Growers' Pre-cooling Company

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Cold storage plant
Main Location

Mountain View, CA


Grower's Ice and Precooling Company[1]

Growers' Pre-cooling Company was a Mountain View-based cold-storage plant and pre-cooling facility handling fresh fruit. Pre-cooling plants lowered the temperature of fruits and vegetables from the fields so that less ice would be needed to keep the crop cool and fresh when shipping to the east coast. The plant was first put into operation in 1922[2]; it had a 450 foot spur track off the Southern Pacific main line, cooling chambers, ice-making machinery, and handling sheds[3]. B. W. Holeman of Mountain View was president, Ralph L. Snell, vice-president, W. P. Angelo treasurer, and Victor Stanquist, secretary. J. A. Williams of Mountain View was the manager. Holeman was the president of the First National Bank of Mountain View[4]. Stanquist was a cement contractor[5].

Stanquist was a cement contractor in san Francisco who became a local orchardist[6].

The plant was primarily backed by berry growers[7]. A 1922 news article notes that the plant was "inaugurated by the Mountain View Berry Growers' Association" and was operating on apricots and other fruit[8]. "A car of strawberries has been pre-cooled and shipped practically every day since it was opened on May 15, last"[9] A San Jose Evening News article on the plant[10] notes that it was being used by the Robert Romer Co. of San Francisco to ship lettuce and spinach for eastern markets. Cherries, apricots, peaches, tomatoes, and other fruits and vegetables would be packed. Steinhardt and Kelly Co. were leasing the market for five years "and expects to do business here permanently." (Steinhardt and Kelley also worked with the Security Warehouse and Cold Storage plant in San Jose[11]. American Fruit Growers of Delaware and Los Angeles was another potential user. By July 1923, apricot growers were receiving $50/ton for their crop; the plant expected to ship 50 carloads in the 1923 season[12]. Those same apricots sold for 5 cents each in New York[13].

The plant also highlighted ethnic tensions among berry growers. B.W. Holeman, president of the First National Bank, noted that the berry grower's association "are planning a campaign to stabilize the berry growing industry and to combat the ever increasing inroads of Japanese berry growers in this region." The editorial notes that Japanese were leasing land for strawberries, and probably lowering the prices for the fruit. The pre-cooling plant would allow white farmers to switch into a more lucrative crop that wasn't reliant on immigrant labor[14].

The company published an ad in the Mountain View High School yearbook in 1929[15].

The plant was in operations at least into the 1930's[16].


Location Years Address Details
Mountain View 1923


  1. August 1922 Ice and Refrigeration
  2. Coast News In Brief: California Fruit News, July 29, 1922.
  3. Pre-cooling Opens Up New Vistas of Fruit Prosperity: San Jose Evening News, May 31, 1923.
  4. April 1922 Coast Banker.
  5. Victor Stanquist: In Eugene Sawyer, History of Santa Clara County, Historic Record Co., 1923.
  6. Victor Stanquist: in Eugene Sawyer, History of Santa Clara County, California, 1922, Historic Record Co., pg 1196.
  7. Mountain View: Feburary 2, 1922 San Jose Evening News.
  8. Santa Clara Fresh Apricots to the East: July 8, 1922 Pacific Rural Press.
  9. Refrigeration Highly Developed: Express Gazette Journal, July 1922.
  10. Pre-cooling Opens Up New Vistas of Fruit Prosperity: San Jose Evening News, May 31, 1923.
  11. Pre-cooled Cots Bring Good Prices: San Jose Evening News, July 21, 1923
  12. Pre-cooled Cots Bring Good Prices: San Jose Evening News, July 21, 1923
  13. Apricots Sell High in New York City: San Jose Evening News, July 21, 1923
  14. The Mountain View Plant: In May 19, 1922 San Jose Evening News. This article's a bit surprising because the Evening News seemed to have less anti-immigrant fervor than other papers. The fervor wasn't always directed at the Japanese; there were similar charges being directed against Italian immigrants in 1919. As with the Japanese, the concerns centered on new immigrants working in the field, then becoming crew bosses, leasing the land, and finally owning the land.
  15. [ 1929 Mountain View High School yearbook
  16. Mountain View: In Works Progress Administration Writers' Project, California: California: A Guide to the Golden State. "The box-cars on the sidings at MOUNTAIN VIEW, (37m alt, 3308 pop) , are loaded with the produce of the town's pre-cooling plant, packing houses, and canneries, where the pick of surrounding orchards and berry patches is brought for processing.