George W. Garcelon is one of Riverside’s pioneer settlers, and ranks among the leading practical horticulturists of the county. He was born in New Brunswick, in 1832, and reared and schooled in his native place until twenty years of age. In starting in life on his own account he decided to establish himself in the United States. In 1852 he located in Lewiston, Maine, and was there employed as clerk in the drag business. His close attention and studies enabled him to master his calling, and lie became skilled as a druggist and chemist, and in 1856 he established himself in business as a druggist in that city. He married in that city, in 1858, Miss Mary Tobie, daughter of Edward P. Tobie, a well-known citizen of Lewiston, who for more than thirty years held the position of town and city clerk.
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Mr. Garcelon was successful in his business pursuits, and conducted them until 1872. In that year he sought a home in California, and located at Riverside. Soon after his arrival he purchased a two-and-one-half acre block between Vine and Mulberry and Sixth and Seventh streets and entered upon horticultural pursuits. He also purchased a twenty-acre tract on Brockton Avenue, at the corner of Bandini Avenue. Mr. Garcelon entered heartily into his new calling, growing his own nursery stock and planting citrus and deciduous trees. His experience was that of all pioneers in the fruit growing of Riverside. Many of his deciduous trees in later years were uprooted and replaced by orange and lemon trees. He now has one of the finest groves in the colony. He also had unbounded faith in citrus fruit growing in Riverside, and spent time and money in advancing the industry.
The history of the citrus fairs of the world dates its first effort in the spring of 1877, when the orange groves of Riverside submitted their products to the inspection of the horticultural world in the parlor of Mr. Garcelon’s modest home. It was the birth of the Citrus Fair Association, with such men as Mr. Garcelon, A. S. White, H. J. Rudisill and other public-spirited citizens as its chief promoters. Mr. Garcelon early saw the possibilities of the lemon-growing industry. The great problem to be solved was the proper curing and preserving to enable the producers to successfully compete with the foreign lemons imported into the country. He spent years in study and experimental research, and after ten years of time and labor his efforts have been rewarded by success, and he has added another source of untold wealth to the citrus-fruit growers of Southern California. He has erected a storage warehouse and lemon-curing establishment of a capacity of 3,000 boxes on the corner of Brockton and Bandini avenues. His process and means of curing are not known to the public, but it is worthy of note that his lemons, in 1889, after nine or ten months storage in his establishment, were perfect, and were valued in the San Francisco market at $10 per box-$2 more per box than first-class foreign lemons commanded.
Mr. Garcelon has not allowed his horticultural industries to lessen his interest in other industries that have built up the city and colony, and meritorious enterprises have found a liberal supporter in him. In political matters he is a stanch Republican. Although never an office-seeker his ability and worth has commanded attention. In 1888 he was prevailed upon to submit himself as a candidate for Supervisor from his district, and was elected for four years. He is a member of the Board of Trade, and in 1886 was one of Riverside’s representatives to the Chicago Fair. A strong supporter of schools and churches, he has for many years been a member and trustee of the Congregational Church. He is a member of Riverside Chapter, No. 68, Royal Arch Masons, and Riverside Commandery, No. 28, Knights Templar.