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Berth 147- The United Fruit Company
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Bananas on conveyor belts
Banana stems on conveyor belts

The United Fruit Company terminal at Berth 147 consisted of a number of structures that were designed to move bananas from ships harbored at the terminal to railcars or trucks. The timber wharves located at the berth were built at the edge of the channel with at-grade rails for the mobile gantry cranes which were used to unload the hulls of the ships. Wooden sheds were located parallel to the wharves and covered the start point of the conveyer belts. Four sets of conveyer belt "car platforms" were angled at 60 degrees from the wharves and were shielded by wooden sheds with butterfly style roofs. Two refrigerator rooms were located at the midway point of the conveyors, and at-grade railroad tracks were situated parallel to each side of the conveyor sheds. The United Fruit Company building, with a waiting room and offices, was located between two of the conveyor sheds. Various support structures, such as a scale house, two storage buildings, and a longshore toilet, were located nearby.

Intersection of conveyor No. 3 and the
cross-wharf conveyor

Click and drag to view a 360° panorama (238k)

The wharf and ramp extended from the shoreline. The wharf was a continuous creosoted timber apron wharf. The sheds paralleling the wharf were located on the ramps and protected the beginning points of the conveyor belts that led to the car platforms. The four sets of conveyor belts and additional mechanical equipment extended to the platforms that were covered by wood-frame canopies. A platform supported the conveyor belt with room for a walkway on both sides.  (For an explanation of how laborers operated the banana facility, please go to the people link.)

Bananas being loaded into rail cars
Bananas being loaded into railcars

An office/waiting room building was constructed in 1936 to provide office space for the United Fruit Company and for baggage and passengers of the Great White Fleet cruise service. The building was located in the wide open space between conveyor sheds 2 and 3. This building was a one-story, plaster-over-wood-frame structure in the Spanish Colonial Revival style with a low, false-hipped, red tile roof. Passengers from the boat would disembark onto the wharf and then walk up the ramp between the two sheds and down to the waiting room building at the center of the complex. (View photos taken in 2000 of Berth 147.)

The entire banana terminal facility and its associated structures were demolished in 2000 to make room for port improvements.

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