Guggenhime and Company

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Summary
Business

Dried Fruit Packer
Main Location

San Francisco
Active

1893-1946
Brands

Pansy, Rosedale, Daphne, Carnation Pink, Heliotrope
Predecessors

Phoenix Packing
Successors

Hunt Brothers Packing Company

Guggenhime and Company was a large independent dried fruit packer in California, founded in 1897 by David J. Guggenhime[1]. Guggenhime had packing houses in the Santa Clara Valley, San Joaquin Valley, Sacramento Valley, and Southern California. Guggenhime packed "dried fruit, raisins, nuts, [and] honey"[2], packing under flower brand names: Pansy, Rosedale, Daphne, Carnation Pink, and Heliotrope[3]

Guggenhime packing house, Winters CA. 1911 postcard[4].

David's brother, Berthold Guggenhime was vice president before 1918, but after David's death in 1921 ran the company. Berthold Guggenhime was the company president in 1921, with Bert Katz, vice-president, Lester Lacher, second vice-president, Silas Harris, secretary, and Martin Lemeke, treasurer[5]. Supposedly, the company became the largest independent dried fruit packer as Rosenberg Brothers declined[6].

Guggenhime planned a merger with several other dried fruit processors in Castle Brothers, Rosenberg Brothers, and Phoenix Packing in 1905, but the deal collapsed under accusations that Rosenberg Brothers used the merger as a ruse to gather competitive information[7]. Guggenhime was also a founding member of the Dried Fruit Association of California in 1907, with D. J. Guggenhime representing the company.

Phoenix Packing was merged into Guggenhime and Company by 1920[8]. Both brands were advertised together in the California Fruit News, March 18, 1922.

Guggenhime was bought by Hunt Brands in April 1946[9] for a sale price of $1,500,000[10]. Hunts left the dried fruit business in September 1949. Guggenhime's last president was John Vellis, who had started at the company in 1904 and worked his way up from office boy. At the time of the merger, Guggenhime had plants in San Jose, Modesto, and Fresno, with offices in San Francisco, and was the second largest dried fruit operation in California. "He remembered that during the deadly experience of influenza in 1917, practically all the workers in the San Francisco plant were laid low, and he put on a mask and worked in the plant supervising the packing."[11] Vellis also claimed that 40 to 50 percent of all dried fruit was exported before World War II.

Guggenhime also owned the Fontana dried pasta brand, and brought that brand to Hunts during the purchase. The Fontana plant moved from South San Francisco to Hayward after the purchase[12]..

Guggenhime and Company in San Jose

Guggenhime had two packing houses, side by side, off of Julian Street in San Jose at least during the mid-1930's. The property site (and perhaps the buildings) were inherited from Phoenix Packing which had been on the site since 1907. John C. Gordon took multiple pictures of the three-story wood and brick plants. More details are available from contemporary lawsuits. A 1936 lawsuit over death in elevator hints at the internal arrangement of the packing house. John J. Whelan, the superintendent, died when crushed between floors; his widow sued the insurance company because his life insurance policy paid double for deaths associated with elevators[13]. A 1943 advertisement solicited men for the "long" dried fruit packing season[14]. The buildings still existed as late as 1945; a newspaper article notes a new concrete boiler house being built in 1934[15], and a building permit in 1945 shows that Guggenhime still occupied its three story buildings[16].

By 1951, the former Guggenhime buildings appeared as Food Machinery Corporation on Southern Pacific engineering drawings[17].

Guggenhime and Company in Santa Ana

Guggenhime & Company also had plants in Southern California, with a walnut processing facility. A 1921 news report noted that Guggenhime would be paying out a half million dollars in payments to walnut farmers[18]. The manager that year was "Manager Smith". The article mentions walnuts being harvested for 23 years since 1898, but it's unclear if that time represents cultivation in general, or Guggenhime's time in the area. Another source claims Fern Bishop built the Guggenhime packing house in 1914[19]. Walnuts were the most common crop, responsible for more than 60% of the payments during the packing house's life, but the plant also packed fruit and honey.

Locations

Location Plant # Years Address Details
College City 1909
Colusa 1909
Dinuba 1934 125 S. M Street[20].
Fresno Plant 4, 8,12 1909, 1930s[21] Santa Fe Avenue
Hanford 1909
Rucker 1909
San Francisco 1902 118 Davis St.[22].
San Francisco 1909 Filbert and Sansome St.
San Francisco 1912, 1921 100 California Street
San Jose Plant 16, 17 1927, 1935 261 Julian Street Julian and Pleasant Street. Formerly Phoenix Packing.
Santa Ana 1909 ???
Selma 1909, 1920 Packed walnuts.
Winters 1911 Photographed in 1911 with baseball being played behind the warehouse[23].

Photos

Plant 12, Fresno[24].

Plant 4 and 8, Fresno. Pop Laval Foundation.

Guggenhime and Company Dried Fruit Packing Plant 16 John C. Gordon Collection / San Jose Library

Guggenhime and Company Dried Fruit Packing Plant 17 John C. Gordon Collection / San Jose Library

Guggenhime & Company packing house, Santa Ana. Near Santa Ana Southern Pacific depot. U.C. Irvine Special Collections.

References

  1. David J. Guggenhime Passes Away: May 18, 1918 California Fruit News.
  2. 1916 California Fruit News advertisement.
  3. Advertisement: May 27, 1911 California Fruit News
  4. Calling All Sam Spades of Baseball History. The Pecan Park Eagle blog: Astros, Baseball History, and other Musings of Heart and Humor. Shows postcard from 1911 with baseball scene in front of Guggenhime packing house and Winters Canning Company.
  5. New Officers of Guggenhime & Co: June 1921 Western Canner and Packer
  6. John Reynolds and Michael J. Semas, Frenso, Arcadia Publishing, 20xx.
  7. October 6, 1905 San Francisco Call.
  8. March 20, 1920 California Fruit News.
  9. Guggenhime Plant Sold: news article Jun 17 1946, San Jose News "Guggenhime Plant Sold: Reports of court injunctions and other measures to halt the sale of Guggenhime & Co to Hunt Foods Inc. had not materialized today when the deed transfering the San Jose real estate was on file with County Recorder Charles A. Payne. The notice of intended sale of all the Guggenhime fruit-processing enterprises had been published a few weeks ago."
  10. Hunt Foods Asks for Issue of New Stock: February 28, 1946 Hayward Review
  11. April 6, 1950 Hayward Daily Review.
  12. The Huntsmen: Frank Driscoll: May 30, 1950 Hayward Daily Review
  13. Fitzpatrick v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. 15 Cal.App.2d 155
  14. "Guggenhime needs men for essential industry / dried fruit packing / long season: October 12, 1943 San Jose Evening News
  15. Boiler Room Will be Built at Cost of $5940: May 25, 1934 San Jose Evening News
  16. San Jose Building Permit 1945-000623-000-BD. Repair three story industrial building, expected cost $1,700. Building permit taken out by Earl Heple.
  17. San Jose: Proposed Track Repairs and Crossing for Food Machinery Corp.: Southern Pacific Coast Division Drawing #28067, August 23, 1951, drawn by R.W.S. E. O. Gibson collection, wx4.org.
  18. Walnut Buyers See Banner Year Ahead for Local Growers: August 29, 1921 Santa Ana Daily Register.
  19. Fern S. Bishop: in Samuel Armor, History of Orange County, Historic Record Co., Los Angeles, 1921. "In September, 1914, Mr. Bishop entered the building and contracting business for himself and has erected and equipped the following packing houses: the Guggenhime packing house and the Gowen and Willard packing house of Santa Ana; the Anaheim Walnut Growers Association packing house; the Fullerton Walnut packing house; the Golden Belt house of Fullerton (now the Benchley Packing Company); the Walnut packing house at Walnut. In Ventura County Mr. Bishop built and equipped the Saticoy packing house and reequipped the Santa Paula plant. At Whittier, Los Angeles County, he built and equipped the Whittier Walnut Growers Association house. It has a daily capacity of sixty tons. He also has to his credit the erecting and equipping of the packing houses at Irvine, at San Juan Capistrano, the Cudahy plant at Huntington Park and the Chino Walnut house. In 1920 he completed the packing house for the La Puente Valley Walnut Growers Association, the largest house of the kind in the world, with a capacity of 150 tons in ten hours, and it is the consensus of opinion that it is the most modern house for packing walnuts now in use, being fully equipped with machinery and appliances invented and patented by Mr. Bishop. He is now building a plant for the California Walnut Growers at Vernon for the manufacture of charcoal..."
  20. 1934 Visalia City Directory
  21. Sign on EBay suggests that company was established in 1897, and the Fresno plant was built in 1916.
  22. 1902 San Francisco City Directory. D. J. Guggenhime and I. Fleishman were the principals. David J. Guggenhime lived at 1101 Geary St.
  23. Calling All Sam Spades of Baseball History. The Pecan Park Eagle blog: Astros, Baseball History, and other Musings of Heart and Humor. Shows postcard from 1911 with baseball scene in front of Guggenhime packing house and Winters Canning Company.
  24. John Reynolds and Michael J. Semas, Frenso, Arcadia Publishing, 20xx.