Fruit Shippers Association – Part 1

Employees of the Bayfield Fruit Packing Company - July 11 1933 James and Marge Miller Collection

Employees of the Bayfield Fruit Packing Company – July 11 1933
Photo: James and Marge Miller Collection

Bayfield Fruit Shippers Association

“The work being carried on by the Bayfield Fruit Shippers Association preparing the ground for their new warehouse on the former Curry G. Bell property on First Street is going forward rapidly and this week the resident building was moved north to the remaining lots and the work of grading will soon be commenced.

The Bayfield Fruit Shippers Association was organized last spring with about 60 members, who after organization, at a stockholders meeting held March 4, voted to employ a manager to take charge of the business of the Association. In the face of a crop failure the previous year, but with an implicit faith in he who showers blessings alike on the just and unjust, they employed a manager, Mr. Frank F. Kern, of Sparta, Wisconsin.  Kern took charge on the 20th day of April, making all necessary arrangements to provide berry crates, ordered several cars of box material, a box machine and began and active operations.

“Fortune favors the brave,” and fruit season on the Bayfield Peninsula was a reality. The Association ships fruit to over 300 customers in Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota and Iowa on express shipments.  Carloads were shipped to Duluth, St. Paul and Minneapolis. Every account has been collected and it was only necessary to sue one customer of the 336, to collect an account.

The Association has paid out for fruit this season in Bayfield $20,000. They have in addition to the fruit business added flour, feed and hay which they carry on hand for the accommodation of their members and anyone who cares to trade with them. They also handle peaches, grapes, etc. which they sold at very attractive prices, and they are expecting a carload of winter apples in this fall and will be able to sell them at very reasonable prices.

In addition to the business already mentioned they handed a contract for furnishing the Regular Army at Camp Robinson, Wisconsin a military range near Sparta, Wisconsin with over 600,000 pounds of hay and nearly 500,000 pounds of oats which netted the Association a nice profit. Mr. Kern has had a similar contract each year with the United States ever since this arrangement was established five years ago. Having been located Sparta, he was very fortunate to secure the contract again this season.

Just six months from the date Mr. Kern took the management for the Association and closed a deal for the Currie Bell residence property and made a contract with The Hurley Lumber and Fuel Company, of Hurley, Wisconsin for the erection of a concrete block building 33 x 60′, two-stories and a basement, to be erected this fall. The basement when completed will be used to store potatoes and other vegetables and will hold more than 10,000 bushels. The first floor will be used for flour, feed and hay, etc. and the upper floor for the manufacture and storage of fruit packages.

The railroad track will be extended from the main track to the property where cars can be loaded and unloaded at the building.

This building will certainly be a monument to the Association to say nothing of its advantage to the town. It will now be possible to store vegetables in the fall when prices are not satisfactory and ship them in midwinter when there is usually a much better market, and this will encourage the raising of produce and the growers are assured a good market.

With a comfortable shop in which to manufacture food packages and winter growers will always be able to secure cases for their crop at a reasonable price, a graded narration of having to ship them made up.

With favorable weather the building will be completed the last of November. As soon as the building has been finished the office will be moved to the new building and a very comfortable and convenient office will be fitted up and then for the first time the Association will handle all different departments under one roof.

The stock of the Association is rapidly being bought up and on the day that ground was broken the 100th certificate was issued to W. S. Kennedy. Bayfield County Press, Friday, October 27, 1911

Northwestern Railroad Boxcar Awaits Loading Robert J Nelson Collection

Northwestern Railroad Boxcar Awaits Loading
Photo: Robert J Nelson Collection

This history brief was written by Robert J. Nelson. Generously sharing our local history through his research and writing.