- 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.
- He opened a sugar refinery in Watsonville? in 1888 called the Western Beet Sugar Company. The beet supply in the Watsonville area was inadeqate for the Watsonville Plant; 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 a the company town of Sprecketls. The refinery opened in 1998.
- He 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 casrry 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.