Stevens Cannery Building

Stevens Canning Co. – 1960-Circa 1980

Plants, Pivots and Punch


Driving along 6000 S. you’ve probably noticed the old Stevens Cannery building, one of the few historic buildings that remains standing in Roy. But did you know that it didn’t start out as a canning factory? Or that at one time fruit punch kept it humming?

In 1904, business partners E.J. Harness and Col. P.A. Dix decided they wanted to move their business, Davis County Nursery, from Centerville to Roy. The partners constructed a large warehouse and a boarding house around 2700 W. 6000 S. The nursery sold trees, shrubs, and plants to markets in Utah, Idaho, Colorado, and California. The business was the largest single enterprise in Roy, and the largest nursery in the state during that era. Col. Dix also just happened to be the owner of the first automobile in Roy.

Jones Canning Company- 1920-1929

Around the same time, a Roy resident named Orson Field was experimenting in his blacksmith shop with a 2 1⁄2 horsepower steam boiler, which he had purchased to chop feed for his farm animals. He modified it and used it to start canning fruits for his family. By 1907, Orson and his brother-in-law Oscar Jones decided to join forces and open a canning company. They built a small facility on Jones’s property, and that year they won first place at the Utah State Fair for their canned tomatoes. Oscar’s brother Arthur later joined the partnership.

In 1916, the Davis County Nursery went out of business. Oscar and Arthur Jones, along with Arthur’s brother-in-law James Platt, purchased the building, remodeling it into a factory and storehouse. They canned fruits and vegetables from the Jones’ farm and other local orchards and gardens. Many people were employed during the canning season, coming from as far away as Idaho to work in the factory. The building proudly displayed Jones Canning Company above the front entrance and was in operation from about 1920-1929.

In 1930, the Jones brothers sold the factory to William Varney and the sign over the entrance was painted over once again. Varney Canning became a well-known factory in Weber County. William was a veteran in the canning business, managing canneries across Northern Utah. William made many renovations to upscale the factory to produce even more cans each canning season, and the factory was considered one of the most efficient and sanitary canning operations in the state.

Davis County Nursery- 1904-1916

Angus and Robert Stevens purchased the business from Mr. Varney in the late 1950s and painted onto the structure the name we see today: Stevens Canning Co. Roy, Utah. The Stevens processed tomatoes, peas, cherries, and apricots from around Weber County. Locals still speak of of the delicious smells that would come from the factory, giving clues to what was being canned each day. The Stevens took over around the time that larger scale, national companies were overpowering the markets of small, local canneries, but the Stevens executed an impressive pivot; they scaled back on fruit and vegetable operations and began canning 64 oz cans of Hi-C and fruit punch. The juice sales helped Stevens Cannery remain profitable until the 1980s when juice boxes became the newest trend in U.S. households.

Between 1977 and 1980, Angus Stevens passed away and the Stevens Canning Factory closed, just as the canning industry was coming to a slow decline in Utah.

The Stevens Canning Co. building is one of the few cannery buildings still intact in Weber County, and one of the oldest buildings remaining in Roy.

Does your family have ties to a historic building?
Email and we might feature your story in the magazine.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.