.  There is also quite a colony of tents.  Three fifths of the people here are from Chino.  The one store in place is conducted by two enterprising young men from Tustin and is a combination  of barber shop, billiard hall, tobacco stand, stationer’s, branch bakery, mens furnishing store, news depot and laundry office.

20 DEC 1896 – LA Times, p.35, col. 2

LOS ALAMITOS, Dec. 19 — (Regular Correspondence) The new $5000 [railroad] depot is nearing completion, and as soon as it is ready, Station Agent J.H. Bedgely will move his family here from Los Angeles.
The town is growing rapidly, and arrangements are being made for school facilities.  It is predicted that by January 1, there will be 150 families located on the Los Alamitos ranch.
The township commissioners will soon build two bridges over Coyote Creek on north and south, and east and west roads, to get ready fro beet deliveries to the factory.
The steel framework of the factory building is up; the placing of the factory machinery will now begin, and shortly the brick walls will begin to rise.
J.M. Elam, in the employ of the land company, is making a thorough inspection of the ranch lands and making arrangements forplowing and having the land properly prepared for planting as early as practicable.

31 DEC 1896 – LA Times, p. 7

Anaheim – Either the postoffice authorities at Washington will have to break through an ironclad rule, or the owners of Los Alamitos must change its name before they succeed in getting a postoffice.  Los Alamitos bears such a close resemblance to Los Alamos, Santa Barbara Co9unty, in spelling that confusion in the mail service will result.  Los Alamitos by any other name would have had a postoffice months ago.
The rains of Monday were copious and timely and a generous crop of beets and barley is now assured.
The prospects for the saloon at the factory site are looking gloomy.  Supervisor Potter is not likely to grant the license.  It would seem that the owners of Los Alamitos are in favor of a bar-room to be run in connection with a large and well-equipped hotel, whch will be built some time during the spring.

2 thoughts on “1896 – Development of the Sugar Factory – one news item at a time”
  1. Great survey of news items, presumed gathered by L. Strawther. As an O.C. transport historian now residing outside county but still
    accumulating data on topic, such as scanning online digital newspapers for similar info on all related S.P. branches, e.g,main trunk from L.A. thru Anaheim to S.A. Incidentally important events that might be added to above list(altho admittedly after 1896 were L.A. CofC excursion in Sept., 1897 which brought nearly 500 businessmen to Los Al to tour new sugar refinery. Regrettably, Clarks never rode over the S.P. branch, but, rather , when they did come(on multiple ocassions in 20th century) they came over the Los Angeles Terminal Railway(which they owned for several years) to a station along the west side of the ranch and then proceeded into town by wagon..

    1. Steve, thanks for your kind words. Re: the CofC excursion, the LA Times of Sept. 12, 1897 reports that J. Ross Clark invited Chamber of Commerce members “to take an excursion over the Southern Pacific to Alamitos to inspect their new sugar factory.” The article of Sep. 19 confirms that 475 men set out from Los Angeles through Downey and Anaheim “where crowds of businessmen joined the excursion” som over visitors were on the train when it reached Los Alamitos.
      As the Clarks did not buy the Terminal Railway until August 21, 1900, and the buggy ride from Bixby Station was a literal pain in the butt sometimes over some swampy land (hence Spring Street), it would seem only logical that until the purchase in 1900, the Clarks used the SP road, especially since they had a good relationship with the SP (as evidenced by their fronting the purchase of the McFadden Railroad and later fronting in the bidding wars with the new Pacific Electric). After the purchase I’d love to talk to you some more about local transport. I’m doing research now on how the railroads (and especially the electric trolley lines) affected development of the resort beaches (Santa Monica, Venice Playa, Redondo Beach, Brighton Beach (Terminal Island), Long Beach, Naples, Seal Beach, Sunset Beach, Huntington Beach, Newport Beach).

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