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 and had four children with him. The Scudders made their way to Monterey Park in 1920 – Laura was by then both a registered nurse and a licensed attorney – and 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 injuries he received while fixing a car, Laura started making potato chips in the building to sell to their customers. That was in 1926. Her innovative packaging – using waxed paper bags to keep her chips fresh – revolutionized the snack industry, for better or worse. In 1931, Laura Scudder branched out into peanut butter, mayonnaise, and various junk food staples. She sold her company in 1957 but ran it until her death.