Holly Sugar Company Workers and Beets

Posted on November 9, 2023


Main St & West Warner Avenue

Santa Ana



Artist: Alicia Rojas

“Holly Sugar Company Workers and Beets”  2022

Location: North East side of S. Main St. and Warner Ave intersection

“From the diffusion tanks the thin juice, containing about 14 percent sugar, was purified and filtered. The remaining beet pulp was drawn off, mixed with molasses, dried, and sold for cattle feed. Lime was then added to the sugar solution. This was followed by a carbonation step, which separated the lime and sugar. Filters then removed the lime. The clear pure juice was concentrated into heavy syrup and then boiled under reduced pressure until the sugar crystallized. The syrup, containing crystallized sugar, was then fed into a battery of centrifuges, which threw off the molasses in which the sugar crystals were suspended, leaving just the pure sugar crystals. The pure sugar then went into a huge rotary drier to remove moisture. From the drier the sugar was screened to the size required and conveyed to the dry sugar bin to be sacked or to large bulk bins for storage. Soon it was ready for sale”

The Santa Ana Co-Operative Sugar Company later became known as the Holly Sugar Company in 1923 a historic staple of South Main Street in Santa Ana, CA.
The historic picture is a courtesy of the Orange County Historical Society,  (Photo from the Elmer L. Sherrill family gift). The photograph is believed to be dated around the mid 1920’s. It highlights the workers, the maze of lines, rows of tanks and electrical equipment on the upper level of the plant.

The design and illustration of the beet was inspired by the history of sugar beet farming on South Main.” – Alicia Rojas

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