In 1870, Los Angeles was a dusty, southern California ranch town of 5,000 inhabitants on the meandering Porcincula River. By 1876, the Southern Pacific Railroad reached the town and made it possible to ship a new, locally cultivated variety of orange to the big, eastern and midwestern markets. The big, sweet and seedless Navel orange variety was a huge success “back East”. Demand for the newly available fruit was unprecedented.
Orange groves rapidly proliferated and it soon became necessary for individual growers to brand and indemnify their fruit. The orange crate label was born. This unique marketing form lasted only about 70 years—from 1880 to 1950—when wooden crates were replaced by cheaper cardboard boxes—but provides a fascinating and colorful history of the region and of this uniquely California industry.
California Dreams is an exhibition of orange crate labels from the collection of David King, Assistant Professor of Graphic Design, Grand Valley State University.
Free and open to the public. The Thornapple Gallery is located on the lower level of the Russell M. Kirkhof Center on the Allendale Campus. For more information call the GVSU Art Gallery at (616) 331-2563 or visit: www.gvsu.edu/artgallery/
Art Gallery, 616-331-2563