Security Warehouse and Cold Storage

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Summary
Business

Cold Storage Warehouse
Main Location

San Jose
Active

1920-

Security Warehouse and Cold Storage was a refrigerated warehouse intended for the fruit packing industry. The plant existed for many years just east of San Jose's Market Street railroad depot at First and Bassett Streets.

The company was founded in 1920 as a joint effort between several packing house and fruit businessmen, with the initial stock bought by the Herbert Packing Company, Richmond-Chase, Pratt-Low Preserving Company, J.F. Pyle & Son, and J. C. Ainsley Packing[1] . In 1920, E.E. Chase of Richmond Chase was president, F.A. Wilder of Pratt-Low, Vice-President, and J.O. Patton, Secretary and General Manager. The main building was built by Frank Hoyt, a prolific San Jose builder, on the site of the former Knox-Goodrich mansion located on North First Street. A 1915 Sanborn map shows house in exact middle of lot.

An additional warehouse was built in 1925 on the north side of the railroad tracks between Second and Third Street[2].

The August 25, 1932 San Jose Evening News noted that the warehouse was shipping 25 freight cars of pears and two cars of berries daily.

The History of Santa Clara County described the business in this way[3]:

The spacious mansion occupied first by Mrs. Sarah L. Knox-Goodrich and afterwards by Capt. C. H. Maddox and family on First Street, opposite the Southern Pacific depot, has been removed and now the grounds covering nearly an acre and extending from First to Second Streets, holds the large and costly concrete buildings of the Security Warehouse and Cold Storage Company. The improvements were started in the spring of 1920.

The enterprise is the result of a determination on the part of local business men who decided that the time had come when the Santa Clara Valley would support such a plant. They organized a $500,000 corporation, all local capital, secured the desired site and started operation. The building is of concrete, except a small portion of the roof over some dry storage rooms, and is the most modern in every particular that the directors could find in visits to like plants throughout the country. There are in reality four distinct buildings, each accessible to the other and separated by double fireproof doors. Floors are all of concrete as are the supports in all the main parts.

The location of the plant is ideal, facing both First and Second Streets, and adjoining the main line of the Southern Pacific. There are two side tracks at the railroad site with a storage capacity of twelve cars for either loading or unloading. The fourth side is a very wide drive for the use of teams and unloading auto trucks.

The building is 145x275 feet, of two-story and basement design, and is equipped with an elevator of great capacity for the purpose of getting goods to the upper story and to the basement, all goods being unloaded on the main floor, to which the platform from either drive or railroad give direct access. Also there is a driveway for trucks or teams leading onto this floor that full loads intended for storage above or below may be placed directly on the elevator without trucking.

There are three distin [sic] storage system being installed to care for the different classes of goods expected to be handled: Direct cool air for the care of fresh fruit; a brine storage system for egg-keeping; and a direct expansion of ammonia system for the freezing of fresh fruits and meats. By the latter means it is said fruit may be frozen and kept for a period of several years, coming out with all the appearance and taste as if freshly picked.

The fresh fruit storage will be invaluable to growers and canners of this valley in case of an abundance of fruit ripening at once or in case of railroad trouble in shipping, as it can be placed here and kept until conditions for its use are right.

The company is also installing an ice-making plant and already has contracted for a part of the capacity of the plant to local concerns. This plant will be equipped with the latest apparatus for purifying the water before it is frozen and for the sanitary handling of the product.

The whole plant has a capacity of about 10,000 tons of storage besides the room being given up to storage of heavy vehicles, such as autos, tractors, and the like, of which there are many already in the building. This latter space is easily convertible into the other varieties if it is found there is demand enough to warrant such an alteration. E. E. Chase is president of the company, and J. Q. Patton is secretary.

Locations

Location Years Address Details
San Jose 1920, 1950 350 North First Street
San Jose 1950 380 North Second Street

Photos

Security Warehouse and Cold Storage John C. Gordon collection, San Jose State University Library

References

  1. Re: Security Warehouse and Cold Storage: California Railroad Comission. Decision #6944, December 17, 1919.
  2. City Landmark Application for 438-442 Second Street. The building was moved in 1925 from the new warehouse site according to the application.
  3. Eugene Sawyer, History of Santa Clara County, 1922