by Sasha Milena
An old historic photo reveals a Pacific Electric Railway train passing through Whittier, in front of what is now King Richard's Antique Center.
The train's destination sign reads "Pasadena" and a cardboard poster below the driver reads "Railfan Special." King Richard's Antique Center owner, Chuck Garcera, believes the photo was taken in 1951. He first learned of the photo from friend and rail enthusiast, Bob Chaparro, who is a part of the online Citrus Industry Modeling Group. Chaparro found the photo on the Pacific Electric Railway Historical Society's website: www.pacificelectric.org
King Richard's was a citrus packing house in the early 1900s. The Pomona Public Library has a digital collection of citrus packaging labels including labels that came out of the Whittier citrus packing house.
Garcera not only sells antiques in his huge facility, but also seeks to preserve the historical value of the location. On the King Richard's website, a history page informs readers with photographs and gives historical information about the building. He has obtained facts and stories from local museums and organizations dedicated to preservation of the areas history.
There is still a decade in the packing plants history that is some what a mystery to local historians. Garcera said between the 1950s and 1960s, there is not a lot of information about the building and he is still searching for more information that could bridge the packing plants timeline.
Citrus packing plant in Whittier, Calif. (Now King Richard's Antique Center)
Photo courtesy Jim Lancaster's "Historic Packing Houses and Other Industrial Structures in Southern California" http://scph002.home.netcom.com/scph_la_whittier.html