Pacific Fruit Products

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Summary
Business

Dried Fruit Packer
Active

1900-1922
Brands

Sanitas[1]
Aliases

Ernst Luehning Company, Luehning and Barngrover.
Successors

Sunsweet


Pacific Fruit Products was a dried fruit packer in San Jose and Campbell in existence from 1901 through at least 1922. The company was connected with the Ernst Luehning Company, a Suisun-based packer. The company produced dried fruit, almonds, jam, and marmalade[2][3]. Luhening had been in the fruit business in Suisun since at least 1896 when Luehning moved from Newcastle, California. The company had a large plant in Suisun by 1900[4]. The plant was also known as Luehning and Barngrover[5]. Luehning was still president of the company in 1914[6]

The company apparently had thoughts about canning; Robert Wilson, the manager in 1915, visited Fortuna, California in 1915 and talked about the possibilities for a cannery there. He mentioned that both fruit and vegetables was needed to keep a cannery running all season, and suggested the area consider canning pears from the area[7]. Wilson had been associated with Luehning since 1902[8].

Pacific Fruit Products in the Santa Clara Valley

Pacific Fruit Products appears to have initially been operated out of a former livery stable in Campbell, selling in 1903 to the Central Santa Clara Fruit Company[9]. Pacific Fruit Products also shows up in receipts for firewood shipped by Hihn in Santa Cruz[10]. In 1903, the company built a packing house along the former South Pacific Coast railroad line on the southwest side of San Jose, billed as the Ernst Luehning Company[11].


That plant, at 740 West San Carlos Street San Jose plant, was a large three-story barn-like structure, with grader on fourth floor, bins and grader on 3rd, bins and processor on 2nd, warehouse on first, and box and shook assembly in a separate building. The plant had a sulfur house on 3rd floor, and separate boiler house with 6000 gallon tank on the east side of the building. The plant’s address usually appears in city directories as “at San Carlos St. and the narrow gauge railroad tracks”. The building apparently was built in the summer of 1903; a Southern Pacific railroad drawing dated March 1903 shows "Proposed Building" on the site[12]. The plant was also known as Luehning and Barngrover[13]. Cost records show the spur built in June 1903[14].

The company’s San Jose dried fruit packing house was a contract packer for the California Prune and Apricot Growers (Sunsweet) in 1917. The company also packed peaches for the California Peach Growers in 1916[15] and cherries for the California Fruit Exchange in 1920[16]. The plant was sold to Sunsweet in 1922 for use as a shipping and receiving station[17].

Sawyer's 1922 history of Santa Clara County notes that James Edwin Blaurock was the manager of the San Jose plant. Blaurock arrived in San Jose in 1911, and became plant manager in 1916. In 1922, they were packing for Sunsweet during the season, and also maintaining a jam department and packed cherries and other green fruit [18]. Blaurock continued as a packing house manager, and shows up in the same job on the 1930 U.S. Census.

Pacific Fruit Products in Suisun

Pacific Fruit Product’s Suisun plant existed from at least 1900, sharing the town with a J.K. Armsby plant[19]. A 1916 article[20] mentioned that the plant had been rented to the California Peach Growers, and described it as:

"The plant will handle three cars of peaches a day and has a storage capacity of 2,000 tons. The peaches from Marysville and the Northern San Joaquin Valley will be handled at this packing house. A selling contract has been entered into with this firm to handle the peach output from the Santa Clara Valley in the packing house at San Jose."

Locations

Location Years Address Details
San Francisco 1912 210 California

New can

San Francisco 1918[21], 1919, 1922 112 Market Street

Santa Marina Building.

San Jose 1900-1922 740 West San Carlos Street Leased to Rosenberg Brothers in 1906, Labeled as American Fruit Product Company in 1903 on Sanborn maps. Labeled as "Luehning and Barngrover" on Southern Pacific 1903 drawings.
Suisun 1912, 1916 Union Ave. between Ohio and Broadway[22]

References

  1. Advertisement. July 20, 1918 California Fruit News
  2. July 28, 1900 Pacific Rural Press
  3. 1922 Directory of San Francisco Manufacturers.
  4. July 28, 1900 Pacific Rural Press
  5. Southern Pacific, "South Pacific Coast Proposed Spur for Luehning and Barngrover, March 1903. Drawing C.D. 2428. At California State Railroad Museum.
  6. Fresh Deciduous Fruit (News): October 10, 1914 California Fruit News. "Mr Ernst Luehning of the Pacific Fruit Products company, San Francisco, has fully recovered from a sudden severe illness experienced a few days ago."
  7. Cannery May Be Built Fortuna, Humbolt Co.: January 26, 1915 San Jose Mercury Herald.
  8. Suburban News: August 3, 1902 San Jose Mercury News. "Ernest Luehning, President of the Ernest Luehning Packing Company of Suisun, is spending a few days with Robert Wilson."
  9. Ready For Business: July 24, 1903 San Jose Evening News: "The Central Santa Clara Packing Company of Campbell has purchased the up-to-date equipment of the Ernest Luehning Packing House at Campbell and is now prepared for business at the building formerly occupied by the Luehning Company, opposite the Ainsley Cannery".
  10. Hihn papers, U.C. Santa Cruz.
  11. New Packing Houses Erected In the Valley: June 25, 1903 San Jose Evening News "The Ernst Luehning company's packing house... is also nearing completion."
  12. July 28, 1900 Pacific Rural Press
  13. Southern Pacific, "South Pacific Coast Proposed Spur for Luehning and Barngrover, March 1903. Drawing C.D. 2428. At California State Railroad Museum.
  14. Southern Pacific Railroad, "Statistical statements 1895-1919, Coast Division". Volume 1. At California State Railroad Museum. In "Sidings and Spurs". The Statistical Statements break down capital expenses for the railroad by project, and indicate the date of the work, and costs for labor, material, and freight.
  15. Peach Men Are Ready for Big Business: July 22, 1916 Lodi Sentinel. “A selling contract has been entered into with this firm to handle the peach output from the Santa Clara Valley in the packing house at San Jose."
  16. To Market Cherries: April 24, 1920 San Jose Evening News
  17. Western Canner and Packer
  18. James Edwin Blaurock. In Eugene Sawyer, History of Santa Clara County, Historic Record Co.,1922.
  19. History of the Solano and Napa Counties, California, 1912
  20. Peach Men Are Ready for Big Business: July 22, 1916 Lodi Sentinel
  21. Advertisement: July 20, 1918 California Fruit News
  22. Southern Pacific Company, Station Map Suisun-Fairfield. 1925. Reprinted in "SP Trainline Fall 2015" (Southern Pacific Historical and Technical Society magazine).