Latimer Packing House, 321 South San Antonio Avenue, Ontario, San Bernardino County, CA
Significance: This building is one of two packing houses on the property that was the site of The San Antonio Orchard Company. It sits to the east of the main packing house structure at 321 South San Antonio Ave. and has played a part in Ontario agriculture since the turn-of-the-century. It was originally located across the street and owned by the same company. It and the main packing house now belong to O.H. Kruse Grain & Milling and has been vacant for four years. The structure is a good example of an early 20th century Vernacular Southern California Agricultural architecture. Annually shipping 700 railroad cars of fruit, San Antonio Orchard company was one of the largest independent packing concerns in the entire California citrus belt. After its establishment by Charles Latimer in 1912, and the purchase of this property from the Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad, the company built up a good reputation for dependability and the high quality of fruit handled. This building played an important role in the San Antonio Orchard Company. When first built in 1911 it was used for packing citrus and potatoes. After it was moved from across San Antonio Avenue in 1924, the building became the headquarters of the Ontario Fertilizer Works, founded by the Latimers, a corporation that used this building to store and sell fertilizer to many of the citrus ranchers in Ontario. San Antonio Orchard company packed fruit from 1,700 acres, chiefly owned by the local company in Ontario and acreage in the Arlington-Riverside area. The concern employed an average of 190 persons. The plant was equipped with the newest and most approved machinery known to the citrus industry at that time. A feature of special interest was a sterilization plant, through which field boxes used for hauling fruit to the packing houses were passed before they were returned to the orchards. Also included in the equipment was an automatic box-making machine.
Survey number: HABS CA-2607
Building/structure dates: 1911 Initial Construction
Building/structure dates: ca. 1924 Subsequent Work
Building/structure dates: ca. 1996 Demolished