|Fire at the Custom House Packing Corporation cannery,|
October 1953. Photograph by Lee Blaisdell.
[Monterey Public Library]
From the very beginning, the cannery owned a warehouse across Ocean View Avenue which was connected to the packing house via an elevated conveyor. The two-story structure had access to a private northward-exiting Southern Pacific Railroad spur that ran along a platform behind the warehouse. From this spur, goods could be shipped out directly from the cannery. Nothing remains of this loading area since the current structure mostly dates to 1971 and afterwards, although there is a new patio deck on the rear of the building that closely matches the original arrangement and may sit atop its foundation.
The corporation lasted until November 1952 when the depletion of the sardine stocks forced the company to close its doors. Machinery was dismantled and sold to canneries in Africa and Peru. Then, on October 24, 1953, a fire swept through the abandoned complex and destroyed it. This was the first major fire on Cannery Row since the 1930s, but it would not be the last. The warehouse across Ocean View Avenue survived with only some minor damage. For almost two decades, it sat abandoned until the architectural firm of Wurster, Bernardi, and Emmons purchased and renovated the structure in 1971. The original two-story structure was modified to three stories and converted to commercial use. A walkway was installed at the same time to the structure across Hoffman Avenue. Although the current structure is built on the foundation of the original warehouse and may incorporate some remaining artifacts, the majority of the building is newer in design.
Street Address, Geo-Coordinates & Current Status:
625 Cannery Row
36.615˚N, 121.900˚ W
Today, the renovated cannery is the site of the northern half of Shake Plaza, a commercial complex that includes shops such as Ambrosia India Café and Om Rhythms. The upstairs levels are the former site of the Culinary Institute of Monterey but are currently vacant.
|Google Streetview image of the current Shake Plaza complex atop the Custom House warehouse site. [Google]|
- Architectural Resources Group and Architects, Planners & Conservators, Inc. "San Carlos Park". Primary Record. State of California – The Resources Agency. Department of Parks and Recreation. In Final Cannery Row Cultural Resources Survey Report Document, Monterey, CA, 2001.