The Corwin Ranch
The Apple Valley Improvement Association met monthly, for community betterment, technical instruction and social purposes. The meetings were held in the members' homes, and as many as 40 or 50 would attend.
They often had guest speakers, such as Professor L. D. Batchelor with the Citrus Experiment Station in Riverside, who gave demonstrations on apple and pear pruning, and related topics, or Professor Guy L. Philps, pomology instructor at Berkeley. Sometimes it would be a representative from the county's Farm Bureau, but more often it was a knowledgeable local man. Wealthy ranchers such as Arthur Hull and Max Ihmsen hired the best professional agricultural foremen available, who shared their expertise with the settlers.
The association also had standing committees on Rural Free Delivery and on telephones and electricity, but the most important committee was that on roads. The subject of roads was a favorite of Elmore's, and during his two-year stint as president of the association from 1913 to 1915, he eagerly promoted the development of roads in Apple Valley. During this period it was mandatory that farmers either pay a road tax or perform road work, but Elmore and the farmers of Apple Valley most willingly and enthusiastically did the work.
In October of 1913 the Road Committee consisted of Corwin, W. A. Foster and F. A. Fletcher. They met with District Roadmaster Lam Woods and spent a day "laying out" new roads; that is, deciding their location.
Soon afterwards it was announced that several miles of new roads had been cleared on "Road Day." The workers were so impressed with the results of their efforts, they encouraged President Corwin to schedule other Road Days for grading and clearing, and the work again was met with the same enthusiasm.
Elmore did not just talk about good roads, he also constructed them. He said he built the roads up to his ranch, probably referring to what are present-day Waalew Road and Central Road. Just how far to the west he constructed the roads is not revealed, but the street now known as Corwin Road was in all probability built and maintained by the man for whom it was named.
At the end of 1914 it was decided to create a separate organization, to be called the Apple Valley Good Roads Association, with the intention of getting better representation with state and local governments. This association did gather sizable delegations to appear before the county Board of Supervisors to push for major road improvements in Apple Valley, such as a new bridge across the Mojave River.
During these years the members of the improvement association actively promoted the area and its fruit by participating in agricultural fairs throughout the state, providing exhibits of the local produce. In 1913 D. W. McPherson represented Apple Valley at the Watsonville Apple Show, winning several prize ribbons.
President Corwin was selected in the fall of 1914 to represent the association at an apple show held in San Francisco. The locals said that Elmore was "one of the best and staunchest friends" of the area and that he would bring home big prizes.
He must have felt some pressure from that statement, as he responded from the bay city a little defensively: "I have a neat little display and hope to capture some ribbons, but this is a great show and the chances are against me. However, it is a great advertisement for our Valley anyway. Will do what I can."
When he got back he had a little spring in his step and twinkle in his eye as he reported on the great number of widows in San Francisco. "Too many," he said, "one was 74," as though she was ancient compared to his 67 years.