The Charlottesville Canning Company opened for business in the summer of 1905, manufacturing canned fruits and vegetables for what was then a fast-emerging national market for such products. With an abundance of nearby farms producing the needed materials, a surplus of labor, and at the hub of an established east-west, north-south rail network, Charlottesville was an ideal location for such a venture. Supported by local and out-of-state investors, and led by a brokerage company from Philadelphia, the Canning Company was recognized at the time as a symbol of Charlottesville’s emergence as an industrial, manufacturing community. Despite the failure of the Canning Company (it shuttered its doors within a few years), the next few decades saw an increasing number of successful manufacturing and “light industry” enterprises in Charlottesville and Albemarle: from the nationally recognized Woolen Mills along the Rivanna River to the Frank Ix and Sons Silk Mill to Morton’s Frozen Foods in Crozet. Textiles, lumber, quarrying, even a pencil factory all proved to be important sectors in the regional economy throughout much of the 20th century — just as the viability of farming was on the decline. Like much of the rest of the country, most of the manufacturing and industrial jobs were lost to automation or the allure of less expensive labor elsewhere. Most of Central Virginia’s factories began to close in the 1960s and 70s, though a handful of successful companies still prosper in these sectors in the region to this day. Though the building in this photograph has since been torn down, thanks to research by Historical Archaeologist Steve Thompson, we know that it used to stand in what is now the parking lot for Southern States on Harris Street.(Photo by Rufus Holsinger and courtesy of Special Collections Library at the University of Virginia).