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Gilbert Orchards of Yakima, Washington is the present-day descendent of the firm of Richey and Gilbert, founded in the 1890s by Horace Mark (H.M.) Gilbert with the financial support of his wife’s family, the Richeys. Richey & Gilbert was a successful business throughout the first decades of the 1900s, with not only large investments in the fruit growing, packing, and shipping business, but also extensive interests in real estate development.

H.M. Gilbert and his wife, Marion, were very active in community affairs and traveled extensively throughout the world—often marketing Richey & Gilbert fruit in far-flung locations.

Following H.M. Gilbert’s death in 1934, his two sons, Curtiss and Elon, guided the company through the remainder of the Great Depression in the 1930s and World War II. The orchard arm of Richey & Gilbert eventually became a separate entity known just as Gilbert Orchards. During its many years of growing and marketing fruit, Richey & Gilbert sold its produce under a wide variety of label brands. However, the labels illustrated here were used by Gilbert Orchards and show the influence of Curtiss, and, later, his son Cragg, both of whom had a great passion for hiking and mountaineering in the nearby Cascade Mountains.

Washington State. Crystal Valley, Crystal Peak, and Crystal Ridge were inspired by mountain peaks closer to the city of Yakima. Morse Creek-Gold Hill, a 1920s mining area, is located about sixty miles west of Yakima over the Chinook Pass highway, and, before World War II, it became a popular ski area for Yakima area winter sports enthusiasts—including Curtiss Gilbert. If one travels up the Morse Creek Valley over the ridge, past Fog City, and almost to Sourdough Gap, Crystal Peak can be easily seen just to the right.

After World War II, in the Crystal Mountain Valley, Seattle area skiers developed the Crystal Mountain resort, which at the time, was probably the most advanced ski area in the entire state. This gave Gilbert Orchards the impetus to develop the Crystal Valley label, and it opened up a southern view to what became known as Crystal Ridge, an east-west ridge that divides the Morse Creek Valley from the Crystal Mountain ski area.

These four labels are wonderful examples of design motifs inspired by the personal interests and surroundings of the orchardist.