Los Gatos Fruit Packing Company

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1882 - 1888

Los Gatos Canning Company

Hunt Brothers Packing Company

The Los Gatos Fruit Packing Company was an early fruit canner in Los Gatos, CA. The company was founded in 1882 by fourteen Los Gatos residents Officers were Samuel Templeton, president; James E. Gordon, secretary: J. W. Lyndon, treasurer; Robert Walker and Michael Miller, directors[1]. The initial plant a 60 x 80 foot building was on North Santa Cruz Ave between Bean Ave. and Main Street, with the buildings eventually extending all the way to Lyndon Ave; that initial plant could handle about 5,000 cases of fruit in a season. In 1882, the company made its own cans - 3500 a day - on the upper floor of the cannery. The cannery could produce 3000 cans of fruit per day with 45 staff, and planned to increase its output to 10,000 cans per day. Mr. Groom was the supervisor[2]. The company shipped 18 cars of canned fruit in the 1886 season[3]. The first incarnation of the company went bankrupt in 1888.

Los Gatos Fruit Packing Company was then bought by by San Francisco-based D. L. Beck and Son, which added a spur connecting it to the railroad and increased production to 50,000 cases of fruit annually, employing 250 to 300 workers during the peak season. [4]. George H. Hooke was the superintendent of the cannery in 1892, and bought the company in 1894[5].

The cannery was sold by Hooke to Hunt Brothers Packing Company in 1906[6][7][8]; Hunts moved the plant to the northeast corner of Santa Cruz and Saratoga Ave. in 1907, and doubled the plant's capacity.

Peaches were a common crop for the cannery, both in early days and in early days and as late as the early 1930's[9]. A 1904 article notes that at least some of the product was being sold to Europe[10].

The 1907-era buildings may still exist, repurposed as stores on the northeast corner of Santa Cruz and Saratoga.


Location Years Address Details
Los Gatos None Santa Cruz Avenue
Los Gatos 1890, 1893, 1907 57 N. Santa Cruz Avenue (1890, 1893, 1907) (Los Gatos Canning Company)


Sketch of plant, 1900


  1. Sawyers, Eugene T. History of Santa Clara County, 1922, Historic Record Company. Chapter 12.
  2. Agricultural Notes: The Los Gatos Cannery. July 29, 1882 Pacific Rural Press.
  3. Fruit Going East: March 13, 1886 San Jose Daily News
  4. Los Gatos Planning Department document
  5. Timeline: Los Gatos: May 21, 2006 San Jose Mercury News
  6. Los Gatos: Negotiations Pending for Transfer of Gem City Cannery to Hunt Brothers. August 24, 1906 San Jose Mercury News. Negotiations were still pending for a sale.
  7. Stephanie Ross Matthews, Los Gatos, 200x, Arcadia Publishing.
  8. Los Gatos: Charles H. Hooke Transfers Large Packing Interests to Hunt Brothers, of Haywards]], August 26, 1906 San Jose Mercury News. Mr. Hooke: "Arrangements were consummated about one week ago to transfer the majority of the capital stock of the Los Gatos Canneries to the Hunt Brothers Company, of Hayward, who will take over management and operation of the plant. With the exception that Mr. Hooke will have no active part in the management of affairs, there will be absolutely no change whatsoever in the personnel of the plant. Fred Baker will be promoted from superintendent to the position of general manager. William F. Hooke will remain as secretary... The plant will be operated upon a much larger scale hereafter than heretofore, and it is contemplated to continue packing this season a month or six weeks longer than on former seasons, until, perhaps, late in October, on peaches and pears to be shipped from localities which raise later fruits. Mr. Hooke has made this move in order to free himself from being confined to any one plant, as it will enable him to work harmoniously with the Hunt Brothers Company in the handling of his Maraschino cherries at this point, and also give him a free hand to operate his Watsonvill plant, which was incorporated Tuesday, and other interests which will take more of his time..."
  9. Agricultural Review: August 13, 1898 Pacific Rural Press "Peach Canning - San Jose Mercury, Aug. 7: The Los Gatos cannery is now running on the peach crop. The last few days of cool weather have been a great help to fruit raisers on account of the fruit ripening more slowly and giving the growers and packers a better chance to handle it."
  10. Agricultural Review: February 28, 1904 Pacific Rural Press: "George H. Hooke, the manager of the Los Gatos canneries, who engineered the sale of the last year crop, is now on his way to Europe to negotiate the sale of the crop of 1904 for the canneries, and will include the fruit of the Los Gatos Fruit Growers' Union, also."