O.R. ‘Ollie’ Fuller (b. Oct. 5, 1880-d. Aug.
20, 1946) was a
Los Angeles-based automobile dealer and bus line operator who held the
Auburn distributorship from 1923 to 1932 at which time it was taken
Errett Lobban Cord. During those years his firm constructed hundreds of
coach bodies as well as two custom-bodied Cord L-29s (one, an
coupe originally built for E.L. Cord, survives, unrestored in Canada)
least one Auburn Hearse.
Fuller started his business career working
for his father’s
draying concern (Pioneer Truck and Transfer Co.) which he helped parlay
into a one
of Los Angeles’ largest trucking concerns.
In 1907 Fuller was awarded a Cadillac
Fullerton, and in 1909 he returned to Los Angeles to manage a motor
organization that at one time or another held franchises for Randolph,
Rapid, Reliance, GMC and White trucks, and White, Stephens and Auburn
Prior to the start of the First World War he
repossessed White trucks into a small freight business which after
adding a bus
line (White Bus Line) expanded into an enterprise (Motor Transit Co.)
for $3 million in 1930 ($40 million in today’s dollars).
Established in 1909, the Pioneer Commercial
originally located at 1226-1228 S. Olive St. – later at 1017-1019 N.
St., was reorganized as the White Automobile Co. in 1916 and increased
motor trucks resulted in a move to 1800 S. Figueroa St., in the heart
automobile row. Fuller continued to expand his automobile business
1920s, becoming Southern California’s largest distributor of White
motor buses, many of which were delivered with bodies constructed in
By 1928 the sales of Auburn passenger cars,
which were added
in 1923, attracted the notice of Errett Lobban Cord who made a
investment in the firm, which was subsequently reorganized as the
Co. Auburn-Fuller became very successful and during the next several
established additional satellites in metro Los Angeles: 1101 S.
1800 S. Figueroa St., 3465 Wilshire Blvd., 6145 Hollywood Blvd.,
208 N. Canon Dr., San Francisco: 1147-1155 Van Ness Ave., and Oakland:
Webster St., California.
Unfortunately the Depression wrought havoc
finances and the Auburn-Fuller Co. went bankrupt in 1932. Its assets
acquired by E.L. Cord who relocated most of its operations into a
showroom located in the automaker’s new multi-story art-deco office
3443 Wilshire Blvd.
By the end of 1932 O.R. Fuller had either
sold off, or had been
relieved of, his transportation-related businesses and he withdrew to
3,000 acre ranch north of Corona, California where he remained until
The family patriarch, Henry Harrison Fuller
was born in Buckstown, Somerset County, Pennsylvania on June 22, 1832
and Drusilla (Shockey) Fuller and moved to Grantsville, Allegany
when he was 10 years old. He was trained as a mason but upon reaching
majority went into the mercantile business with his older brother,
Fuller. On February 26, 1854 he married Mary Ann Morewood, and to the
union was born seven children. The first, Anna Losta Delana Fuller (b.
1855), was born in Maryland, the remaining six were born in Mt.
after the family moved west in 1855: Charles Henry (b. Oct. 14, 1858);
Drusilla (b. Dec. 8, 1860); Ortus Benton (b. Sep. 5, 1865); Ernest
Feb 16, 1868); Walter F. (b. 1870) and Grace Vivian (b. Apr. 1873).
time Henry worked for at a dry goods store in New London, and then ran
a large boarding
house in Mt. Pleasant for the Iowa Wesleyan University, which included
living quarters for his family. During the administration of President
S. Grant (1869-1877) Henry was appointed Indian Agent at Lemhi, Idaho
and he held
that position for six years. Upon completing his appointment, Henry
Philadelphia Centennial Exposition (1877), where he decided to visit
Angeles, California in the hopes of moving his family there. However he
to postpone the move and returned to Mt. Pleasant, Iowa where he
mercantile trade. On Nov. 20, 1879 his eldest son, Charles Henry
father of our subject, wed Mary Ann (Maude) Spencer and relocated to
Kansas where they established a small homestead. The union resulted in
birth of one son, Olive Ransome Fuller, who was born in Beaver, Smith
Kansas on October 5, 1880. Charles and Maude’s marriage was an unhappy
shortly after the birth of O.R. (as Oliver Ransom preferred to be
divorced and Charles returned to Mt. Pleasant, Iowa to live with his
Mary Anne (Maude) and her young son, O.R.,
moved in with her
parents and in 1887 she remarried (to George Maddy) and moved to a farm
Township, Sedgwick County, Kansas, a southwestern suburb of Wichita.
next decade O.R. lived and worked on his stepfather’s farm, receiving
more than a rudimentary education.
In 1882 O.R.’s biological father, Charles H.
a 200-acre ranch in Azusa, California (present-day Glendora,
miles northeast of Los Angles) and in 1883 brought his family west, for
years engaging in the growing of oranges.
The 1884 California Voter registration
record and Los
Angeles County directories lists O.R.’s father Charles H. Fuller and
grandfather, Henry Harrison Fuller, in Azusa, their occupation being
Also listed in the 1884 Los Angeles County
Azusa resident Fred Zuker (aka Zucker, b.1851-d.1911), a German
in 1860) who would marry Charles H.’s sister, Mary Drusilla Fuller
(b.1860-d.1945) in 1886.
In addition to raising orange and eucalyptus
the Fuller family patriarch, also served as the local tax collector for
County of Los Angeles. He passed away on March 4, 1903 from the results
injury he sustained on Feb. 26, 1903 when he was severely injured by a
In 1886 the two eldest Fuller boys, Charles
father - b.1858-d.1929) and Ortus Benton (b.1865-d.1922) Fuller,
the growing city of Los Angeles to seek their fortunes. Both are listed
1888 California Voter registration record at 141 S. Hill St., Los
their respective occupations, laborer, and contractor. By that time the
brothers had gone into business with their new brother-in-law, Fred
Zucker), purchasing a transfer company from George
P. McLain (1847–1930) and Martin Lehman (1851-1917).
McLain and Lehman, two Los Angeles theater
managers who were also partners in the City Bill-posting Co.,
founded the the Pioneer Transfer Co. (aka Pioneer Truck
Co. / Pioneer Truck & Transfer Co.), 3 Market St., Los Angeles, in
1883 to transport performers' luggage, cargo and instruments
pianos) from the docks and railroads to theaters and hotels. McLain was
well-connected politically and after the sale served on the Los
Angeles City Council (1889 to 1891 and again 1901-to 1902), Fire
Commission (1893–1895) and Police Commission (1897–1899).
The Fuller's first listing appeared in the
Angeles City directory as:
“O.B. Fuller & Co. (O. B.
Fuller, Charles H. Fuller and Fred Zucker), proprietors
Pioneer Transfer Co. (formerly McLain
& Lehman), 3 Market St.”
By that time Pioneer’s teamsters transported
cargo to and
from the docks and railroads to theaters, businesses, warehouses and
As their business expanded the Pioneer Truck
& Transfer Co. expanded into the
and began acquiring land north of Corona, California near the Santa Ana
where they grew the hay and bred the mules and horses required in their
operations. By 1889 the Fullers had acquired almost 3,000 acres of
which became popularly known as the Fuller Ranch.
The 1890 California Voter registration
record lists Charles
and Ortus’ respective occupations as truckman and truckowner. On March
Charles H. Fuller, O.R.’s father, married Iowa native Nellie A. Johnson
in Los Angeles,
it was her first marriage, his second. The 1892-1894 voting record
Charles H. Fuller only, his occupation listed as ‘trucking.’
The Pioneer Truck and Transfer Co.'s listing
in the 1895 Los
“Pioneer Truck and Transfer Co. (C.H.
Fuller, F. Zucker),
150 Market St.”
The 1896-1897 Los Angeles directories list
Charles H. Fuller
as a partner in two businesses, Fuller & Zucker and McPherson &
his address, 419 Jackson, and his occupation ‘teaming.’ Fuller &
“Fuller & Zucker, (C.H. Fuller, F.
Zucker) Pioneer Truck
and Transfer Co., 150 Market St.
“McPherson & Fuller, (J.R. McPherson,
livery, feed and sale stables, 220-222 Requena”
Soon after reaching his majority, Charles
and Ortus Fuller’s
younger brother, Earnest Pearl Fuller (aka Earl, b. Feb. 16, 1865)
moved from Azusa to Los
Angeles where he went to work for his brother’s various enterprises.
Charles H. Fuller’s son, Orville Ransome
(O.R.) was biding
the time until he reached his majority and could join his father in Los
Angeles. That day came on October 5, 1898, when 18-yo O.R. boarded a
bound for California. He spent the next several years attending school
working part-time at his father and uncle’s draying concern. The 1900
lists our subject, O.R. Fuller as living with his father and stepmother
Jackson St., Los Angeles, his occupation being ‘at school’, his father
listed as keeper of a livery stable. His businesses were both listed in
1900-1902 Los Angeles directories as follows:
“Pioneer Stables, 220 Requena
“Pioneer Truck and Transfer Co. (F.
150 Market St.”
Pioneer’s various activities were described
in the September
3, 1905 edition of the Los Angeles Herald as follows:
“Pioneer Truck and Transfer Company
“No sort of public convenience is more
appreciated than the services of an up-to-date and reliable truck and
company, and the people of Los Angeles may well count themselves
have at their command services of the Pioneer company. The Pioneer
from sixty to seventy teams and do every kind of hauling and moving all
the city, and devote special attention to freight hauling, doing a
of work as distributors of consolidated car shipments, in which latter
they are always to be relied upon for prompt and satisfactory
are also general forwarders, looking carefully after all the details of
packing, billing, etc., for their patrons. In the moving business they
best in the city. They pack the household furniture with care and haul
pieces in padded vans, etc., so that the dangers of breakage in moving
reduced to a minimum. The proprietors of the company are C.H. Fuller
Zucker, both of whom are transfer men of long experience. This company
been engaged In the business for thirty-five years or more and have
under their present name since 1888, the present management having had
since that date. Their offices are centrally located at 201-203 North
street and 101 Market street, and telephone orders over phone Private
137 receive equally as prompt and satisfactory attention as those
The firm also ran an extensive ranch located
in eastern Los
Angeles County, just north of Corona, which was detailed in a 1907
the Corona Daily Independent:
“Operating a Big Property – Large scale on
Ranch is conducted: A detailed description of one of the big ranch
that are contributing to the prosperity and welfare of Corona
“The Fuller ranch, located northwest of
Corona, is owned by
the Pioneer Truck Company of Los Angeles, and those who have not
property have no conception of its magnitude.
“The ranch consists of more than 5,000
of land, and is
devoted to hay and stock raising. To irrigate this vast tract 1,000
water is required, the greatest portion of which flows through a large
from the Santa Ana River. The balance is supplied by a 64 horse power
which raises 380 miners’ inches, the plant being in continuous
add still further to the supply, another well will soon be drilled and
additional engine installed.
“The present crop on this big ranch
of 500 acres of
alfalfa, 1,500 acres of barley, while 500 acres is devoted to other
such as corn, melons, beets, and garden truck, and the balance is in
“Last year, in addition to the home ranch,
rented a dry ranch three miles north of Corona, consisting of about
acres, which was sowed to barley and cut for hay. This hay was baled
shipped to Los Angeles, the daily output from both ranches averaging
per day for several weeks. Some idea can therefore be formed of the
on which this ranch does things. Still another ranch the company rented
the Yorba estate of 2,700 acres, near Fullerton.
“Another ranch of still greater
is one near
Santa Barbara, 15 miles long and six miles wide. This is devoted
stock-raising, where are cattle, horses, and hogs by the thousands.
“There are now on the home ranch about
head of swine,
the greatest portion of which will be shipped to the Santa Barbara
they are fatted on the pulp from a sugar beet factory.
“In the horse line the company has the
the country can
produce or that money can buy. At present only brood mares, stallions,
animals are on the ranch, the others being in Los Angeles or on the big
at Santa Barbara.
“Before entering further on a description
raised and owned on this ranch, attention should be directed to the two
of fast horses raised, thoroughbred and standard. As many do not
difference between them, it may be explained that the thoroughbreds are
horses, while the standards are trotters. Of the standard horses there
stallion that has made a mile in 2:15, and a young filly has made the
record. Of the thoroughbreds there are not very many on the home ranch,
have been shipped to the ranch in the north. However, there are some
to be seen here, some of the young colts being valued at $1,000 each.
“There is on the ranch a herd of 60
pure-bred French brood
mares, said to be the largest herd of their kind in the United States.
these animals were imported from France, and their progeny cannot be
anywhere. At the Pasadena horse show last February these mares carried
“There is a black Percheron stallion on
weighs 2,105 pounds. This horse won the first prize at the State Fair
Sacramento in 1904, when he was only four years old. This fact is all
remarkable when it is considered the horse came into competition with
stallions California could produce and was also a stranger in the
as well as the man who had it in charge. It was a clear case of merit.
“A son and daughter of this horse weigh
1,685 and 1,525
pounds, respectively. He is also the sire of a span of three-year-olds
trip the scales at 3,825 pounds, there being only 25 pounds difference
weight. Another span of these colts, less than one year old, weighs
pounds; and so on down the line.
“The buildings on the ranch include the
house of nine rooms; the dining room for employees, 20 by 60 feet; and
barns, 80 by 100 and 40 by 80 feet respectively. The barns have a
capacity for housing 80 horses.
“To handle the hay crop there are 32
16 rakes, 4
stackers, 14 buckrakes, 3 headers, and 4 balers. From 15 to 30 men are
to conduct the activities of the ranch.
“To operate this ranch on a paying basis
requires skill and
executive ability. This duty devolves upon W.W. Cochran, who has been
manager and superintendent for the past six years. How well he
duty is attested by what he has done and the results achieved.
“A short time ago Mr. Cochran lost his
a most amiable
Christian lady, a woman who was loved and esteemed by all who knew her.
Cochran has one child, a bright little girl five years of age, whom he
educate in one of the Los Angeles colleges.”
In 1905 O.R. Fuller married a Fullerton,
named Agnes Nicolas and moved to the Olinda Ranch, a 4,400 acre parcel
nearby that was owned by a Los Angeles syndicate who exploited the
abundant oil reserves. Fuller leased a small portion of the ranch to
for his father’s ever-expanding stables, and with his brother-in-law,
Nicholas, opened a livery business at 201 S. Spadra St. that in
horses and mules offered dry goods, feed, and building materials to
Like many young men O.R. Fuller caught the
and in 1907 was appointed the local agent for Cadillac automobiles and
his livery business to the Eureka Stables and Garage.
The July 17, 1908 edition of the Los Angeles
Herald had a
short article which detailed some hanky-panky going on at a N. Alameda
parcel owned by the Pioneer Truck and Transfer Co. It also mentions
that time Charles H. Fuller was a member of the City of Los Angeles
“FULLER SAYS 'W. COCHRANE' HAS LEASE ON
ALAMEDA STREET DIVE
“MEMBER OF POLICE COMMISSION DISCLAIMS
CONTROL OF TWO
“Nothing Known of Alleged Lessee, Who in
He Collected Rents from Two of the Most Notorious Places in the
District of Los Angeles
“Police Commissioner Charles H. Fuller,
president of the
Pioneer Truck and Transfer company, which has been accused of owning
of ill fame conducted by Vannie Green, 434 North Alameda street, and
Gras, 438 North Alameda street, yesterday made public an affidavit,
certified as true, made out by "W. Cochrane," who claims he leased
the property of the Pioneer Truck and Transfer company June 1, 1907.
locate "W Cochrane" yesterday were of no avail. No one around the
transfer company's office or at the two properties in dispute seemed
give Cochrane's address. Meanwhile Attorney Woolwine says he is willing
prosecute the case, but that he can find no one to swear to the
can't get the police department to procure evidence, he says, because
would be working, against one who is Chief Kern's superior in office.
latter declines to take a hand in the affair because he declares the
of Fuller exonerates him. He says: "I do not care to detail an officer
this case because I have at hand a statement from Mr. Fuller which will
he is not guilty of violating this section of the state law." The
"state law"—section 316 of the Penal code—reads: "Any person who
keeps any disorderly house, or any house for the purpose of assignation
prostitution, or any house or public retort by which the peace or
decency of the neighborhood is habitually disturbed, or who keeps any
inn in a
disorderly manner, and every person who lets any apartment or tenement
that it is to be let for the purpose of assignation or prostitution, is
of a misdemeanor." The statute prescribes a penalty of $500, six months
prison or both. Somebody has been operating it. But whether or not it
"W. Cochrane" is not known to the police. Inasmuch as the affidavit
of W. Cochrane releases Police Commissioner Fuller from any wrong, the
think, their interest in the matter to all appearances ends. W.
in his affidavit he is a non-resident of Los Angeles, but no other
concerning him is given. Just where he may be remains a mystery, and
the aid of the police it may not be solved. W. Cochrane considers the
closed, for he states he has ordered the premises vacated. There are a
many people anxious to locate W. Cochrane, and if the truth of his
confirmed he may be prosecuted anyway. The interesting affidavit of W.
Cochrane, non-resident owner alleged, is as follows:
“State of California, county of Los
"W. Cochrane, being duly sworn, says that
day of June, 1907, the Pioneer Truck and Transfer company of Los
Angeles, for a
valuable consideration, executed to me a lease for and option to
following described property, to wit:
"Beginning at a point In the easterly line
street, at the southwest corner of the tract of land described in the
Jose Perez and wife to Henry Wartenberg, recorded in book 11, page 56
records of said Los Angeles county, and being one hundred fifty (150)
southerly from the intersection of said line of Alameda street with the
southerly line of Labory lane; thence easterly along the southerly line
land so conveyed to Wartenberg south sixty-eight (68) degrees
minutes, east, one hundred ten (110) feet; thence southerly parallel
line of Alameda street one hundred (100) feet; thence westerly parallel
the southerly line of the land conveyed to Wartenberg one hundred ten
feet to the easterly line of Alameda street; thence northerly along
of Alameda street one hundred (100) feet to the point of beginning.
"That immediately upon the execution of
option I went into possession of said premises and ever since have been
now in possession of the same and the whole thereof.
"That immediately upon my taking
premises as above stated I appointed an agent to collect the rents as
became due therefor, and my said agent has accounted to me and to no
for said rents. That I am a non-resident of the county of Los Angeles,
learning that objection was made as to the use charged to have been
said premises I have ordered all the tenants to remove therefrom, and
and will continue to take the necessary steps to have said premises
vacated. I make this affidavit in justice to Mr. Fuller.
"Subscribed and sworn to before me this
July, 1908. A.D. Laughlin, Notary public in and for Los Angeles county,
of California. [Seal]
"I certify that the above statement is
By 1907, the Fuller Bros. Ranch in Corona
amongst the best cattle and horse breeding farms in California. Besides
for the horses, hogs and other livestock, large acreages were devoted
and alfalfa, much of which was exported, and to truck crops, including
melons and beets.
The Fuller Brother's listing in the 1909 Los
Angeles directory follows:
“Pioneer Truck and Transfer Co. of Los
Angeles (C.H. Fuller
pres, and treas., O.B. Fuller, v-pres., Fred Zucker, sec., G.J. Ramsey,
201-203 N Main.”
Ortus B. Fuller is listed as general manager
of the L.A.
Warehouse Co., although he’s not listed as being an owner of the firm,
was located at 316 Commercial St. On April 3, 1911, Fred Zucker, the
brothers’ longtime business partner, passed away and his share of the
to his sister, Charles H. Fuller’s wife.
The January 22, 1908 issue of the Horseless
Age includes the only mention int the trades of Fuller's Cadillac
“O.R. Fuller, Fullerton, Cal., agent for
has purchased the stock of the Oswald Garage, and will continue the
the same place.”
The New Incorporations column of the May 20,
1908 issue of the
Horseless Age included a mention of a Fuller Motor Car Co., which may
or may not be related to O.R. Fuller's various enterpises:
“Fuller Motor Car Co., Los Angeles, Cal. -
In April 1909, O.R. sold the Cadillac
dealership and moved
back to Los Angeles. He was convinced the motor truck was going to
horse & wagon and with the financial backing of his father he
formed a motor
truck sales business, the Pioneer Commercial Auto Co. and was appointed
Angles agent for Randolph, Rapid and Reliance motor trucks. The
of the Los Angeles Herald pictured a 22-passenger Reliance auto bus the
had recently delivered to a Bakersfield hotel:
“Bakersfield To Have Hotel Bus for $4,500
“Pioneer Commercial Auto Company of This
Fine Motor Cars
“In all probability the finest commercial
motor car in the
world is in Los Angeles awaiting delivery, and it is that hustling oil
Bakersfield, that will enjoy the distinction of putting it in use for a
purpose. For a sale price of $4,500 the Pioneer Commercial Auto company
city constructed for the proprietors of the Southern hotel at
handsomest hotel bus yet designed.
“The contract called for a Reliance motor
track chassis, but
the body was built and the equipment furnished in Los Angeles. Its
capacity is twenty-two passengers. The upholstery is of best leather
and back of the air cushion type. The woodwork is painted in a
shade and the running gear black and yellow. The motor is 60-horsepower
powerful enough to overcome any and all road conditions. Because of
victories in the great eastern motor truck endurance race from
Atlantic City and return, the tires selected are the Hartfords, and
been supplied by the local firm of Chanslor & Lyon.
“Phil Lyon feels particularly elated at
selection of his
kind of tires, for as stated the eastern contest was the first of its
held In America. The success of commercial cars depends very largely on
question of tires. The Hartford solid motor tire has been the longest
market and has always held supremacy for endurance and economy. The
Hartford tire attachment with side flanges bolted on through wood
it impossible for them to become loose or tear away. Manager O.R.
Fuller of the
Pioneer company was the real originator of this splendid hotel bus and
given carte blanche orders to turn out a perfect car which would be
haul the oil nabobs from the station to the hotel in Bakersfield. Mr.
states that the car will be sent under its own power to Bakersfield
this week. A good photograph of the bus is reproduced above.”
The 1910 US Census lists Fuller’s occupation
The September 24, 1911 edition of the Los
Angeles Herald included a picture of a recent Randolph delivery truck
“New Side Door Randolph Delivery Sold by
“That the man who can afford the expense
yet who holds
out longest In making the purchase of a motor car for business or
apt to develop into a motoring enthusiast rapidly and one of the best
boosters for motor cars in general, is well Illustrated by the story of
of a Randolph delivery wagon recently made by O.R. Fuller, general
the Pioneer Commercial Auto company, to a business man In a nearby
“This man’s business is retailing light
and a large shop devoted to the repair of automobiles, particularly
Having so many leaky radiators coming to the shop had convinced him
upkeep of a car was decidedly expensive, but becoming more interested
strenuous demonstration made with a light Randolph delivery wagon, made
neighbor merchant, and after several months’ watching the service his
from his car without any mechanical troubles, he asked for a
himself and soon closed a deal for a Randolph.
“The lightness and easy running qualities
the car has
caused him to fit it up for a rather unique pleasure car for the use of
family on Sundays and holidays. Several ‘T’ rails have been imbedded in
of the car on which a set of adjustable seats can be quickly put in
place and a
family carryall is the result, and on Sunday he drives the car from 50
miles on pleasure jaunts. The outlook, says Fuller, for commercial car
this season in Southern California, is that the demand will exceed the
Particularly is this true of the small deliveries, for there is hardly
mercantile business that can’t be increased by rapid delivery, and the
of a small car is less than the expense of one horse. The fact that
cars can be
used for pleasure as well as business is appealing to the small
does not feel that he can afford two machines. The Pioneer Commercial
company has a fully equipped maintenance station and always keeps
several cars in
reserve to loan any of their customers should their own wagon meet with
After Reliance merged with Rapid to become
GMC in late 1911,
E.P. (Edgar Preston) Brinegar, president of San Francisco’s similarly
Pioneer Auto Co., became the Pacific Coast G.M.C. distributor, and
new firm, the Pioneer Motor Truck Corp., 515 Van Ness Ave., to handle
The construction of a new garage was
mentioned in the November 30, 1912 issue of Automobile Topics:
“LOS ANGELES, CAL. - The Pioneer
Auto Co. is
building a huge garage at the corner of North Main and Alameda streets.
structure will be of concrete and steel, four stories high, and will
square feet of floor space.”
For the next several years Fuller’s Pioneer
Co., continued to sell G.M.C. Trucks in Los Angeles, the June 1, 1913
of the Oakland Tribune mentioning his expertise in merchandising
“Los Angeles is Big Truck City: G.M.C.
Territorial Advantages in South
“Regarding the marketing of Trucks on the
P.D. Tabler, director of sales of the Pioneer Motor Truck Corporation,
attention to the fact that many more trucks are purchased in Los
in San Francisco.
“Of course, the reason for this is that
where they are no
more progressive than the citizens of San Francisco, they have a wider
of territory to cover, says the Pioneer Commercial Auto Co., who
the G.M.C. trucks in that city, under the very able management of O.R.
has placed a large quantity of G.M.C. trucks in that city within the
years, aggregating something between $250,000 and $300,000 worth. These
sold to users in all lines of business.
“Fuller has a thorough comprehensive grasp
of the industrial
haulage question, has had wide experience in contracting and has a
complete building arranged for garaging, repairing and installing the
devices. He is therefore enabled to consult with his customer regarding
customer needs, give his customer the service that he knows is
be prepared beforehand for an emergency that he knows will probable
though the customer has probably overlooked it.
“He has therefore succeeded far beyond the
expectations, and has gained the confidence and good will of his
is merely an indication of what can be accomplished with a good line of
to sell, and an intelligent handling of the situation, and a thorough
realization of the moral and just responsibilities incurred by selling
customer a truck.”
Now that Fuller had to buy his G.M.C. trucks
distributor, he began searching for a competing line to distribute. He
into negotiations with Cleveland, Ohio’s White Motor Co., and in 1913
the Southern California and Arizona distributor for White automobiles
trucks. Later that year he repossessed two new White trucks and instead
reselling them, they were offered to his father on a trial basis, so he
see for himself how efficient they were over his current fleet of
trucks and delivery wagons.
At the end of the year Pioneer Truck &
their expenses and determined that the motorized conveyances were far
and began purchasing White trucks for use on some of their longer runs,
although they wouldn’t become fully motorized for another decade.
In August of 1914 the Fuller brothers
younger brother E.P. Fuller to manage their 500,000-acre Chihuahua,
cattle ranch, Rancho San Domingo, which was located 120 miles south of
bordertown of El Paso, Texas. Although his life had been uneventful up
point, a lead item on the front page of the September 22, 1915 edition
Los Angeles Times reveals E.P. Fuller had been kidnapped by Mexican
“For Ransom? Wealthy Angeleno is kidnapped
“E.P. Fuller and his Ranch Foreman Held by
Mexican ‘Red Flaggers.’
“Wife, Former San Francisco Girl, Rides
Night to Get
Word to His Brothers in this City of Seizure of General Manager of
Half-million-acre Santo Domingo Ranch—Authorities Appealed To.
“Kidnaped and presumably held for ransom
a band of Mexican
‘red flaggers,’ the whereabouts of E.P. Fuller of this city, general
and part owner of the great Santo Domingo Rancho, 120 miles from El
William McCabe of Santa Barbara, the ranch foreman, are a mystery. Mrs.
who was left alone upon the ranch when the brigands rode away with her
husband, reached Villa Ahumada, a railroad station twenty miles away,
morning, and telegraphed to his brother’s here.
“The brothers, C.H. and O.B. Fuller,
vice-president respectively of the Pioneer Truck Company of this city
members of the corporation owning the immense ranch, tried in vain
day and last night to get in communication with their sister-in-law.
leave no stone unturned in an effort to locate their brother and secure
“A dispatch from El Paso last night stated
that troops were
being rushed from Juarez by (Pancho) Villa officers to the protection
Fuller and to secure her husband’s release - indicating that the
not a part of Villa’s forces. The brigands are believed to be the
gang who have been terrorizing Western Chihuahua and who have worked
the Mexican Central line to obtain provisions and beef.
“In answer to Mrs. Fuller’s appeal, troops
are being sent
north from Chihuahua on special trains. The troops from Juarez were
special request of American Consul Thomas D. Edwards and the Chihuahua
request of Marian Fletcher, consul at Chihuahua.
“Following is the telegram received by the
“VILLA AHUMADA (Mex.) Sept 21.
“Pearl (E. P. Fuller) and McCabe were
by red flaggers
yesterday. Have heard nothing from them. No Americans here.
“BERTHA (Mrs. E. P. Fuller.)
“Mrs. Fuller also telegraphed to friends
El Paso and
reported seizure of her husband to the State Department in Washington.
“E.P. Fuller, accompanied by his wife,
to the ranch
about eighteen months ago to manage it. It is well stocked with cattle,
late Mr. Fuller has been very busy in having them branded. His brothers
property has brought large financial returns though Gen. (Pancho) Villa
charged them $10 per head for taking cattle across the boundary.
“With slow means of transportation, it is
Fuller probably rode throughout the night from the rancho to Villa
get word as quickly as possible to her husband’s brothers. The road is
traveled, and if she made the trip alone she must have endured a most
experience. That she has no Americans to whom she can look for
her plight the more hazardous, and her relatives have taken steps to
relief to her at the earliest possible moment.
“The Fuller brothers have owned the Santo
Domingo Rancho for
several years, and have operated it with great success notwithstanding
unsettled conditions in that country. The tract consists of 500,000
representing an investment of $600,000.
“William McCabe, the foreman, is a
resident of Santa Barbara. He has been in Mexico for a number of years
had many narrow escapes from the brigands.
“‘We are hoping for the best, but will
O.B. Fuller said last night. ‘We have communicated with the authorities
Paso and in the East, and expect them to take immediate action.’
“Early last week a letter was received
Mr. Fuller and,
while he was optimistic over the situation in the State of Chihuahua,
intimated that trouble was to be expected at any time.
“Mr. Fuller is 48 years old and up to the
time he departed
for Mexico was engaged in business here with his brothers. He is well
business men throughout Southern California. Mrs. Fuller is a former
Francisco girl and her parents now reside there.”
The September 24, 1915 Associated Press
newswire carried the
“Goes After Ransom Money
“Dispatches from Chihuahua say that
McCabe of the
Santo Domingo ranch, who was kidnapped with the manager, E.P. Fuller,
days ago, is en route to El Paso for $2,000 ransom money to obtain
“McCabe was released by the bandits to act
as messenger. If
he does not return, it is said Fuller’s life will be taken.”
Apparently the $2,000 ransom was paid as
Fuller is known to
have died in 1938 at the age 70, the 1930 US Census lists him and
he had married on Oct. 14, 1914) as cotton farmers in El Paso. Texas.
The 1913-1915 LA Directories list O.R.
president-manager of the Pioneer Commercial Auto Co., Selig Cahn
(b.1869-d.1936), sec-trea., 1017-1019 N. Alameda with the 1915
a satellite facility at 720-722 San Fernando.
The January 13, 1916 issue of the Automobile
G.M. Flint had been hired on as head of the firm’s White pleasure car
“Flint Heads Los Angeles White
“G.M. Flint has been placed at the head of
the pleasure car
department of the Pioneer Commercial Auto Co., Los Angeles, Cal., which
controls the southern California and Arizona agency for the White
Flint for the past two years has been manager of the local Moline
In 1916 the Pioneer Commercial Auto Co. sold
White auto stages
to the Package and Express Stage Line (aka P&E), a small
that connected Los Angeles and Anaheim via Whittier and Fullerton. The
forced into bankruptcy following a bad road accident, at which time
repossessed the 2 vehicles and acquired its routes from the receiver
December 1, 1916 Fuller organized his recently acquired enterprise as
Bus Line. In 1917 he formed the Clark Stage Line, 1017 N. Alameda St,
Angeles, another automobile stage that ran from Los Angeles to San
The October 15, 1917 issue of Motor West
announced a reorganization of the Pioneer Commercial Auto Co.:
“L.A. White Changes Name.
“The Pioneer Commercial Auto Co., White
and truck dealer
in Los Angeles, has changed its name to the White Auto Co.”
The next issue (November 1, 1917) of Motor
West mentions they were putting up a new garage:
"The White Auto Co., distributors of White
trucks, will have a two story garage, 97x155 feet and costing $50,000,
for them at Eighteenth and Figueroa Sts."
O.R. Fuller’s wife, Agnes, fell ill in late
and passed away in
March of 1918 without giving Fuller an heir. His WWI draft registration
lists him as single, his occupation, automobile dealer, whose business
Auto Co.) was located at 1800 S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles. The 1918
Angeles directory (printed in 1917) continued to list the White Auto
“White Auto Co., O.R. Fuller Pres., Selig
automobiles, 1017 N. Alameda.”
The March 15, 1918 issue of Motor West
construction had commenced on Fuller’s new business:
“Ground for New White Home Broken.
“As the next step in the decision of the
White Auto Co., Los
Angeles, to move from its present location in North Alameda St.
into the automobile center of the city lying south of Tenth St., ground
been broken for a new building at the south-east corner of Eighteenth
and Figueroa Sts. The new home of White cars and trucks will
constructed of brick and concrete and will have dimensions of 98 x
When the White Motor Co. ended car
production after WWI
Fuller started distributing the Stephens Salient Six, a high-quality
automobile manufactured in Freeport, Illinois by the Stephens Motor
subsidiary of the Moline Plow Co.
In 1919 Fuller purchased the ARG Bus Co.,
which operated a
route between Los Angeles and San Diego via Santa Ana and by the end of
year he controlled 3 separate bus operations, the White, Clark and ARG
a network of routes stretching from Los Angeles to San Diego and points
East (Ontario, Riverside and San Bernardino).
In 1920 Fuller acquired the El Dorado Stage
connected Los Angeles with Bakersfield. Although the distance between
municipalities was only 45 miles, it required the buses take a perilous
consisting of multiple steep grades and hairpin turns, which took the
part of 10 hours. Bakersfield also served as a connecting point to the
Joaquin Valley and points north so Fuller entered into an operating
with two northern carriers - Valley Transit (Bakersfield to Merced) and
California Transit (Merced to Oakland) – thereby creating a means of
transporting passengers from Los Angeles to Oakland without a transfer.
The three firms’ pooled motor coaches would be driven from Los Angeles
a Motor Transit Co. driver, from Bakersfield to Merced by a Valley
driver and from Merced to Oakland by a California Transit driver – all
low fare. By 1921 the system offered 4 round trips per day.
In 1920 Fuller bought out the Mountain Auto
Line, a small
operation owned by Max and Perry Green that served San Bernardino and
surrounding mountain resorts of Big Bear and Lake Arrowhead, hiring Max
the Motor Transit system’s traffic manager.
On April 14, 1920 the White Bus Line and its
were consolidated as the Motor Transit Co. and a related corporation,
the Union Stage
Depot, Inc., commenced construction of a modern $700,000 bus terminal,
Stage Depot, at Fifth and Los Angeles Streets in
Angeles in order to provide direct service from L.A. to all of the
served by the corporation's investors, the May 1922 issue of Bus
“Los Angeles Union Stage Depot Used by
350 Cars Daily
“Arrangement of Joint Terminal Facilities
Benefits Eight Pacific
Coast Companies and Their Patrons—Three per Cent of Ticket Sales in
Its Running Expenses
“Two years ago the idea of a Union Stage
Depot in Los
Angeles, Cal., materialized in the form of an agreement between
stage lines and the leasing of a suitable lot at Fifth
Angeles Streets, where a structure specially designed for this
erected. When this was equipped and put in service the number of
carried on all participating lines showed a sudden increase - as much
as 20 per
cent in some cases. The Union Depot plan afforded an
impress the traveling public with the extent of the motor bus systems
to Los Angeles; it took the small companies ‘off the street,’
their overhead costs and gave to the passengers of all routes alike the
conveniences of a steam railroad depot. Although there is no
of the number of passengers going through the depot daily,
records show that in the last nine months of 1921 the ticket sales in
“The depot is operated by a corporation,
Depot, Inc., which was formed for that purpose, one share of stock
to each company desiring to participate. At present eight companies are
co-operating in this way. Affairs of the corporation are managed by a
five directors elected annually by the stockholders. These directors
their own officers, which consist of president, vice-president and
secretary-treasurer. None of these are salaried positions. One
however, is appointed to take active charge of the depot in
capacity of manager, reporting to the board.
“The corporation is operated strictly
without profit so
member companies will not have to pay income taxes on earnings twice.
operating expenses are apportioned among the member companies each
proportion to the amount of ticket sales over each line in the
office. This is believed more accurately to represent the service
the depot to each company than did the first arrangement,
the apportionment on the number of schedules each company operated out
of the depot.
“The monthly assessment on member
is usually about
3 per cent of the gross ticket sales. This, supplemented by rental from
concessions, pays the rental on the property and the salaries of
“The latter include nine ticket
agents, depot master,
police officer (who has the rank of a full-fledged patrolman in the
department), auditor, information clerk and a general inspector. Each
provides its own starter and collects tickets from passengers, the
responsibility of the corporation ceasing when
the depot master
admits the waiting passengers through the gates to the loading platform.
“One or more ticket agents are on duty
eighteen hours out of
the twenty-four. During the busiest hours six ticket wickets are used.
company provides its own tickets. Rates on the valley routes are, in
about 2½ cents per mile one way. Balanced rates are as follows: 2.12½
cents for round trip, 1.87½ cents
for ten-ride book and 1.5 cents for
thirty-ride commutation books. There are a few competing routes running
the depot, these being the old lines that were operating
passage of the act requiring that each route secure a certificate of
convenience and necessity from the State Railroad Commission. According
joint agreement, the ticket agents are instructed to offer the
alternatives of competitive routes and to quote both rates without
preference in any way.
“The concessions in or adjoining the main
include a lunchroom, a cigar and notion counter, drug store, bootblack
etc. Office space on mezzanine floors is rented to the Pickwick
and to the Motor Transit Company. The latter company operates 270 of
that daily leave the depot (about four-fifths of the total
and in addition to the office space finds it desirable to maintain a 60
70-ft. space adjoining the depot driveway for use as a
department. This is in addition to the main equipment and repair plant,
occupies a four-story concrete structure at 220 Market Street. The
companies operating through the union depot do their
repair work at their respective garages or where their cars are stored
runs. The only service they get at the depot is gas and oil,
which they pay independently of the corporation assessments.
“The service department maintained
the depot by
the Motor Transit Company includes machine shop, tire room, express
washing rack, two stationary and two portable gasoline filling stands.
on incoming cars are required to leave on the steering wheel a tag
trouble or indication of trouble that was observed in the course of the
The inspector removes this tag, examines any parts where trouble is
and either has the necessary repair made at once or substitutes another
the next run. The card itself is filed for reference. Two men fill the
tank and put in oil if any is required, while others inspect the tires;
ten men are employed in greasing the cars. The car moves to its
receiving passengers five minutes before the time for leaving.
“Stages drive through the depot in
only, coming in at the Maple Avenue entrance and leaving via
Angeles Street exit. The loading platform is just outside the
the waiting room and is 8 in. above the level of the driveway. The more
frequent service buses pull in against the curb of the loading platform
the long distance cars leave from the space beyond. There is room at
this depot for
about fourteen cars to stand at one time in the space reserved for cars
“Buses to Travel From Los Angeles To
“Tickets are sold in the depot to
points in all
parts of the state reached by motor buses, and by next summer, when the
Pickwick stages are operating over the proposed northern extension of
Diego-Portland run, through tickets can be purchased from Los
Vancouver, B. C. The individual cars leaving the depot travel
change to Santa Barbara, 108 miles north on the coast run; to
miles north on the interior run; to San Bernardino, 68 miles east, and
Diego, 132 miles south.
“For the longer trips passengers
change cars at
the points named. The Pickwick system, however, operates a through car
day from Los Angeles to San Francisco, 455 miles. When the summer
commences this year, three through-car runs will be put on between
cities, one being an owl service which will make the run in the night.
cars will be equipped with reclining chairs. The combined routes in
California have a total length of about 2,500 miles and offer
practically everywhere the roads go.
“The Union Depot plan has more
itself with companies and patrons and is believed to be a permanent
institution. The idea, at least to the extent of co-operation in a
terminal, has already spread to a number of other Pacific Coast cities.”
“The Los Angeles Union Stage Depot. The
is at the left, under the words ‘Union Stage Depot.’ The executive
occupy the second floor of this building. The loaded stages emerge from
double exit at the extreme right.
“Interior of Los Angeles Union
Stage Depot. Ticket sales wicket on right; gates to stage loading
platforms in background; despatcher's offices under construction in
Fuller also remarried in 1920, to Ione
(b. Jun 24, 1892), a divorcee from Arizona (formerly wedded to Vernon
and in August 1920 the newlyweds were blessed with the birth of a
In addition to heading the White Auto Co.
and the Motor
Transit Co., the 1921 Los Angeles directory lists O.R. Fuller as
manager of the Union Stage Depot Inc. and vice-president of C.H. &
Co., his family’s livestock ranching business.
One of the White Auto Co.’s shop-built White
motor coaches was
highlighted in the March
1922 issue of the National Taxicab and Motorbus Journal:
“Fast Service Between Los Angeles and San
“Motor Transit Company Los Angeles Making
Trip in Sixteen
and One-Half Hours - A Round Trip Fare of Twenty Dollars Being Charged
“Like the coyote of the desert, from which
it takes its name,
the new car which the Motor Transit Company of Los Angeles has just
from its own shops is always on the job. The traveler between Los
San Francisco - the ‘Coyote's’ run - may see it, day or night, slipping
grades, running with sure grip up mountainous altitudes or dashing
along the level. It is the very latest word in long distance vehicles,
construction and design alike showing the skilled workmanship and the
brain of the master craftsman.
“The eleven-passenger ‘Coyote’ has many
especially on this particular route, render it superior to the
long distance motor vehicle. Among these are a better road clinging
equilibrium emphasized by more perfectly balanced frame and a lower
top. It is
mounted upon a special White chassis, equipped with heavy bumpers,
springs and a reserve fuel tank.
“The car itself is distinctive in
appearance, its lower body
painted blue, its upper body and wheels buff, fenders and running
On the upper body are plainly lettered the terminal and way points of
while, beside the license plate in the rear, is a colored life-like
the little desert animal. On the green glass signal at the top front is
“The interior of the car is no less
attractive, with its
commodious seats upholstered in genuine leather; a separate compartment
chauffeur; window shades that disappear when desired or that may be
give the modicum of shade and still permit of a free circulation of
Already the ‘Coyote’ has come to be recognized as the quickest safe
transportation medium between California's two great cities. It is run
or three ‘sections,’ depending upon the reservations and it is certain
within several weeks this ‘Coyote’ motor-train special will go out with
six cars in line. Its schedule is sixteen and a half hours. It
leaves Los Angeles
at 6:30 a.m., and reaching San Francisco with only two stops enroute,
at noon, when a stop of half an hour is had for luncheon and to change
chauffeurs; the second early in the evening when the passengers dine at
and chauffeurs are again changed, three men taking the car during the
fare is $20.00, round trip, while the railroads charge $17.04 for the
ride. The ‘Coyote’ is operated in addition to the regularly maintained
schedules from Los Angeles to northern points, over the
over the coast routes.”
The Personal Notes column of the June 1922
issue of Bus
Transportation praised O.R. Fuller as a ‘Captain of Industry’ due to
initiative in bringing motor coach transportation to Southern
“California Has Two Outstanding Leaders
“Consolidation of Small Lines Better
Broad Policies of State Association Credited to O.R. Fuller in the
South and W.E. Travis in the North
“In California two men stand out
as Captains of
Industry in the bus transportation field. To them is due much of the
the broad policies in the companies they have organized for the spirit
cooperation between the bus companies and for a higher standard of
is improving relations with the public. Each of these men has made
rapid progress in the bus transportation field. They are O.R. Fuller
“Started With Two Trucks
“O.R. Fuller is Los Angeles manager for
He sold two trucks in 1913 which the purchasers used to start up a
transport business. After a few months it became apparent that this
motor transport venture would not pay. Somewhat reluctantly Mr. Fuller
over the trucks and then determined to make them pay for themselves in
transportation business. Not only was he successful in this but in time
passenger line was purchased and added to the truck route. Other lines
added from time to time and then began a steady growth in the number of
operated and the territory served. In 1921 the Motor Transit Company,
its beginning in the two trucks, operated 6,058,285 passenger car
service was rendered with about 130 cars of capacities ranging from
thirty two passengers. The company's gross revenue for the year was
and a total of 2,152,988 passengers were carried in 1921. The combined
of the several routes now traveled by the cars of this system total 800
(*Information supplied by F.D. Howell,
executive head of the
Motor Transit Co.)
“The Motor Carriers Association
“This association was formed in Los
four years ago
under the leadership of Mr. Fuller, who has been its president until
From a small beginning the association has grown to include about 200
companies operating between 1,200 and 1,500 cars serving the entire
practically speaking, wherever the roads go.”
During the 1920s the Motor Transit Co.
operators that handled the Pomona to Chino, Bakersfield to Taft, and
Jacinto, Lancaster, Verdugo Hills and Victorville routes and even
the municipal transit business, operating the Whittier Blvd line in the
Montebello in the late 1920s.
A detailed description of Motor Transit
Co.’s operations – including
fares, destinations and vehicle types - was included in the July 1,
of the Commercial Vehicle:
“California's Lead in Bus Travel
“One Big Company Puts It on a Railroad
“A Description of How the Motor Transit
Co. of Los Angeles Operates and Controls Buses Which Carry
Freight and Passengers in Great Volume, at Fixed Schedules Always
“How motorized transportation has swept to
the front in the
United States, especially in the West through the application of sound
principles and the elimination of the irresponsible ‘hit-and-miss’
strikingly emphasized in the remarkable development of the Motor
Company, with headquarters in Los Angeles, California. This company, 5
ago, operated a curb service with three buses between Los Angeles and
a neighboring community. Today it maintains a fleet of 139 stages
territory of 800 miles and branching out in all directions from the
of Southern California. Such is the progress made by this organization
is the leading automotive passenger carrying company in the West and
one of the
foremost in the entire country.
“The remarkable expansion of the services
Transit Company, whose stages last year covered 6,054,000 miles and
total of 1,500,000 passengers, has not proceeded without encountering
obstacles. Time and again the company has faced the most severe sort of
opposition en-generated by steam and electric railroad interests, which
resulted in the competing rail lines in various routes slashing their
schedules to below operating expenses with a view to crushing the motor
“But the popularity of motorized
with a vigorous presentation of their ideals by officials of the
resulted in the organization coming through the acid test in every
with renewed vigor. In this connection it is interesting to note that
Company has consistently refused to slash its passenger-carrying rates
operating expenses during periods of rate wars launched by their rail
competitors, and the fact that they did not suffer any appreciable loss
business during such periods justified the position taken.
“The Motor Transit
has launched some very ambitious services. At the outset these embodied
considerable element of speculation, insofar as public response to the
sounded was concerned. But they have invariably been successful. For
there is now in regular operation a motor bus service between
Angeles and San Francisco, a distance of approximately 450 miles, which
been unusually well patronized. The Motor Transit Company is
carry passengers between these two cities for $12.85 one way, or $20.00
“On the Southern Pacific Railroad, the
one-way fare is in
excess of $17.00. The motor stages leave San Francisco and
Angeles each morning at 7 o'clock and come through in one day, reaching
destination in between fourteen and a half and fifteen hours, running
which is about the same time taken by the railroads. The stages make
stops, two to allow the passengers to dine and the other to permit of a
“Mexico to Seattle
“Through connections made by the Motor
Transit Company with
other motor stages operating in
Northern California and in
the Northwestern states, it is now possible for a passenger at the
border below San Diego to purchase a ticket with stopover privileges
take him to Seattle, Washington. From Seattle, this same passenger can
his journey by motorized transportation, if he desires, to points in
Columbia, Idaho and Montana.
“The officials of the Motor Transit
found the time of departure a very important element in the successful
operation of their various services in California. Take, for
instance, the trip from Los Angeles to Bakersfield, over the so-called
Route, a distance of 126 miles. There is considerable travel between
points. The Motor Transit Company found that for the
Bakersfield to take a train to Los Angeles he must either get up very
the morning or wait until the middle of the day or past midnight.
“In shaping their schedule of service,
Transit Company arranged to have departures from Bakersfield at
convenient time for prospective passengers, say at 9 and 10 o'clock in
morning and around 5 and 6 o'clock at night. The officials of
the company tested
out the sentiment in Bakersfield and by so doing demonstrated that they
ready to develop their service to the greatest possible satisfaction of
community. The result has been that the Bakersfield-Los Angeles run has
exceptionally well patronized. The same plan of operation has been
on other routes with the same profitable results.
“Build Their Own Depots
“At all the leading points in California
covered by the
buses of this organization, the Motor Transit Company has built, or is
its own depots. These stations especially those recently completed are
to any community. The depots of the Motor Transit Company at such
Riverside and San Bernardino present the very last word in substantial
attractive features and conveniences for the traveling public. No
station is more thoroughly equipped and organized to care for the
these stations of the Motor Transit Company.
“At points where the amount of business
not justify the
erection of a depot by the company at this time, or the opening of
a company office,
an agency is awarded to some establishment conveniently located. The
receive a commission of 10 per cent of the first $250.00 gross sales,
and 5 per
cent commission for gross sales over this amount.
“The company has established a
fare of 2½ cents a
mile on all one-way tickets. The fares do not include the
baggage. The baggage is checked and none will be handled other than by
except such hand baggage as can be cared for by passengers without
inconvenience to other passengers, not to exceed 30 pounds for each
“Ticket Time Limits
“One-way tickets are limited to date of
sale, and are
honored for passage only on bus for which sold and for which seat space
been reserved where such reservation is necessary. When seat
reservation is not
required, tickets are limited to thirty days from date of sale. The
portions of round trip tickets are limited the same as one-way tickets.
return portion is limited to 30 days from date of sale. Thirty ride
books are issued, which are limited to ninety days from date of sale.
“Such commutation books are good for
and members of his or her family when properly signed by each party
“The company requires that all
seat space on one-way or round trip tickets, either going or return
reading between Los Angeles and other points where equipment consists
touring cars having seating capacity of 11 passengers or less, must be
least one hour prior to scheduled leaving time, otherwise the right is
to send passengers on next regularly scheduled car.
“Reservation of certain seats will not be
made by the company. The
reservations are guaranteed only when tickets have actually been
seat space assigned. Reservation of seat space is necessary only for
transportation between points where equipment used consists of these
“Rule on Refunds
“The company has made an
interesting rule in
regard to refunds. Tickets of the company's issue will be redeemed to
original purchaser, at fare paid, when no portion of the trip has been
at the difference between the fare paid and the published tariff fare
the points used if trip was dis continued and not completed, with the
exceptions: Where reservation has been made between Los Angeles and
where the equipment used is limited to a seating capacity of 11
less, and such reservation is not released one full hour prior to
time of departure of car, for which reservation is made, the refund
made only of such amount of fare as may have been collected of other
occupying said seat between same points or other intermediate points.
done, however, provided all other seat space in car was occupied and
the company was
deprived of revenue on account of the failure of the passenger to
“On special occasions, especially during
height of the
tourist season, the Motor Transit Company conducts special
to various points of interest which have proven a very profitable
“Revenue from Freight
“The carrying of express and excess
also provides a
sizable revenue for the company. The tariff is somewhat
the rail express charges, but the main appeal of the company is
service it is able to render. A garage dealer in Bakersfield, for
is out of a certain automobile part that he needs in a hurry can
telephone to a
supply house in Los Angeles, which can have it shipped on an outgoing
Bakersfield, if it reaches the central Los Angeles depot up to a few
before the time of departure.
“Express rates quoted are the rates per
hundred pounds of
normal weight and bulk and value. Where the package is very large, but
little weight or value, the rate quoted is applied to the cubic feet of
occupied by the package (and not the weight) in units of 10 cu. ft.
package is small in size and of little weight, but of high value, the
applied is in units of $100, instead of in units of 100 lbs. or 10 cu.
Rates quoted are per 100 lbs., if weight is greater than the bulk or
or per 10 cu. ft. if the package is large but of little value and
per $100 if the value be great, but the weight or volume be small; the
each case to be applied to the total value, weight or cubic feet of the
contents, above and below the unit given, but in no case below a
that is published. Agents must list in each instance the weight, cubic
space and the value of the package offered, and bill it on the unit
the highest charges.
“The following instructions issued by
the Motor Transit
Company to its agents should be of interest to all motor
operating express services:
“‘Some packages have weight and take up
little room in
the load and are of small value. Others, like crates and hat boxes may
much room on a load as a several hundred pound package, and yet have no
or may take as much room as a heavier package and yet have a high
value, or may
have practically no weight or no volume but a high value. The rates,
in this schedule must be figured to bring the greatest charge in order
that the company will
be protected against the value claimed or the amount of space used in
vehicle. Therefore, this rate schedule assumes that for the purpose of
damage and space occupied and all other matters being taken into
100 pounds of weight without bulk, or value, will about equal in cost
feet without much weight or value, or a package valued at $100.00
weight or space. The Agent must, therefore, until he gets so familiar
rates that he can at a glance assume which of the three units is to be
billing, calculate the charges per 100 pounds of weight, and per 10
of space, and per $100.00 in value, in each instance, and then bill it
unit that produces the highest charge.’
“‘Take as an example of a car axle
50 pounds, where
the weight would carry as against the value or the bulk, valued at
negligible occupation of space, and assume that this axle is to be
Los Angeles to Santa Ana, carrying the rate in the tariff of 85 cents
pounds, or per 10 cubic feet, or per $100.00 in value. The weight of 50
at 85 cents per hundred pounds would give a total charge of 45 cents.
of $30.00 at 85 cents per $100.00 would give a total charge of 26
the cubic contents, being negligible, would only produce the minimum
This axle, therefore, should be billed on the basis of its weight of 50
at 85 cents per 100 pounds, or 45 cents.’
“‘Take now a hat box from a millinery
cubic foot of space, weighing five pounds, and valued at $10.00,
same points so that the rate will still be 85 cents as above. Five
pounds at 85
cents a 100 pounds would yield a charge of 4½ cents, which referring to
would call for a minimum charge of 15 cents. One cubic foot capacity at
rate of 85 cents per 10 cubic feet would give a rate of 9 cents for
package. This also would fall under the minimum of 15 cents as shown in
While the cost of $10.00 at 85 cents per $100.00 would give a charge of
so that all three classifications would then fall under Rule 3 and
minimum of 15 cents.’
“Billing by Dimensions
“‘Now take an open crate of dimensions
feet by 3 feet
by 3 feet, filled with lettuce, weighing 85 pounds and valued at $2.50.
have, first, a volume of 2 feet multiplied by 3 by 3, which equals 18
feet. 18 cubic feet at 85 cents for 10 cubic feet would be 1.8 cents
cents, or $1.53 total charge, or at 85 pounds, you would have 85 pounds
cents per 100 pounds, or 72 cents total freight charges, or at a value
at 85 cents per 100 dollars in value you would have 26 cents. This
therefore, would be billed at its cubical contents at $1.53.’
“‘Take now a piece of jewelry valued at
$25.00, weighing one
pound and having practically no cubical displacement This could be
sight without carrying out the three calculations, that it should be
the value, the volume and weight being negligible, or $25.00 at the
rate of 85
cents per $100.00, or a total charge of 26 cents.’
“All express charges must be paid in
consignor or consignee has on file in the office of the auditor of
Transit Company a sufficient bond of indemnity in twice the amount
credit asked for. This bond must provide that the sureties thereof will
the carrier harmless in the event that shipment is refused by consignee
delivery and guarantee the carrier payment of all carrier charges
shipment, including the return charges, if any.”
Although he couldn’t break in to the
Angeles Motor Coach Co., L.A.’s municipal bus line, Fuller’s White
dealership furnished them with White buses. After completing one
sale of 81 motor coaches, Fuller remarked:
“Well, we feel a little bit pulled up
ourselves over this
record for we sold eighty-one White buses right here in Los Angeles to
traction companies in one order. The Pacific Electric and the Los
Railway Company divided the order and are now using these White buses
augmented combination train and bus service.”
The White Auto Co. also furnished White tour
buses to Yosemite
and Yellowstone National Parks.
When Moline Plow withdrew from the
automobiles in 1923 Fuller became the Los Angeles distributor for the
automobile, a similar vehicle manufactured in Auburn Indiana. By that
Fuller was concentrating on his expanding bus business and the
operations of selling motor vehicles was handled by his long-time
business partner, Selig Cahn (b.1869-d.1936), who in addition to being
Auto Co.’s secretary and treasurer had recently become vice-president
O.R.’s father and uncle continued to head
& Transfer Co. of which Charles H. Fuller (his father) was
treasurer and Ortus B. Fuller (his uncle) vice-president until the
October 18, 1922 passing after which the bulk of his estate (including
ranches in Chihuahua and Corona) passed to his brother, Charles. Two
later ill health forced Charles H. Fuller to retire and his son O.R.
the Corona ranch. In late 1927 O.R. changed its name from
Ranch to the O.R. Fuller Rancho and as an initial project expanded its
and poultry operations, hoping to extend its distribution territory. By
the cattle ranch in Chihuahua, Mexico had been sold off and E.P.
and O.B. Fuller’s younger brother, had moved to El Paso, Texas where he
in raising cotton until passing away in 1938 at the age of 70. During
commenced construction of an elaborately appointed Mission-style
(aka ranch house) at the Fuller Rancho which he named Casa Orone (O.R.
The 1927 Los Angeles Directory lists
Fuller’s White Auto Co.
as the sole Los Angeles’ Auburn Motor Car Co. distributor as follows:
“Auburn Motor Cars – White Auto Company
S. Figueroa, Phone Westmore 1211”
The 1929 LA Directory continued to list
White as the
distributors, but now includes another dealer:
“Auburn Motor Cars – Bates Motor Car
2525 W. Washington, Phone Empire 4177
“Auburn Motor Cars – White Auto Company
Distributors, J. M.
Roush, mgr., 1800 S. Figueroa, Phone Westmore 1211”
As his automobile sales increased Fuller’s
business attracted the attention of Beverly Hills resident Errett
the very same man that controlled the Auburn Automobile Company, and in
Cord purchased a substantial interest in the White Auto Co. which in
of 1928 was reorganized as the Auburn-Fuller Co., the October 18,
issue of The Motor Age Reporting:
“Now Auburn-Fuller Co.
“Los Angeles, Oct. 15 - The name of the
White Auto Co.,
southern California Auburn distributors, has been changed to the
Co. The change was made for the purpose of more closely identifying the
organization with the line of cars handled. Along with the change of
the announcement that William J. McGhee has been appointed general
The influx of capital launched a multi-year
program that saw Auburn-Fuller Co. establish sales and service outlets
downtown Los Angeles (3465 Wilshire Blvd.), Hollywood (6145 Hollywood
Beverly Hills (208 N. Canon Dr.) and in 1931 they bought out the
Johnson-Blalack Co., San Francisco’s Auburn distributor (1147-1155 Van
Ave., Lloyd S. Johnson, manager).
Now that E.L. Cord was back in the retail
business he kept abreast of what his competitors were doing, especially
came to advertising. His two main competitors in the high-priced field,
C. Anthony (Packard) and Don Lee (Cadillac), spent heavily on radio
advertising, an expense that was greatly reduced if you owned your own
which both men did.
Earle C. Anthony owned KFI in Los Angeles,
and a pair of
antennas installed on the top floor of his 1000 S. Hope
dealership relayed those broadcasts to San Francisco’s residents via a
antennas mounted on top of his 901 Van Ness Ave. Packard dealership.
Don Lee owned KHJ in Los Angeles and KFRC in
the latter’s studio residing on the top floor of Lee’s 1000 Van Ness
dealership, which was just across the street from Anthony’s Packard
several blocks away from Auburn-Fuller’s northern California
There was a fierce level of competition
between Earle C.
Anthony and Don Lee and in February of 1929 Errett Lobban Cord, who had
finances to play with the ‘big boys’, purchased his first radio
from the McWhinnie Electric Co.
The purchaser of record was the
Auburn-Fuller Co. and in
March, 1929 the station’s license was altered to reflect that KFVD was
owned by the Los Angeles Broadcasting Company, a new wholly-owned
the Auburn-Fuller Co. The studios were located at the Hal Roach
complex on Washington Blvd. in Culver City. Primarily a popular music
it broadcast classical music that featured various ‘Auburn’ branded
as well as comedy shows featuring some of the Hal Roach studio stars.
Apparently E.L. Cord liked the radio
business and in April
of 1931 the Los Angeles Broadcasting Co. purchased religious station
changed the call letters to KFAC which was a play on its new owners –
Auburn and Cord. When Cord’s new Wilshire Blvd. office building was
in April of 1932, he relocated both station’s studios into the
penthouse floor, the February 15, 1932 issue of Broadcasting reporting:
“The Los Angeles Broadcasting Co. will
$100,000 within the next 90 days for a new transmitter and studios for
Los Angeles. The new transmitter will be of the most modern type and
operate with 1,000 watts on 1300 kc. The studios are to be in a
constructed penthouse atop the new Cord Building, now being built.
Adams, technical supervisor, is in charge of construction of the new
transmitter, a 304-A model ordered from Western Electric Co. He said it
be ready for installation by the first of March.”
November 15, 1931 edition of the Oakland
Tribune announced that Auburn-Fuller was now the exclusive distributor
of Auburn, Cord and Duesenberg automobile in the state of California:
“New Distributor Named for Popular Line of
“One of the most important changes in
automobile distributorships was revealed today by Charles A. Clark,
representative of the Auburn Automobile company, in an announcement of
acquisition of Auburn-Fuller company of Los Angeles of the exclusive
distributorship of Auburn, Cord and Duesenberg automobiles for the
of California, succeeding the Johnson-Blalack company, who formerly
distributorship for the northern part of the state.
“In making the announcement, Clark stated
that O.R. Fuller,
head of Auburn-Fuller company, and widely known for his successful
merchandising methods would direct the entire operation of this immense
automobile selling organization, and that Lloyd S. Johnson, former
would be the general manager of the Auburn-Fuller company for the
of the state.
“‘No change in northern California
anticipated,’ Fuller stated.”
That last sentence did not hold true as B.H.
longtime Auburn distributor located at 3020 Broadway, Oakland, was
in January of 1932 and replaced by an official Auburn-Fuller Co.
located at 2111 Webster St., (cor. of 21st St.) Oakland, which was
The 1930-32 Los Angeles directories now
listed 5 separate
"Auburn-Fuller Co., O.R. Fuller, pres;
V-Pres.; V.J. Mapes. Sec., Walter Peterson, Treas.; Automobiles, 3465
Blvd., Tel Trinity 2621; 1101 and 1800 S. Figueroa; 6145 Hollywood
N. Canon Dr., Beverly Hills."
Their 1932 San Francisco directory listing
“Auburn-Fuller Company, Lloyd S. Johnson
Distributors Auburn, Cord and Duesenberg Motor Cars, 1155 Van Ness Av.
During the mid 1920s Motor Transit Co.
direct service to the following Southern California Communities: El
Monte, Sunland, Whittier, Pomona (all
County); Fullerton, Anaheim (Orange County); Ontario, San Bernardino,
Arrowhead, Redlands, Big Bear Lake (all San Bernardino County);
(Riverside County); Bakersfield, Taft (all Kern County); and Oceanside,
Jolla and San Diego (all San Diego County).
During the late 1920s transit passengers
bewildering array of
bus companies, fares and service area restrictions. In order to make
life easier for all, In 1926-1927 the California Motor Carriers
Association divided the market amongst
the three largest operators: Motor Transit Co., California Transit Co.
and Pickwick Stages. The Tri-Stage Merger, as this agreement was
called, mandated that Motor
Transit Co. give up its long-distance routes to Lancaster, Bakersfield
Diego and became a suburban bus line serving Los Angeles, Orange,
San Bernardino Counties. In exchange, Motor Transit gained the rights
local passengers anywhere in its system. The merger required Motor
Transit divest its
to the California Transit Co., which would now connect Northern and
California via the Central Valley Pickwick Stages, which had recently
County routes of Crown Stages.
Fuller’s father, Charles H. Fuller, died on
Aug. 27, 1929 and
on April 3, 1930 O.R. Fuller sold the Motor Transit Co. to Pacific
Transportation Securities, a holding company controlled by Greyhound,
and Southern Pacific. The purchase was part of Greyhound's scheme to
nationalize the country's small operators into one cohesive
coast-to-coast bus system operating under the Greyhound banner. At the
time Southern Pacific,
Santa Fe and
other regional railroads were replacing poorly-performing railroad
feeders with buses, greatly increasing their bottom lines.
Fuller received a small amount of cash and a
million in stock from the sale and remained on the board of directors
Transit. Pacific Transportation Securities subsequently renamed itself
Greyhound Lines and eventually sold off most of Motor
routes to the Pacific Electric Co.
Once his father’s estate was settled, Fuller
the 3,000 acre Fuller ranch which was located 6 miles northwest of the
Corona in what is now Eastvale, California.
Cord, as enthusiastic about airplanes as he
automobiles, entered the airline business in 1930. Century Airlines
Midwest from a Chicago hub; Century Pacific flew from Grand Central
Glendale to San Diego, Bakersfield and San Francisco. Both airlines
ten—passenger Stinson aircraft. Cord appointed Fuller president of
Pacific Lines, a small commuter airline formed in 1931 to compete
and bus lines in the profitable California / Arizona corridor.
Cord insisted that his employees work long
hours at low
wages. It was no different for the Century pilots, whom Cord considered
'glorified chauffeurs' and paid at about half the normal rate. At
pilots were glad to have any job they could get and suffered in
when Cord announced further wage cuts in 1931, the Chicago—based pilots
Cord kept expenses low, not only to compete
with rail fares
but also to offer a low bid on a U.S. Post Office airmail contract.
Cord’s business practices made him no friends with the government. U.S.
Office officials noted that the pilots were so demoralized they flew
threatening the stability of the entire airline network. During the
Cord often referred to the striking pilots as 'Reds' and 'Communists'
other government officials enough to prevent him from ever receiving
Relations with Cord and O.R., who had
initially admired each
other, deteriorated. O.R. questioned Cord’s treatment of the Century
the Auburn factory workers and the Auburn dealers. Cord forced dealers
impractical, poorly selling models and balked at providing repairs when
cars developed mechanical problems.
Century Pacific used a small fleet of E.L.
Stinson aircraft and in early 1932, Aviation Corp., (AVCO) the parent
of American Airways, launched a hostile takeover of both Century
Century Airlines by creating a labor dispute with Century’s pilots.
not amused and spent the next few months secretly purchasing large
Aviation Corp. stock. At AVCO's fall board meeting, its directors were
unpleasantly surprised to learn that Cord was now Aviation Corp’s
stockholder (34%), which effectively gave him control over Century and
On January 29, 1932 a Century Pacific
airplane crashed in
the mountains south of Bakersfield, killing all aboard. Because of bad
and rough terrain, five days passed before the victims were found.
Motor Transit buses had been involved in the occasional accident,
nothing as serious
as this had ever happened while O.R. owned the bus company.
On or about May 12, 1932, Fuller received a
threatening him with death unless he provided $50,000. The letter
followed the news that the remains of aviator Charles Lindbergh’s
son, Charles Augustus Lindbergh Jr., had been discovered just four
his N.J. home.
Fuller turned the letter over to the police
determined it was sent by Carl Poehnl, Fuller’s recently terminated
to the following United Press wire story dated May 16, 1932, Poehnl was
“Motor Magnate Intended Victim of
“Los Angeles, May 16 - (UP) — O. R.
millionaire head of
the Auburn-Fuller Motor company, was revealed today as the intended
victim of a
$50,000 extortion plot following the arrest of Carl Poehnl, a former
in his employ.
“‘Your life is not in danger if you comply
with our demands -
remember, you're an ideal target for the mob,’ read a portion of a note
two days ago by Fuller, according to police. Detectives said they held
connecting Poehnl, with the plot. Poehnl denied the charge.”
By mid—year Century Pacific Airlines had
gone out of
business, and Auburn—Fuller went into receivership.
The July 7, 1932 edition of the Oakland
Tribune carried the following public notice relating to the latter
“In equity No. 3287-5 Order limiting time
“In the district court of the United
District of California, Southern Division.
“Wake Development Company, a Delaware
corporation and Pacific
Finance Corporation of California, a Delaware Corporation,
Auburn-Fuller Company, a California corporation, defendant.
“This cause came on to be heard this 24th
day of June, 1932,
on the application of Maynard McFie, Ancillary Receiver, for an order
time for the filing of claims against the receivership estate herein,
consideration thereof and good cause appeals.
“Now therefore, it is ordered adjudged and
decreed that the
creditors of Auburn-Fuller Company present and make proof of their
claims to Maynard McFie, Receiver for the Southern District of
his office at 3443 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, California, or to
McFie, Ancillary Receiver for the Northern District of California, at
office of Hiram W. Johnson. Jr., his attorney, 892 Mills Building, San
Francisco, California, on or before the 30th day of July, 1932, and
creditors and claimants failing so to do, within the time thus limited,
be barred from participation in the distribution of the assets of
Company, and it is further ordered that, public notice of this order be
by posting a copy thereof, in three public places in each of the
City and County of San Francisco, State of California, and County of
State of California, and it is further ordered, that copies of this
published for one week in the following newspapers: San Francisco
published in San Francisco, California, and The Oakland Tribune,
Oakland, California, and that said publications must be completed on or
the 15th day of July, 1332. Dated: June 24, 1932, A. F. St. Sure,
Much of O.R.’s wealth was in stock, which
were by now nearly worthless. He did not bother to attend the Century
dissolution hearing on July 13, 1932 where Cord and his lawyers tried
O.R. from getting his share of airline stock.
Cord had nearly finished constructing a new
at 3443 Wilshire Blvd. to house his various business enterprises and
of extra room in which to put a new flagship showroom and service
Auburn and Cord automobiles. The service entrance was located at 640 S.
Mariposa (mailing address for KFAC)
By the end of the year Fuller had either
sold off or been
relieved of his transportation-related business activities and withdrew
father’s 3,000 acre ranch north of Corona, California.
The Auburn-Fuller Co. was gone from the 1933
directory which lists the E.L. Cord-controlled Auburn Sales Co. at
Van Ness Ave., with H.B. Liggett, manager.
The garage and service department was housed
in the basement
which was accessed via large doors located around the corner on S.
and the firm's listing in the 1933 LA directory being:
"Auburn California Company, Distributors
and Duesenberg Motor Cars, Main office 3443 Wilshire Blvd., Tel Fitzroy
Branch 1366 S. Figueroa, Tel Prospect 4818."
The firm's branch facility at 1366 S.
Figueroa St. formerly
housed Unger & Watson Inc., a distributor of radio sets, equipment
and automobile accessories
and was eventually razed for use as a parking lot which is located
across the street from the Los Angeles Convention Center.
In 1934 the Auburn California Co. was
reorganized for the
final time to the Auburn Automobile Sales Corp., Calif, branch; its
the 1935-1938 LA directories follow:
"Auburn Automobile Sales Corporation,
Branch, Distributors Auburn, Cord and Duesenberg Motor Cars, Main
Wilshire Blvd., Tel Fitzroy 3123, Branch 1366 S. Figueroa, Tel Prospect
By late 1932 the Depression had also put a
severe damper on
Duesenberg sales and unsold chassis were piling up in Indiana. Things
as bad at many of the firm’s authorized coach builders, Walter M.
Pasadena closed down that year and many others were close to
Designs and bodies in the white dating from the early thirties were
until sales slowly began to pick up in 1934. Although Duesenberg sales
nationwide were almost non-existent, the Auburn Automobile Sales Corp.,
branch, had some luck selling new ones providing their coachwork was
match the competition's which at a bare minimum required adding skirts
front fenders. Much of the updating was done by Bohman & Schwartz,
Pasadena firm founded by two former Walter M. Murphy employees.
When Murphy closed down, a number of
customer’s cars (for
example Eddie Peabody and Gary Cooper's Duesenbergs) remained
uncompleted, and two
former Murphy employees, Christian C. Bohman and Maurice L. Schwartz
complete the work in their own small shop. They named their firm Bohman
Schwartz, and rented a building in back of Prosser's Garage at the
of DeLacey and Green Streets in Pasadena. Bohman ran the sales and
office, while Schwartz ran the shop and did almost all of the
They purchased some of Murphy’s shop equipment at auction and hired a
ex-Murphy employees, including Milt Pfeiffer, Mark Farlow, Whitey
Jack James. With a much more modest overhead, the pair were successful
establishing both a fine reputation as coachbuilders and they succeeded
team for twelve more years and then independently for another seventeen
Rudy Stoessel, Paul Erdos and Oscar Haskey
all worked at
Auburn-Fuller Co. at various times as did Burton K. Chalmers, auto
the stars. All four eventually worked at Darrin of Paris and after it
1939 they formed Coachcraft Ltd. at 8671 Melrose Avenue, Hollywood,
As the official name of Auburn-Fuller
changed several times
following its bankruptcy, most of its LA customers continued to refer
firm as Auburn-Fuller into the late 30's. After E.L. Cord's automobile
manufacturing business collapsed, the showroom at 3443 Wilshire was
discontinued and the service department relocated one block north to
3479 W. 6th St. where it remained into 1940 when it too was
When Auburn-Fuller entered into bankruptcy
Cord purchased its Los Angeles Broadcasting Co. subsidiary from the
In late 1936 Cord sold KFVD, the lower-powered of his two stations, to
Burke’s Standard Broadcast Co., who relocated it 338 S. Western Ave.
switched KFAC to an all-classical format in 1945 and added an FM
KFAC-FM in 1952. He retained ownership of Los Angeles Broadcasting Co.
1962 when he sold it for $2 million.
On November 27, 1934 the Associated Press
newswire carried the following update on the Auburn-Fuller Co.
“Creditors of Firm Wait Final Action
“Associated Press Leased Wire) LOS
47.—Creditors of the Auburn Fuller Company, a $1,500,000 automobile
corporation, today awaited final action of equity receivership
involving the company. Federal Judge
William P. James yesterday signed a receiver's report indicating
get from 98.01 to 100 per cent of the face value of their claims. He
has yet to
discharge officially the receiver from further obligation and settle
when the final dividends are paid.”
O.R. Fuller expanded the ranch by leasing
it grew to almost five thousand acres. And although the lived in
Beverly Hills, the Fuller family enjoyed
weekends at the ranch and in 1928 commenced the construction of an
elaborate ranch house
Casa Orone (combining O.R. and Ione).
In a 1983 oral history, Fuller's daughter
his legal battle with E.L. Cord, to whom he was deeply in debt:
the ranch, and my father was determined not to lose it.”
One of his aunts (probably Mary Drusilla
Zuker) helped him rescue the ranch financially, and after his
1931 Fuller moved to the Casa Orone with his wife Ione and 11-year-old
daughter, Marcellie. The operation was described in great detail in an
written by L.C. Flora that appeared in the December 1, 1931 edition of
Corona Daily Independent:
“Progress Is Theme of Operations of Huge
Fuller RanchO near
“Mr. O.R. Fuller, who operates a 5,000
Corona, appears to me to be a man of vision. As I talked to him, it
me that the fever of the much talked of depression slipped off and
looked much brighter.
“It is a well-known fact that no concern
bigger than the
head of it – that the very personnel and operation reflects the thought
action of that head – it is undoubtedly true of the Fuller RanchO.
“From the time one enters the doors of the
office one is
impressed – first by the courtesy of those receiving one; next the
and cleanliness of the institution, and upon being shown through the
impression was confirmed.
“Before I had finished a tour of the
accompanied by Mr. Fuller’s genial superintendent, Jim Coveny, I was
the outlay and effort which created an institution such as this.
“Perhaps the average Coronan does not
realize that the
Fuller RanchO has now approximately 3,000 acres under cultivation; 800
additional acres being cleared and leveled for a 1932 crop; a 200-inch
being drilled which will add to the 12 wells pumping from 100 to 300
all supplied with modern equipment for irrigation purposes.
“At the present time the dairy herd
animals, representing Holsteins, Jerseys, and Guernseys. There are more
500 cows milked. Milk and cream distributed in Corona and surrounding
is of the highest quality and the demand is growing steadily. The
methods surrounding the operation and handling of milk and cream is
demonstrated by the thoroughness of the various operations making for
cleanliness and purity. Their entire herd is inspected at frequent
county, state, and national government authorities.
“Too much cannot be said of the Fuller
RanchO poultry plant
which now consists of about 7,500 Rhode Island Red and White Leghorn
The poultry plant is being increased each year and eventually quarters
20,000 layers will be filled. The eggs and meat birds are to be sold to
customers of Corona and surrounding cities.
“Another unique sideline to this immense
which, to my mind, emphasizes the human element entering into the
success of the Fuller RanchO, is the wild bird farm where some 800
various breeds, such as pheasants, quail, peafowls, and guineas, all
“Turkeys, too, are raised in great
prepared for your and my consumption.
“Which all goes to show that the
of the guiding
hand of any institution is reflected from the beginning to the end of
successful operation – and take it from me, Coronans will make no
supporting this home institution.”
Fuller also built up its poultry business
within a few years
had become one of the largest turkey ranchers in Southern California.
Rancho trucks delivered milk and eggs all over Southern California.
the Fuller Rancho Market, a drive—up grocery store, in Pomona.
To produce additional income, Fuller
converted the Casa
Orone hacienda into Fuller Guest Rancho in 1937, which with a few
provided overnight accommodations for 25 guests. Its customers were
an Olympic-sized swimming pool, a poolside bar and a 5-star restaurant.
adventurous guests could take a cruise on the nearby lake or tour the
countryside on horseback.
However, the Ranch’s biggest attraction was
gambling, with card tables and slot machines designed to he quickly
hidden if a
law enforcement agents paid a surprise visit. O.R.’s daughter Marcellie
that many famous and not-so-famous celebrities frequented the Rancho,
well-known visitors being Linda Darnell, Olivia deHavilland, W.C.
Hudson, Garson Kanin, Jeanette MacDonald Groucho Marx, Ken Murray, Jack
Pickford, Gene Raymond, Charles ‘Buddy’ Rogers, Red Skelton, Elizabeth
Tracy and Claire Trevor.
Fuller also started subdividing the ranch
into building lots,
many of which had views of the adjacent Santa Ana River. One of the
residents was character actor Charles Grapewin, who claimed to have won
O.R. in a poker game, the April 26, 1939 Associated Press newswire
“Won Two Acres on the Lake in Hot Poker
“Hollywood, Calif. – (AP) – Charley
is going to
fish this summer from his own private lake front. He says he won it in
“And to hear the 67 year old move
star tell it, it
was some game.
“He’s up visiting his old friend, O.R.
Fuller, who operated
a guest ranch at Corona, some 50 miles from the movie lots. One night
playing Ollie Fuller a game of seven card stud.
“‘I’m sitting there with the 10 and jack
Charley tells it, ‘and Ollie has one ace up. Ollie deals the cards and
the king, queen and nine of hearts. I don’t know what he’s draw in the
but pretty soon we’ve got all the cash in our pockets on the table.
an agreement against checks and IOU’s, so that looks like the end of
neither of us wants to quit.
“‘I’m looking out the window at the lake
prettiest two acre point out there you ever saw. I tell Ollie I’ll be
house in Los Angeles – it’s a nice house – against that two acres.
“‘Ollie’s hot and he says, ‘You’re on –
get ready to move
out!’ I say, “I don’t think I’ll be moving out.” So we turn up the
Ollie’s got three aces in the hole – but I’ve got a straight heart
“That was nine months ago. Today the
concrete has already
been poured for the foundations of the Grapewin home on the lake.
“‘All my life,’ Charley chuckles, ‘I’ve
dreamed of a place
where I could fish like I‘m going to do. No tackle, but a fishing pole
cork and a worm, and just sit and watch the cork bobble. I’ve got 410
lakefront there – and it’s an hour and a quarter to the studios, and
to those yellow- and silver-bellied perch.’
“But look here Charley! What did Mrs.
Grapewin say about
putting her home in a poke pot?
“‘She didn’t know about it,’ said Charley,
‘till it was all
over. But we’ve been married nearly 43 years – and she’s always thought
During World War II, medical staff and
patients from the
nearby Naval Hospital (Norconian Hotel) visited the Guest Rancho for
relaxation, while German prisoners of war worked the fields. Shortly
O.R. Fuller developed cancer, passing away on August 20, 1946. The
obituary was published in the August 21, 1946 edition of the Corona
“O. R. Fuller, Head of Famed Rancho, Died
Tuesday - With
Father Operated Bus Line That Now Is Pacific Electric.
“O. R. Fuller, proprietor of the Fuller
Rancho, one of the
outstanding guest homes of Southern California, died at 10:45 p.m.
his home about four miles north of Corona. For the past several months
Fuller had been in failing health and for the past few days he had been
rapidly. Born in Kansas, October 5, 1880 as Olive R. Fuller, he was the
early California residents, Mr. and Mrs. Charles H. Fuller. He was
as ‘O. R.’ or ‘Oliver’. He is survived by his widow, Mrs. Ione Fuller,
son-in-law and daughter, C. Clifton Towers and Mrs. Marcellie Fuller
Long Beach, and his grandson, Fuller Clifton Thompson. There are no
brothers or sisters.
“Corona Landmark for Years
“The vast Fuller Rancho of seemingly
unending acres with its
private lake, the Tavern-On-the-Lake, until recently operated by George
the Charles (‘Grapes of Wrath’) Grapevine residence to the west of the
Rancho and the hundreds of acres devoted to farming have constituted a
landmark for a half century. Formerly the Fuller Rancho was the home of
the largest turkey farms in Southern California. More recently the
operations and production of grain have been the most important. At one
there was a large Fuller Rancho dairy farm in operation.
“Charles Fuller, the father of ‘O.R.’, was
one of the
largest early day dealers in automobiles and trucks in Los Angeles,
engaged in that business for a quarter of a century. He purchased the
however, more than 50 years ago and operated that as a ‘hobby’ along
important automobile and truck business. Later he was the sole owner of
Motor Transit Bus Lines, operating the big red buses which served the
part of California, including Corona, Riverside, San Bernardino and
intermediate points to Los Angeles and far beyond. This is now the
Electric railway, owned by the Southern Pacific.
“Rancho Built 25 Years
“‘O. R.’ became associated with his father
in the operation
of these bus lines and the two operated important automobile, truck and
line businesses for many years. The beautiful, rancho house was built
years ago. It was used for a great many years as the private residence
Fullers and was converted into a guest house in 1937 and without
one of the most beautiful guest houses in Southern California, with few
places in Los Angeles or elsewhere which rival it for beauty, art
good taste. Splendid meals also are served. Funeral services will be
Friday at 2 p.m. at the Chapel of W. A. Brown and Son, 1815 South
street, Los Angeles, and burial will be in Los Angeles. Mr. Fuller was
prominent in Masonic circles. He was a Shriner and a 32nd degree Mason,
member of Malaikah lodge in Los Angeles.”
By that time a portion of the original 3,000
acres had been leased
out or sold to third parties for ranches and small housing
of the remainder of the property, which included the guest house and
surrounding outbuildings, passed to his widow, Ione Franklin Wright
Jun 24, 1892), who subsequently shut down the Guest Ranch and on
1948 remarried, to Harvey Uriah Weeks. The couple remained on the
until her death on August 24, 1951, the Corona Daily Independent
“Mrs. lone Fuller Weeks Died Today
“Mrs. lone Fuller-Weeks of the Fuller
Rancho, Corona, died
this afternoon at her residence after a prolonged illness. Mrs. Weeks
formerly the wife of the late O.R. Fuller, founder of the Motor Transit
which is now the Pacific Electric. Mr. Fuller died August 20, 1946. On
Year's Day, January, 1948, the wedding of Mrs. Fuller to Harvey Weeks
place in the spacious ranch home that has been a local land-mark for
Fuller ranch house was built some 30 years ago as a private residence
Fullers and later became one of the outstanding guest homes in Southern
California. In recent years it has been closed to the public. Mrs.
her husband, Harvey Weeks and a daughter, Mrs. Marcellie Fuller
Corona. Service arrangements are pending and will be announced.”
In order to settle the estate her home and
what remained of
the original Fuller Rancho property was sold to Walter Koenig, a local
dairyman, who subsequently resold most of the land for agricultural
use. The hacienda
was purchased in 1959 by the Good Samaritan Center, a
facility that housed 66 seniors until 1967 after which it served as
home of the St. Katherine’s Home for Boys, a youth counseling facility
by the Greek Orthodox Church.
In 2004 the property was razed and divided
into parcels and
redeveloped into tract housing. In 2010 the original 3,000 acres that
the Fuller Rancho and its surrounding area were incorporated as the
City of Eastvale,
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