San Jose SPINS industries Gazeteer

Reading through the San Jose SPINS industry track diagrams can be confusing. Many of the industries mentioned no longer exist. Trying to understand what sort of freight might have been delivered or shipped from a particular track is not always apparent.

This is a (partial) list of the sidings on the San Jose area SPINS. For each, I'll list a bit of history about the location or details about the industry at that site. Feedback and additional information would be welcome!

804 DMC - Del Monte Corp. #51. Del Monte's Plant 51, located on Bush Street at the Alameda, was a dried fruit packing plant and predated the Del Monte merger. The site was originally the Griffin and Skelley dried fruit packing company; Griffin and Skelley merged with several others into the California Packing Corporation / Del Monte brand in 1916. The south end of the existing building dates from before the merger. The newer building was built around 1926. WP's tracks were on the Bush Street side (next to their San Jose terminal), and SP's were on the White Street/ Diridon Station side.
(1926 photo)

805 Pik-Nik Food Products / George L. Burger. According to the Dome of Foam, this spur served the "Spud house". More precisely, the warehouse held George L. Burger, a produce and (mpotato wholesaler who still has an office in San Francisco. "The folks at the Spud House had good hearts - tramps reguarly showed-up there to have their shopping bags filled with french fries. The place smelled like McDonalds." The Spud House's site was an empty lot in 1940, with homes on Sunol Ave. visible in a Will Whittaker photo. (Compare the photos on 86 and 94 of Prune County Railroading.)

809 DMC - Del Monte Corp #3. California Packing Company / Del Monte's cannery, once the largest in the world, located on Auzerais St. at Sunol St. The plant was also served by WP. Preservation San Jose has a huge history on the cannery, now torn down and replaced with housing. The first cannery was built at the site in 1891; the predecessor" California Fruit Canners Association, San Jose branch" was merged into the California Packing Corporation in 1916. The site was rebuilt and expanded up until the 1940's. The plant finally closed in 1999.

810 (unmarked). The end of this spur had been a roofing materials and packing house at various times.
The packing house at the site is listed as "Pacific Fruit Products" on a 1915 Sanborn map, "Abinante and Nola" on a Sanborn map updated in 1950. The packing house, a three story high wooden building, appears to have been torn down between 1948 and 1956 according to photos from The site currently holds a modern corrugated steel building.

812, 813: Cheim Lumber: Formerly William Dougherty’s Santa Clara Valley Mill and Lumber, became Cheim Lumber Company in the 1930’s. Converted to Big Four Equipment Rental in 1997, currently empty. Cheim also had a retail outlet on The Alameda in San Jose. Their outlet there burned in the 1950’s.

816 Standard Oil. Distribution site, very early. The original brick building with shutters still sits at the plant. The SP spur into their site also was switched by the Western Pacific from the opposite end of the spur.

820 Hank and Frank Drayage. Formerly a warehouse for the San Martin Vineyards Company of San Martin, CA.; old Sanborn maps also mention their Castlewood brand. The building still sports some wine casks fronts mounted against the wall to remind us of the previous owners.

The Filice family owned the San Martin Vineyards; they're also connected with the Filice and Perrelli cannery, which started in Gilroy and moved to Richmond. The Bancroft Library's oral history project has a neat interview with Joseph Perrelli about operating a cannery.

822-827 U. S. Products Corporation. Cannery.

830 Contadina cannery. In the 1930's, this was owned by Sunsweet: pictures from the era show the Sunsweet logo on the Lincoln Ave. end of the building. Sunsweet (Prune and Apricot Growers co-operative) was formed in San Jose in 1917. By 1963, it had nine packing plants. The site recently was an office park, but the buildings have since been torn down for housing.

870, 871: (vacant) Formerly Semaira cannery. Storage buildings still exist as of 2008.

871: Parker Roofing, Larson Products. Portions of warehouse for former Semaira cannery.

872, 873 vacant. Prior to 1933, this was the Ainsley cannery; it exported canned fruit to Europe. The Drew Canning Company bought the Ainsley cannery in 1933 (according to a Campbell newspaper story). According to Sunnyvale's Olson family, Drew Canning was a co-operative. The Olsons sold eight tons of apricots to Ainsley in 1931; they got a check from the co-op for $15.21 in December 1932 for that crop. Drew sold the cannery to Hunts in 1946.

876 Campbell team track. This track doesn't appear on old Sanborn maps o .

878 Conmat Building Materials (pit)

880 Economy Lumber Co. Still there. They've even got an old sawdust burner rusting in the middle of the site, and visible from highway 17.

900 Pacific Supply

903 Larson Ladder Co. Started in 1897, built ladders for the agricultural industry. One of the founder's children started Larson Pallet and Crating which still exists.

904 Diana Fruit Preserving / Gagni Brothers Packing. Diana Fruit Preserving was founded in 1921, and manufactured Maraschino cherries, and produced them for fruit cocktail products. Bought up and sold off, they're still in Santa Clara.

905 Brown Co.

906 Woodall Industries

907 Clark Equipment Company, / James Dunn / Levy Zentner Company. Clark Equipment was a material handling company (forklifts, etc) based back east. A. Levy and J. Zentner is a produce distribution and grocery wholesale company started in 1907.

909 H. S. Crocker Company. Commercial printer

1001 Campbell Lumber.

1003 R. V. Cloud. Plumbing wholesaler. Still there.

1006 IBM - Card Plant. Punch card plants in Los Gatos? Yup. IBM used to be all over the Santa Clara Valley. IBM's System Communications Division (SCD) even did software development in Los Gatos (actually on Guadalupe Mines Road near the dump), though the Research Triangle Site in North Carolina took over from them in 1978.

1007 vacant

1010 Bard-Parker Division, Becton Dickinson of California. Health care manufacturer. Known for scalpels. Still exists.

1012 Vasona Team Track (with ramp). Now office buildings.

1020-1022 Paul Masson Vineyards. Paul Masson's warehouse and manufacturing used to be at what's now the intersection of Highway 85 and Saratoga Ave. The site's now houses. Old postcards show a modern building and a "champagne fountain" out front; the station on the railroad got the name "Champagne Fountain" from Masson.

Photo here.

1060 Woelffel Cannery. One of Cupertino's canneries, built probably around 1920. Photos of the buildings are available in the Library of Congress's Historic American Engineering Record / Historic American Landscapes Survey web site. Now housing.

1065 Monta Vista team track

1085 Kaiser Aluminum Company / Kaiser Cement and Gypsum. Now Hansen Permanente. Multiple times a week, the site gets several hoppers of coal and ships covered hoppers of cement. According to Wikipedia, the majority of the cement for Shasta Dam came from this site.