This week we are featuring an envelope from the Viking Cracker Factory. The factory was located just south of Broad St on Elm Ave. Rev. Lars Sherven opened the Viking Cracker Factory in the middle of August of 1896. Prior to opening the factory, Lars was a pastor in Wisconsin and South Dakota as well as here in Story City at St. Petri Lutheran Church from 1883-1888.
In May of 1897 the factory was in full operation, making all kinds of cakes, crackers, and breads. Sherven was employing from six to a dozen people. In June the exterior of the factory was painted red.
Notices were placed in the Heralds that you could purchase broken crackers. Here's an example from the Dec. 2, 1898 issue: "Broken crackers, cookies, etc., can be bought at the Cracker factory at great bargains, every Saturday. They will only be sold on Saturdays, and when you go for them take a box or sack or something to carry them away in as Mr. Sherven does not keep anything of the kind."
By Feb. 3, 1899 the Cracker factory was using a train car load of flour per month. And the production capacity of the factory was 3,000 pounds of crackers per day. The census of 1900 shows that Sherven's sons, Rambert and Gustav, baked and worked in the cracker factory.
According to the August 27th, 1897 edition of the Herald, Sherven leased the factory to Mr. Jondall and Mr. Larson. In June of 1906 the company was sold to the Independent Biscuit Company. In the 1910s there is reference in the Heralds to the cracker factory being remodeled into apartments.
Wouldn't it be great this holiday season if we could stop by the factory and pick up a box of freshly baked crackers!