Back in August, I mentioned how the SP valuation maps had convinced me I needed to redo the tracks in Campbell. I finally decided to fix two major flaws: to add a team track and move the Hyde Cannery down a foot so I'd have room for Sunsweet (California Prune and Apricot Growers) Plant #1.
The track changes were done within a couple weeks, but the Sunsweet packing house has been lingering for a few weeks. Here's some photos to show my progress.
But first, let's check out the prototype building!
(If I was modeling a few years later than my chosen 1932, I wouldn't need separate buildings for Hyde and Sunsweet; Hyde sold out to Sunsweet in 1937, and the Hyde Cannery became the Campbell Cooperative Dryer. That site was famous for a forty-eight tunnel dehydrator that could process 480 tons of fruit a day.)
By 1917, after several co-operative collapses, speculator binges, and arguing, the rest of the prune and apricot growers were thinking that joining a single, large co-op might help them. Those growers, as well as forty five packing houses in California, signed up to join this single, new co-operative - the California Prune and Apricot Growers. The list of initial packers included all the big names I've been seeing in my research: A & C Ham, George Herbert, J.W. Chilton, O. A. Harlan, Warren Dried Fruit, Pacific Fruit Products, Inderrieden (all in San Jose), George Hyde and Farmers Union in Campbell, Gem City Packing Company and Curtis Fruit Company in Los Gatos, and a scattering of other packing houses from Red Bluff to Santa Paula. The co-op had the production and storage capacity, and had enough of the market to get decent prices for their crops. The Campbell plant, for some reason, got labeled Plant #1.
And Sunsweet did well - well enough that it still exists, and still controls two-thirds of the world's prune supply. It had its drama - Couchman's The Sunsweet Story is filled with the troubles facing the industry and the co-operative. Reading it's a bit like reading the Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire, with all sorts of names, ancient battles, grand monuments (like Plant #7 on the south side of San Jose) and cunning ploys, but in between, it's scattered with enough facts to help me with my modeling.
John C. Gordon photos shows what the inside of the Campbell facility probably looked like with modern equipment and hordes of men and women packing the Sunsweet prunes into attractive Sunsweet boxes. A 20,000 fuel oil tank in the ground ran the boiler for the steam and hot water.
It must not have been a fun place if you were a truck driver. The plant is squashed tight against the Campbell Ave. businesses on the north, and has a remarkably small lot on the south end which must have been a pain for maneuvering trucks. Some photos from the 1960's hint show forklifts and crates littering Central Ave.
Unfortunately, it's a cramped space, so I'm not planning on building any of the building extensions seen on the Campbell map, and I'll hold off on any of the accessory buildings until I've figured out what will fit in the allotted space.
Sunsweet Plant #1 has been a bit going slow; first, I had problems with warping because of the solvent in the contact cement, then held off on building the platforms until I restocked my double stick tape from the local art supply store. I'll need to work to get the freight doors and loading docks painted before I can start assembling the model. It's amazing how those little hiccups can slow down a model.
Next step: painting, assembling, and detailing.