North Ogden Cannery Building

Beginning in 1900, the North Ogden Canning Company opened in Weber County. As one of several canneries, the North Ogden Canning Company wished to take advantage of new traffic provided by the railroad. Today, the building houses several businesses.

In 1869, Union Pacific laid tracks stopping through Ogden, Utah to Promontory. The resulting traffic led citizens of Ogden to construct a cannery to sell excess crop production throughout the nation. In 1886, the Ogden Canning Company opened. Three years later, the Utah Canning Company was organized. Canning success motivated the start of other canneries throughout Utah. 

In 1900, the North Ogden Canning Company was created by James Enoch Randall, Alexander Leslie Brewer, and nearby neighbors. They built a factory in 1901, one mile from the Randall home. Since the factory opened, numerous products have been added to the company's manufacturing. Any products grown by local farmers were eligible to be canned and transported: sugar peas, green beans, pie cherries, tomatoes, peaches, apricots, and more. 

When the factory first began operating, methods of canning were slow and mostly by hand. Beans were snipped, tomatoes peeled, and labels pasted and attached all by hand. In later years, newer methods of canning were installed; mechanical devices and machines were purchased to improve the handling of the produce. Produce included sugar peas, green beans, apricots, peaches, pie cherries, fancy-pack cherries, whole tomatoes, tomato catsup, tomato juice, and red beets. 

Early in July 1925, a fire destroyed part of the warehouse of the factory. When damage by fire had been repaired, members of the community gathered to spend an evening of dancing on the new floor upstairs to celebrate the restoration of the building. 

In the early 1920s, Weber County was one of the most agriculturally productive counties in the state; however, over time the county became more urbanized and overall production declined. By 1930, there were thirteen canning factories in Weber County that employed 2,350 workers during the packing season, with a pay-roll of $266,000. In that year the total value of production was $3,225,000. In the entire district, the normal pack was 3,500,000 cases, valued at $9,000,000, making Ogden one of the least profitable. 

One of the major interruptions of service for the North Ogden Cannery came during World War II when canning and distribution was halted for several crops including sweet cherries and sour cherries. Wartime rationing hurt the canning business as Americans were encouraged to can their own food in order to promote self-sustainability. After the war, the North Ogden Canning Company stayed afloat until it closed its doors a few decades later. 

In 1970, the North Ogden Cannery building was purchased by Lloyd Searle for his business, Lloyd’s Heating and Air. Throughout the coming and going of many businesses through the next few decades, the inside of the building was changed dramatically. Nine years after the hiring of Shawn Maynard as a manager of the location in 1994, he bought the building from Lloyd Searle and, with his wife Sharlene, began remodeling. In Sharlene’s words, “knowing that the building was in desperate need of repairs, and could possibly fall victim to eminent domain and demolition, we made an offer to Lloyd to purchase the building.” In their remodel, the Maynards hoped to restore some original designs present when the building was a cannery. 

Several other businesses have taken up residence in the newly remodeled building including: the Pet Chalet Boarding and Grooming, Great Harvest Bread, Rejuvenation Massage and Yoga, and Shine Beauty and Nails. This wave of entepreneurship and renovation has kept the factory in good company. 

Images

Women working with tomatoes Source: "Canning Industry P.1." n.d. No. 3942; 664. Used by permission, Utah State Historical Society. https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s63j3sk7.
Inside the Cannery Source: "Canning Industry P. 2." n.d. No. 3943; 664. Used by permission, Utah State Historical Society. https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s6zs3957.
A.L. Brewer Cartoon A.L Brewer was one of the proprietors of the North Ogden Canning Factory. Source: "A. L. Brewer, commission merchant and proprietor, six canning factories, Ogden." 1906. MSS C 322 The Cartoons and Caricatures of Men in Utah Collection, 1906. Used by permission, Utah State Historical Society. 

Location

Metadata

Harley Pence, Weber State University, “North Ogden Cannery Building,” Intermountain Histories, accessed December 1, 2023, https://www.intermountainhistories.org/items/show/688.