Riverside Public Library

Riverside Public Library

Ethan Allen Chase Scrapbooks


Ethan Allen Chase was a prominent citizen in early Riverside. He was not only a civic leader but also an accomplished horticulturist. This collection, which consists of 16 volumes of his personal scrapbooks, allows researchers to understand the varied interests of Chase. These interests range from World War I to unionism to national politics. Sadly, though some newspaper clippings relate to local interests, they are a minority. The clippings of local interest seem to focus mainly on the deaths of the personal friends of Chase, a couple of bank scandals, and patriotic efforts during World War I.

The Chase Scrapbook is 3.5 linear feet and contained within 16 bound volumes.


Ethan Allen Chase was born 18 January 1832 near Turner Maine, son of Nathaniel and Eunice Westcott Chase. Prior to moving to Riverside in 1891, Chase taught school in Georgia from 1851 to 1853. In 1856, he became involved in the nursery business, forming Chase Brothers, Nurserymen, with brother, Lewis Chase, in Nova Scotia and Maine. By 1868 the nursery had moved to Rochester, New York and had formed branch offices in Augusta, Maine; Montreal, Toronto; St. Louis; New York; Chicago and Richmond, Virginia. In 1889, he founded The Alabama Nursery Company in Huntsville Alabama. By the time he reached Riverside in 1891, Chase was 60 years old and an accomplished horticulturist. With his knowledge, Chase helped develop Riverside's early citrus industry. Aided by his sons, Chase followed up his successes in the east by forming the Chase Nursery Company, which developed and sold citrus trees. Chase soon began planting his own acreage with Riverside area citrus, which, of course, included the landmark Washington Navel Orange. His continued success in land development and farming led to the formation of the National Orange Company in 1901. One account reported that the National Orange Company went on to become the largest citrus packing house in the world.

Chase was also involved politically in the community. In 1907, he was a member of the committee of fifteen which drew up the charter of Riverside, California. Later, Chase declined the nomination to become Riverside's first mayor. The following year, in 1908, Chase was a Delegate-at-large to the Republican National Convention in Chicago.

The Chase property included land around today's Pachappa Hill, Victoria Hill, and Highgrove. Ethan Allen Chase was a major influence in the expansion of the Vivienda Water Company (later the Riverside Highlands Water Company). Later, the company switched its primary concerns to undeveloped lands near Corona, California. The Chase Plantation was built in the area of Temescal Canyon, southwest of Corona and the Chases were leaders in the Temescal Water Company of Corona.

Scope and Content

The Chase Scrapbook Collection consists of sixteen bound volumes. Most of the items within the scrapbooks are newspaper clippings, though there are photographs, typewritten letters, handwritten notes, and assorted ephemera. Volume 1 begins in 1916 and volume 16 ends in 1921. The volumes are arranged in approximately chronological order, though there does appear to be some overlap. At the beginning of each volume, there is an index that was created by a paid assistant to Chase. An Access Database has been created which lists the pages that have items of local items.

Series Description

Series I: Scrapbooks

The Chase Collection consists of one series containing sixteen folders (bound volumes). They are arranged roughly in chronological order. Many of the items are newspaper clippings, though there are some personal notes from Chase.

Volume 1: 1916 - 1917

Volume 2: Mar. 1 - July 27, 1917

Volume 3: July 28 - Dec. 31, 1917

Volume 4: Dec. 1, 1917 - Apr. 9, 1918

Volume 5: Apr. 10 - July 6, 1918

Volume 6: July 6 - Sept. 28, 1918

Volume 7: Sept. 28 - Nov. 18, 1918

Volume 8: Nov. 18, 1918 - Feb. 18, 1919

Volume 9: Sept. 30, 1918 - May 12, 1919

Volume 10: May 12 - July 21, 1919

Volume 11: July 23 - Sept. 13, 1919

Volume 12: Sept. 15 - Feb. 28, 1920

Volume 13: Nov. 27, 1919 - Feb. 28, 1920

Volume 14: Feb. 28 - May 31, 1920

Volume 15: June 1 - Aug. 31, 1920

Volume 16: Sept. 1, 1920 - Apr. 23, 1921

Related Collections

Ethan Allen Chase Collection (Riverside Metropolitan Museum)


Ethan Allen Chase Collection (Riverside Metropolitan Museum)

Patterson, Tom. A Colony for California. Riverside: Museum Press, 1996.

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