October 12th in Seal Beach History

On this date in 1958, the Long Beach Independent Press Telegram ran a profile of Seal Beach resident Clark Pettingill of 205 Fifth Street and what he called “The Pettingill Apple Tree.”

Clark Pettingill and his famous front yard apple tree

Seal Beach is not famed for its fruit-producing trees, but this tree was special. The Pettingill Apple Tree produced such phenomenal apples, that the tree had been patented with grafts being distributed by Armstrong Nurseries.

Twenty-five to thirty years earlier, Clark separated two apple trees that had started growing in his front yard. Clark believed the two trees probably came from the same apple core. The second tree was replanted in the backyard, but only produced fair apples.

The Pettingill Apple Tree in the front yard, however, produced a large crop of big red apples, ranging from 10 to 12 ounces. Clark shared that he once picked a 22-ounce apple.

We close with a cautionary note for modern-day apple poachers. While a tree does grow today in the front yard at 205 Fifth Street, that tree is not The Pettingill Apple Tree. It, like Clark Pettingill (1884-1964), is gone, but continues to leave a legacy as this Google search will attest.

Birthplace of the Pettingill Apple

– Michael Dobkins

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