Re: Banana Train Movements - East vs West

Shawn Beckert

Mike Auf der Heide asked:

How did the west coast get their bananas? Homegrown?
By boat from Costa Rica? T&NO/SP? Banana magic?
I think Banana Magic is something you get at a bar...

Actually the West got most if not all their shipments
of bananas from South American countries via the United
Fruit Steamship Company. Some Caribbean islands grew
bananas as well, but they were a much smaller source.
This applied to the Gulf and Atlantic ports as well. There
were other shippers, but United Fruit got to be the biggest
via the usual business methods of "merger and acquisition",
as Wall Street likes to put it so diplomatically.

There is a very good book on this subject with the title
of "Going Bananas: 100 Years of American Fruit Ships in
The Caribbean". Author is Mark H. Goldberg. Long time since
I read it, but IIRC it mentions the IC as one of the major
railroads involved with the banana traffic east of the Great
Divide. In the West, as Tony mentioned, banana ships would
dock at Los Angeles or San Francisco, and their cargoes would
be distributed across the western states via PE/SP/UP/ATSF.

Shawn Beckert

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