It was during an interview with a former Dairyman’s Feed manager that I “learned” that the mill at 323 East Washington had sat vacant between 1964 and 1982.
Thanks to Ralph Woodson, a contributor to the Facebook group: You Knew You Grew Up in Petaluma If . . . . , I know now that this is untrue.
Ralph remembers when he use to pick up soy bean meal from the East Washington Street plant when he drove for Chicken International (took over Barlas Feeds when Reif and Brody went out of business) in the late 1960s.
Looking at Petaluma city directories I do in fact find a listing for Pacific Growers Feed and Nulaid Foods (whole eggs) at 323 East Washington Street in 1971.
The cataloging notes on this 1975 Sonoma County Library photograph states that it is a view of the Nulaid Foods Feed Mill. Note the railroad cars.
I suspect that Dan Peterson, A.I.A. took this picture when he was in the beginning stages of the Petaluma Historic Resource Survey project.
Clearly more research to be done on Nulaid, Pacific Growers, etc., but in the meantime here is another bit of history on the mill. According to a current employee there is a fallout shelter beneath the plant equipped with shelves for canned food and other emergency supplies.
And finally with regard to the photo of the men standing in front of the Nulaid truck. If you take a close look you will see the name William J. Raffetto painted on the window behind the men.
According to city directories, William J. Raffetto and later his son, William J. Raffetto, Jr., had a real estate, insurance, loan, and notary business at 401 Columbus Avenue during the 1940s and 1960s which suggests that the photo was taken in San Francisco and not Sonoma County.