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Broken windows and a damaged roof led to the city council's May 1 deadline for repairs.

Facing a May 1 deadline imposed by the Vinton City Council, Joe Schott has been working on the historic Seed House building at the intersection of First Avenue and Second Street just south of the Cedar River.

In November, the council had issued the deadline for Schott to replace windows and finish the roof of the building, which sustained flood damage in 2008 and significant wind damage during the storm of 2011.

Crews removing the old roofing material are wearing special protective suits because of the asbestos used in the building's roof..

Schott received a $38,500 grant from the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs in 2012, to help pay for part of the roof project; the building has been in the National Register of Historic Places since 2012.

The Seed House has a long history of providing jobs and contributing to the economy of the Vinton area. See more about it below:

A survey of flood-damaged historic Vinton sites including the following information about the Seed House:

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.

Recent history

Ideal Industries bought the building in the mid-1980s, and used it as a manufacturing facility for hog confinement equipment and later for other items for several years before selling the building to Mike and Cindy Elwick in 2002. The Elwicks later sold the property to the Schotts.

Other historical references:

Kelley Canning token

Ellis House

Frank Ray

Iowa Cultural Affairs Grant Report



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Comments (1)

Wasn't that part of the Green Giant operation in the 1940s and 1950s?
By: Jerry Easter on March 31st 1:35pm

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