The Lick Paper Mills

In a county where there is so much fruit grown, there is naturally a great demand for paper in which to wrap it for transportation.  It was discovered early in the history or transportation that fruit kept better when wrapped in paper than when allowed to come in contact with with other fruit.  Most of the better quality of fruits that are now shipped green, such as peaches, pears, oranges and apricots, are wrapped in paper, and this is nearly all furnished by the Lick Paper Mill, which is one of the largest paper manufacturing plants on the coast.

The mills were originally built by James Lick, who gave to the world the great Lick Observatory, and were used by him for manufacturing flour.  They were eventually purchased and transformed into paper mills.  In 1882 the principal buildings were burned, and the present more extensive and commodious buildings were erected.  A spur track was also built from the main line at Agnews Station to the mill, for the shipment of the product.

The property is now owned by the Lick Paper Company, the majority of the stock being held by A. D. Remmington, who owns the great paper mills at Watertown, New York; and the remainder by J. G. Scott, and other officers of the company.

Over a million pounds of the fruit paper are manufactured per annum, besides thirteen other varieties, such as manilla, red express, gray express, druggists' wrapping papers, etc.  The output per month is about two hundred tons, worth about $12,000.  About forty men are emptied, and the mill runs night and day.

Newspaper is made of wood, such as poplar, spruce or hemlock.  Paper for wrapping fruit is made of cotton and wood pulp, red express of burlaps and wood pulp, and druggists' paper of chemical fiber.

The mill is locaed on the Guadalupe, a stream which flows through San Jose, and into an artificial lake on the Lick property, where the water furnishes part ot hte power necessary to propel the machinery.  In addition to this, there are three steam engines the entire plant representing an investment of about $500,000.   The buildings are three stories in height.  The foreman's residence, formerly the private residence of Mr. Lick was built with marvelous care and at great cost.  The gounds are laid out very handsomley, being ornamented with rows of fan palms and fruit trees and bends and banks and flowers, which, it is scarcely necessary to state, grow here in great profusion and with remarkable vigor.  The property is within the artesian basin, and there are upon the property several artesian wells. These furnish an abundance of water for irrigating orchards, gardens and lawns.

SOURCE:  Sunshine, Fruit  and Flowers
A Souvenir of the San Jose Mercury, pub 1886

transcribed by cdf