Scudder Way

Laura Scudder (1881-1959), the “Potato Chip Queen of the West”, deserves a bigger memorial than this private cul-de-sac. Born Laura Emma Clough, the Philadelphia native married Charles Scudder in 1908, had four children, and the family made their way to Monterey Park in 1920. (Laura was by then a registered nurse and a licensed attorney.) The Scudders bought two acres at Atlantic and Garvey, where they ran a gas station and hoped to rent out a building as a store. When no tenants came, and with Charles disabled after fixing a car, Laura used the building to make potato chips to sell to their customers. That was in 1926. Her innovative packaging – using waxed paper bags to keep her chips fresh – revolutionized the snacking industry, for better or worse. In 1931, Laura Scudder branched out into peanut butter, mayonnaise, and other junk food staples. She sold her company in 1957 but ran it until her death.