Editor's Note: This is the 302nd in a series of articles recalling vanished Huntington scenes.
HUNTINGTON - Martha White Mills began producing flour, corn meal and feed in Huntington in 1955.
Initially the company, headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, leased the land, building and equipment of the Huntington Milling Co. Located on the north side of the 1500 block of 2nd Avenue, Huntington Milling was owned by B.C. and C.C. McGinnis. In 1960, Martha White exercised an option to buy the operation.
In 1959, the company spent $125,000 on new machinery and packaging equipment that enabled it to triple the Huntington plant's production of corn meal. At its peak production, the plant purchased 500,000 pounds of white and yellow corn each year from area farmers.
In 1964, Martha White took over the operation of the Gwinn Brothers & Co. grain elevator and flour mill located at 2nd Avenue and 10th Street. Gwinn Brothers was established at Glenwood in Mason County in 1889 before moving to Huntington six years later.
Martha White's Huntington plant began producing "Trail Blazer" brand dog food in 1967. Country music star Tennessee Ernie Ford, then the official television spokesman for Martha White, visited the Huntington plant in June of 1975 to officially dedicate an expansion and modernization project. The work included the removal of old facilities and construction of a new 7,000-square-foot warehouse.
Martha White closed its Huntington plant in 1986, as the company moved to consolidate its operations into fewer locations. The closure left 28 employees jobless.