PLOUGHSHARE & PRUNING HOOK
Volume 2 Number 5August 1997
Winchester and the Eucalyptus Tree
A recent phone call to the society about the origin of the eucalyptus groves in Winchester has once again brought up the old question of how they arrived here. We are fairly sure by accounts published that there was not a tree to be found in the Winchester area except for oak in the hills surrounding it and some cottonwoods at the San Jacinto River. We are also aware that the Patterson family brought the pepper trees that adorn that property with them in 1882 when they arrived here. But alas the true story about the eucalyptus trees may allude us.
The first account of how they may have arrived comes via Mr. Bill Jennings. He related a circumstance to me that is quite plausible. During the late 1800's the U. S. government gave out homesteads to all that would settle and improve the land. One type of homestead was granted if a person would plant a grove of trees. This may very well explain the groves that are her today. The first mention we have ever seen of the planting of the eucalyptus is in 1890 when a Mr. H. E. Remsburg is noted as starting to plant eucalyptus groves in the area. Another account says they arrive in 1902 from Australia. And so we now come to the second story about the trees.
It seems that some Australians convinced the towns people that the eucalyptus tree was a great source of lumber to be used by the railroad for ties and firewood. The people bought into this and planted the trees that we see today. But sadly the eucalyptus is not the tree to be used in this matter. Once cut down the tree has a tendency to split and to twist. It also becomes very hard as it drys and is impossible to drive any kind of nail or spike into it. Also the tree is very oily so it could not be used for the firebox on the train because it would gum up the works. So much for the railroad using them.
The planting of the eucalyptus in Winchester was not all disaster however. Farmers soon learned that they made good wind breaks. They were also good for marking land boundaries an road right of ways. Another value they added was that of firewood for the heating of homes. And seeing as wood was a scarcity here in the area they may of very well made some money after all from these trees.
Well, you have heard the tales and you may choose the one you like best. Better yet come up with one of your own and send it to us. No matter what the mighty eucalyptus has been a part of our history and will remain for a long time to come.
Patterson House Roofing Fund and Other Happenings
The roof fund now stands at $900 thanks to a generous contribution from friends of Tilla Patterson. We thank you all for your support in this endeavor. We also are awaiting a quote from a local roofing contractor and hope to announce it here before we go to print. It appears we will have to tear the old roof off and put all new sheeting on it. Yes folks we plan to keep some of the old shingles for later display or maybe a fund raiser. Hopefully by winter the roof will be in place.
This last month also saw a visit to the house by two members of the Willard Patterson family and there offspring. They came from there homes to see the old house and rekindle old memories of visits with Tilla. We would like to thank Pete Patterson and Lois Mitchell for their taking of there time to come and share the times they had here as children.
Last but not least we want to thank Bob Domenigoni for his time and effort in mowing down the weeds that have grown this past year. His efforts are greatly appreciated.
Historical Tidbits From Our Past
03-23-1893 Engineer Geo. Manuel, of the irrigation district, went to San Diego Monday. In conversation with him he said that the main ditch was 70 feet higher than Winchester and when the district conclude to put the water under pressure there will be force enough to blow scalebugs, mossbacks, kickers and other animals out of the country. When completed continued Mr. M. "We will not take a back seat for any district in the state."
04/05/1893 The residence of A. J. Haslam at Winchester was burned to the ground Tuesday week, during the absence of the family. The loss was nearly covered by insurance.
04/05/1893 Mrs. L. O. Dickson was in attendance at the San Diego county teacher's institute during the past week.
04/05/1893 R. H. Smith, of the Riverside Press, was in Winchester Friday.
04/05/1893 Miss. Agnes Lindenberger returned from the teachers institute Friday evening.
04/05/1893 Miss. Minnie McEuen came in from Los Angeles Saturday to spend her vacation with relatives here. She attends the Normal school. (Normal school was the name of what would become U.C.L.A.......editor)
04/05/1893 The Easter exercises at the M. E. church was well attended.
04/05/1893 Died--George Raymond, four-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. J. S. Stillman, in Winchester Sunday, April 2, 1893.
04/13/1893 The San Jacinto and Pleasant Valley Irrigation system is approaching completion and 300 to 400 inches of water will be turned on, with the prospect that 4,000 inches will be available in about six weeks. This system uses the water of the San Jacinto river, which is turned into a flume three and a half miles long, with a fall of seventy feet. This stream is divided in two ditches, one north, the other south of the valley stretching away to Winchester. The north ditch is twelve miles long and the other sixteen, stretching out into the Menifee country. These ditches are open, but will be cemented later, supplying 18,000 acres with a chance at 30,000 when water enough has bee deployed. A test well through 138 feet of gravel near the head of the system, has already developed 500 inches and its supply is to be raised by water brought down from higher up in the mountains. The north and south ditches are carried along the hills and at Winchester the south is seventy-five feet above the valley and the north thirty feet, delivering the water under pressure along the valley.
04/13/1893 F. L. Loveland, the non-partisan nominee for Supervisor of the 5th district, was born in Ashtabula Co., Ohio, in 1833. From there his parents moved to Indiana, and then to Freemont Co., Iowa. In 59 Mr. L. made his trip across the plains on a mule to this state, landing in Sacramento, where he established a stage line between that city and Portland, Oregon. He sold out after a few years and went to work in the mines of Oregon. From that place he drifted to Montana where he was elected one of the county commission of Missoula Co. For two years he was engaged in mercantile and banking business in Riverington, Iowa.
Mr. Loveland has been in this valley since 86. He has 280 acres of choice land six miles from this city, 200 in orchard. He has 800 acres in grain this season which bids fair to make a fine crop. Mr. Loveland's standing in this community is the very best, and if elected we know he will fill the position to the satisfaction of our people. (Mr. Loveland was from Winchester and became the first supervisor of the newly formed Riverside County in 1893......editor)
Bid Received For Re-roof of Patterson House
A bid for the roofing of the Patterson house has been sent to us by a local company. The proposal calls for all new sheeting and a new composition shingle roof. This contractors bid is $2,850.00. It appears we have a way to go yet in order to do this but this bid looks very good. We will keep you updated.