Two pairs of albums including 227 photographs documenting the construction in 1955 of two dairy processing plants in Los Angeles, California, from the laying of the foundations through completion. Comprised of 88 images of the Lucerne Milk Plant and 139 of the Regal Ice Cream Company. Silver prints, the images measuring 4 ½” x 6 ½”, most mounted recto/verso, each with a caption, and nearly all with the direction photographed, in the negative; 14 loose. Quarto, four volumes. Original gray paper triple-pin bindings, with typed paper title labels. Some toning and wear along the extremities of the bindings; otherwise very good.
Established in 1904 by dairy farmers in California’s San Joaquin Valley, the Lucerne brand was acquired by Safeway in 1929. According to Craig Fullmer, Safeway’s director of dairy supply operations, “Beginning around 1930, we started acquiring fluid milk plants, so we were the first retailer to have an internal supply of fresh fluid milk to our store base.” To meet demand, Safeway transitioned away from acquiring small bottlers and started building new plants in the late 1930s. Ice cream production began in 1951, along with the launch of Safeway’s Regal brand. By 1955, Safeway operated 15 dairy plants: 12 fluid, two ice cream, and one cottage cheese and byproducts.
The plants depicted in these albums were constructed by J.T. Thorpe & Son, Inc. between September 1955 and February 1956. Located on Boxford Avenue in what is now the City of Commerce, the site is the present-day home of the Vons Milk and Bread Plant. Item #73195