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The Hemlock Canning Factory of Hemlock NY

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The Hemlock Canning Factory in full operation circa 1930.
Photo courtesy of Livonia Gazette.

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The Hemlock Canning Factory on the right circa 1930.
Photo courtesy of Livonia Historical Society.

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Unidentified people of the Hemlock Canning Factory circa 1930.
Photo courtesy of Lee Wemett.

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Unidentified people of the Hemlock Canning Factory circa 1930.
Photo courtey of Lee Wemett.

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Unidentified people of the Hemlock Canning Factory circa 1930.
Photo courtesy of Lee Wemett.

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A can label of the Hemlock Canning Factory 1910.
Photo courtesy of Jane Schryver.

The Canning Factory Runs Full Blast

From the Livonia Gazette, 11 July 1913

The canning factory is now running full blast and has the largest amount of peas to can it has ever handled, and the quality is fine.

The daily average of the factory is around 30,000 cans, but on Saturday the number was 34,240 and on Monday 30,840. Tuesday forenoon 9,000 cans were put up in four hours.

The factory is now employing twenty-six women and about twice that number of men, who work long hours but receive good wages.

Several improvements are being made about the factory. A dynamo is being installed to furnish electricity for lights, which will enable them to put on a night shift. Drinking water has been piped through the building for the workers, and it is pretty convenient all around.

Your correspondent is told that some of the farmers are receiving as high as $100 an acre for their peas.

Fire Destroys Canning Factory at Hemlock

$200,000 Blaze of Unknown Origin Takes Structure in Few Hours

Building Only Partially Covered by Insurance

Unknown Author - The Livonia Gazette

13 November 1931

Fire of an undetermined orign practically destroyed the plant of the Livingston County Canning company at Hemlock Tuesday morning.

The fire was discovered about 11 o’clock by Gay F. Osborne, who was washing his car near the factory. He smelled smoke and went up to the office, which was on the second floor of the north wing, and when he opened the door of the room he was met by flames and smoke. The fire burned so rapidly that he was unable to get down the stairway again and was forced to go out a window onto the roof of the corn shed.

The plant, which was owned by W. H. Osborne of Honeoye Falls, and operated by his two sons, G. F. and L. C. Osborne, covered a large area and was built without fire walls or partitions and the fire could not be confined to the section in which it started, this open construction making it difficult for the firemen to fight the flames effectively.

Fire companies from Livonia, Lima, Avon and Lakeville made fast runs, but their effort, united with that of the Hemlock department, was unable to save the building as the fire had gained too much headway.

The warehouse contained about 60,000 cases of canned goods and the loss on this and the plant and machinery will reach about $200,000, which is partly covered by insurance. It would be impossible to calculate the loss to the farmers and those depending upon the factory for labor. The Osborne boys and Hemlock and surrounding communities have suffered a severe blow. It is hoped that the factory can and will be replaced.

The original factory was promoted and built by a man from Baltimore in 1908 and 1909. Local men invested to start it, John F. White of Mount Morris being elected president and E. B. Woodruff Secretary and Treasurer. This orgainzation was not successful and the company was reorganized and it again failed when it was taken over by T. S. Stevens and F. H. Caskey as executors of D. W. Beam’s estate. These people operated it two years and sold to another company organized by A. T. Wallace and this one went into bankruptcy and the Osbornes purchased it in 1913 at a bank sale. They have successfully operated it since then, enlarging it to several times its original size and capacity. Its products have always been considered of the best and were widely distributed.

This is the second heavy fire loss in Hemlock in the past three years, the high school having burned July 19, 1928. Each time neighboring towns have assisted in preventing greater loss and their help has been greatly appreciated by the people of Hemlock.

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