Phoenix Packing

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Dried Fruit Packer


Guggenhime and Company

Phoenix Packing was a California-based dried fruit processor existing from around 1900 through 1920. Phoenix was headquartered in San Francisco, but had packing houses in Chico, Fowler, Fresno, San Jose, and Selma. The president, Mr. Gartenlaub, had been a fruit business veteran with Fresno ties. Alex Goldstein was another principal. The name varied: the company was listed as Phoenix Dried Fruit in 1904, and as "Phoenix Raisin Seeding and Packing Co" in 1906[1].

In 1905, Phoenix was going to merge with other large independent packers - Castle Brothers, Guggenhime and Company, and Rosenberg Brothers in 1905. However, Rosenberg Brothers apparently backed out after snooping on the others's business[2]. The Oregonian stated things even more malevolently, claiming "the [dried fruit] market has been controlled by three firms: the Phoenix Packing Company, Guggenhime and Co., and Rosenberg Brothers... the three companies for a time had absolute control of all dried fruit on the coast and fixed the prices. The different fruits were divided up between the firms. To Rosenberg Bros fell the task of taking care of all the apples from Oregon and California. It seems this firm succeeded in cornering the market and it is charged that it failed to divided the profits with the other two companies in the combine."[3]. The company also had a partial ownership in the Pacific Coast Seeded Raisin Company with Castle Brothers between 1905 and 1920[4]. Phoenix also sold fruit to Armour during the anti-trust fights, along with Castle Brothers[5].

Phoenix Packing was merged into Guggenhime and Company by 1920[6]. Both brands were advertised together in the California Fruit News, March 18, 1922.

Phoenix Packing in San Jose

Phoenix Packing opened a packing house in San Jose in the summary of 1900[7]. The packing house on Ryland Street was large - 140 feet long, fifty feet wide, and three stories high. It was also built in two weeks, and ready for fruit deliveries that summer. The construction, done by H. P. Ledyard, cost $10,000 and required 14 carloads of lumber. (Leyard had built the majority of the packing houses in San Jose[8] The Evening News article on the plant describes the interior. The newly-constructed packing house was managed by Ed S. Moulton, son of Stillman Moulton[9]. 8x8 timbers held up the building, with 8 inch thick, 12 inch deep girders holding up the floor. The first floor held the office, storage, 30 horsepower engine, and two 4,000 lb Howes brand scales. The packing room was on the second floor ("in the west end of the there is plenty of natural light".) "The warehouse is not a shack by any means, but one of the strongest structures in the packing house row on Ryland Street near the broad gauge depot."

The 1906 George Lawrence aerial photograph of the area does not show a Phoenix Packing building. However, the most westerly of the packing houses along Ryland Street is three stories tall and matches the dimensions. That building has signs declaring it to be Rosenberg Brothers, suggesting that Rosenberg Brothers had some connection with the business at the time.

Phoenix moved to a new plant on the south side of Bassett Street near New Street in 1907. Phoenix's name was mentioned in Sobrato Development, Deed restrictions on land use: environmental restriction for land at 333 West Julian St, and mentions the land was sold to Phoenix on March 12, 1907. Guggenhime and Company inherited the property in their 1920 merger.


Location Years Address Details
Chico 1905


Fowler 1900
Fresno 1900 Destroyed by fire, 1922[10].
San Francisco 1907 118 Davis St.[11]
San Francisco 1912, 1916 16 California St Also listed in ads, including May 27, 1916 California Fruit News.
San Jose 1900, 1902, 1904, 1918 Ryland St. near San Pedro St.
San Jose 1906, 1907, 1911 285 W. Julian (1911 San Jose City Directory. 1915 San Jose City Directory describes as Julian at the corner of Pleasant Street. 1915 Sanborn map shows plant on New Street at Pleasant.) Later became Guggenhime & Co.
San Jose 1907 Bassett St
Selma 1900


  1. Oct 6, 1906 San Francisco Call.
  2. Lawsuit over the failed Oct 6, 1905 San Francisco Call.
  3. Fruit Trust is Smashed: October 6, 1905 Oregonian
  4. March 20, 1920 California Fruit News.
  5. Packer's Consent Decree
  6. March 20, 1920 California Fruit News.
  7. July 28, 1900 Pacific Rural Press cites San Jose Mercury News declaring Phoenix Packing started building a three story warehouse, 150 feet long by 50 feet wide in Santa Clara County.
  8. Fast Building Record: Costly Fruit Packing Structure is Rushed to Completion: August 15, 1900 San Jose Evening News
  9. Fruit Growers, Attention! August 16, 1900 San Jose Evening News. "Cash paid for all kinds of fruits."
  10. April 8, 1922 California Fruit News notes that "the plant originally of the Phoenix Packing Company at Fresno, belonging to Guggenhime and Co and which was leased by them to the California Peach and Fig Growers, was destroyed by fire on March 31 and the damage is placed at $200,000..."
  11. 1907 Crocker-Langley City Directory for San Francisco