George E. Hyde & Company
Campbell Fruit Growers Union
Campbell Packing Corporation
George E. Hyde & Company operated a well-known cannery in Campbell, California. The Hyde Cannery was the work of George E. Hyde, a local orchardist and dried fruit packing plant manager. George became the manager for the predecessor Campbell Fruit Growers Union plant in 1909. The Union had been having problems keeping growers business during good years and bad; in 1913, Hyde and his partner, Ruel K. Thomas, a director of the CFGU, leased the plant and turned it into George E. Hyde & Co. Hyde soon bought out Thomas, and wholly owned the plant and drying yard. The new company packed 1,000 tons of fruit in 1914, with packing proceeding from June through December. Not all that fruit was from the Santa Clara Valley; Ralph Hyde visited Ceres in 1914 to buy fruit.
Hyde became interested in canning in 1915, and began both drying and canning fruit. The August 1921 Canning Age article highlights the cannery and the modern conveniences Hyde installed. Hyde continued drying fruit as well, with the Canning Age article explaining that a loft held the dried fruit processing equipment. Hyde was also a collection station for Sunsweet in 1917.
In 1917, the company planned to double its output, shipping 100 cars of [dried] prunes and several of [dried] apricots ("figuring on two cars a day", and expected to dry the same amount for Sunsweet. At the same time, the company planned to can apricots, pears, and peaches.
1918 showed the company canning a million cans of fruit, along with the dried business.
In 1919, the company built a new warehouse south of the existing warehouse, and added a new box storage and manufacturing building on the west side of the plant. The new warehouse could hold 80,000 cases of canned fruit, with electric conveyors used to move the cases around. The company also built a cannery on the water tower lands (near the water tower) "with 'Ma Kimmel' as cook it is safe to prophecy its popularity." The cannery was open no non-cannery workers. The company also erected 20 tents near the cafeteria for workers, and contracted two buses to bring workers from San Jose. The company also had a 4 ton truck for hauling.
October 1922 Western Canner and PAcker quotes Hyde as saying that business is September was the greatest ever for the company, and 90% of the "actual and prospective pack" in 1922 had already been sold. "The export business had been particularly gratifying to the company."
Hyde Cannery may have been running in the 1928 season - a truck driver for the cannery was hit by a train according to the A August 28, 1928
The cannery closed down after the 1928 season, with occasional restarts. The cannery finally shut down for good in 1930 when the banks refused to issue credit for opening that year. The banks finally forced a judgement on the bankrupt company in 1931, with the sheriff selling the cannery on the steps of the courthouse on May 25, 1932 on behalf of the American Trust company. More details of the closure and bankruptcy in "How Much is that Cannery II".
The cannery was supposedly leased by W.A. Bundy and the Campbell Packing Corporation in 1933 and 1934, and supposedly bought the plant in 1934. According to September 14, 1933 Campbell Interurban Press article, the canning portion was being used by Sunsweet for warehousing (with canning equipment removed), and the Higgins-Hyde Packing Company leased the warehouse for storage and grading. An article in the April 28, 1934 San Jose Evening News announces the sale of the machinery, equipment, and fixtures to the Campbell Packing Corporation. The article notes that:
The Hyde Company has been shut down since 1926. The property was acquired by the American Trust Company in 1928 when the plant when bankrupt. The Campbell Packing Corporation plans to take over the entire property, consisting of six acres of land and an 18 cottage camp ground, and operate the plant this pear season."
The plant was sold to Sunsweet in 1937, and was used as warehouse space. Sunsweet also built fruit drying facilities on the site which was run as the Campbell Cooperative Dryer.
The buildings still exist and have been repurposed as offices and restaurants.
The Hyde Cannery Plant
The property had previously been occupied from 1887 to 1890 by Flemmings Fruit Dryer, then by Frank Buxton's Dryer from 1890 to 1892. Hyde's cannery was originally constructed in 1892 for the Campbell Fruit Grower's Union. The plant was leased to George E. Hyde ("a co-partnership") in 1909, and operated as a dried fruit packing house. Canning started in 1915, and continued drying fruit on machinery on a mezzanine level.
|Campbell||1909, 1917, 1921, 1926, 1928||Central Avenue|
|West Side||1900||???||San Francisco Call 1900 list of dropoff locations for California Cured Fruit Association.|
- Robert Couchman, The Sunsweet Story, Sunsweet Growers, 1967
- Testimony of Mr. George E. Hyde: The seasonal problem in agriculture. Final Report and Testimony Submitted to Congress by the Commission on Industrial Relations created by the act of August 23, 1912. U.S. Senate document no. 415, 1916.
- July 29, 1914 Modesto EveningNews.
- August 1921 Canning Age magazine
- July 21, 1917 San Jose Evening News list of Sunsweet collection stations
- George E. Hyde & Co. Make Extensive Improvements. June 22, 1917 Campbell Interurban. "The plant of Geo. E. Hyde & Co has been undergoing improvements both in dried fruit and canning departments during the past months. These packers have affiliated themselves with the California Prune and Apricot Growers Inc. and in keeping with this change have remodeled their plant to increase its output. They expect to pack at least 100 cars of dried prunes besides several cars of apricots, and are figuring on two cars a day. With the enormous crop of green prunes in sight they expect also to dry the same amount for the account of the Price and Apricot Growers' Association. Machinery has been added to the Cannery which will enable them to put out nearly twice as much canned goods as in 1916. An automatic slicer, exhaust box, capper, scalded, and syrupy have been added to the cannery equipment, which will enable them to handle in the neighborhood of several hundred tons of peaches, besides apricots, pears, and prunes. This company will have an extra long season as it will start canning apricots early in July, followed by pears, and peaches, and immediately after the peaches the packing of apricots and prunes which will carry the season beyond Christmas."
- Campbell's Canneries Prepare for Big Season. May 23, 1919 Campbell Interurban.
- Campbell's Canneries Prepare for Big Season. May 23, 1919 Campbell Interurban."A visit to the plant of George E. Hyde and Company opposite the S. P. Company depot revealed great activity in building and installing machinery and many other improvements. Brick masons were erecting a warehouse south of and adjoining the old brick warehouse. A box storage and manufacturing building has been erected adjoining the old warehouse on the west. Larger facilities have been provided for the canning and cooking room. A Welfare building has been projected to be installed with all the modern improvements for the convenience of the employees of both sexes. A Cafeteria is being erected on a portion of the Water Company's plant on First Street to preocvide a good and reasonable opportunity for taking care of the employees and the public generally may be served, preference though to be given employees.
- Hyde Cannery Made Modern Plant. July 4, 1919 Campbell Interurban. "A new departure and one that has shown Mr. Hyde's foresight was the erection of a real honest-to-goodness cafeteria where the employees may be served at the lowest possible cost. With "Ma" Kimmel as cook it is safe to prophecy its popularity. Near the cafeteria will be about 20 tents to house part of the fruit workers. Other workers will be transported from San Jose by two large auto buses carrying about 20 persons each. The Hyde Co. and J. P. Hulsman will operate a 4 ton de Martini truck for heavy hauling."
- Go In Looking for Model Details, Come Out With Corporate Accounting Experience, Vasona Branch blog
- [How Much Is That Cannery II, Vasona Branch blog
- July 9, 1930 San Jose Evening News
- April 22, 1933 San Jose Eveing News
- August 1921 Canning Age