courtesy Jaime Glasser 2015
Citrus and Saguaros – An Illustrated History of Citrus in Arizona
Citrus was one of the first economic drivers in Arizona and an important part of Mesa’s history. Citrus trees were first planted in southern Arizona by Friar Kino in 1707. The first commercial citrus venture in the Arizona territory was started by industry pioneer William John Murphy and associates in 1888. By 1929 there were over 8,000 acres in the Valley devoted to citrus farming.
During this period of rapid growth in Arizona’s citrus industry oranges and grapefruit were shipped in wooden boxes by railroad cars to Eastern wholesale markets. Each wooden crate carried with it the grower’s and packer’s brand name and location – printed on a paper label, affixed to the box end. These labels were intentionally bright and colorful, to promote maximum brand recognition in the Eastern produce auction halls. The unique, and often overlooked, feature of many Arizona citrus labels was the Saguaro cactus. This “secret” design component set the Arizona labels apart from their California and Florida counterparts.
The Mesa Historical Museum is pleased to host a presentation and community conversation with author, speaker, researcher, collector and exhibitor Royal John Medley. Mr. Medley will discuss the history of citrus farming in Mesa and the evolution of Arizona’s unique and diverse citrus label illustrations.
Please join us at 6pm on Thursday May 17, 2018 at the Mesa Historical Museum.
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51 E. Main St.
Mesa, Arizona 85201
Wednesday – Saturday
PO Box 582 Mesa, Arizona 85211