Originally Stokely Brothers, this canning giant was founded in 1898. The small gray building in the center of the complex was the company’s early headquarters; by 1941, it operated 34 factories in 14 states. Since purchased by Van Camp and Con Agra, it now produces Hunt’s tomato-based sauces and Van Camp Beans. When Anna Stokely lost her husband at the age of 44, she was left to care for nine children and a family farm. The family began canning their surplus crops in the late 1800s, forming the Stokely Brothers company. Shipping canned tomatoes down the French Broad River, the business quickly grew and eventually moved to Newport to be near the railroad. Anna’s youngest son, George, took a job at the Van Camp factory in Indiana. He brought home invaluable information about canning techniques, and the company eventually purchased Van Camp in the 1930s.
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