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RE: Koch Luggage
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I worked at the "76" station in 1966 right near Koch Luggage and remember it well.
I also had a friend that worked there.



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The Koch site is still there no? Google maps says its a Restoration Hardware corporate office. 



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Date: Sep 10, 2008

 

Reply To: Koch Luggage (from original forum archive)
  
 


Going way back at the Koch site, here's a map dated 1903 of the area: Marin Joe's would be towards the upper center above "San Clemente", 101 heads down the gulch from lower left, note the railroad tracks and tunnel which are easily found today. The north end of the horse racing track (oval) was roughly where the luggage plant later stood.

Attached files 431=85-CM racetrack.jpg

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Speaking of the floats, my pre-school which was next to the freeway just north of Blithedale, had several of them in the play area. They had been turned into whimsical play houses with various holes cut for doors and windows, although in retrospect it wouldnn't pass muster these days because as I recall there were still a lot of sharp edges left over from the metal cutter.

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H. Koch & Sons lives!

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Nice pic Paul, I remember a different image on the billboard though, a futuristic looking X-15 type plane & a fiberglass suitcase, I wonder if the one in your pic is earlier? Our neighbor when we were growing up was Bob Britten (Britton, maybe) who worked at Koch, they moved to Buena Vista around 1960 or so.

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From a brochure "Marvelous Marin" ("Progressive - Inviting - Convenient") published by the San Rafael Chamber of Commerce. No date, but on a map it indicates "Site of new county Civic Center," which means pre-1960 at any rate.



-- Edited by Paul Penna at 06:05, 2007-04-13

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Back in the early to mid-50s, there was an SF TV show (can't recall the name) that sent live cameras on location to various Bay Area factories, and I recall the one that toured Koch Luggage. It had to be between November 1952 (when we got TV!) and, I'd guess, 1956. I remember being a kid, rather than a pre-teen when I saw it, and naturally I was all agog over something I was familiar with in my local area (we lived in Larkspur) actually being on real, honest-to-gosh TV.

Later, starting in the late 60s, I worked at the Corte Madera Post Office. The Koch mailroom guy would bring their outgoing mail to the PO in a padlocked suitcase (a fiberglass one, of course) for which we kept a key. I was told that this was because, at least in the past, they had some military contracts that required some degree of security. Presumably they didn't want their secrets snatched by some renegade Neil Cummins 8th graders on the way up Tamalpais Drive.

-- Edited by Paul Penna at 02:56, 2007-03-17

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I missed that event, where was it in relation to the Quicksilver house? I remember some parties in the field south of Koch on land owned by the family of some guy named Murray Connick, in the '70's.

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Rob and Rich , do you guys remember the old ranch house behind Koch Luggage.
Remember when they sold the area to developers and had a huge party that lasted
for 3 days. It was a drunken bash , I could only take it for 1 day. I remember Jimbo B.
was up on stage singing " This My Hat " he was schwacked out of his mind.

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Nice pic of Gary stationed by the broiler too, rip Gary, best guy to ever man the broiler.

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House 'o work, honey.you're probably boastin' some of Big Red's hish-hash. Me, I'm workin'. I just happen to have a
22" calibrated monitor in my face as I work. I'm killin' 'em with kindness, as we speak.
By the way, check the "spotlight" page on this site. There's killer pics of Joe's from the 50's. Check out Adolph and Romano
posing with bottles of Ranier Ale. Dio Canne!

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RobbyBoy


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I remember a huge stack of net floats in the field near Big 4 Rents, several had been spray painted '$5.00 each', my neighbor made a huge fireplace with one. Before you ask me why I'm posting mid-day, I'm home for lunch, what's your story ?

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Yeah, those are clear memories for me also. The big sign was great. Remember also, they always sponsered a little-league team.
Also in that acreage south of the plant was THE major stash of big, spherical, steel floats left over from the anti-submarine nets that crossed the Golden Gate during WWII and on into the cold war years for awhile. Those rascals used turn up in the darndest
places (the floats, not subs).

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RobbyBoy


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Who else remembers Koch Luggage in Corte Madera ? Growing up in the area across 101 from Koch Luggage I remember thinking how cool the big sign was in front of the factory, it featured a futuristic X-15 type aircraft & a fiberglass suitcase with the company name in the center as I recall. Koch had a big steel tower in the field south of the plant that was evidently used to test the strength of products like radio cases & other military goods. Quite often during the 1960's we would see an army jeep parked by the tower & a couple of soldiers with clipboards watching as things were drop tested & inspected for damage. In the field south of the tower was a big pile of rejects from the fiberglass suitcase department, they were half of a suitcase, fiberglass shells that were big enough for a kid to fit in & use to take cardboard box sliding on dry grassy hills to a whole new level.

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