Claude Everett Street (1868-1945)
Florida Fruit Products Company
Florida Fruit Packers
Florida Grapefruit Canning Company
Florida Canning Association
C.E. Street was born in Baxter Springs, Kansas, in 1868. He came to Florida in 1913 after declining the Democratic nomination for governor of Colorado. He did not come to Florida with knowledge of the citrus industry but after having spent time living in the state noticed a problem. He noticed that a considerable amount of Florida citrus was going to waste because growers did not ship it except in fresh form. Street would spend the rest of his life’s work focused on correcting that problem.
In 1914 he established his own laboratory in Avon Park and proved that grapefruit juice could be processed. He formed the Florida Fruit Products Company, building the first processing plant in the country at Haines City, Florida. This plant bottled orange and grapefruit juice under the brand “Streets.” Juice was squeezed by hand and a laundry dryer served to remove any heavy pulp and seeds by centrifugal force.
Street was the first to recognize that citrus processing was destined to become a big factor in the state’s economic structure. The processing plants helped many Florida workers survive the Great Depression of the 1930s. During World War II the production, packing, and processing of Florida citrus fruits was classified as “essential industry” in the nation’s war work. Citrus was in great demand for the U. S. and other Allied nations. Canned citrus brought in millions of dollars in additional revenue to the Florida growers.
In addition to being the general manager of Florida Fruit Packers, Street also served as general manager of Florida Grapefruit Canning Company from 1918 to 1940 and he led in the formation of the Florida Canning Association, serving as the organization’s first president until 1938. Street continued his involvement in the citrus industry until his death in 1945.