Among the progressive men of San Jose who are the promoters of its business interests, is Stephen M. Saunders, who is the manager as well as one of the proprietors of the Consolidated Laundry Company, now one of the largest laundries in the county. It is located on San Fernando and Autumn streets, where it is doing an ever-growing business. Mr. Saunders is a native of Indiana, having been born in Shelbyville, and is the son of Isaac and Lydia (Ludlow) Saunders. The father, who is of English extraction. is now engaged there as a florist, Mrs. Saunders having passed away some time ago.

Stephen Saunders attended the grammar school of Shelbyville, Ind., and at the age of fourteen years took a position with • Schnell & Company, wholesale grocers, at Indianapolis, where he was employed for six years. Coming to California in 1906, and settling at San Francisco, he was employed at various places and in a number of businesses, until he learned the barber trade and then he followed in that line of work for a period of eight years, being in business at Twenty-fourth and Mission streets.

In 1911, Mr. Saunders came to San Jose and here, with a partner, Mr. W. A. Katen, he introduced the Towel Supply in San Jose under the firm name of the Valley Towel Supply Company and this was the first business of the kind in the valley. They continued for five years, when they absorbed the St. James Laundry, and a year later they leased the U. S. Laundry, operating under the new firm name of the Consolidated Laundry Company, and still later they acquired the latter by purchase.

In 1917 Eli Bariteau (SEE BIO BELOW)purchased Mr. Katen's interest and since then Mr. Saunders and Mr. Bariteau have been sole owners of this business, and have been very successful. They have in their employ over sixty people, all expert along this line. Delivery is made on twelve routes, covering the whole of Santa Clara County. The laundry is operated by the most modern machinery that is obtainable, having the very latest improvements. They have their own 280-foot well of splendid water and use in connection a water; softening process, where the water passes through a bed of zeolite mineral that removes all hardness, leaving it like rainwater. By actual tests it has been demonstrated that by using this process the life of linens are doubled. They have their own pumping plant, with a sixty horsepower engine and a one hundred horsepower boiler.

On March 25, 1913, occurred the marriage of Mr. Saunders which united him with Miss Ruth Tucker, the ceremony being solemnized in San Francisco. Mrs. Saunders is a native of Ohio, having been born at Conneaut and was the daughter of Amos and Leah Tucker, who came to the state of California during the year 1911. Her father is interested in the amusement business and is now operating a skating rink in San Jose, thus providing for the young folks of this city a good, wholesome recreation. Both Mr Saunders and his partner, Eli Bariteau, are very active in the work of the Chamber of Commerce, always ready to help in movements for the good of their community. Mr. Bariteau also has contributed his share to the defense of his country by serving in the World War. Mr. Saunders is a member of the Independent Order of Red Men in which organization he is very popular and is a charter member of the Commercial Club. In religious faith, Mr. Saunders and his family are consistent members of the First Methodist Church, and in national politics he is an adherent of the Republican party.

From Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California, published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 1254

A brief story of the progress of Eli Bariteau, a prosperous laundryman living in San Jose, is interesting, showing what may be accomplished by steady application and industry. Born in St. Paul, Minn., September 17, 1890, Eli Bariteau received his education in the grammar and high schools there. He is the son of Joseph and Bertha Bariteau, natives of Canada, but who migrated to the United States in early days, settling at St. Paul.

 Joseph Bariteau followed the occupation of contractor and builder for thirty years, aided materially in the building of St. Paul. When Eli Bariteau was but sixteen years of age, he came with the family to San Jose. Being the eldest of the family, he felt that it was his duty to start life for himself, and he entered the employ of the Tucker Studio in 1906, remaining with them about eight months; then he became driver for the old St. James Laundry; he served them in this capacity for five months, when the union called the laundry workers out on strike; at this time the union established a small hand laundry and Mr. Bariteau became a driver for them; then for seven years he was employed by the Temple Laundry. However, he was not satisfied to remain a mere employee, so at this time he entered into partnership with Reuben Walgren in the laundry business known as the St. James Laundry. Within a short time he sold his interest to his partner and spent one year traveling. Upon his return to San Jose he purchased an interest in the Consolidated Laundry and became a partner with S. M. Saunders in the year 1915.

This business is the consolidation of the old St. James Laundry and the United States Laundry. The business has grown to such proportions that at the present time they employ nine drivers and cover the territory as far south as San Juan, Gilroy and Los Gatos, and on the west to Santa Clara, Campbell and Morgan Hill.

Fraternally, Mr. Bariteau was made a Mason in San Jose Lodge No. 10, F. & A. M., and is a member of the Sciots; he is also a member of the Woodmen of the World, the Redmen, and the Lions Club of San Jose and the Post of the American Legion at San Jose; the Laundry Owners Club of San Jose, of which he is vice-president, State Laundry Owners Association and the National Laundry Owners Association. Politically, he adheres to the principles advocated in the platform of the Republican party.

Mr. Bariteau entered the service of his country December, 1917, receiving his first training at Camp McArthur as a mechanic in Company 7, First Regiment, Aviation Corps, training at Rich Field, near Camp McArthur; remaining there but a short time, he was transferred to Company 823, just organized, and sent to Camp Mills, N. Y. On April 10, 1918, he started overseas, and landing at Liverpool, Eng.. was sent to Winchester with his outfit. While there he visited many places of note, among them the great Hall and Cathedral; and was there at the time that General Liggett and his staff made his visit. From Winchester, Mr. Bariteau was sent to Camp Yates, in the vicinity of Bristol, England, training there for six months; from there to Chipping-Sodbury, and then to Salisbury Plain for training, and it was here that he was transferred to Company 210. Aero Squadron, for active service at the front; the" company set sail for France and landed just before the armistice was signed, and his company returned to Camp Knotty, near Liverpool, where they went aboard the Minacada, the first troop ship returning to the United States, but their ship was destined to be the second ship to arrive at New York, the Leviathan being the first to land on the home shore. Mr. Bariteau was sent directly to Camp Kearney, where he was discharged December 23, 1919, and arrived in San Jose on Christmas day, immediately taking up his business life with renewed energy.
From Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California, published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page  1549


SANTA CLARA COUNTY The Valley of Heart's Delight