Canning Factories

© Photographed September 9, 2015
Erected 2001 by Kewaunee County Historical Society
Algoma, Kewaunee County, Wisconsin

Near the turn of the last century, area farmers were given new options for diversification when several pea and bean canneries were built in the country.

A trio of businessmen from Manitowoc constructed the Algoma Packing Company, later purchased by the Van Camp Packing Company of Indianapolis, on this site, opening it for business in the summer of 1899. The plant, almost 20,000 square feet in size, was expected to employ from 125 to 250 seasonal workers. At its peak, the plant had an output of 3 million cans per season.

Local farmers delivered their pea vines by team and wagon, returning home with discarded vines to feed to their cattle. Peas were also transported to the Algoma factory by train from more distant points like Casco and Rio Creek.

The pea harvest lasted for several weeks with the plant often unable to keep up with the supply during the peak of the season forcing farmers to unload their vines on the street until they could be processed.

Later in the summer, green beans were delivered in barrels. Local women, working in their homes, would trim the ends off the beans before they were returned to the factory for canning. They were paid 1/4 to 1/2 cent a pound.

The canning business in the county flourished for about two or three decades before disease reduced the harvest. The Algoma cannery remained idle for a time before the Ernest Hauke American Legion Post acquired it in the fall of 1924. With community help, part of the plant was razed and the remaining portion was remodeled and converted into a community hall known as the "Dug-Out".

In 1954 the American Legion, while retaining a portion of the building as a clubroom, transferred ownership of the property to the city of Algoma to be used for recreational and other purposes by community members of all ages.
The markers is located on the east side of the Algoma Parks & Recreation Department building, and is accessible from southbound Lake Street, south of its intersection with Clark Street, at or near 620 Lake Street, Algoma, Wisconsin 54201.

The Algoma Packing Company

The plant was purchased by the Van Camp Packing Co. of Indiana
a few years later

The marker is visible to the far right . . .

The marker is located in Algoma, Wisconsin.

No comments:

Post a Comment