Rooster

The famous Rooster Label came from the Old Santiago House in Downtown Orange. Villa Park later purchased and operated the Old Santiago House from 1967 through 2005. The Rooster Label is now used exclusively for customers in Asia, predominantly Hong Kong, China, Singapore and Malaysia.The original picture for this label was painted on a twelve by twenty foot canvas for Grover Cleveland to help celebrate his return to the White House for a second term. It was hung behind the head table during a banquet for two hundred or more loyal campaign workers assembled in Washington D.C. to share in Cleveland’s victory of 1892.All through the president’s speech he continuously turned to the picture and with many wild gestures kept referring to the Rooster: The old cock has won and tells it to the world by crowing or it is time for the old Rooster to crow, and that is what he is doing tonight. Reference was made to the picture some ten or twelve times. Dr. William B. Wall of Tustin, California, a staunch Democrat, was one of the invited guests; and since he was engaged in fruit and vegetable production, he walked up to the President-elect at the end of the meeting and said, Grover, that would make a beautiful label for my fruit. The president turned and ripping the canvas from the wall rolled it up and handed it to Dr. Wall, said, it is yours! According to the story told by Dr. Wall’s son, the very next day while still in Washington, Dr. Wall took the picture to the patent office to have it registered in his name, but this cannot be so, as the date of March 2, 1897 appears on the first registration of patent papers at time of issue.Dr. Wall used the label for a short while on his own produce, but soon after the turn of the century joined his citrus production with that of the Santiago Orange Growers Association. He passed away in 1909, and the following year his son sold all label rights to the Santiago for fifty dollars.During the period from 1910 through 1967, Rooster became the major Sunkist label used by the Association; and in my researching its Annual Reports over the period, we find that somewhere between forty-five and fifty thousand carloads of Valencia oranges were shipped under this one label. If it were possible to make just one train of the cars, its caboose would stand in Orange and the locomotive in Santa Cruz, California. It is doubtful if another brand has ever equaled or can equal this record, as this was achieved during the years Santiago was handling between 1,500,000 and 2,250,000 field boxes per year, with about ninety-five percent of the fruit being of packable grade. The figure these days is nearer fifty percent into fresh fruit channels.

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