Indiana Colony - Selection of Territory

Selection of Territory

From a committee of four it was Daniel Berry who was left to set off to scout land in Southern California for the group of Indianapolis investors. He visited five regions: San Diego, Anaheim, San Fernando, and Rancho Santa Anita and Rancho San Pascual. He was given a budgetary target of $5 per acre with which to negotiate.

San Diego seemed an ideal spot, and the price was right, but a series of windmills would have to be set up to pump water. The Company rejected the idea. Of San Bernardino he said, too hot. Of Anaheim he didn't care for the superabundance of fleas nor the number of "musketers" (gun toters). Of San Fernando he said, the price at $2 per acre was acceptable, but the area was only good for growing grain. There was too little access to water for citrus growing. The Indianans had their hearts set on orchards. Rancho Santa Anita was the collective lands of today's Arcadia, Monrovia, Duarte, El Monte, and Baldwin Park. The property had absolutely everything required for citrus growing, but at $20 per acre the place was too expensive.

On September 12, 1873, Berry met Judge Benjamin Eaton who represented Dr. John S. Griffin of the Fair Oaks Ranch (near east Altadena) on Rancho San Pascual where he had his first good night's sleep in years. He fell in love with Rancho San Pascual, and to keep his find a secret, he attached a cryptic name to the place as "Muscat" for the grapes that were grown so abundantly over the hillsides.

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