Cozzens Fruit Company

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Fruit drying.
Main Location

San Jose
W. W. Cozzens Dryer pen sketch

The Cozzens Fruit Company was a fruit dryer and packer operated by William W. Cozzens, a Willow Glen orchardist and fruit dryer. Cozzens had been a miner, but moved to San Jose in 1873. William W. Cozzens had started as a hay and grain dealer with his son, William W. Jr.[1] He joined with other local farmers to form the Alden Fruit and Vegetable Preserving Company in 1874.

Cozzens incorporated his own fruit packing company in 1879 as the Cozzens Fruit Company[2][3] The company's drying yard sat behind his home near Minnesota and Newport Avenues. The business's San Jose location shows up on an 1891 Sanborn map as a grain warehouse on Ryland Street at Santa Teresa Street, listed as "hay warehouse". An 1898 city directory gives the address as Ryland Street at River Street. By 1900, the business was listed in Santa Clara.

Cozzens Senior died in 1883; his son, William Jr. kept the business running. William Jr. increased the family lands to new property on Stevens Creek Road and Informatory Road (now Bascom Ave), and expanded the business to Newhall in Southern California. Some of those lands apparently were run by another son, Joshua Cozzens. The company declared bankruptcy in 1892, $150,000 in debt. It managed to reopen, with C.M. Webber and George Bowman as directors[4], but finally closed for good after the turn of the century.


Location Years Address Details
San Jose 1890, 1898 Ryland Street at River Street Probably C.M. Webber and Co. plant, which later was used by Rosenberg Brothers and burned in 1906.
Santa Clara 1900 San Francisco Call list of California Cured Fruit Growers dropoff site.


  1. Cozzens house: San Jose City Council landmark nomination HL11-201, May 11, 2012. The nomination includes significant detail about the company.
  2. San Jose historic landmark application.
  3. Horace S. Foote, Pen Pictures from the Garden of the World, ~1895, Lewis Publishing, Chicago declares says that he'd been drying fruit since 1879 near Minnesota and Lincoln.
  4. February 24, 1892 Sacramento Union. . "The following articles of incorporation were filed in the Secretary of tStato's office yesterday: W. W. Cozzens Fruit Company of San Jose. Capital stock, $50,000. Directors: G. M. Bowman, C. M. Webber, xxxx Dawson, W. M. Field and E.L. Fischer.