This is an excerpt from a work-in-progress called The Town I Live In.
George Amerige and his brother Edward planted the first stake in the town of Fullerton in 1887 and began the process of developing it into a profitable municipality. The first “significant structure” they built was the St. George Hotel, named after George Amerige. Apparently, he thought pretty highly of himself.
When establishing a town, infrastructure is important. George and Edward needed help digging irrigation ditches. Thankfully, they knew a railroad man named George Fullerton who could hook them up with cheap labor—Chinamen!
Bob Ziebell writes in Fullerton: A Pictorial History, “George Amerige says he installed the town’s first water system ‘employing Chinamen to do the excavation work on the ditches.’” As a way of saying “thanks” to George Fullerton for bringing the railroad (and Chinamen), George and Edward Amerige and the Santa Fe Railroad Company decided to name the town Fullerton, after a guy who had made a pretty successful career for himself on the backs of “Chinamen.”
Because they were basically second-class citizens, Chinese immigrants proved an invaluable (and cheap!) labor force for railroad companies in 19th century America, including Fullerton.