- According to local lore, António Silva, who arrived in Hawaii in 1828, was the one to introduce sugar cultivation to the islands.
- Claus Spreckels, the German “Sugar King” had made a fortune in the sugar cane business in Hawai.
- In 1888, Spreckels opened a sugar refinery in Watsonville called the Western Beet Sugar Company.
- The beet supply in the Watsonville area was inadequate; and therefore, he decided to expand into the Salinas Valley.
- He bought land next to the Salinas River to build the world’s largest beet refinery and the company town of Spreckels. The refinery opened in 1898.
- Spreckels had originally built a narrow gauge railroad, the Pajaro Valey Railroad, to service the Watsonville refinery and this was expanded from Moro Cojo and Moss Landing wharf to Spreckels. It included periodically placed beet loading dump stations along the rail line.
- Eventually, the line included a branch line to carry passengers to and from Spreckels. The Pajaro Valley Consolidated Line, or the Dinky Line, as it was known, serviced the town of Spreckels and the refinery until 1927.
Books and References
Andersen, Burton. The Salinas Valley: A History of America’s Salad Bowl. Monterey County Historical Society. 2000.