NORTH OGDEN – A piece of The story of North Ogden will soon be part of to make way for a road connecting a new subdivision that is taking shape in the city.
âSad and the price of progress,â said Scott Chambers.
A large fruit-packing shed built over 100 years ago sits off the 2600 north, giving passing motorists a glimpse of the industry – the growing and packaging of fruit – which was so important. in the early history of what is now North Ogden. Things change; land that once housed fruit trees has given way to houses, and now the large weathered barn in block 700 of 2600 north must be dismantled. The road just south, 725 east, is to be extended north to give some 30 homes planned in an area where cherry and peach trees once developed a connection with the busy 2600 north.
The extension of the roadway is envisaged in the town planning documents. The impending change, perhaps over the summer, is no surprise. Notably, there’s a silver lining: Chambers’ son Shayne Chambers plans to take the barn apart and put it back together on land he owns in the Mendon area of ââCache County.
Yet change is change, and the structure and adjacent orchard it once served, now defunct, feature prominently in the memories of Scott Chambers, his cousin Steve Campbell, and other extended family members. Scott Winfield Campbell, Chambers and Campbell’s great-grandfather, built the barn to service the commercial cherry and peach orchard he operated in the area, SW Campbell & Sons.
“There is nothing left,” said Alene Chambers, wife of Scott Chambers last week. âThey just felled the last three trees on Monday. It was sad. … More of the old orchard.
Given the importance of the structure to the history of the North Ogden region, the Weber County Heritage Foundation helps prepare a documentary on the old building. Family members believe it was built around 1905, possibly shortly after. âIt’s one of the last packing sheds out there,â said Kattie Stewart, president of the foundation.
Perhaps more importantly, Shayne Chambers hopes to keep the old building alive in Cache County, though he’s still wondering how he’s going to transplant it. He hopes to solicit donations to help with the effort, perhaps through a GoFundMe.com account, and welcome help at [email protected] âIt’s not something we’ve done before, so it’s definitely going to be a learning curve,â he says.
However, he feels compelled to keep a small part of the past in the present. âI don’t want to see the lost story. We want to make sure we preserve what we can and keep this heritage alive, âhe said.
The town of North Ogden had considered moving the old barn to Barker Park. The apparent cost and logistics, however, condemned this idea. âThe possibility of saving the building and making it usable as a park element raised some concerns. Ultimately, it makes more sense for the city not to move the barn, âsaid Jon Call, counsel for the City of North Ogden.
Call said there are still a few old buildings from North Ogden’s farming past. Significantly, there’s the old Cannery Building at Washington Boulevard and 2000 North, where farm crops were once canned, now reused, and home to several businesses. Overall, however, most of the old barns used in agriculture in the North Ogden area were demolished, “a lot because they had just lasted their useful life,” Call said.
‘A lot of hard work‘Campbell worked in the SW Campbell & Sons orchard, earning 3 cents for every pound of cherries he picked. âIt was a lot of work for 3 cents a pound,â he said.
Scott Chambers also worked there, for a summer anyway. âI picked cherries a year, enough to know I didn’t want to do it again,â he said.
The fruit – the orchard also produced peaches that were sold commercially – would be sorted and packed in the old shed, which has two levels. Then it would be transported to Ogden and shipped to the market by railcars.
Gradually, however, the operation faded. Part of the hangar, the eastern part, was destroyed in a particularly severe winter due to the weight of the snow falling on it. âAt one point, it was really booming. Then it just went down, âCampbell said.
More recently the shed has been used for storage. Browsing through it earlier this week, Alene Chambers highlighted what she believed to be a holdover from the past. âIt’s what’s left of a (fruit) sorting table,â she says.
The land where the shed and orchard were located became more valuable as space to build houses, and eventually the extended family members who owned it decided to sell it. They understand that change is inevitable, but that hasn’t diminished the nostalgic feelings over the years as the redevelopment has progressed towards reality. âThere have been some sad times over the years,â Campbell said.