Griffin and Skelley

From Packing Houses of Santa Clara County
Revision as of 17:21, 8 December 2014 by Robert Bowdidge (talk | contribs)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Dried Fruit Packer and Canner


Hawthorn (canned apricots), Griffin (raisins)

Griffin and Seegar (1881-1895), Griffin-Skelley

Griffin and Skelley was a dried fruit packer and canner, founded in 1881[1] and merged into Del Monte during its formation in 1916. Griffin and Skelley started packing oranges in Riverside, California, pioneered the dried fruit industry, and eventually moved into canning. Founders were Willard M. Griffin and a Mr. Seegar[2]; E.R. Skelley joined the firm in 1894 managing the Riverside packing house, and became a partner in 1895 when Skelley retired and the Riverside plant closed.

Griffin and Skelley can label

Griffin and Skelley moved into canning some time before 1903. A 1902 California state list of canneries shows Griffin and Skelley having a cannery in Fresno in 1902; by 1903, there's mention of another cannery in Emeryville.

After the 1906 earthquake, Griffin and Skelley relocated the main offices temporarily from San Francisco to the Emeryville cannery.

William Griffin died in 1913 and was replaced by his sons, Charles W. Sr. Griffin and Andrew G. Griffin. When Griffin and Skelley was merged into the new Del Monte company, both became directors.

Griffin and Skelley in San Jose

Griffin and Skelley moved into San Jose some time before 1896; a visitor that year reported:

"I noticed near the narrow gauge station at San Jose a packing house some five hundred feet in length bearing the familiar sign of the Griffin-Skelly Co., so well known in Riverside. It is used for the grading and packing of dried prunes, apricots, peaches, etc. This concern has always done more in this line of goods than in our local product and has evidently made more money in this department than the citrus fruit trade."[3].

In 1903, the company expanded their facility: "Another packing house in the neighbrhood of the narrow gauge depot will be improved. Griffin and Skelley are building another story on their plant."[4]. In 1906, the manager was F. Fleming according to 1906 list of automobile owners.

An incident in 1910 explains a bit about the layout of the building. In September, Henry Vose of Cupertino had just unloaded a wagon of fruit and was waiting for his receipt when Antonio Cataldi came up with another wagon and demanded Vose move. When Vose ignored him, Cataldi jumped up on Vose's wagon and waved a pistol in his face. "He ran into the packing house and ran behind the counter." William Stegner, engineer for the plant, and Mr. Rogers, foreman, saw the episode. Cataldi appeared in court with an interpreter, pled guilty to simple assault, and paid a $75 fine[5]


Location Years Address Details
Emeryville[6] 1903, 1906 Temp. headquarters after 1906 earthquake. "Across the SP tracks from the racetrack."
Fresno[7][8] 1900, 1905 ???
Morgan Hill 1903, 1906 Being built 1903[9].
Riverside 1884-1895 Orange packing house. Managed by E.R. Skelley 1884-1895.
San Francisco 1906 132 Market Street From April 29, 1906 San Francisco Call.
San Francisco 1908 16 California Street
San Jose 1896, 1900, 1904, 1906, 1907 Cahill St. at San Fernando St. Pacific Wine had a site on the east side of Cahill in 1891.
San Jose 1915 76 Bush Street At corner of West San Fernando. Dried fruit grading and packing.
Visalia[10] 1900 ??? .


  1. William Braznell, California's FInest: The History of the Del Monte Corporation and the Del Monte Branch. 1982, Del Monte Coporation.
  2. Los Altos Hills History
  3. Our Outing: Northern California Pleasure Resorts. In September 26, 1896 Riverside Press and Horticulturalist.
  4. New Packing Houses Erected in Valley: June 25, 1903 San Jose Evening News.
  5. Antonio Cataldi Examined on Vose Assault Charge: September 29, 1910 San Jose Evening News.
  6. Article about new cannery in unknown source, 1903.
  7. San Francisco Call 1900 list of delivery spots for California Cured Fruit Association
  8. August 1, 1905 Pacific Rural Press
  9. Brevities: July 6, 1903 San Jose Evening News. "A new packing house for Griffin & Skelly of San Jose is being constructed at Morgan Hill.
  10. San Francisco Call 1900 list of delivery spots for California Cured Fruit Association