The boom of the 1880s came as great stretches of land were divided and sold to settlers and businessmen alike. In 1885, the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe (ATSF or Santa Fe) Railway made plans to unite its rail line to a connection that ran between San Bernardino and Los Angeles, at the same time buying out Southern Pacific's assets in the region. A rate war between Santa Fe and Southern Pacific began in 1886 and peaked in in 1887, bringing ticket prices down as much as 80%. The significant rate decrease resulted in increased tourism and immigration from the eastern United States.
For the Pomona Valley, the boom reached its peak in 1887 when plans were made with the Santa Fe for a depot and route through Pomona and Claremont. Connections with the Santa Fe rail line left the city of Pomona as the representative and economic center of the Pomona Valley's cities of Pomona, Claremont, and Lordsburg (La Verne). Pictured here are three stages of the Pomona Railway depot (above left circa 1906, above middle circa 1970, and right circa 1990)
Citrus groves had been present in the region since the 1860s, but didn't begin to flourish until the 1870s with the introduction of the navel orange. These oranges, seedless and sweet, swept the area with overwhelming success. Notably however, alfalfa, beet, and barley growers also had their share of success before the majority of land was dedicated to citrus in the 1900s.
In 1892, many Southern California's citrus farmers came together and started The Claremont California Fruit Growers Association, later renamed the California Fruit Growers Exchange, selling oranges for the collective under the name Indian Hill. The California Fruit Growers Exchange exists today under the more familiar name “Sunkist,” representing citrus growers throughout Central and Southern California, with some in Arizona.