Packing Houses of Santa Clara County

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Welcome to "Packing Houses of Santa Clara County", a Wiki for recording and sharing the history of fruit-related businesses in the Santa Clara Valley.

Not sure what to do now that you're here?

  • Click on All Pages to the left to see the list of businesses and people.
  • Type a street name, town, or cannery name into the search field above to find interesting articles. ("Ryland Street", "Contadina", "Edith Daley").
  • Or read the long-winded stuff below.

Introduction

From the mid 1890's well into the 20th century, the Santa Clara Valley was the source for fruit in the United States whether fresh, dried, or canned. If your grandparents ever ate prunes, those prunes almost certainly came from the Santa Clara Valley. Just like in later booms, entrepreneurs started new companies to become rich off prunes, dried apricots, and fruit cocktail, and some of those tiny companies grew and dominated their respective industries.

This wiki, "Packing Houses of Santa Clara County", is a place to record and share the history of the fruit-related industries in the Santa Clara Valley. These pages collect details on the businesses that tried to score big on dried fruit, as well as the related businesses that served them.

Each industry gets its own page: for example Andrews and Coykendall Ham Company, George E. Hyde & Company, or United States Products. Pages also exist to show all the businesses in San Jose, or all the dried fruit packers in the area.

It's a Wiki: How Do You Contribute?

It's also a Wiki - a set of web pages where we all work together to write down the stories, refine those stories together, and add new details as we find them. This isn't a history book you read - we need your contributions to help discover the history, or identify connections between companies, or highlight the stories of the people involved.

The guidelines are simple: we focus on the Santa Clara Valley and fruit industry, but it's okay to add the stories of similar businesses in other parts of California, or the local businesses that supplied the canneries and packing houses. Many of the local canneries were run by large companies with sites elsewhere (Del Monte / California Packing Corporation, for example), or had owners with connections to the Central Valley or Sacramento. There's also the companies that made the canning machinery, made the boxes, or provided lumber. If you know of a person, place, or business that's connected with an existing entry in "Packing Houses of Santa Clara County", go ahead and add their details.

Most of all, read the stories and learn about the Valley when the crazy ones were all drying prunes.