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Watsonville railroad freight yards
Currently on display
Not a part of the official Smithsonian Collection
By the 1890s, Watsonville, the town that served the rich and fertile Pajaro Valley, had a thriving freight yards where the land's produce was shipped out to San Francisco and beyond. The Southern Pacific Railroad opened a station in Pajaro near Watsonville in 1871, connecting the town of a few thousand residents to the rest of the country by rails. By the 1890s, local farmers and fruit packing houses sold strawberries, apples, and other fruits and vegetables to market, and shipped them by rail and sea.
Physical Description
Date Made:
about 1890
From the 1860s on, California's farms, many of which were large, engaged in forms of agriculture that were industrialized, commercialized, and subject to the vagaries of the markets and seasons. Californian agricultural regions quickly began to grow cash crops like wheat and, by the late 19th century-with the growing numbers of refrigerated railroad cars that increased their ability to transport perishable produce-farmers grew fruits and vegetables for markets near and far.

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