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Fair Oaks Ranch Photographs: Finding Aid
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
This collection contains one photograph album and thirty-five loose photographs depicting the Fair Oaks Ranch, in Altadena, California, during the late 19th century. The ranch, owned by businessman and rancher James F. Crank, encompassed a vineyard, winery, and citrus orchards, along with a lavish residence and grounds. Subjects include interior and exterior views of the residence; the Crank family; Chinese agricultural workers and ranch hands in the vineyard; winery operations; fruit orchards; and trees and plant life on the property. Photographs in the album are cyanotype prints; the loose photographs include cyanotypes, cabinet cards, and stereographs.
Background
The Fair Oaks Ranch property (now in modern day Pasadena and Altadena, California) was originally part of the Rancho San Pasqual. Eliza Griffin Johnston purchased the property in 1862 from her brother Dr. John S. Griffin, who had large land holdings in the Los Angeles area. Eliza Johnston named the ranch “Fair Oaks” after her hometown in West Virginia, but left California after only two years following the death of her son, Albert S. Johnston II. In 1877, Benjamin S. Eaton took over the property , subdivided the ranch, and sold the northern parcel to businessman James F. Crank (1842-1935) in 1877. Crank had recently moved to Los Angeles, California, from the East Coast with his wife, Mary Agnes Crank (1846-1932), and son, Albert F. Crank (1870-1933). Crank proceeded to plant vineyards and fruit orchards and built a Victorian mansion on the property in 1882. In 1885, he constructed a winery and the next year started the Sierra Madre Vintage Company. Crank was also president of the Los Angeles and San Gabriel Valley Railroad. He hit financial hard times and sold the ranch around 1905.
Extent
96 photographs (including duplicates) in 1 box : prints
Restrictions
The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.
Availability
Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.