Scale House

The Scale House c. 1920

Scale House image 4

The Scale House, like the other buildings on the Rural Life Museum’s campus, is of special, if somewhat unusual historic significance. This is a rather unpretentious little one room frame building that was built for one purpose, to house a scale – a rather large scale. It is believed to have been built circa 1920 at the Defender Packing Co. cannery on Lovers Lane. The large Fairbanks cast iron balance beam scale remains in the building today. The balance was connected to a 9′ x 30′ outside in-ground platform where trucks and wagons carrying corn would be weighed before being unloaded. The building also housed the cannery’s small office.

The building was moved from its original location to the Char-Wil cannery on Landing Neck Road circa 1990 where it served as a chemical storage building. After canning operations ceased at the Char-Wil, factory owner Charles B. Adams Jr. had the building moved to his home at Hunting Creek circa 1998 where it was refurbished and became a “mini-museum” for a few canning industry artifacts. The Rural life Museum acquired the building in 2008. The Scale House (above right) now houses exhibits and artifacts related to the local canning industry.

The picture (below left) is Mr. Charles B. Adams, Sr. [1899-1976] and wife Martha [1898-1994] with the Defender Packing Co. Lovers Lane plant in the background and part of the scale platform in the foreground.The Scale House with the balance platform in front (below right) is shown here at its original location. This cannery originally canned sweet corn, but by the time these pictures were taken circa 1974, the cannery was processing tomatoes and the scale was no longer being used because tomatoes were counted by the basket. The building continued to serve as the cannery’s office.

Scale House image 3 Scale House inage 2

Scale House Exhibits…


Fairbanks Balance Scale Cream-Style Corn MachineStencil Making Char-Wil and Defender Workers

Please visit the Scale House to see the many other items on display.