Van Camp Packing Co
BINGHAM BUILT NEW VAN
Bingham. Born: 1870, Indianapolis,
Marion, IN. Mar: 15 Sep 1900 Pearl
Wheelock went to work
for the Pan Handle Railway, part of the Pennsylvania Railroad, when he was
seventeen. He worked for them until 1905 when he was hired by Van Camp Packing
Company at its plant in Effingham, IL. He became expert in plant operation and
was called upon to build a new Van Camp
milk facility in Watertown, WI. He
was appointed its superintendent in
1908. His daughter, Ione Rose, graduated
from Watertown high school in 1919.
05 31 SOLICITATION FOR CONDENSING PLANT
John N. Dittemore, vice-president of the Van
Camp Packing Company arrived in the city last night in an effort to interest
the citizens of Watertown and the farmers adjacent thereto in securing a
$100,000 condensing plant — the only exactment being the contracting for 40,000
pounds of milk daily from the farmers . . . Mr. Dittemore
is very much impressed with Watertown as a field for their industry from the
view-point of shipping facilities, sites, etc . .
. it is a case of quick action, as the
demand for their products necessitate the erection of a new milk condensing
plant as soon as possible.
If Watertown and the
farmers adjacent want this industry which will give steady employment to 100
people, furnishing an excellent market for milk at the highest market prices,
it is necessary for them to do some active work, as it was clearly gathered
from Mr. Dittemore’s conversation last evening that
they have no time to waste, as other cities are holding out strong inducements,
among which might be mentioned Elkhorn, Beloit, Janesville, Waupun, Whitewater
and Plymouth, as well as several cities in northern Illinois.
When pressed for an
answer as to what conclusion had been arrived at relative to the chances for
Watertown securing the plant, Mr. Dittemore was
rather undecided . . . He was not satisfied with the progress made in the
preliminary work — the signing of contracts and so expressed himself . . .
“If we are assured
milk from 2,500 cows within a radius of six miles of Watertown, we will erect
our plant here.” said Mr. Dittemore, “but we MUST
have this assurance within the next three days,” added the gentleman
1907 06 05
of the citizens of Watertown are now guessing as to what decision will be
arrived at by the officials of the Van Camp Packing company relative to the
proposition of erecting their $100,000 condensing plant here . . . A meeting of
some of the members of the Watertown Advancement Association was held yesterday
morning to confer with John N. Dittemore in an effort to arrive to some definite plan of action. Mr. Dittemore
generously consented to hold the proposition open till the 15th of June . . .
It was proposed by Mr. Dittemore that the local association
name a delegation of six - four farmers and two business men - to visit the
plant of the concern at Wauseon, Ohio . . . The company agrees to pay the
expenses of the delegation on the trip.
1907 06 09
begin to look more rosy for the landing of the
proposed condensing plant of the Van Camp Packing Co. of Indianapolis, Ind., in
this city at a cost of $100,000. The
sending of a committee of six to Wauseon, Ohio, to inspect the plant there was
a happy thought on the part of John V. Dittemore when
in the city last week.
. . .
A letter was received last evening which shows that the members of the
committee are very enthusiastic over the project and their enthusiasm will no
doubt act as stimulance for other citizens of the
city to “strike while the iron is hot” and land this industry which seems
desirous to come to Watertown - and will come practically for the asking.
1907 06 22
there is hope of securing in Watertown the establishment of a condensing plant
by the Van Camp Packing company . . . John Dittemore
. . . was a visitor in the city for a few hours yesterday, to size up the
situation and ascertain what progress had been made . . . While Mr. Dittemore was still determined as to the number of cows
that must be contracted for - 2,000 - in order to assure the location of the
industry, he still held out a ray of hope that Watertown might be successful,
as is evidenced in the fact that the gentleman agreed to send a representative
here next week to go into the country and canvass among the farmers in a
further effort to bring the contracts up to the required amount. Mr. Dittemore was very positive in the statement that the 2,000
cows contracted for on the start must be in close proximity
to the city. He said that in two years from the time of the completion
of the plant, the concern would expected to receive
100,000 pounds of milk daily . . . An investigation of the contracts yesterday
shows that the milk from 1,400 cows has been contracted. As this
leaves but 600 to secure, it would seem that this number could be
secured the coming week, providing good hard work is put in.
1907 06 28
is to get the new condensing plant of the Van Camp Packing company of
was the decision arrived at last evening by . . . the vice-president of the company who arrived
in the city yesterday noon . . . The
gentleman came to listen to the report of C. D. Van Derson,
the superintendent of the Van Camp condensing plant at Effingham, Ill., who had
been in the city for the past few days contracting with the farmers in an effort to assure milk from 2,000 cows.
. it was announced that 1,758 cows had
been contracted for, leaving 242 short of the number which the representatives
of the company said would be exacted. Mr. Van Derson
took a trip out to the south and east of the city yesterday morning and
succeeded in contracting for 24 more cows, bringing the total up to 1,782.
yesterday there was much speculation in the minds of Watertown citizens as to whether or not this industry . . . would come to Watertown or not. A few
appeared to feel confident, while others were prone to believe that . . . the industry had slipped through our fingers,
owing to the fact that the number of cows contracted for had not reached the
1907 07 24
have been numerous regarding the condensing plant of the Van Camp Packing
Company. Owing to the quietness, there
has been a belief among a few that condensing in Watertown had become a dead
issue. The Leader is pleased to set at rest any such doubt this morning with
the announcement that the plant is an assured thing.
telegram was received yesterday from Indianapolis, Ind., by one of our business
men and pushers for the industry, the message being from John V. Dittemore, the vice president of the concern. The message stated that the company's
architect was busily engaged on the plans, which would be finished this week,
also that bids for the erection of the $100,000 plant would be received on
Thursday or Friday of this week and the contract let some
time next week.
delay was occasioned in the failure to get a survey of the Crangle property, which is to be the site for the
new plant. This held the architect
back. The survey was made about ten days
ago and since the receipt of the report, the architect has been busily engaged
in perfecting the plans.
Mr. Dittemore did not state in his message just what
time building operations would be commenced, the chances are that the first of
August will see “something doing” in the vicinity of the junction, as it is
known that the firm is anxious to get the factory up and in operation as soon
1907 07 27
. . . Plans
for the new condensing plant arrived yesterday and are now at the Wisconsin
National Bank and the specifications are expected today, when the bids are to
be received . . . The contract would be let early next week and the work of
constructing the building rushed to completion.
known to the majority of the citizens of Watertown,
the site for the new $100,000 condensing plant is the Crangle triangle piece of
land at the junction of the Milwaukee and North-Western road, the land being
approximately 2 1/2 acres. The plans call for a modern fire proof structure,
116x178 feet, the dimensions being a little different than was at first
planned. The plant will be two stories in height together with a power house of
sufficient size to house six 100 horsepower boilers. The building will be of
steel frame and pressed brick. The finishing on the inside for handling the
milk will be of copper. The architect has provided for beauty as well as
convenience giving an appearance different from an ordinary factory.
1907 10 03
Hecker, of Sheboygan, an iron worker employed at the Van Camp packing company
building now under course of construction, met with a very painful and rather
serious accident yesterday morning while engaged in riveting iron, was struck
in one of his eyes by a red hot bolt. The same had
been thrown to workmen. The distance was misjudged and the same struck a beam
and then hitting Mr. Hecker with the result that his eyelids were quite badly
burned. The physician in charge was of the belief that the eye would not be
affected as a result of the mishap. The gentleman will
be laid up for several days, however.
1907 11 01
person who has not taken advantage of the opportunity to note the progress
being made in the erection of the Van Camp condensing plant, could not spend an
hour or two more profitably this afternoon than to visit the scene and take
observations. The new industry is fast nearing completion
and it is certainly a gem in architecture and a credit to the contractor . . .
The building is also a credit to the city and enables Watertown to boast of as
fine a factory building as there is in the state . . . It is complete in every
detail and appointment and the citizens of the city can point to it with pride
as a local industry.
visit to the scene yesterday revealed the fact that the building is now fast
1907 11 19
finishing touches at the Van Camp condensing plant preparatory to the
installing of the machinery are being made at a rapid rate and barring any
unforeseen delays the new industry will be in operation by the first of January. . . . In speaking of the progress of the work, Mr. Milikan [contractor] said yesterday to representative of
The Leader: “We will see the completion of the plant ready for the steam
fitters within 100 days from the time we begin operations which is very good
considering the fact that over half a million bricks were used and also because
we were inconvenienced somewhat in delays,” Mr. Milikan
expects to bring his work to a finish not later than the end of next week and
possibly a little sooner.” . . . It is the largest job of the kind ever let in
Watertown, there being about 1,700 square feet of concrete flooring to be laid
. . . Three large boilers have been placed in the boiler room and three mammoth
smokestacks erected It is an imposing structure of solid white pressed brick,
with red trimmings.
1907 12 11
Unless something unforeseen happens to
prevent, the condensing plant of the Van Camp Packing Company will be in
operation on the first of January. The factory is fast assuming completion,
most of the machinery already having been installed. The machinery and
equipment already in place are two sterilizers, a vacuum fan, three forheaters, (sic), a shaking machine, a hot water heater,
and three boilers. The electric wiring has all been completed and a large
dynamo installed. A large ninety horsepower engine arrived the latter part of
last week and is being installed at the present time, it being expected that
the work will be completed today or tomorrow, the same to furnish the power for
A copper milk tank, a copper scale tank and
cream tanks are yet to arrive . . . will
begin operations with about forty employees, but expects to increase the number
... Mr. Bingham expects to notify the farmers
sometime this week when to begin bring in milk to the
-- -- MIKE BEGAN,
John Beggan, brother of Mike Began (Beggan)
in front of Van Camp. Mike was superintendent of Van Camp in 1908 before moving
to Effingham Il. to supervise their condensery. Contributed by Mary Beggan
1908 02 09
Some idea of what the Van Camp Packing Company is
doing in the way of distribution of money among the farmers adjacent to Watertown
can be gained from a list of farmers, together with the amounts they have
received for milk for the month of January, first month of operation of this
new industry. It not only shows what has
been done during, the first month but gives an idea of what will be the future
benefits, for it should be remembered that the month of January is the very
poorest month of the year, also that the plant is new and is hardly in smooth
running order yet. There are sixty-five
farmers who have received over $50 for the month, making a total of
$5,753.85. There are many who have
received less than $50 for January, the total making $2,560.20. Thus the total amount paid out for January is
$8,143.05, payment to be made on the 15th inst.
This is only a starter and the
superintendent of the local plant informs The
Leader that he expects the amount will increase from month to month till
the total for the first month of operation will look like an insignificant sum
. . . 02 09 1908
second month (February) of operations for the Van Camp Packing Company at its
condensing plant in this city shows quite an increase over the first month, despite the fact that February is the short month. The amount to be paid out for the February
delivery is $10,298.88, an increase of $2,153.83 over the preceding month. The total number of pounds of milk received
during the month of February is 619,293.
This gives an idea of what the increasing business means to the farmers
adjacent to Watertown, who for the months of January and February have received
$1.65 per hundred pounds. The Leader again takes pleasure in
publishing a list of the 85 farmers who have received over $50 for their
February delivery of milk, while there are many who have received less than
$50. 03 12 1908
01 03 A. J. Volkmann and wife of Wauseon, Ohio, arrived in the city
Saturday evening to make Watertown their home, having taken up residence
quarters in the Hertel & Hoffmann building on Main Street. Mr. Volkmann will have charge of the sealing
department at the Van Camp condensing plant.
B. Peirson, also from Wauseon, is here to have
charge of the pan department; his family to join him later.
03 14 Twenty-eight thousand pounds of milk is being received daily
at the Van Camp Condensing factory and the receipts are increasing, and will
continue to increase until midsummer, when the grass will be at its best. The
company is adding to its force at the factory until it looks like a bee-hive when the factory is in operation.
09 04 M. A. Began of local plant left for
Effingham, Ill. Facility WG
10 02 GORDER FACTORY RENTED.
has leased his factory in First [Water?] Street, just vacated by the M. D.
Wells Shoe Co., to the Van Camp Packing Co., receiving $600 a year rental. The Van Camp Co. intended enlarging their
factory in Milford Street, but for the present will not do so, but will use the
Gorder factory for storage purposes, there being no
room in their factory for that purpose.
11 27 A 275 feet deep well
drilled; plant consumes 80,000-100,000 gallons of water a day. WG
12 25 Amount of water pumped
by city was enormous on account of Van Camp Co. WG
01 01 SUPERINTENDENT GIVEN CHRISTMAS
A Fine Christmas Gift. The employees of the Van Camp Packing Co.,
this city, presented Superintendent W. P. Bingham with an elegant mission clock
as a Christmas gift. The gift was most
worthily bestowed and Mr. Bingham appreciates it very
03 26 $12,000 addition to plant;
principally for storage WG
08 13 Trouble with farmers over
prices paid for milk WG
Van Camp Packing Co 1910, Condensed Milk Factory
Van Camp Packing Co 1910c,
02 08 W. P. BINGHAM INJURED
W. P. Bingham,
superintendent of the Van Camp Condensery, had his
foot crushed last Saturday by a heavy box he was handling falling on it. He is able to be
around with the aid of crutches. WG
Van Camp Packing Co 1913c, PC_116
02 19 OVER 1,000 TONS OF MILK IN JANUARY
The Van Camp milk condensery of Watertown paid to farmers $38,055.59 for
2,016,345 pounds of milk in January.
Besides this large amount paid to farmers, the local condensery
has a monthly payroll of $2500. WG
04 18 KARMA CORP. LOCATED AT 500 MILFORD (former division of
ATKINSON - Karma Corporation of Watertown was named the Opportunities Inc.
Employer of the Year during the seventh annual recognition banquet Thursday
evening at The Fireside in Fort Atkinson.
Formerly a division of Brandt Inc., Karma was purchased last year by its
management group. It has been in
Watertown since 1970, currently occupying a 36,000-square-foot building on
Milford Street and employing about 30 people.
In addition to hiring Opportunities graduates, the firm also helps with
interviews and job tryouts.
04 25 Y’s WAY MOVE TO FORMER VAN CAMP/KARMA
History of Watertown,