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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Monterey in Monterey County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

A Day in the Canneries

Historic Cannery Row

 
 
A Day in the Canneries Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, April 23, 2012
1. A Day in the Canneries Marker
Inscription. A chorus of cannery whistles, each with its own unique call, summoned the Cannery Row workforce. Men and women in rubber boots and oilcloth aprons showed up to clean, cut, pack, cook and can sardines that were a major part of Monterey’s economy for more than three decades.

The work was dirty and hard, cold and wet, and the smell was terrible – but it was the smell of prosperity. The stench of sardines, reduced to fertilizer, fish meal and chicken feed, permeated the Row.

At least a half-dozen languages could be heard over the din of canning machinery. The men operated and maintained the equipment and warehoused and shipped the finished product. The women worked the packing lines filling Cannery Row’s trademark one-pound oval cans with sardines and salmon. Until the formation of the Cannery Workers Union in 1936, wages averaged 25 cents per hour.

At the peak of the 1941-42 season, the canneries packed 250,287 tons of fish. However, the industry’s capacity to harvest soon outdistanced the sardines’ ability to reproduce, and the fishery crashed. When asked at the end of the 1947-48 season where all the sardines had gone, Ed Ricketts replied, “They’re in cans.”
 
Location. 36° 37.029′ N, 121° 54.086′ W. Marker
A Day in the Canneries Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, April 23, 2012
2. A Day in the Canneries Marker
The Monterey Bay Aquarium, the former Hovden Cannery, is in the background.
is in Monterey, California, in Monterey County. Marker can be reached from Bruce Ariss Way. Touch for map. This marker, with several others, is located on Bruce Ariss Way, a walking path/stairway, between Cannery Row and the Monterey Recreation Trail. Marker is in this post office area: Monterey CA 93940, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Spanish Community (here, next to this marker); The Real “Docs” (here, next to this marker); One Man, Two Worlds (a few steps from this marker); The Japanese Community (a few steps from this marker); The Filipino Community (a few steps from this marker); Ed Ricketts’s Backyard (within shouting distance of this marker); John Steinbeck (within shouting distance of this marker); Science (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Monterey.
 
Also see . . .
1. Looking Back, The canneries - Cannery Row, Monterey California. (Submitted on May 6, 2012, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.)
2. A Brief History of Cannery Row, part 1 - MTY Country. The first commercialized fishing venture in the Monterey Bay started on Alones beach and what is now Cannery Row by immigrant Chinese fishermen 1853. (Submitted on May 6, 2012, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.) 

3. A Brief History of Cannery Row, part 2 - MTY Country
Detail from the A Day in the Canneries Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, April 23, 2012
3. Detail from the A Day in the Canneries Marker
[Photograph caption]
The cultural diversity of the Cannery Row workforce is evident in this photograph of the crew at Bayside Cannery (circa 1930s). Photograph courtesy of Pat Hathaway, California Views.
. It was during World War I that the government recognized the value of the canned sardine as cheap nutritious food for the troops. (Submitted on May 6, 2012, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.) 
 
Categories. Industry & Commerce
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on May 6, 2012, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 418 times since then and 36 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on May 6, 2012, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.
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