Reception area of the Riverside Daily Enterprise run by Elmer W. Holmes, 1906

Elmer W Holmes

Born in Brockton, Massachusetts, Holmes left school at age 13 upon the death of his father. He apprenticed himself to a printer and provided the entire support for his mother and siblings.  Holmes graduated as a journeyman printer at age 18.
After serving for the Union in the Civil War, Holmes obtained a foreman’s position on the Randolph Register, a paper he successfully managed. Next, he was offered a partnership on the Brockton Gazette. The business was successful, but consumption took the lives of his mother’s family and doctors encouraged Holmes to seek a different climate.
After working at the Los Angeles Herald, Holmes settled in Riverside in April of 1875.
Perhaps his greatest contribution to the community was as principal organizer of the Riverside Library association in 1879. In 1884, Holmes was chosen to fill a vacancy on the Board of City Trustees. He was reelected and served as a chairman.
Holmes planted a variety of trees and vines and raisins and was part of a committee of horticultural “students” who gathered to evaluate the qualities of the first Riverside oranges in comparison with specimens from Europe and Florida. From these tests, the Riverside grown navel orange was determined to be the best in the world. Holmes helped represent Riverside at the great citrus fair held in Chicago in 1886 and went on to represent the city at other fairs including New York city.
After resigning from the San Bernardino Index newspaper in 1887, Holmes became one of purchasers of two daily and two weekly papers in Riverside that were then consolidated and published as the Daily Press and Horticulturist with Holmes as the editor in charge.
Holmes was elected assemblyman in 1888, for San Bernardino County as Riverside County had not yet been established. In 1893, Governor Pardee appointed Holmes to fill a position on the Board of County Supervisors. He was re-elected three times, remaining there until his death in 1913.