Modeling Southern California's Citrus  Industry in S-Scale


National Orange Company

Riverside, California    1896-2001

Photographs and plans unless noted otherwise - Library of Congress, HABS/ERLS



Northwest Side Elevation

The west side of the building didn't change much over the years.  One of the doors was replaced with a larger roll-up door.  Note that the roof was cut back above the new door probably to facilitate the use pallets and fork lifts.  The roof on the north side was also cut back above the windows; maybe to let in more light.  The plans show single pane windows but the photographs show 8-pane windows.

North Side Elevation

Several changes were made to the north side of the building.  At one point the near door was boarded up and a conveyor was installed where culls could be loaded directly into a waiting truck.  Prior to the installation of the conveyor, culls were boxed and moved by hand using hand trucks.  The floor was also lowered on the north end to facilitate the use of large field boxes and forklifts.


East Side Elevation

The original 1898 structure was expanded in 1907 and again in 1928.  The first two bays comprise the original as built.  A portion of the third bay was built in 1907.  The 1928 expansion included the enlargement of the third bay and the addition of the fourth bay.  The track in the foreground belongs to the Southern Pacific.  At one time, there were three or four tracks including a spur next to the packing house.


The National Orange Company - 1991

The original 1896 structure is on the left.  The 1928 expansion (2-bays) is on the right.  Minor modifications to both sections were made over the years to include moving, enlarging, and boarding over some doors and windows.  And, while modernization led to significant changes to the interior configuration, the exterior of the building remained almost unchanged for nearly three quarter of a century.

S-Scale is 3/16" to the foot.  For structures,  I don't bother with a set of scale plans.  Instead, I get close and convert to inches rounding off to 1/8" increments.  The model will consist of a styrene core covered by a combination of scale lumber and scribed siding.  The wall were cut to size and then the door and windows openings were cut.


Tichy and Grandtline S-Scale doors and windows were used.  Although plans show single pane, double hung windows, the photographs taken around 1991 clearly show 4 pane upper a lowers.  Tichy turned out to have a close match.  I used Grandtline entry and warehouse doors.  Neither door is correct.   For added interest,  I used entry doors with windows.  The Grandtline baggage room doors were modified to closely match the prototype.  I cut out the transom for all the doors, shortened three and added roll-up doors to the others.   

At this point, you have tow options.  You can glue the scribed siding to the styrene and cut out the door & window openings from the rear or you can clamp, outline, and cut the scribed siding from the front side.  I prefer the latter since there is less chance for splintering the scribed side.  I used a mechanical pencil to outline the openings.  Then I made the cuts, just outside the lines, and everything lined up perfectly.  Make sure you are using a new blade for this phase of the project.

The scribed siding and core ready for assembly (left) and the final product (right) glued together with Zap-a-Gap

The basic structure assembled and sitting on the breakfast room table.  The model is about 32" long and 7-1/2" deep.  The length is within a scale foot or two of the prototype.  The depth has been reduced by about 2/3rds.  If built to scale, the model would be 22" deep.  Since it was designed to go up against a backdrop, the rear wall is plain black styrene.  Lots of reinforcement was built into the walls to prevent warping which can be a problem with both styrene and scribed siding over time.   Up to this point, I've spent about 12 hours over a weekend researching and building the model.

The south wall of the prototype was a brick firewall.  I substituted a "typical" configuration with a ground level entry and two loading doors.  If at some point in the future I want to add the adjoining building, I can remove the doors and windows and add the firewall.

The corner posts are scale 6x6's and the other framing is scale 1x6's.  I use Aleene's original Tacky Glue for wood on wood joints.  This inexpensive glue is available at most craft shops.  The loading dock was built, over a styrene core, using scale 2x12's.  Good progress has also been made on the roof, in this case .060" black styrene.  The large overhangs were used to keep direct sunlight off the sides of the building.

Contrary to what I originally thought, there are some really nice S-Scale standard gauge models on the market.  This R-40-23 PFE ready-to-run reefer is available from S-Scale America in three different PFE paint schemes with  6 different numbers each.  I bought this one and several others from Des Plaines Hobbies in Chicago.  The cars come equipped with tinplate wheel-sets and couplers but scale replacement wheel-sets are included in the box.  Scale couplers are not included but the cars are designed to accept Kadee replacements (shown on my car).  The prototypes were built in 1946 and a few lasted until 1972, These cars cost $45.00 and are as good or better than the current 'high-end" HO scale version available from Intermountain.
Just about ready for paint.  The roof turned out to be the most tedious part of the job.  I measured and re-measured and I still managed to screw up the roof. I ended up adding 1/2" to the side overhang and another 1/8" to the front overhang (white strip). 

The original roof was covered with shingles.  By 1991, most of the roof was covered with corrugated metal roofing.  Some years back, I built a HO kit of the original building in HO-Scale.  The kit included rolled roofing which may have also been right at some point in time.   I'm leaning towards corrugated metal on all but the front overhang. 

The stairs still need the kick plates and the roof still need a few skylights and the clearstory vents.  In later years, posts were added to the loading dock to support the roof.  Ready for paint!