The Canning Factory we remember was not Delta’s first. The following is taken from excerpts of the Delta County Independent form February 27, 18985 through September 3, 1959.
February 27, 1895 – Preliminary arrangements for the Canning Factory in Delta were completed last Monday. Mr. Frank Sanders of the Bachelor Mine in Ouray is back of the movement with Mr. E. H. Anderson of Chicago, a man of life long experience in the canning business as a manger. The plant will be erected on the southeast corner of the Sanders’ Ranch in North Delta. This is reached by the road passing Fred Jackson’s ranch. This assures the abundance of pure Water and a fine outlet for the sewerage.
March 6, 1895 – The stone work for the canning factory was commenced yesterday.
July 31, 1895 – The development of the canning factory here means much more to Delta than is realize by the majority of her citizens. One of the additional industries – is the manufactory of tin cans in which to pack its product, an industry which is now established here. Nick Arch has opened a tin shop in the large room just north of the court house, and in a few days will have the machines in place for making all sizes of tin cans for packing vegetables and fruits.
From a pamphlet published by the Delta Board of Trade in 1895, “Delta is the first county on the Western Slope to secure a canning factory, and she has one of the best in the state. This season the first shipment will be pickles, relishes, fruits, fruit butters, jam and sauerkraut. The shipment during the season has furnished a market for the surplus tomatoes, cucumbers, small onions and all kinds of fruit raised here. Another year will probably have an output in the neighborhood of fifty train carloads.
April 1900 – The new company has taken hold of the cannery and creamery and has the building in place at the new site near the depot, and the work of placing the machinery is progressing rapidly. The cannery will be in perfect readiness to start as soon as the fruit and produce can be raised.
July 4, 1901- The canning factory started with 25 women and girls, on cherries the first of the week. The Company has put in four steam cherry pitters, for slick work is away ahead of anything yet introduced.
The Cannery was built in 1919, and operated as a local cooperative. On May 13, 1935, it incorporated under the leadership of local businessmen, and the name was change to Delta Canning Company. On May 24, 1941, the name was again changed to Delta County Canning Company. At that time, John Davis was elected President, Tom Osborn Vice-President and Mrs. Marjorie Laiminger Secretary-Treasurer.
By 1959, the Canning Company spent about $100,000 annually for area produce, and had a $100,000 payroll each year. The factory processed 250,000 pounds of sour cherries, 600,000 pounds of green and wax beans, 3,000,000 pounds of tomatoes and 500,000 pounds of peaches, 500,000 pounds of apples, 100,000 pounds of pumpkin, and some beets and Italian prunes.
Before the Delta County Canning Factory closed in 1964, it had operated with twelve year-round employees and a seasonal crew of 150 to 200 workers. The peak season was July to November. The closing of the facility was blow to Delta County residents from the producers of the fruits and vegetables to those who depended on employment at the plant for a large part of their annual income.
Director, Delta County Historical Society and Museum