The Jolly Green Giant of Dayton

Posted by Brandon |

After seeing the Codger Pole on Sunday morning we made our way southwest from Colfax to Walla Walla where we planned on grabbing a bite to eat and doing some wine tasting. But between Colfax and Walla Walla stood Dayton, an interesting enough little town that houses Washington's oldest courthouse and many more interesting and historic properties.

It was also home to one of the largest asparagus canneries in the world before this past summer. Asparagus was canned at the cannery since 1934 becoming Columbia County's largest employer with over 1,000 seasonal workers and the counties largest taxpayer.

Dayton has always been proud of their industry and in the early 70's an area farmer started outlining and fertilizing this spot on the hill making it so that as the year went on the giant would get greener and greener and more visible. But rain would sometimes wash out big chunks of the giant, so in the 90's residents built this amazing 310 foot tall, 40 foot wide tribute to the Jolly Green Giant out of patio bricks.

Unfortunately the cannery was shut down this past summer with Seneca Foods moving their asparagus canneries down to Peru to save money. You see the minimum wage is a little bit over a ghastly $7.00 an hour here in Washington and this was just becoming way too spendy for Seneca. So after 70 years they decided it was high time to start paying their canners only $7.00 a day, the going rate in Peru, abandoning a town that was nothing but loyal to the Jolly Green Giant.

It's just another sad reminder of the enormous power and unchecked business practices that corporations now possess in this country and a reminder about how the almighty dollar is the only thing that these corporations can understand. Nothing says America like a cannery in Peru and an abandoned 310 foot tall giant in small town America.


Anonymous said...

I saw this image just this past Aplil, 2009. It is not as colorful, but it is still visable. My son lives in Dayton, WA. I attended his wedding. He took us around and showed a lot of things in the area that are no more. The town is beautiful old buildings. They even have an old fashioned soda fountian at the Elk drug store. His grandfather worked at the cannery until it closed. It is sad that America is moving to other countries. What is even worse is America is being bought up by other countries.

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