Skip to content

Minutes: The History of Puritan Ice (03/05/14)

March 7, 2014

Invocation: Gary Jensen
Pledge: Richard Redmond
Raffl: Kimberly Coley brought wine and cookies

Visiting Rotarians: Mike Young

Guests: Jeff Martinez, Carin Kally


  • President Betsy Munroe announced the two upcoming District Assemblies. (1) Saturday, March 29, Pacifica High School, Oxnard, CA from 8 AM to 12:30 PM. (2) Saturday, April 12, Bakersfield College, Bakersfield, CA from 8 AM to 12:30 PM. There is NO COST to the club for its members to attend either District  Assembly. Register through Betsy Munroe
  • PETS: President -Elect Dana Goba attended. Group 8 now has 9 clubs. Within our group, 7 of the presidents are women. They purchased Rotary tiaras and rocked the training.
  • Brooke Sawyer is one of 5 longstanding Maritime Museum volunteers who will be honored March 15 at the museum. Congrats.
  • Sherri Fisher will retire this summer after 40 years at MTD, having started there as its first woman bus driver.
  • Next week we’ll celebrate St. Patrick’s Day during the meeting. Wear green.
  • Andy Doerr said there will be a Fiddlers’ Convention meeting next Thursday, March 13, at MTD at 5:30 PM. This may be the most important meeting of the year. All are welcome. If you have ideas for the festival, but can’t make it to the meeting, please send your ideas to Andy. The Goleta Valley Arts Association may collaborate with the festival.
  • Steve Kally will lead a hike in Ojai on Saturday, March 8. Bring a water bottle and shoes. “It’s not a death march,” Steve assures you.
  • Don Bennett shared that next week’s program will be about polio eradication. Four individuals and one Rotary couple have kicked off our fundraising campaign with $1,000 each. We have raised $5,000 already!
  • Four years ago, Bill Abel wrote a history of the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara Sunrise. Betsy Munroe read an excerpt from this history in honor of the club’s 29th birthday. Brooke Sawyer was the club’s first president. The group met at what was then an IHOP restaurant. There were 27 charter members, including a few who are still here: Steve Boehm, Fred Gaeden, Steve Moscagno, Brooke Sawyer, Jerry Smith, E. Russell, Mike Young (visiting today). A few of them shared stories from the early days of the club:
    — Mike: Brooke was inspirational in getting the club started. His presidency was short because it started in March. If you sat in the same chair each week, Brook would call people out and tell them to sit somewhere else to keep people mingling and mixing.
    — Jerry: Brooke started a tradition of singing. They had a Rotary songbook. And no matter which song Brook picked, they would always sing Home on the Range. One time they did a garage sale at La Colina Junior High, and it rained.
    — Steve: Rotarians are masters of making the not-so-good great. The food wasn’t as good as it is here. They got some pretty bad waffles, so they created a golden waffle award, a solidified waffle in gold.
    — Fred: The golf tournament started not long after the club.
    — Brooke: Not only is this club dear to me, but so are five others. He’s happy he hasn’t been thrown out of this one.
  • Getting to know you with Jerry Smith: Who inspired you the most in your life and why? He was inspired by his parents. They set a good example and encouraged him to go after his goals.
  • Pay and tell with Sgt at Arms Andy Doerr.

Program:Joanne Schoenfeld Orenstein introduced the speaker, David Petry. He’s a historian, particularly of cemeteries. His most recent book is about the Puritan Ice Company, which played a pivotal role in Santa Barbara’s history. And he will talk about that today.

  • David Petry presents The Puritan Principle: Ice on the Central Coast — 1922 – 1986
  • He is also a technical writer at Citrix.
  • His first book was “The Best Last Place” about the Santa Barbara Cemetery.
  • Part of the necessity for ice was meat. Businesses wanted to ship meat, not whole cows through the Southern Pacific Railroad.
  • Ken Kelley and John Fritsche are part of the history of the history. If you like model trains, you should talk with Ken.
  • Ken wanted an image of the old ice house. John went on a hunt. He pulled in Walter Docker. He later pulled in David.
  • Leon Redner Phillips and Theodore Paul Dalzell teamed up to take on the two big ice producers. The LA lettuce market was at stake.
  • California was divided at about Santa Margarita in 1923. All produce shipped north of Santa Margarita had to go north and all produce shipped from south of that line had to go south, but there was no lettuce produced south of that line.
  • In 1922, they built a 300-ton/day plant with 3,000 tons of storage at 325 Cabrillo Blvd (now Chase palm Park).
  • They made rail and domestic ice. Rail ice is white ice. Domestic ice takes a little longer to get the bubbles out and make it clear.
  • Rail ice was used for citrus and seafood. Their tagline was: “Be perspicacious.” (incisively inquiring)
  • In 1922, they also built a plant in Guadalupe. It was rail ice only. In 1921, no produce was shipped out of that valley. By 1924, more than 5,000 railroad cars were shipped out of there annually.
  • The Scotch-Irish began to move out of Guadalupe and meet the demand in Salinas. Guadalupe became home to many Japanese immigrants.
  • Santa Barbara already had 2 ice companies when Puritan Ice Company came in: Santa Barbara Ice (1874) and Ord “It’s Scored” Ice (1920). When Puritan came in, it undercut them both on price. In 1924, Ord and Puritan merged to form Mission Ice, serving the domestic ice market. In 1925, Puritan bought out Santa Barbara Ice.
  • They expanded both the SB and Guadalupe plants.
  • In 1926, Puritan added an ice and poultry plant in Atascadero. It was the largest poultry plant in the country by 1930.
  • In 1929, they added an ice plant in Lompoc.
  • Many developments came to threaten the ice industry, including refrigerator trucks starting in 1931.
  • Puritan Poultry closed in 1940.
  • WWII changed the landscape.
  • The founders died in ’47 and ’58.
  • The new leader formed a leasing company.
  • They bought and later lost two Pepsi distributorships.
  • The end came in 1986ish.
  • In honor of the speaker, 15 dictionaries will be donated to third graders in Santa Barbara.
No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: