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Lens on history: Giant ear of corn

Lens on history: Giant ear of corn
Ford vehicles and Good Year tires were prominent in its early years of operation of a new canning factory at Third Avenue and 12th Street Southeast.
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Reid, Murdoch & Co. of Chicago opened a new canning factory at Third Avenue and 12th Street Southeast in Rochester in June 1929. Two years later, the company added the iconic ear of corn water tower.

The 12-acre site was home to a "great daylight main building built of white brick and cut stone," and Ford vehicles and Goodyear tires were prominent in its early years.

By 1943, Reid Murdoch had the second-largest farm system in the United States, operating 60 farms with 10,000 acres leased to produce peas, sweet corn and lima beans under the Monarch label.

In 1948, Libby McNeil and Libby acquired the plant, and in 1982, Seneca Foods acquired Libby’s canned-vegetable operation.

Each company has maintained the water tower that has become so identified with and loved by our city. The 151-foot tall functioning tower holds 50,000 gallons of water. As for the giant ear of corn, it contains a biologically correct number of rows and kernels.


Next week: Early football heroes.

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