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A Brief History of Norco, California


“Norco, the Vale of Dreams Come True”

North Corona Land CompanyThat’s what greeted readers of the Los Angeles Times on April 26, 1923. Norco was developer Rex Clark’s vision of a utopian settlement of independent farmers reaping the rewards of their hard work on small farms and ranches. Clark saw Norco as a refuge for city dwellers—no boss, no commute, no postage stamp-sized apartment—just fresh air and the satisfaction of making your own way in the world.

However, Norco did not start with Rex Clark. At the turn of the twentieth century the area that would become Norco consisted of the open range of Rancho La Sierra (Sepulveda). Unlike other rancho properties in Southern California, this one remained undivided well past the boom years of the late nineteenth century. Its owner, the Stearns Rancho Company, held onto the land in hopes of selling it whole to a potential developer. The Los Angeles Times, commenting on its long delayed sale, observed, “…as the years passed…La Sierra entered on a sleep longer than that of Rip Van Winkle ….”

Norco LandscapeWell, Rip blinked his eyes open in 1908 as Willits J. Hole and George Pillsbury handed over $500,000 to buy the sleeping giant. Hole retained the portion of the rancho east of the Norco Hills and subdivided it into farm and town lot parcels, but also farmed a large portion of these lands for nearly 30 years. In the Norco Hills of Riverside, he built a beautiful stone mansion where he lived until his death in 1936.

Hole and Pillsbury sold most of the land west of the Norco Hills to investors that came to be known as the Citrus Belt Land Company. Citrus Belt platted Orchard Heights, a subdivision of farm lots consuming most of the land south of today’s Fifth Street. This tract became an area of successful farms yielding peaches, pears, apricots, alfalfa, peanuts, sweet potatoes, lettuce, and other vegetables. By 1922, with most of the lots sold, Citrus Belt Land Company was looking for a buyer of its unsold lots and several thousand acres of un-subdivided land north of these tracts.

Enter, Rex Clark, a businessman but also a dreamer and passionate, creative individual. He believed in the goodness of mankind and that independence fosters creative energies and economic prosperity. He promoted his development to the “average Joe” looking for a chance to make a living from the sweat of his brow. Clark named his new town “Norco” a contraction of the first two parts of his company’s name, the North Corona Land Company.

Clark’s town consisted of five Norco Farms subdivisions surrounding a village center containing a general store, gasoline station and the Norco Garage. North of the Norco Store, Clark created a manufacturing district with a warehouse, plumbing shop, pipe-making facility, concrete block-manufacturing operation, machine shop, lumber yard, and construction department. There, a Norco resident could arrange to have a home built, buy a prefabricated chicken coop, purchase irrigation pipes, buy a tractor or have one serviced. The Norco Store offered groceries, clothing, hardware, dry goods, auto parts, and other essentials. Early Norconians dined at the Norco Grill, gathered at a meeting hall and checked out books at a library staffed by volunteers from the Women’s Progressive Club.

Norco SchoolUpham’s Drug Store was built next door to the offices of North Corona Land Company and the Orange Heights Water Company later in the 1920s, and is now occupied by the Friends of the Library and the Norco Historical Society. The Land Company building was given a new façade shortly after the City incorporated in 1964 and now is the main part of the Norco Branch Library. To the south of these buildings, Clark built a pavilion where town-folk and farmers could meet, dance, pray, and exchange ideas. The American Legion now sits on that site and to its west, Clark built the Norco School. Serving Norco’s children from 1924 to 1947, that school survives as the Norco Community Center.

Norco was essentially in “the middle of nowhere,” so Clark sought to draw attention to his remote community. Atop a hill near the town center—known today as Beacon Hill but once known as Chocolate Drop Mountain—he built a 38-feet tall lighthouse with a powerful revolving light that pulsated like the North Star in the night and became the symbol of Norco. Today, the foundation of the lighthouse remains intact, and the Historical Society displays the revolving light in its museum.

Norco’s grand opening took place on Sunday, May 13, 1923. The Los Angeles Times reported that “Despite threatening weather approximately 5,000 visitors motored to this district….and enjoyed a program which included band concerts, contests of various kinds, speeches and fireworks.” The article noted that an aerial bomb burst at 12:30 p.m., releasing a large American flag as the band played the national anthem.

Many people bought into Clark’s vision, building modest homes, planting gardens, and raising chickens or rabbits. Clark provided markets for their farm products, helping them distribute to area communities. To help neophyte farmers polish their skills, he established demonstration farms where people were taught about raising chickens, growing foodstuffs, and bringing their products to market. Property owners held shares in the Orange Heights Water Company and helped set its rates. Not surprisingly, horses were a significant part of early Norco’s everyday life, used for transportation, recreation and farming. Many streets were lined with trees, creating picturesque de facto equestrian trails—a precursor to the 140 miles of horse trails enjoyed today.

NorconianIn 1924, while drilling for water, Clark discovered a hot mineral spring. No small thinker, he saw this as an opportunity to develop a resort. But not just any resort. Clark announced he would build a “resort supreme,” bigger and better than just about anything in the West, or maybe even the entire United States. When completed his Norconian Resort consumed over 700 acres and included a 250,000-square foot hotel, 60-acre lake, two Olympic-sized swimming pools, pavilion, tea house, chauffer’s quarters, massive auto garage, 18-hole golf course, and many other amenities. Unfortunately, the resort was completed just months before “Black Tuesday,” an event that marked the beginning of the Great Depression. As a result, it never had a chance and lost money heavily. In 1941, the U.S. Navy bought the hotel and expanded it into a premier World War II-era hospital. Today, its grounds are divided between a weapons research facility and a state prison. Most of the resort remains intact, though, and its history and architecture have earned it a listing on the National Register of Historic Places. Today, local leaders and organizations like the Lake Norconian Club Foundation work to ensure its recognition and preservation.

The Norconian Resort is the most prominent testament to Rex Clark’s dreams, but what has happened to other landmarks from the City’s rich history? Well, many of them are gone, removed for freeway construction, land development or the elimination of blight. Yet elements of Norco’s heritage still remain. Often overlooked, they are tucked in between newer construction or set back out of casual view.

—Prepared by Bill Wilkman, Historic Resources Consultant

Relationship Status: Clients

Relationship Status: Clients
Log onto Facebook, go to your relationship status and change it to taken. I know you’re a business but it doesn’t matter. Every business should be constantly involved in not one but multiple relationships at the same time. No, we won’t call you a “player” for two timing all your clients, having many relationships with multiple clients is essential for success in your business. Here are some tips for keeping up a great relationship with your clients. To make it more interesting than just any old tips they are in reference to dating tips. After all, you want to woo your clients so that they keep you relationship.
  1. Be honest. Always. – Ever have a date lie to you? That’s the worst feeling and chances are you’ll not be calling them back any time soon. The same goes for clients. Being honest with your clients is of the utmost importance. You want your clients to trust your company and even if something is going wrong if you’re honest with them about it and have a solution ready chances are they’ll value your honesty. Then, the relationship is built.
  2. Be timely. – No one likes waiting around in a restaurant or at the movies by themselves for their date to show up. Your clients won’t want to wait to hear from you either. Make sure you are timely when you message them and if you set a deadline be sure to meet it. A relationship with your client will be built if you are always sure to be timely. Your customer will appreciate you being on time and not standing them up.
  3. Communicate. – The key to any good relationship is communication. Communicating with your date is very similar to communicating with your client. You need to be sure to keep up communication with all of your clients so that they are always in the know. Communicating with clients via emails, social media and old fashion post are what keep you client updated on everything happening with your company. This leads to a great relationship between the company and client.
These tips will ensure that your relationships with your clients don’t end up in you getting stood up or dumped by them. Give them a try.
Relationship Status - Clients

Serve Your Customers

Serve Your Customers
You know how every time a musician receives an award they thank their fans? Every single one thanks their fans. In a way they servicing their fans in the same way that the fans service them. The same thing goes for a business, except instead of fans there are customers. Businesses main priority should be making sure that they are providing their customers with not only the best product but also the best service. It is the customers who keep the business afloat and profitable. Customer service isn’t just something for calming angry customers. It is a necessity that should be at the heart of every company. A company wants to ensure that it’s customers have the best experience possible. This means that any interactions between the customer and any representative of the company should be friendly, polite, and enjoyable. It doesn’t matter if they customer is polite or rude, happy or angry, calm or up in arms. The company’s job is to find a way to provide the customer with the best service possible. It’s about building a brand image, not only for existing customers but for new and potential customers as well. This could even mean leading your customers to another business who can perhaps do the job better than yours. The customer will remember your helpfulness and good service and word of your good reputation will spread by word of mouth. By the end of it you’ll be getting your own awards and thanking your own fans: your customers.
Serve Your Customers

Serve Your Customers

Are You Saving On Time?

Are You Saving On Time?
March is here which means Daylight Savings Time is here. Who doesn’t love Daylight Savings Time? Sure you “lose” an hour for a day, but in return the sun stays up later and you can enjoy those extras hours without darkness in the evening. Here are some facts that you may not have known about Daylight Savings Time:
  • Arizona and Hawaii are the only two states in the United States that do not follow Daylight Savings Time. That’s right, Daylight Savings Time is determined by the state and those two states decided to not adhere to it. So, if you’re traveling to either Arizona or Hawaii be sure that you’re on the right time. Although, if you’re going to Hawaii we’re assuming (or at lasting hoping) you have all the time i the world on vacation.
  • Daylight Savings Time is bad for T.V. and good for golf courses. When we change to Daylight Savings Time we are obviously given extra hours of light. This causes people to want to spend more time outside rather than inside watching T.V. Therefore, when we change to Daylight Savings Time T.V. ratings tend to drop. At the same time, people enjoy doing more outdoor activities like taking a walk or going to play golf. As a result, golf course often see  an increase in revenue during Daylight Savings Time. It also helps businesses (like ours!) when the sun is up later to work on outdoor construction projects for longer.
  • Crime rates often drop during Daylight Savings Time. You read that right. Crime rates actually tend to decline when we push our clocks an hour forward. While there is no scientific explanation for this, it is thought that criminals often prefer to commit crimes under the mask of darkness. With the extra hours of daylight many less crimes are committed during this period since these criminals would rather not work during the day.
Now you know a little bit more about Daylight Savings Time. Maybe you learned something new, or maybe not. The one thing you should learn is that you could be saving both time and money on your next underground project by contacting us at Horizon Underground.
Are You Saving Time?

Are You Saving Time?

March Into Spring

March Into Spring


March means three things: St. Patrick’s Day, green everywhere, and the (hopeful) end of winter. That’s right, the first day of spring comes to us on March 20th. For people who suffered the long hard slings of winter, the beginning of spring couldn’t have come any sooner. But, for us southern Californians who maybe didn’t get 5 feet of snow or temperatures that could make a polar bear shiver, what does the beginning of spring really entail? Well, first of all as with the beginning of any season it’s a new time to reevaluate business decisions and ventures. Seasonal changes are perhaps the four times year when most businesses have acknowledged that they really take the time to determine long term goals for the season whether they have changed with the weather or change because of previous developments. If your business is doing this then that’s great, if not then maybe take the time to see if this is the right time to start your new scheduling, construction project, or casual Friday at the office. By doing this it gives the company a timeline to be more resourceful and have dates to look forward too. With Spring coming on the 20th, what is the importance of that day? For one, there is an old myth that on the first day of Spring, called the equinox, it is the only day of the year that you can balance a raw egg on it’s end. Pretty cool, huh? We’ve been too busy with work to know if that’s true or not but give it a try and let us know what you find. Happy Spring!

March Into Spring

March Into Spring

Feeling Lucky?

Feeling Lucky?


Notice a little more green being worn lately? Don’t worry, it’s not your eyes. All over the America people get excited for the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. As a result, you see more and more people (Irish or not) wearing green to try to cash in on what everyone calls “the luck of the Irish”. But, have you ever wondered where that phrase came from? Ever wonder why the Irish are considered so lucky? The phrase “the luck of the Irish” actually isn’t from Ireland at all. The phrase actually originated in America. In the second half of the 19th century the silver and gold rush in America was in full swing. Miners from all across the country were rushing to get their take in the wealth. As fate would have it, most of the most famous and successful miners were either or Irish or Irish American decent. Eventually, people began associating success in mining with the Irish. From hat, the phrase “luck of the Irish” was born. So, the next time someone tells you that the Irish are lucky you can tell them it’s actually Irish Americans who are lucky. But, then you may not be the most fun guy at the party so maybe let it slide. One thing that you need no luck to complete is your next drilling project. For that, you don’t need the luck of the Irish at all. All you need to do is call us at Horizon Underground to help get you started. No Luck Necessary.

Feeling Lucky?

Feeling Lucky?

Be In The Know Before You Go

Safety Begins Here
You’re about to start working on a new job. Wait. Stop. Do you know your whole job? Everything about it, that needs to be known? If not, you may want to go back and do your homework on the project. Researching and preparing beforehand is extremely important for guaranteeing safety. If you try to figure out your safety precautions while you are doing a project it will ultimately cause problems. It slows down the process of your project being completed when you have to figure out what to do while you are doing it. Furthermore, it can cause safety hazards when you do not know your whole project before it’s start. It can not be reiterated enough the safety is of the utmost importance on a work site. Trying to figure out safety before as you work is an accident waiting to happen. Part of a job includes the preparation. In fact, the preparation might actually be the most important part. Knowing all about your job before you start will not only make the work run more smoothly but it ensures safety for everyone involved. That is why it is or motto to “know before we go” on a job.

CAUTION: Don’t Get Hurt! – Heavy Equipment Safety

safety first
The sheer size and weight of heavy machinery, such as bulldozers, graders, and ground moving equipment, can make them extremely hazardous if the proper safety measures are not taken. When it comes to using these machines, these safety tips are of the utmost importance to ensure an absence of injuries. These safety tips are not recommendations, but are critical to be followed precisely:
  1. Before starting any project heavy machinery must be inspected both visually and physically.  Physically checking the equipment is critical to prevent issues including: torn belts, worn brakes, and leaking hydraulics.
  2. Make sure all component parts are properly secured and disabled when storing machinery. Just because equipment is in the “off” position doesn’t mean that it is safe. Mobile equipment  must have its breaks in the locked position and the owner’s manuals of most heavy equipment provides information on how to safely secure equipment when stored.
  3. Weather conditions mean that extra precautions must be taken to ensure safety. Rain can cause a shift in the ground under a back hoe. Strong breezes can affect the balance of a crane. Safety must be in the front of everyone’s mind when working in poor weather conditions
  4. Heavy machinery operators should never work when impaired or under the effects of medications. Workers must be monitored to ensure they are properly able to operate all heavy machinery.
These safety procedures are critical in making the work environment, that includes heavy machinery, safe. Safety requirements will vary from machine to machine but it is important that each employee operating a machine is familiar and trained with the machine’s operation and safety precautions. It is the employer’s job to ensure that everyone on the work site is safe around heavy equipment. At Horizon Underground, we are here to get the job done, but more importantly we are here to be certain the everyone on and around the work site is safe.

Where in the World is Horizon Underground?

We moved
Don’t worry, we didn’t pull a Carmen Sandiego and disappear. However, we did pack up our boxes, load up our vans, and move. A new year meant a new location. We are now located at 1595 Mountain Avenue Norco, California 92860. The possibilities at this new location are endless for us and we hope you take the trip to come and visit. As we brought in the new year we have the goals to continue to have a positive outlook on our jobs and to continually build strong and meaningful relationships with current and future clients. What are your new years goals for your business? If they involve underground drilling and trenching, you know where to go (we just gave you the address). Horizon Underground is here to help you reach your new years drilling and trenching goals and make you part of our drilling family. Currently, we are very proud to announce that we have 500,000 feet of work on the books. Our goal is to continue drilling and trenching our way to 1 million feet, all while aiding your business to the best drilling and trenching techniques for your specific job. Happy New Year!

Ever Changing Technology of Directional Drilling. What You Need to Know About It.

Directional Drilling - Horizon Underground located in Corona, California

Directional Drilling – Horizon Underground located in Corona, California

                        Directional drilling is the practice of drilling wells at multiple angles in order to reach and produce more oil and gas receives. This practice came about in the 1920s and in addition to being more profitable than traditional vertical drilling is also better for the environment. The technologies used for directional drilling are ever changing to improve the process The most recent change comes with a device called the Helios Inferno PDC cutter. This cutter uses deep leech technology which results in faster drilling and greater durability through sandstone and limestone ll while maintaining the well path. Also recently released was the Cutter Index  which ranks cutter technology according to its resistance to thermal degradation, abrasion, and impact damage. In the directional drilling world it is of the utmost importance to stay on top of these ever changing technologies in order to remain competitive in the underground drilling field. At Horizon we are committed to doing just that to remain at the top of our industry not only in practice but in knowledge as well.