The little town of Covina was founded in 1886 by Joseph Swift Phillips. A land speculator, Phillips purchased 2,000 acres of land from John Hollenbeck. The area was located just south of the San Gabriel Mountains within the La Puente Rancho. Phillips immediately surveyed the land into 10 acre parcels and planned to sell each parcel for only $650.00. He enticed a couple of newspapermen to settle in town to help advertise and promote land sales. One investor was Daniel Houser from Stockton, California. He brought five sons, and, using money from the sale of his invention of the Combined Harvester, eventually brought water to the town. Water enticed more people to settle on the fertile land. Businesses sprouted up along Citrus Avenue and Covina was incorporated in 1901. At one time, it served as the agricultural hub of the San Gabriel Valley, producing and shipping more oranges than anywhere else on earth.
The Covina Valley Historical Society was organized in 1969 to preserve and promote the history of our community. We own and operate two distinctly unique historic venues; The Firehouse Jail Museum and the Heritage House.
The Firehouse Jail Museum, erected in 1911, is located directly behind City Hall just east of Citrus Avenue. This exciting museum contains one of the most complete collections of orange industry documents and artifacts in southern California. Hundreds of school children visit this unusual museum each year. We are open every Sunday (excluding holidays) from 1pm-3pm. Admission is free.
The Heritage House is located adjacent to Covina Park at 300 N Valencia Avenue. The 1908 craftsman-style home is completely furnished with period-accurate treasures and it offers a unique glimpse of early 1900's life. It is opened by appointment only by calling (626) 966-9871.
The purpose of the Covina Valley Historical Society is to preserve and protect the history of our valley for the enjoyment of our citizens and future generations.