AKA: Spreckels Sugar Company, Processing Factory #1, Spreckels, CA; Spreckels Sugar Processing Plant, Spreckels, CA

Structure Type: built works - industrial buildings - factories

Designers: Weeks, William H., Architect (firm); William Henry Weeks (architect)

Dates: constructed 1898-1899

Spreckels, CA

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Architect William H. Weeks (1864-1936) designed the plant for the family patriarch, Claus Spreckels, who began in railroads and later became a sugar king in California; Spreckels retained Weeks for a number of commissions in the early twentieth century; the Spreckels sugar beet processing factory operated in the company town of Spreckels, CA, from 1899-1981; while its production line was shut in 1981, it continued to be used as a storage and packing plant until 1995. Spreckels (and its successor Spreckels/Holly Sugar Company) opened six other manufacturing plants in CA between 1906 and 1963.

At one time, this was the largest sugar beet refining plant in the world. The writer John Steinbeck (1902-1968), who, as a student, worked summers for the Spreckels Sugar Company, featured the company town of Spreckels and its sugar refinery in two of his works, Tortilla Flat (1935) and East of Eden (1952).

The plant was damaged in the 04/18/1906 San Francisco Earthquake, and remained closed until October of that year; according to a Los Angeles Times story of 04/21/1906: "At Salinas, the Spreckels Sugar Refinery, valued at $1,500,000, is completely destroyed." (See Five Millions in Loss in San Jose Alone," Los Angeles Times, 04/21/1906, p. I9.)

PCAD id: 2620