The first successfull Sugar Beet factory was started in 1870 in Alvarado by Mr. Ezra F. Dyer. Over the years, the factory remolded, desitroyed, rebuilt, and went through a number of company names. The Sugar Factory was a major employer in Alvarado for many years. In the 1930's, the factory was remodeled with a large smoke stack being built. The smoke stack was a well known landmark in the area. The factory closed in 1975 and the smoke stack was demolished in 1977.
The Union City Historical Museum has a number of histories of the Alvarado Sugar Factory written by Dan Gutleben in the 1940's, including a the memiors of E. H. Dyer, written in 1915. These papers came from the Ziegler Collection held at U. C. Davis.
California Beet Sugar Manufacturing Company - 1869 - 1873
The Company was founded by Ebenezer Dyer, his brother Ephriam Dyer, C. I. Hutchinson, B. P. Flint, W. F. Garratt, E. R. Carpenter, T. G. Phelps, W. B. Carr, and E. G. Rollins, with Hutchinson being the President. A factory was built (by B. F. Ingalls), with the machinery imported from Germany.
Since the factory was built before the railroad came to Alvarado, it was located on the banks of Alvarado Creek, which was navigable for small boats, being 100 feet wide and 5-6 feet deep. All supplies and the sugar were transported by boat to San Francisco. The Company built a small side wheel steamer called "The Rosa", about 5 feet wide and 30 feet long.
The factory was not profitable, so it was closed in 1873. In 1874, the machinery was sold and moved to Soquel, California (near Santa Cruz) for a plant there.
Standard Sugar Refining Company - 1879-1886
The company was incorporated in 1879 with E. H. Dyer, General Manager; O. F. Griffin, A. E. Davis, J. P. Dyers (no relation), Prescott, Scott and Company, R. N. Graves, stockholders. Machinery from a Sacramento valley plant was purchased and moved to Alvarado, and erected by the Union Iron Works of San Francisco. A number of unskilled laborers used by the factory were Chinese, living in the nearby "chinatown" area of Alvarado. A boiler explosion in 1886, destroying a part of the factory building, caused the plant to close.
Pacific Coast Sugar Company - 1887 - 1888
A new plant was constructed across the street from the original plant and a new company was formed in 1887.
Alameda Sugar Company - 1889 - 1924
The company reorganized in 1889 with Ebenezer Dyer selling a large part of his holdings to E. C. Burr and others. In plant was idle in 1914 due to a shortage of sugar beets.
Holly Sugar Company - 1927 - 1975
In 1926, the Holly Sugar Company took over management of the factory, having already been large shareholders. In 1943 and 1944 the factory was idle due to the war. The plant was closed in 1975, with operations moving to a Tracy factory,