Olive Through the Ages

Citrus industry: Stories and images

Crate labels | Packing houses | Stories and images | Other

1945 Lawrence Kokx packing house and yard, then and now

Thanks to information provided by local historian Tom Pulley, I became educated about the existence of Lawrence Kokx's packing house. I had seen that building next to Merlex Stucco on Orange-Olive Road, but didn't think it used to be a packing house. However, looking at 1950s aerial photos, I always wondered why that structure had such an unusual shape: Narrower in the front than in the rear, and curved along one side.

After learning about the existence of this packing house, I decided to further investigate the existing structure and photograph it for inclusion on this Web site. I discovered the building was occupied by Merlex Stucco and its Vero company. As I examined the brick structure from many angles, I saw how close in proximity it stood to Olive Hillside Groves next door. In order to maximize real estate on that property, the plant was undoubtedly constructed to curve around the railroad spur that ran between the two packing houses.

To learn more about the Kokx packing house building, see the historic newspaper that Tom provides from the July 5, 1945 edition of Orange Daily News.

My special thanks to Lawrence's daughter, Karen Carson, for supplying some photos of the packing house and yard, taken circa the late 1950s.


Kokx packing plant to open at Olive soon - from Orange Daily News, 1945

Opening of his new packing plant at Olive about July 20, was announced today by Lawrence Kokx, owner of a tomato packing plant which previously was operated near El Modena.

Construction of the new building was begun last April at Main street and the Santa Ana Canyon [Orange-Olive] road. The structure is one story in height and is 60x150 feet with a 22x150 loading platform.

Initial packing operations will begin the latter part of the month or in early August with tomatoes, cabbages, cauliflower, celery, and sweet corn slated to be shipped to country-wide markets. Oranges will be packed at a later date, Kokx said.


Permission to construct a spur track in Olive to serve the plant was sought by the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway in an application filed with the California Railroad Commission.

The proposed spur would cross Olive avenue between Buena Vista and Main streets, and would be an extension of an existing spur. The application sets forth that because of infrequent use of the spur, no warning signal would be required except for the standard crossing warning sign.


Lawrence Kokx packing house and yard: Then and now

Click/tap the thumbnail images below to view larger images in a separate browser window or tab:

Lawrence Kokx office and packing house,  late 1950s
Northeastern view of Lawrence Kokx office and packing house, circa late 1950s.

Lawrence Kokx plant office View of the Lawrence Kokx's former office building in 2009.
Lawrence Kokx packing house,  late 1950s
Northeastern view of Lawrence Kokx office and packing house, circa late 1950s.
Side of Lawrence Kokx plant facing Main St. Northeastern view of Lawrence Kokx former office and packing house buildings in 2009.
Lawrence Kokx yard, late 1950s Eastern view of packing house yard, circa late 1950s.   Front of Olive Hillside Groves and Lawrence Kokx plants Pictured are Merlex stucco buildings, formerly Olive Hillside Groves and Lawrence Kokx packing houses.
Lawrence Kokx yard with cabbage shed, late 1950s View looking northeast at the cabbage shed, circa late 1950s.   Former Kokx cabbage shed Former Kokx cabbage shed, modified, and in use by Action Recycling in 2011.
1969 photo of the Olive Hillside Groves (Merlex Stucco) building This 1969 photo shows a portion of Lawrence Kokx's former office that faced Orange-Olive Road.   Former Kokx cabbage shed, OHG building View looking southeast on Olive Avenue at the former Kokx cabbage shed and a building possibly used by Olive Hillside Groves.
Side of Lawrence Kokx plant facing railroad spur Rear view and side of the former Lawrence Kokx packing house building, taken from Olive Avenue.   Back side of Lawrence Kokx plant View looking north on Olive Avenue of the rear side of the former Kokx packing house building.



Stories and images


Go to Main menu