elbaoniontower3For all who are wondering about the picture of the building and smoke stack located in Elba. The Western New York Farms Company had successfully drained and reclaimed thousands of acres of the Oak Orchard swamp and turned it into the thriving and prosperous mucklands. With the soil proving so fertile and the extremely high yields being attained, a problem arose as to how to process the crops economically. In 1915, the Batavia Canning co.,negotiated with the Western Farms Co. to establish a large canning company known as the Elba Food Products Company. There were originally 3 buildings built. The windows in the buildings contained 3,000 panes of quarter-inch 10 by 16 inch wire-ribbed glass, the buildings took 200,000 feet of lumber to build. In it’s first year of operation it processed 240 tons of spinach and 274 acres of peas. Sadly the company went bankrupt. It was purchased in 1917 by another food processing company. They processed food for the U.S. Army. In 1919 they were advised to shut down operations as World War 1 had ended. That was the end of it’s use. The owners left Elba. In September of 1919, Wheat’s Ice Cream Co. of Akron purchased the buildings. Remodeling began and at that time the chimney that remains standing was built. It is 150 feet high and 7 feet across at the top. The Atlas Milk Products, Inc., condensery was officially opened in March of 1920. It had the capacity to take in 300,000 pounds of raw milk. It’s daily out-put of sweetened condensed milk would eventually total 3 carloads a day. The buildings were located next to the West Shore Railroad. Over time a 100 people were employed at the business, many of them woman. In the twenty’s the Dairymen’s League was operating the plant. In 1932 they were taking in about 90,000 pounds of raw milk daily. Eventually the plant was used by the Oakfield & Elba Growers, Inc., the O & E Growers Inc. and Marky’s Produce who operated it as a produce packing, shipping and brokerage business. Most of the buildings were consumed by fire in the 90’s. Information is from the 1996 Pinehill, Town of Elba, 175th Anniversary Book available for $10.00 from the Historical Society of Elba.


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1 Response to

  1. amyckv says:

    This picture was posted on The Batavian by Howard Owens today with a link to a previous comment from June Rowcliffe with the above information.

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