Iowa Canning Company Seed House Building

201 1st Avenue, Vinton, Iowa

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on March 12, 2012 (12000094)


Iowa Canning Company Seed House Building

View of the front and north side.

Photo taken by Dave King; Taken June 29, 2013



Street View 


The major historic resource in the neighborhood is the factory warehouse at 201 1st Avenue, which operated under various owners and business names through the years. The earliest available Sanborn Map shows the warehouse as S.H. Watson Canning Company in 1885. Later maps show the building as the Cedar Valley Packing Company in 1892; the Vinton Canning Company in 1899, 1906, 1913, and 1921; and the Iowa Canning Company in 1941. The original business appears to have been established by Samuel H. Watson, a Vinton pioneer, successful banker, and holder of school and town offices.

During the 1890s the canning factory operated under several names with a change to the Kelley Canning Company in ca. 1892. W.C. Ellis, Frank G. Ray and H.B. Kelley served as its owner-officers. In 1895 it was reorganized as the Vinton Canning Company, one of several plants operated as part of the Iowa Canning Company. In the 1890s it was described as the first corn canning factory west of the Mississippi. A decade later in 1905 it had branch factories in La Porte City, Garrison and Shellsburg processing nearly 9 million cans of corn annually under 23 brands. The Vinton operation’s capacity alone exceeded 3 million cans annually including such brands as “Vinton Blue,” “Vinton Yellow,” “Vinton Red,” “Vinton Green,” “Vinton Black,” “Iowa’s Pride,” and “Iowa Chief.” 250 workers are employed during the peak season before World War I.

Update Log 

  • June 30, 2013: Added by Dave King