Thursday, May 30, 2013

Note to Self: Never Ask A Canner His Age

Here's another wonderful article by the Queen of Letters for the Evening News, Edith Daley, as she uses up the paper's supply of exclamation points again.

The cynics reading this July 14, 1919 San Jose Evening News article back in the day probably sneered at the puff-piece journalism, but if we wondered what these places - and people - were like, Edith Daley tells us more than any other source.

Chase Plant Magnificent Says E. Daley
"How long have I been engaged in the fruit canning industry? Must I tell that?" asked E. E. Chase with a smile. "That is almost as bad as asking a woman to tell her age! " However, he did tell - that he came to the Golden Gate Packing company [4th Street between Julian and Washington] when he was a youngster, more than 40 years ago. "I was just a roustabout", he explained, with a reminiscent smile. Forty years of honest effort - rarely successful effort - of untiring zeal and irreproachable methods! E.N. Richmond adds to that his more than twenty years of like integrity and ability in the dried fruit industry, and together these successful business men blend experience and strong personalities into the "dream come true" that lies back of the gold-lettered sign.

"Elmer and Ed. We heard them call each other that. It was refreshing in the midst of a business camouflage of dignity that often seems afraid of upsetting! It visioned business as a great game that men play with much the same zeal with which they play ball on the corner lot or flew kites in their knee-trouser days."

Read the full article for details about the cannery on Stockton Street and the former Castle Brothers plant on Montgomery. Mr. Chase, who took particular interest in the cannery, notes that the plans for the new building took a back seat to keeping the trees along the Stockton St. side. The SP drawing for the Richmond-Chase spur, or a group photo of workers at the Stockton Ave plant for some ideas about the trees they were unwilling to cut down. Also check out the stock cars bringing fruit to the plant one busy year.

[Employee photo from the San Jose State University special collections, as part of a photo album of Richmond Chase memories.]

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