Gold discovered in 1848 brought a tremendous migration to California, and prairie schooners rolled through Porterville between 1849 and 1852. Wagon trains of gold seekers passed through the village, but other travelers found the land rich and remained to establish farms. A store was set up in 1856 to sell goods to miners and the Indians, who lived in tribal lands along the rivers. From 1858 to 1861 it was the location of the Tule River Station of the Butterfield Overland Mail.
Royal Porter Putnam came to the village in 1860 to raise cattle, horses and hogs. He bought 40 acres of land and built a two-story store and a hotel on the highest point of the swampy property, which is now the corner of Oak and Main. The town took its name from the founder's given name because another Putnam family lived south of town.
In 1888, the Southern Pacific Railway brought in the branch line from Fresno. The Pioneer Hotel and Bank were built by businessmen from San Francisco. The town incorporated in 1902, as miners moved into the area to extract magnetite ore, and the Chamber of Commerce was formed in 1907. A City Manager-Council form of government was adopted in 1926, and a Charter was adopted. The City has grown from a community of 5,000 persons in 1920. Agriculture supplemented by the Central Valley Water Project has been the major source of economic growth in the area. The City is the center of a large farming area noted especially for citrus and livestock.
In 1854 Peter Goodhue operated a stopping place on the Stockton to Los Angeles Road on the bank of the Tule River until the river changed its course in 1862. It was also the site of the Tule River Stage Station for the Butterfield Overland Mail, from 1858 to 1861. R. Porter Putnam, bought out Goodhue in 1860, turning the station into a popular stopping place and hotel called Porter Station. The town of Porterville was founded there in 1864.
Sunburst Oranges traces its roots, in the San Joaquin Valley, back to potato farming. Bill Reed started his farming career as a potato farmer in the San Joaquin Valley. But as mechanical harvesting of potatoes began and the dynamics of the agricultural industry were changing, the prospects of growing citrus arose. As a youth, Jim Reed, Bill’s son, started doing the jobs that must be done in the fields and groves each day. Farming was not about Child Labor Laws; farming was and is a lifestyle the entire family embraces.
Now Sunburst Oranges can be your families’ source for the best oranges money can buy.
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Sunburst Packing Co.
180 South “E” Street
Porterville, CA 93257