Castle Brothers

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Summary
Business

Dried Fruit Packer
Main Location

San Francisco
Active

< 1893-1918
Successors

Garcia and Maggini

Castle Brothers was a San Francisco-based grocery wholesaler which turned into a significant dried fruit packer, operated by Albert N. Castle and Arthur H. Castle. In operation from the 1870's through 1918[1], Castle Brothers was one of the big independent packers at the turn of the century along with Guggenhime and Company and Rosenberg Brothers. Castle planned on a merger with Guggenhime and Company, Rosenberg Brothers, and Phoenix Packing in 1905, but Rosenberg reneged on the deal; later lawsuits claimed that Rosenberg Brothers used the merger as a ruse to gather competitive information[2]. Castle Brothers partially owned Pacific Coast Seeded Raisin Company with Phoenix Packing in 1905. Castle Brothers also appeared in the news for selling fruit to Armour during the anti-trust case in 1919 along with Phoenix Packing[3].

William Francis Tooney worked for them between 1893 and 1895[4]. George Rogers was general manager in 1901.

The company retired from the dried fruit business in 1918[5]. Its brands carried on by Harry Hall and Company. Rumors spread in 1921 about the company's return to the dried fruit business; these turned out to be corporate filings for clearing title to former Castle Brothers real estate[6]. One citation notes that Garcia and Maggini had bought the Castle Brothers packing houses[7].

As a wholesale grocer, Castle Brothers also handled other foodstuffs in their early days. A biography of Edward H. O'Brien of San Francisco cites his early work experience at the Castle Brothers coffee house[8].

A 1902 San Francisco phone book shows a coffee department, separate sales arms for Europe & Central America vs Australia and Asia[9]

Castle Brothers in San Jose

Castle Brothers had several plants in San Jose at various times, and suffered more than its fair share of fires. Their first plant was a brick warehouse on San Carlos Street near the South Pacific Coast railroad tracks. The warehouse was a brick building initially built as a grain warehouse, and owned by I.G. Knowles. That plant burned in 1899 along with the Zicovich Winery[10]Castle Brothers had another warehouse on Ryland Street near J. B. Inderrieden which also burned in 1899[11]. That warehouse was corrugaged iron, 100 x 55, and was formerly a warehouse for E. B. Howard. The SP's car scale also burned in that fire.

Castle Brothers next moved to Cinnabar and Montgomery Street. In 1903, it was the site of a nasty accident where an employee was badly injured by elevator while working at the plant[12]. The Cinnabar Street plant burned on October 19, 1913[13]. A new concrete plant started in 1914. Designed by William Binder and built by Z. O. Field, the building would be 110 feet square, and the "best equipped fireproof packing house in California."[14]. That fire also burned the Haven and Company packing house; the fire chief believed the fires were intentionally set because the blaze started in so many different parts of the building[15].

Locations

Location Years Address Details
Fresno 1900 (In San Francisco Call 1900 list of delivery spots for California Cured Fruit Association)
Marysville 1900 (In San Francisco Call 1900 list of delivery spots for California Cured Fruit Association)
Sacramento 1900, 1905 (In San Francisco Call 1900 list of delivery spots for California Cured Fruit Association)
San Francisco 1908 149 California Street
San Jose 1899 740 West San Carlos Street Directory reads "West San Carlos at Narrow Gauge" - probably west side.
San Jose 1900 San Carlos at Race City directory.
San Jose 1901-1930 Cinnabar Street at Montgomery
Selma 1905, 1916 Damaged in fire in 1916[16].
Visalia 1900 (In San Francisco Call 1900 list of delivery spots for California Cured Fruit Association)

References

  1. Grocers by that name in SP's directory of served industries, 1872
  2. October 6, 1905 San Francisco Call.
  3. Subcommitte on Agriculture and Forestry, United States Senate, Hearings on Senate Resolution 211 against Swift & Co. et al. Shows Castle Brothers sold raisins to Armour.
  4. Prof. James Miller Guinn, History of the state of California and biographical record of the San Joaquin Valley, California, Chapman Publishing Co., Chicago 1905. Biography of William Francis Tooney, p.1175.
  5. Harry Hall Starts Business As His Own Account: July 6, 1918 California Fruit News.
  6. Castle Brothers Not Returning to the Dried Fruit Business: May 7, 1921 San Jose Evening News.
  7. Garcia & Maggini Co. is Broadening Out: [http://veridian.library.illinois.edu/cgi-bin/illinois?a=d&d=CHP19191018.2.258 October 18, 1919 Chicago Packer
  8. Edward H. O'Brien: in John P. Young, Journalism in California: Pacific Coast and Exposition Biographies, Chronicle Publishing, 1915.
  9. 1902 San Francisco phone book.
  10. along with Zicovich winery
  11. Prunes May Go Up: The Big Fire Complicates the Prunes Situation: August 1, 1899
  12. Crushed By Elevator: Employee of Castle Brothers Badly Injured: October 29, 1903 San Jose Evening News
  13. Two San Jose Packing Houses Burn: Loss Put At $175,000: October 20, 1913 San Francisco Call
  14. Castle Brothers Will Rebuild Packing House: May 8, 1914 San Jose Evening News
  15. October 21, 1913 San Jose Evening News
  16. Twenty Years Ago: April 15, 1936 Fresno Republican. "A fire destroyed fifty tons ot peaches and did considerable damage at the Castle Brothers packing plant in Selma. The loss Is estimated at $3,000.