Homepage of "Mr. Lincoln, Route 66, & Other
Highlights of Lincoln, IL"
A Long-Range Plan to Brand the First Lincoln
Namesake City as the Second City of Abraham Lincoln Statues
Lincoln Bicentennial Celebration in Lincoln, Illinois
Abraham Lincoln and the Historic Postville
including a William Maxwell connection to the Postville Courthouse
About Henry Ford and the Postville Courthouse,
the Story of the Postville Courthouse Replica,
Tantivy, & the Postville Park
Neighborhood in the
Route 66 Era
The Rise of Abraham Lincoln and His History and
Heritage in His First Namesake Town,
also the founding of Lincoln College, the plot to steal Lincoln's
body, and memories of Lincoln College and the Rustic Tavern-Inn
Introduction to the Social & Economic History of
including poetry by William Childress & commentary by Federal Judge
Bob Goebel & Illinois Appellate Court Judge Jim Knecht
"Social Consciousness in William Maxwell's
Writings Based on Lincoln, Illinois" (an article published in the
Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, winter 2005-06)
Peeking Behind the Wizard's Screen: William
Maxwell's Literary Art as Revealed by a Study of the Black Characters in
Billie Dyer and Other Stories
Introduction to the Railroad & Route 66 Heritage
of Lincoln, Illinois
The Living Railroad Heritage of Lincoln, Illinois:
on Track as a Symbol of the "Usable Past"
Route 66 Overview Map of Lincoln with 42 Sites,
Descriptions, & Photos
The Hensons of Business Route 66
The Wilsons of Business
Route 66, including the Wilson Grocery & Shell
Route 66 Map & Photos Showing Lincoln Memorial
(former Chautauqua site),
the Historic Cemeteries, & Nearby Sites
Route 66 Map & Photos Showing Salt Creek &
the highway bridges, GM&O bridge, Madigan State Park, the old dam (with
photos & Leigh's memoir of "shooting the rapids" over the old dam), &
the Ernie Edwards' Pig-Hip Restaurant Museum in Broadwell
The Historic Logan County Courthouse, Past &
Route 66 Map with 51 Sites in the Business &
Courthouse Square Historic District,
including locations of historical markers
(on the National Register of Historic Places)
Vintage Scenes of the Business & Courthouse Square
The Foley House: A
Monument to Civic Leadership
(on the National Register of
the Route 66 Era
Arts & Entertainment Heritage,
the Lincoln Theatre Roy Rogers' Riders Club of the
Cars, Trucks & Gas Stations of the Route 66 Era
Churches, including the hometown
churches of Author William Maxwell & Theologian Reinhold Niebuhr
Factories, Past and Present
Food Stores of
the Route 66 Era
Hospitals, Past and Present
Hotels & Restaurants of the Railroad & Route 66
Lincoln Developmental Center
(Lincoln State School & Colony in
the Route 66 era), plus
debunking the myth of
Lincoln, Illinois, choosing the Asylum over the University of Illinois
Mining Coal, Limestone, & Sand & Gravel; Lincoln Lakes; & Utilities
Museums & Parks, including the Lincoln College
Museum and its Abraham Lincoln Collection, plus the Heritage-in-Flight
News Media in the Route 66 Era
The Odd Fellows' Children's Home
Memories of the 1900 Lincoln Community High School,
including Fred Blanford's dramatic account of the lost marble
fountain of youth
A Tribute to the Historians and Advocates of
Watering Holes of the Route 66 Era
The Historic 1953 Centennial Celebration of
The Festive 2003 Sesqui-centennial Celebration of
Lincoln, Illinois, including photos of LCHS Class of 1960
dignitaries & the Blanfords
Why Did the State Police Raid Lincoln, Illinois,
on October 11, 1950?
The Gambling Raids in Lincoln and Logan County,
During the Late Route 66 Era (1950-1960)
in this section tell about Leigh Henson's Lincoln years, moving away,
revisits, and career:
About Lincoln, Illinois;
This Web Site; & Me
A Tribute to Lincolnite Edward Darold
Henson: World War II U.S. Army Veteran of the Battles for Normandy and
the Hedgerows; Brittany and Brest; and the Ardennes (Battle of the
For Remembrance, Understanding, & Fun: Lincoln
Community High School Mid-20th-Century Alums' Internet Community
(a Web site and
email exchange devoted to collaborative memoir and the sharing of photos
related to Lincoln, Illinois)
Leigh Henson's Pilgrimage to Lincoln, Illinois, on
July 12, 2001
Review of Dr. Burkhardt's William Maxwell Biography
Leigh Henson's Review of Ernie Edwards' biography,
Pig-Hips on Route 66, by William Kaszynski
Leigh Henson's Review of Jan Schumacher's
Glimpses of Lincoln, Illinois
Teach Local Authors: Considering the Literature of
Web Site About
Leigh Henson's Professional Life
in this section are about the writing, memorabilia, and Web sites of
A Tribute to Bill and Phyllis Stigall:
Exemplary Faculty of Lincoln College at Mid-Twentieth Century
A Tribute to the Krotzes of Lincoln, Illinois
A Tribute to Robert Wilson (LCHS '46): Author of
Young in Illinois, Movies Editor of December Magazine,
Friend and Colleague of December Press Publisher Curt Johnson, and
Correspondent with William Maxwell
Brad Dye (LCHS '60): His Lincoln, Illinois, Web
including photos of many churches
Dave Armbrust's Memorabilia of Lincoln, Illinois
Fikuarts of Lincoln, Illinois, including their
connections to the William Maxwell family and three generations of
family fun at Lincoln Lakes
Jerry Gibson (LCHS '60): Lincoln, Illinois,
Memoirs & Other Stories
Dave Johnson (LCHS '56): His Web Site for the
Lincoln Community High School Class of 1956
Sportswriter David Kindred: Memoir of His
Grandmother Lena & Her West Side Tavern on Sangamon Street in the Route
Judge Jim Knecht
(LCHS '62): Memoir and Short Story, "Other People's Money," Set in
Hickey's Billiards on Chicago Street in the Route 66 Era
William A. "Bill" Krueger (LCHS '52): Information
for His Books About Murders in Lincoln
Norm Schroeder (LCHS '60): Short Stories
Stan Stringer Writes About His Family, Mark
Holland, and Lincoln, Illinois
Thomas Walsh: Anecdotes Relating to This Legendary
Attorney from Lincoln by Attorney Fred Blanford & Judge Jim Knecht
Leon Zeter (LCHS '53): His Web Site for the
Lincoln Community High School Class of 1953,
including announcements of LCHS class reunions
(Post yours there.)
Highway Sign of
The Route 66
Association of Illinois
State Historical Society
of the Lincoln Theater, est. 1923, Lincoln, Illinois
Factories, Past and Present
"It [Lincoln, Illinois] has never had any sizable factories. . . ."
William Maxwell, So Long, See You Tomorrow (1980), p. 24.
"We are dust and dreams."
From "Diffugere Nives" by A.E. Housman
(favorite poem of William Maxwell)
Construction Scene in Logan County
(Photo adapted from Chamber of Commerce
Profile, p. 27.
Photo provided courtesy of VillageProfile.com of Elgin, Illinois.)
Lincoln/Logan County Community Profile & Membership Directory states
that "Logan County communities support business and industrial development.
Eleven years ago, the Lincoln/Logan County Enterprise Zone was created to
provide capital investment and job creation incentives. Since then,
245 projects have invested over $45 million in construction and
improvements, created 1,203 jobs and helped retain 1,271 jobs. The
Enterprise Zone covers four square miles and has room to expand up to ten
Revolving Loan Funds also provide incentives for businesses to expand and
generate more jobs. Business start-up workshops and other business
planning and technical assistance are available for growing businesses" (p.
* * * * *
community's manufacturers determine the local economy and heavily affect
the community's culture. Factories are significant for the number of
revenues generated, amount of money spent locally for vendors, amount of
payroll, and types of workers -- and thus their effect on community life.
from family farms to large factories, typically experience the same life-cycle patterns that people do: some perish before they can develop;
some seem to grow with great promise but suddenly pass away; some enjoy
prolonged but anonymous maturity before gradually declining; and a few
prosper to distinction before outliving their time. Some are
unfortunately lost, whether by accident, by natural disaster, or by human tragic flaw that results in
Most local citizens have
mixed feelings about a community's factories: This paradox
is well described by Pam Sheley, advertising-circulation manager of Our
Times: "Factories. Buildings made of brick, concrete.
Large stacks belching gray smoke into the skies. Funny smells
emanating from the walls. Trucks arriving and departing at all hours
of the day and night. Noises from the very heart of hell escaping out
of the windows. We see the building as a scars on the skin of our
otherwise picturesque world. We realize the need for factories. We
appreciate the products they make and the income they give us, but our
hearts do not warm at the sight of them. . . ." Yet the owners,
managers, and employees help to shape "the social and economic structure
that makes a community a home" ("On a Personal Note," Our Times, 7.3, fall,
2002, p. 2).
This page offers a
catalog of products seen in the history of manufacturing in Lincoln,
Illinois. I begin with a listing of present-day manufacturers given
as seen in a table provided by the Lincoln/Logan County Chamber
of Commerce economic development page (Web site address below in Sources
Cited). The history of manufacturing is difficult to develop because
of the varying amounts of information available. For some companies, a
little information can be found, for others almost nothing.
Contemporary Manufacturers in
Lincoln/Logan County, Illinois
Skyline Looking East from Top of City Hall in Lincoln's Industrial Age
(Photo by Mike Hamilton and sent by Fred Blanford)
Chimneys and water towers symbolized Lincoln's Industrial Age. The
following account by Fred Blanford (fred) was sent, 2-9-03, when he emailed
the above photo to 160+ alums of Lincoln Community High School.
Today's pic is again from the roof of City Hall. The skyline it shows has
been altered to reflect "modern" times.
Notable in this pic are five chimneys/smokestacks and
one water tower. Working from foreground to background -- Auto
Electric's chimney/smokestack (hereafter c/s) -- gone -- now a parking lot for
Hall; Logan County Jail/courthouse heating plant --c/s gone -- now a parking
lot incidental to the New Safety Complex; Washington-Monroe School--c/s
gone -- school survives; Gullett's two c/s -- gone -- approximately half the
ground developed the other half vacant; Lehn & Fink's water
tower -- gone -- along with its major corporate presence and good jobs for
residents -- although the physical plant survives its occupant may not (I am
unable to assess this objectively) put to "full" use the plant's potential.
I have included only the "tall" c/s items above. In
the foreground of the pic -- there are three small/short chimneys on the
Sheers building. Those are also all gone -- building torn down -- lot is
vacant. This old pic thus shows Lincoln to be like many smaller
towns--cleaner air--fewer business/employment opportunities." fred
(Fred Blanford, 1941--2008)
Catalog of Products Manufactured in the History of Lincoln, Illinois, and
In "A Pasture or a Flying Field?" Nancy Lawrence Gehlbach describes the
building of an airplane in Lincoln, Illinois, in 1928-29 by the Capen
Aircraft Corporation (Our Times, spring 2000, p. 4). Ernest
Capen, a WW I Army flight instructor, "had come to Lincoln when his parents
took over the Busy Bee Bakery." In 1928 he formed his corporation
along with Robert and Hettie Sheets, Al Ahrens, and L.W. Dowling, the latter
being the owner of the Lincoln Casket Company.
made one monoplane. The frame, fuselage, and parts (except for the
engine, propeller, and a few accessories) were built at the company's work
rooms at 217-1219 S. Logan Street in Lincoln, in a building that had
formerly housed a planing mill. Welding and metal fittings were done
at the Lincoln Casket Company factory"
(Gehlbach, p. 4).
were successful from May through July of 1929. The airstrip was in a
pasture of the Ahrens farm south of the Kruger Elevator near Route 4 (later
Route 66). In August of 1929, a biplane engine failed, and Capen
and Carl Schacht were "badly bruised" during an emergency landing on the
Dierker farm near the Kruger Elevator.
On November 15, 1929, Capen had flown over Lincoln College and was approaching
the Kruger Elevator when witnesses saw the plane "begin to wobble."
then crashed, "striking its nose on the Chicago and Alton tracks, rolling
down the embankment, bursting into flame, and killing Capen"(p. 4).
I did a brief search of the Web, hoping to
find more information and a photo. The only additional information I
could find was at a site by Aerofiles. This site describes itself as
"the Internet's largest and most comprehensive, non-commercial research and
reference site about our nation's contributions in the exciting field of
aeronautics" (Web site address listed in Sources Cited below). I quote
Aerofile's entire entry below for the Capen Aircraft Corporation. Note
the apparent inaccuracy of assigning the corporation to the wrong city.
Ernest J) Capen Aircraft Corp, Lincoln NB. Parasol 1925 = 3pOhwM; 165hp
Curtiss Challenger. POP: 1 [X240K] c/n 200. Skyway (aka Special) 1928 =
4pOhwM; Anzani (replaced by 165hp Curtiss Challenger). Parasol wing.
Suffered control problems after a few flights, crashed and burned, killing
Capen [X7974] c/n 100.
Dave Armbrust's Material on the Capen Air Crash of November 15, 1929
the spring of 2009, Dave Armbrust, LCHS Noble Class of 1960, emailed me
copies of the Lincoln Courier news articles about the Capen tragedy,
and Dave also provided photos of a charred fragment of Capen's parachute as
well as a photo of workers in the Lincoln Casket Company, where part of
Capen's aircraft had been constructed.
22.3: Workers at the Lincoln
Left to right,
Raymond Armbrust, Ed Hickey, Elmer Moiser, and Earl LaPanse. Earl was the
boss. Leigh's note: Elmer must have liked his boss to be giving such
an affectionate pat on the patoot.
of Dave Armbrust
Using the microfilm material obtained by Dave from the Lincoln Public
Library, I created a
of the Courier's articles on the Capen crash.
22.4: From the Lincoln
Captain Ernest Capen's Charred Parachute Fragment
Photo courtesy of Dave Armbrust. Email Dave at
Alarms, Horns, and
The first company to
occupy the building known as the garment factory on North Chicago Street was
the Typhoon Signal Company of Chicago. "The Typhoon Signal Company
made electric sirens and horns: automobile horns, railroad horns, fire
alarms, and mine and crossing horns, among others. The electric horns
were thought to be a great advantage over steam whistles: certainly,
flipping a switch was easier than maintaining the steam to power a whistle.
As for the Typhoon type 'F' automobile horn -- available in black enamel,
brass, or nickel -- it was the result of five years of research.
Designed to be used on the outside of the auto, it retailed at $4.
Perhaps the backlog of orders (33,000 waiting to be filled when the factory
opened) had something to do with the company's subsequent demise. . . .
By May of 1914, it had reorganized; in 1915, it closed and declared
bankruptcy" ("A Factory Incubator," Our Times, 7.3, fall, 2002, p.
The only source I find concerning the automobile built in Lincoln,
Illinois, is Nancy Lawrence Gehlbach's "The Lincoln Automobile" in Our
Times, winter, 1998. The Lincoln auto of Lincoln, Illinois, first
appeared in February, 1906. The article does not indicate exactly what
individuals had made it, but the vehicle is described as "just a
motorized carriage [with] a simple, air-cooled 15 horsepower gasoline
engine; a unique direct drive that did away with differentials,
transmission, chains, and sprockets; and high wheels with solid rubber
tires" (Gehlbach, p. 3).
The Lincoln Automobile of Lincoln, Illinois
(Photo from "The Lincoln Automobile," Our Times, winter, 1998, p. 3)
A manufacturing plant was constructed at the corner of Limit Street and
Citizens' Avenue by late 1907, but at least one vehicle was fabricated in Chicago.
The other first few vehicles were built in other facilities in Lincoln.
Local citizens have speculated that these facilities may have included
"quarters in the block south of the German American National Bank (corner of Kickapoo and Pulaski)," Richard Georgi's blacksmith and wagon shop at Logan
and Clinton Streets, and a machine shop on Clinton and Logan Streets.
(For a photo of the Georgi Building and more information about the Georgi
blacksmith and wagon shop, see
19. Business Heritage.)
Nancy Gehlbach writes that "very possibly the buggy part of the autos was
made at Georgi's, then wheeled across the street to Cherry and Kates to be
completed -- with parts that had been made at a third location. Probably
not an unusual way for an early auto to be made" (p. 6).
Various complications prevented effective production and marketing. A
plant foreman and stockholder who had loaned $3,000 to the company
went to trial in 1907 for stealing tools. In 1908 the original Lincoln
Automobile Company had reorganized as the Lincoln Motor Vehicle Co.
By the time of the reorganization, "the Lincoln auto had acquired
differential gears. It had a right-hand drive and traveled at speeds
of four to twenty-five miles per hour in high gear and two to eight miles
per hour in low gear and boasted a five-gallon tank.
The auto's standard finish was jet black with striped red or brewster green
gear. Wheels were made of second-growth hickory, and the body was
trimmed with buffed-leather, tufted cushions with springs. The auto
sold for $550, including the removable top, lamps, horn, and tools" (p. 6).
Yet, the influx of Fords and Buicks was apparently too much competition; the
company defaulted on loans.
In 1907, the main location intended for the manufacturing of the Lincoln
automobile was "a tract of land about 150 feet square on the corner of Limit
Street and Citizens' Avenue" that was donated by the Citizens' Coal Mining
Company. The coal company "[stipulated] that a two-story brick
factory, 40 by 100 feet, be built on the property. . . The land and factory
were purchased in 1909 by David Harts, Jr., for $4,000 (Gehlbach, p. 3).
From 1913 to 1935, this building housed the Love Manufacturing Company,
involved in building farm machinery (see
Farm Machinery below).
"The little building became the Lincoln Foundry after Ralph Weaver bought it
in 1942" (Gehlbach, p. 6).
For a photo of the Lincoln Foundry, including the section where the Lincoln
automobile was manufactured, see Iron Castings below.
Photo at right
shows a product of the Enterprise Bottling Works.
The bottle that was for sale on eBay.
It looks quite old and may be rare. Vaughn was also cited in the
description. I find no other information. The name of Lincoln,
IL, clearly appears on the side.
For more information about the Vaughn family business, see
19. Business Heritage.
Enterprise Bottling Works
is a contemporary glass container manufacturer in Lincoln. The information below is from its corporate Web site: http://www.sgcontainers.com/index.htm
billion containers per year
Plants: 18 across the continental
Product range: bottles and jars
for the food and beverage industries
Colors: Amber, Antique Green,
Champagne Green, Cobalt Blue, Dead Leaf Green, Emerald Green, Georgia
Green, French Green, Flint, Smoke.
This facility began as the Lincoln Glass Bottle Company in 1942 ("Lincoln
Container Corporation Organized Here Eleven Years Ago," Lincoln Evening
Courier, section eight, August 26, 1953, p. 12). The land for this
been owned by Stetson's. Lincoln,
Illinois, had been selected as the site of this factory because of the
city's rail transportation, "adequate, friendly, and intelligent labor;
natural gas and other needed utilities and resources and above all a
friendly city with excellent education, religious and shipping
facilities. The Chamber of Commerce Industrial Committee, Dean J.
Harris, John L. Gordon, and Walter Faster, made available the present North
Logan site." In 1953, the payroll was
$750,000 (Courier, p. 12).
facility, like Stetson's, was served by the Alton and Chicago Railroad
(later the GM & O), the Illinois Central Railroad, and the Illinois Traction System
(ITS). The glass factory is located a couple of blocks "kitty
corner" northwest of the former Stetson site on the west side of the present
Glass Container Factory
(Photo in Gleason, p. 42 )
Stringer writes that "connected with the company [South Mine] is an
extensive tile factory, which has been operated since 1878" (p. 542).
Access to clay for the bricks resulted from digging mine shafts.
Somewhere I read that this brick and tile factory was begun in order to provide work
for the miners during the winter.
I find little published information about the brick and tile factory.
The centennial edition of the Lincoln Evening Courier contains an
undated photo of men and boys employed at the brick yard (August 26, 1953,
p. 10). The caption of the photo identifies the location of the brick
yard as the site of the house provided for the superintendent of the Lincoln
State School. During some years of the Route 66 era, that house was
the home of the Dr. William Fox family, whose son, Bradley, was my classmate
at Jefferson, Central, and Lincoln High. Gleason's Lincoln, Illinois: A Pictorial History
has a picture captioned "The 1870s brickyard crew of the old South Mine" (p.
33), and this photo is different from the one in the Courier. Octogenarian
Willie Aughton gardens in the south Lincoln area just a couple blocks north
of the site of the former brick factory, and he says he finds a lot of
broken bricks in the surface soil there.
According to "Lincoln
Casket Company" in Paul Beaver's Logan County History 1982, "at one
time there were 324 casket factories in the United States. A
conservative estimate placed 95 per cent of all caskets used in this county
as products of the Lincoln factory" (p. 55). The Lincoln Casket
Company was owned and managed by two generations of the Dowling family:
founded by William H. and continued by his son, Leslie. "The plant
served downstate Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, and as much of the St. Louis
market as it could capture. The company sold directly to undertakers.
Two or three salesmen canvassed the territory, beginning with William
Dowling himself. In later years, the salesmen flashed handsome color
catalogues" (Nancy Lawrence Gehlbach, "Lincoln Casket Company," Our Times,
7.3, fall, 2002, p. 7).
The caskets produced by
this company required a wide range of high-quality raw materials and
specialized craftsmen. "Forty-six men and nine women mostly skilled
labor were employed at the Lincoln Casket company, earning an annual payroll
of $125,000" (Beaver, p. 55).
Basic wooden and metal
casket shells were produced on the first floor. Cypress came from
Missouri and Arkansas, chestnut from West Virginia, walnut from throughout
the country, mahogany from Cuba and the Philippines, plain oak and quarter
oak from West Virginia and pine from Oregon (Beaver, p. 55). "Lumber
was stored under a pole-and-beam roof in the yards, extending in front of
the Armour plant" (Gehlbach, p. 7). "The cheaper wood was used for
cloth-covered caskets, a poor man's only option. (The cloth disguised the
poor quality)" (Gehlbach, p. 7). "After the wood was dried in the
kilns, it was made into casket shells in the woodworking department."
A 235-horsepower steam engine powered the shapers and milling machines and
all other woodworking equipment. Later the steam power was replaced by
electricity. A separate department produced steel, copper, and other
Caskets were transported
by a hand-pulled elevator to the second floor, which housed the interior and
lacquering departments. Italian and French silks were once popular but
were replaced by Japanese silks, which were contained in a fireproof vault
(Beaver, p. 55). "A room full of ladies lined up at sewing
machines sewed casket linings and made pillows stuffed with excelsior. . .
." (Gehlbach, p. 7).
Casket Company Factory
(Fish, Illustrated Lincoln, 1916)
automatic sprinkling system protected the plant for many years against fire.
. ." (Beaver, p. 55). Yet, on September 27, 1944, a fire destroyed the
casket company's lumberyard. The building was saved by the firemen and the
sprinkling system -- which poured water down the south wall but the wooden
water tower burned down. Firemen wet down the galvanized iron shed where
lacquer and thinner were stored. Had it gotten hot enough, it would have
been ' like a bomb,' says Dave Armbrust" (Gehlbach, p. 7). Cousin Jerry
Gibson reports that his father, Ted Gibson, then a member of the fire
department, was slightly injured in this fire.
"Ray Armbrust used to
tell about the time a Jacksonville undertaker called with a special
problem. A very elderly gentleman was on his deathbed, and there was one
space left in a mausoleum that had been designed for older, smaller coffins.
Workers at the factory removed the molding from a standard coffin to make it
fit and sent it off. When Ray bumped in to the undertaker two or three
years later, he asked him, 'How did that coffin work?' "We don't know,' was
the reply. "He healed up.'" (Gehlbach, p. 7).
The photo below is of
Ray Armbrust's father, who had also worked at the Lincoln Casket Company.
Dave also provides the image of the Lincoln Casket Company check.
22.10: Jacob M. "Jake" Armbrust at the Entrance to the
Shipping Dock of the Lincoln Casket Co.
(date unknown, photo courtesy of Dave Armbrust, his grandson)
22.11: Check Signed by W.H. Dowling, Owner-Manager
In 1946 other family members were uninterested in continuing the business,
so the building was sold to the Lincoln Store Fixture Company.
I am eager to receive additional
information and photos about topics in this Web site, but I suspect there
may not be many photos of the products of this company, and I don't anticipate that someone will dig one up any time soon. Perhaps a copy
of one of the catalogs will surface on eBay.
On June 10, 2010, Dave Armbrust, a good friend and
fellow member of the LCHS Noble Class of 1960, emailed me to say, "Leigh, I
told you I remembered a photo my father had of one of the products of Lincoln
Casket. Sorry it took 2 years to find it. A photographer that came there to
take catalog photos gave it to him. He carried it in his wallet for years
for whatever reason. I sometimes feel he thought it was the only place he
ever worked that truly demanded perfection from its employees." Great
thanks, Dave. For years I have been dying to see such a photo.
22.12: Product of Lincoln Casket
Note: for a
photo of workers inside the Lincoln Casket Company, see 22.3 above.
From Gleason, Lincoln:
A Pictorial History: "The Marsden Cellulose Factory was located north
of the Illinois Central Railroad between Ottawa Street and Nicholson Road.
Founded in 1900, the factory processed the pulp from cornstalks to make
waterproof linings for battleships. The factory burned down after its
first year of operations" (p. 35).
China: The Illinois China Company (1917-1946) and
the Stetson China Company (1946--1965)
predecessor of the Stetson China Company was the Illinois China Company,
which was brought to Lincoln from Roodhouse, Illinois, in the spring of 1919
("Stetson China Company Was Moved Here from Roodhouse," Lincoln Evening
Courier, centennial edition, section seven, August 26, 1953, p. 11).
"The Lincoln Commercial Club was instrumental in bringing [this company] to
Lincoln. . . . Lincoln residents had to raise $50,000 in stock -- two
thirds of the capitalization when the company was incorporated -- before the
company would move" ("Stetson China Company," Our Times 7.3, fall,
2002, p. 4).
was built on a triangular-shaped area near the intersection of the Chicago &
Alton, Illinois Central, and Illinois Traction System (ITS, interurban)
railroads. "The building site was purchased from the Latham Estate although
a portion occupies the former site of the Illinois Central passenger depot."
(For an aerial view of the railroad intersections, see
7. The Railroads
& Streetcar Line at Lincoln, Illinois.)
At first only whiteware was produced (Beaver, Logan County History 1982,
Officers and board members were "D.H. Harts [Jr.], President; F.W. Longan,
Treasurer; James Smith, Secretary; James McGrath, Director; Will Houser,
Director; William Kahn, Director." Employees who moved with the
company included several foremen (Courier, p. 11). "James Shaw,
William Baskeyfield, and Frank Shingler came from families who had spent
years in the English pottery trade" (Beaver, p. 54).
22.13: Rare Picture Postcard
of the Illinois China Co. on N. Kickapoo St.
Much of the facility, except for the kilns, was destroyed by fire in May,
1922. "The company collected $50,000 insurance and raised $50,000 by
the sale of stock and an new plant was built" (Courier, p. 11). The
new factory, 50% larger than the old one, was built to produce decorated
china. A sprinkling system was installed (Beaver, p. 54).
"All patterns were purchased in England or Germany. Residents of this
country lacked the patience to prepare designs that would compare favorably
with the work of German artists. Exclusive designs were sold at $1,000
or $1,500, the buyer taking the responsibility of the design being a good
seller. Much decorating was done by the use of 'decalcomania transfers'"
[decals] (Beaver, p. 54).
The Illinois China Company was the only manufacturer of decorated
semi-porcelain ware in Illinois and one of the very few in the central West.
By far, the greater majority were located in the East, centered in a region
near Pittsburgh and in Easton, Ohio (Beaver, p. 54).
The products of the Illinois China Company were sold "in practically every
state." "Leading markets for Lincoln china were Chicago, St. Louis,
St. Joseph Louisville, Memphis, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, Detroit, and
Portland (Beaver, p. 54). "In 1925, the local pottery was supplying 45
Kresge stores with decorated china" (Gehlbach, p. 4).
22.14: Sugar and Creamer
Bowls Made by the Illinois China in Lincoln, Illinois
(photo from eBay)
The gold lines such as those shown on the bowls in
the above photo were
"inscribed by hand" (Beaver, p. 54).
"The Illinois China Company was sold to the Stetson China Company of Chicago
on February 1, 1946" (Courier, p. 11). Nancy Gehlbach cites a
Courier article of March 13, 1962, that said Joseph Stetson had seen
"the beehive kiln chimneys of the Illinois China Company on his trips to
Chicago and St. Louis and decided he would give Lincoln 'a real china
producing pottery'" (Our Times, fall, 2002, p. 5). Mr. Stetson must
have seen the Illinois China Company while riding the Alton and Chicago
line, which passed close to that facility.
After Stetson bought the china factory in Lincoln, he spent 2.5 million
dollars to expand it (Courier, p. 11). The plant was increased
from 50,000 square feet to 265,000 square feet by 1962 and employed almost
800 people (Gehlbach, p. 5).
Stetson employees built most of the plant's machinery. This equipment
included "automatic decorating machines that sprayed the edges of the dinner
plates, automatic stamping machines, and conveyer belts" Gehlbach, p. 5).
As clay (from Tennessee) "moved through the assembly line, a machine
sliced off a piece of it, which fell onto a mold on the jiggering machine.
That machine pressed the clay onto the mold to make the front of a plate;
then a tool pressed down on top of the clay to form the back."
These tools were designed and made in house. Tool were fabricated from
carbon steel and took four to five hours (Gehlbach, p. 5).
Besides the expertise need to provide
the machinery, skilled workers were needed to finish the products.
Strippers removed rough edges after the product came off the
mold. Hand painting the china was a process that required an organized
approach to a meticulous craft. "After designer Alfred Dube designed
patterns, the better painters made up 25 or 50 samples and developed a
procedure for running the production line. Most commonly, Al would
decorate a 10-inch plate and work back from there to cups, saucers, and
bowls" (Gehlbach, p. 9).
Individual items were painted systematically. Instructors trained
women in painting a particular image. Then, each painter "sat at a
table, picking up a plate from a moving belt, painting her part, then
putting it back on the belt. She was paid a salary and also by the
piece" (p. 9). Some women would paint individual leaves or clusters of
them; some might paint just dots; and more advanced painters did whole
woman at the head of the belt set the pace, and the belt did not stop very often.
If a painter got behind, the items were line up on her table until she
caught up. If someone did not remove an item from the belt, the next
painter was expected to. Sometimes painters moved to another table to
help someone catch up, or "floaters" did this work. When a specific task was
completed, the item was returned to the belt. The woman at the end of
the belt removed, counted, and boxed the items (Gehlbach, p. 9).
Aerial View of the Stetson China Company with
Main Business Entrance on North Kickapoo Street (Business Route 66)
(Gleason, Lincoln: A Pictorial History, p.
"In 1962, it
[Stetson China] was the largest manufacturer of hand decorated dinnerware
under one roof in the world and Lincoln's biggest industry in payroll and
personnel, employing 792 people with an annual local payroll of more than $4
million" (Gehlbach, p. 4).
foreign competition and the introduction of Melmac (which Stetson's itself
produced at Manitowoc, Wisconsin), the factory closed in 1965" (Gehlbach, p.
Postcard of the Former Stetson Factory Outlet Show Room on North Kickapoo Street
The factory outlet location is identified in the preceding aerial photo. The outlet
remained open for some time after the factory closed.
Set of 48 Pieces of Stetson Rio China for Sale on eBay, 1-03
A Typical Stetson Logotype
1950s Print Ads from Unknown
China Company designed and produced a commemorative plate for the centennial
of Abraham Lincoln's birth (1909), and the Stetson China Company designed
and produced commemorative plates for the centennial of the founding of Lincoln, Illinois
(1953), the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II (1953),
the sesquicentennial of Abraham Lincoln's birth (1959), and the centennial
of the founding of Lincoln College (1965). The golden Stetson plate commemorating
the centennial of Lincoln, Illinois, is shown as 22.21 below and on
7. The 1953
Centennial Celebration of Lincoln, Illinois.
and photographed all of the commemorative plates except for the
Queen Elizabeth II coronation plate. I captured the images relating to that plate
when I saw it for sale on eBay.
22.20: Rare 1909
Abraham Lincoln 100th Birthday
Commemorative Plate by the Illinois China
depicted above features Lincoln's celebrated, alleged 1864 Bixby letter and
the Lincoln birthplace log cabin.
22.22: One of Only Five 1953 Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Commemorative
22.23: Logotype of Queen Elizabeth II Commemorative Plate
22.24: Plate Owner's Note of Provenance
1959 Stetson Plate Commemorating
the Sesquicentennial of A. Lincoln's Birth (1809)
Inscription on Back of Plate 22.24
Second Style of Stetson Plate Commemorating the Sesquicentennial Anniversary
of the Birth of Abraham Lincoln
Commemorative Plate for the Centennial of Lincoln College: Image of
Millicent Armstrong's Art at the Stetson
the 1950s Millicent Armstrong was a lead art designer and painter at
Stetson's, signing her name or initials (MIA) on the backs of the plates
featuring her work. Sometimes her initials appear on the front side at the
foot of her images. These signed pieces were apparently concept (proposed) designs
rather than plates from the production line.
Copying authorized designs in production, a number of women painted "on the
line," but apparently their names do not appear on their work.
Researcher/writer Nancy Lawrence Gehlbach includes the names of several
painters, including that of Millicent Armstrong, in her fine article on the
Stetson China Company: see page nine of the 2002 issue of the Prairie
Archives's publication Our Times titled "Factories of Yesteryear"
http://www.prairieyears.com/assets/fall2002factories2.pdf. The following
images show Ms. Armstrong's nameplate and several examples of her work that
I discovered on eBay.
22.29: Millicent Armstrong's
Henson's Memoir of the Stetson
graduating from Illinois State University in the spring of 1964, I had one
more leisure summer in Lincoln, Illinois, before I reported to Pekin
Community High School to begin my teaching career. Some of my other
LCHS male classmates had also just graduated from college. Two of them
were Gerry Dehner and Thom Zimmerman, whose father, Ken, was then the Logan County
sheriff. The three of us sat in the living room of the sheriff's
quarters in the jail and discussed how we could make a lot of spending money
in a short time.
learned that Stetson's was hiring laborers to put a new roof on one of its
buildings. The three of us applied and were hired. We were told
the employment would end when the job was finished.
On the aerial photo above, I have identified the building whose roof we helped to
replace. We had not been on the job more than a day or two when we
learned that this non-union project had offended the local union, which insisted on having some
of its members join the roofing crew. The July heat on the roof was
fierce, and the union guys soon climbed down, deciding they would have no
part of this job.
My Uncle Gib
Wilson was working in this building at the time, and I would see him when I
left the roof to visit the water cooler in the plant. He was quite amused at
the whole situation.
Working in the hot sun was somewhat tiring, and breaks could be taken
whenever we wanted to. We were instructed, however, to come down from
the roof on these breaks. Front office folks did not want the public
to drive by and see workers sitting down on the job.
22.34: Logan County Jail
in the Route 66 Era
(photo from Beaver, p. 138)
rectangle identifies the sheriff's living quarters, where my LCHS classmates
and I as recent college grads discussed how to make a quick, easy buck in
the summer of 1964.
part of the jail was constructed in the mid 1800s. This facility was
demolished and replaced in the mid 1970s, according to Beaver's 1982
liberty of taking breaks as needed was the only way I could work in the
heat. The trick was to visit the water cooler a couple of times per hour
and swallow a lot of salt tablets.
After the job was completed in a couple of weeks, we were offered other
work. I worked in a warehouse nearby for a while and was then sent
along with two or three regular laborers to a warehouse located south of
Lincoln near an old elevator next to the railroad tracks. There, in
two old, round-shaped metal buildings -- still remaining in 2003 --, I
became unhappy when one of my co-workers ridiculed me by saying I had a
college education but I was doing the same work he was without one.
That didn't much bother me, but he also enjoyed throwing large boxes in my
direction. I feared being drawn into a fight. I had al ready
worked longer and earned more money than I had expected, so I went to the
personnel office to say I would not be returning the next week.
There, I was
told I could not leave the job without at least an advanced notice of two
weeks. I was told that if I left without putting in a more advanced notice I
would not be able to find other work in Lincoln. A little cocky, I
said that I already had another job, and that my new employer did not care
that I had previously worked at a factory. Ironically, schools in
those days were run somewhat like factories, but that is another story.
Gerry Dehner retired as a Logan County judge, and Thom Zimmerman became a
In Lincoln, Illinois, the manufacturing of cigars,
an industry that dates to the beginning of America, came to an end during
the Route 66 era. The story of the last cigar factory in Lincoln,
Illinois, is "Paul Schuster Carries on Hand Cigar-Making Begun by His Father
75 Years Ago" (Lincoln Evening Courier, centennial edition, section
five, Wednesday, August 26, 1953, p. 12), and I quote it here:
"In a spacious shop at 508 Broadway, right above
the Broadway cafe, there exists the only hand made cigar factory left in
Lincoln. This three-room factory, adorned with cases of hand made
cigars, has all the atmosphere of the old time cigar maker shops. The
owner, proprietor, and sole manufacturer, Paul Schuster, still carries on
the business that his father started some 75 years ago.
It was customary in those days to serve a
three-year apprenticeship to a skilled worker before taking up the trade.
Therefore, Mr. Schuster started up in business when he was about 28 years of
age. He says he can recall when there were at least seven cigar makers
in business in Lincoln. He himself used to have four other men helping
him, but after World War I and with the coming of the machine-made products,
the hand-making system suffered. Mr. Schuster, says he maintains
his business more as a hobby than a business now, just to give him something
He, of course, still maintains that the hand-made
cigar is far superior to the factory made product. 'It is just like
anything else,' he says, 'anything hand made is the best article.' He
has cases of tobacco from some of the finest fields in the East, namely
Connecticut, which he purchases from a jobber in St. Louis. He also
has imported tobacco from Puerto Rico and Havana, a blend which he proclaims
to be the best. He uses it in his finest cigars.
Small pieces of rough tobacco are used in the inner
part of the cigar and are bound by larger pieces on the outside. The
inner part is pressed before the outer leaves are put on, and then pressed
again, by layers, in the cigar box before being packed. About 300
cigars a day is considered a good day's work. Most of his cigars are
sold locally to retailers, but he does take individual orders also.
He puts out three different brands, the No. 17, the
Royal Seal, and the Palmer. The No. 17 was so named by his father, who
had always had a desire to go into railroading. His parents, however,
objected since in those days so many railroad employees were killed or
injured on the job [Note: that happened to D.H. Harts's older
brother, John, and led D.H. to return to Lincoln after beginning a law
career in Chicago]. Consequently he took a great interest in trains
and could tell which train was coming by the sound of the bell. He
used to make bets with the people in his shop and the number 17 engine was
always a winner for him. Consequently he labeled one of his cigars the
No. 17, a name which it still bears today.
22.35: No. 17 Cigar Box
In the regular brand cigars, Mr. Schuster also
makes up novelty packs such as those encased in a cellophane wrapper bearing
the traditional pink or blue stork with the lettering 'It's a boy' or 'It's
a girl.' So what was once the means of livelihood for many
and a source of enjoyment to countless more has now become little more than
a hobby in the 'modern age,' namely the hand-made cigar."
The following photo shows the interior of Scheid's
Cigar Store in Lincoln. This photo was emailed to me in June, 2004, by Stan
Stringer, whose message said in part:
Last fall I visited Dan
and Betty Baker, who now live in Collinsville, IL. Betty asked me if I
could copy some family pictures for her to share in their family. I was
pleased to do this for my former neighbor. Two of the pictures from the
Baker family were quite interesting, and I asked Dan if he would have any
objection to me sharing them with you for your website. Dan said he
didn't mind. I hadn't shared them until now because I didn't see a
particular place where they might fit. However, your mention of the cigar
shops appears like an opportune place for mention of Scheid's Cigar
Store. The interior picture I'm attaching shows Dan's father Daniel R.
Baker attending the counter of at Scheid's Cigar Store. In this picture, a
note with the picture indicates the year is 1910 and Daniel R. Baker is
18. I found the interior with the display cases, floor
and ceiling fascinating. Daniel R. Baker later owned a his own store, and
that is the second picture. I think this was taken in the 1930's." Email
Stan at email@example.com.
The second photo, showing Dan Baker's Cigar
Store at 405 Pulaski Street, is posted as #14 on the page titled
(LCHS '62): Memoir and
Short Story, "Other People's Money," Set in Hickey's Billiards on Chicago
Street in the Route 66 Era.
Note that Mr.
Baker promotes his product by using it.
22.36: Scheid's Cigar Store
in Lincoln, Illinois
(Photo provided by Dan and Betty Baker)
Ornaments, and Tile: Shoup & Jones (early 20th
I find no information
about the Shoup and Jones Cement Works. Mr. Shoup was locally famous
for his clever "chalk talks," and I remember he gave them in schools.
22.37: Former Shoup
and Jones Plant
(Fish, Illustrated Lincoln, Illinois, 1916.
Looks like the steeple of St. Mary's Church in the background.)
22.38: Shoup &
Jones Display Ad in the 1918 Lincolnite
Ralph Shoup as a Faculty Member of Lincoln College
College Yearbook, The Emancipator, 1928, p. 14)
With its beginning in 1947, this facility during the Route
66 era was known to locals as "the box factory," and it is located at the
southwest corner of the intersection of the old Route 66 beltline and Fifth
Street Road. Presently this factory is owned by Willamette Industries.
This industry seems to hold promise for growth and development in Lincoln.
According to a news summary of 2002 in lincolndailynews.com, "Groundbreaking
ceremonies were held for a new warehouse at Willamette Industries, Inc., at
the intersection of Lincoln Parkway and Fifth Street Road. The
70,000-square-foot warehouse is expected to be completed in April. The plant
has already added six new employees and expects to add an additional four
later. Willamette employs about 100 people in Lincoln."
Disinfectant: Lehn and Fink (1947-1995)
Paul Gleason in his
Lincoln: A Pictorial History explains that "Tussy cream deodorant,
Lysol disinfectant, Dorothy Grey, and Chubs are all national brand products
which originated in Lincoln" (p. 36). Gleason's account summarizes this
company's history from its beginning (when female employees had to go to the
Logan County Courthouse to use restroom facilities) to its closing in 1995.
The original facility had 287,000 square feet (although no restrooms for
women). By 1980 the
facility had 562,000 square feet, 30 loading docks, three railroad spurs,
and "a new tank farm" (p. 36). Three million gallons of water were
used each day, with two 100,000-gallon water storage tanks and the ability
to filter four million gallons daily. Products were shipped world
reports that in 1947 men began at 70 cents per hour with a nickel raise
after 60 days. Women began at 60 cents per hour with the same raise
rate as for men.
coming to Lincoln, the Lehn and Fink Company had become well established in
article in the Lincoln Evening Courier centennial edition, section
six, titled "Lehn and Fink, in Lincoln Since 1947, Was Founded 80 Years Ago"
describes the company's 1874 founding in New York City and its early success
in "oils, drugs, chemicals, and botanicals." In 1884 Lehn and Fink
presented these products "in a striking display of colorful bottles for the
American Pharmaceutical Association National Convention in Milwaukee.
The exhibit was a sensation and included such products as cocaine,
phenacetin, antiprin, pilocarpine, vanillin, and coumarin which were then
first introduced to this country by Lehn & Fink." Mr. Fink traveled to
Europe, contracted with suppliers of high-quality products, developed
superior tin-line packaging in Europe, and succeeded in underselling British
In 1894, Lehn and Fink
also "first introduced diphtheria antitoxin to the United States from
France. The serum arrived in New York harbor late one Saturday
night in November 1894 at the time of a serious diphtheria epidemic.
Mr. Fink sought and received special clearance from customs authorities for
immediate unloading and turned the serum over to the physicians who were
lined up in carriages before the Company office."
In the first decade of the 20-Century, "Lehn and Fink presented for the
first time to the American medical profession a safe, dependable, uniform
antiseptic and disinfectant under the brand name 'Lysol.'"
By 1925, Lehn and Fink sold products made only in its own laboratories and
manufacturing facility in Bloomfield, New Jersey (Courier, section
six, August 26, 1953, p. 3).
Very Brief Memoir of Lehn and
At about the age of ten, my Uncle Loren Wood sometimes let me go with
him when he drove a truck for Melvin Transfer in Lincoln. I was
impressed with his skill in backing his truck to the loading dock of Lehn
and Fink. I think I saw my first forklift truck in that plant.
1950s Aerial View of Lehn & Fink
view from the Lincoln Evening Courier, Centennial Edition, Section
Three, p. 5.
Photo also appears in Dooley, p. 36.) The Illinois
Central Railroad tracks are noticeable across the top of the photo.
for Business, Industry, and the Home: Cutler-Hammer
information at http://www.cutler-hammer.eaton.com: the Cutler-Hammer
division of the Eaton Corporation manufactures electronic controls for the
home. These products allow homeowners to
expand residential use of indoor and outdoor electrical products;
enhance security system control;
▪ regulate and economize the use
of energy; and
added safety protection against power surges, overloads, short circuits, and
other potential problems.
22.41: Undated Picture Postcard of
Love Manufacturing Company built the "Perfect Corn Harvester."
Postcard Technical Illustration from the Internet
In "The Lincoln Automobile" Nancy Lawrence Gehlbach writes that from1913 to 1935 this company was housed in the building first constructed for the
manufacturing of the Lincoln automobile. The Love Manufacturing
Company "was incorporated to produce agricultural machinery; sell lumber,
grain and coal; and operate a slaughterhouse on the site" (p. 6).
(What happened to the idea of doing one thing well?)
The building known in the
Route 66 era as the garment factory was constructed at 220-226 North Logan
Street as a result of the efforts of the Lincoln Commercial Club in 1913 to
provide a facility for the Typhoon Signal Company of Chicago. "The
building, designed by local architects Deal and Ginzel, cost about $5,000;
the company would pay 6% interest to the holders of notes until it could buy
the building itself" (Gehlbach, "A Factory Incubator," p. 8).
After the Typhoon Company failed, "the next tenant of the building was the
Linway Company of Chicago, which leased the Typhoon company's equipment in
1916 and set to work making patented automatic screw drivers, maps, saws,
and the like" (Gehlbach, p. 8).
After the International Shoe Company used the building from 1919 to 1926,
the Mitchell Brothers garment company occupied it. This building and
the Goldsmith property to the north on Chicago Street were purchased by the
Lincoln Allied Garment Company in 1946. "In the late 60s, the Lincoln
Garment Company opened a factory outlet store next door to the factory, at
230 N. Chicago Street. The garment factory closed in 1993 [because of
foreign competition], and the property was sold in 1996. It is
unoccupied at present [fall of 2002]" (Gehlbach, p. 8).
22.43: The Lincoln
Garment Company in the 1960s
(Gleason, Lincoln: A Pictorial History, p. 31)
is North Chicago Street, which is paved with brick. The dark lines
just in front of the vehicles were tracks of the interurban.
While a few
men were employed to do heavy labor, most of the factory work was done by
women, and the production process was tedious and physically punishing:
". . . sore shoulders and backs from bending over to sew amidst the
deafening roar of the sewing machines. . . . feet encased in boots in
winter to keep out the cold and--before the advent of air conditioning -- hair
soaked sweat on hot summer days" (Gehlbach, p. 1). My mother, Jane
Henson, worked at the garment factory in these conditions for many years in
the 1950s and early 1960s to help support her family.
Nancy Lawrence Gehlbach describes the process of
manufacturing dresses at the Lincoln Garment Company:
made in the plant and sent to Chicago for approval. At the beginning
of production, men used machines to cut 500 pieces at a time. "All
those pieces were separated into bundles at the splitting table, each bundle
with its own number. When the bundles arrived upstairs where the
sewing was done, they were sorted. Each piece that went with a dress
had a bundle number, and workers matched them up so there would be no
shading. Then a bundle of work was tied up with a ticket listing the
operations that needed to be done.
specialized in a different operation: putting together the front of a
blouse, setting in sleeves, putting on collars, or inserting zippers, for
example. Twenty to 30 operations were often required to complete a
On a typical
dress, the first girl would make the sleeves, tie them into the bundle, and
pass it on to someone like Leona Apel, who did nothing but make fronts.
She passed the bundle to the girl who did nothing but set collars.
Someone else would put on cuffs, and another girl would set in the sleeves.
machine was used to make buttonholes and one to put on buttons. The
hemmer was used just for hems.
When a girl
finished a bundle, she tore off a ticket and stuck it on a gum sheet she
turned in at the end of the day, so someone in the office like Carol Estes
or Ellen Lichtenwalter [Moore] could calculate her pay. She put her
time clock number on the ticket fastened to the bundle, next to her
operation." Dresses with errors were returned to the person whose number
indicated she had done that piece. Time spent correcting errors might
reduce the chances of an employee meeting her quota. "Usually, women
were paid extra for any work they did beyond their quota. . . ." (Gehlbach,
by the Lincoln Garment Company were sold by Penny's, Sears, Ward's, Avon,
New Process, and Spurgeon's in Lincoln. Labels included Bea Young, Bea
Active, and Kay Ashton. In 1957, 8,400 dresses were produced per week.
22.44: Building of the Former Garment Factory Burns,
July 11, 2005
courtesy of Fred Blanford)
The Lincoln Cork-Faced
Collar Company was established in 1890; and a three-story brick factory was
built in 1891 on South Kickapoo Street south of the Illinois Central
Railroad. The operation was one of only two such factories in the United States.
This company was located in Lincoln from Washington, Missouri, through the
efforts of W.H. Hagenbusch. Founders of this company included some of
Lincoln's most successful early entrepreneurs: S.A. Foley, D.H. Harts,
Sr., A.C. Boyd, J.T. Hoblit, Frank Hoblit, and Frank Frorer. "The
horse collars manufactured [were] faced with granulated cork, and
[were] light, cool, elastic, durable and [prevented] irritation to he
shoulders of animals" (Stringer, p. 545).
The only source of
information I have found about the manufacturing of ice in Lincoln, Illinois, is "Central
Illinois Public Service Company 'The Ice Plat'" (Beaver, History of Logan
County 1982, p. 52). The Striffler Brothers Ice and Coal Company was
purchased by the Central Illinois Public Service Company on March 1, 1923
(Beaver, p. 52). In 1927, electrical power replaced steam-driven power
in the manufacture of ice by the new company.
Improved ice service
benefited merchants and consumers. This company sold ice to thirteen
other communities. Ice was used by produce suppliers and shippers in
such central Illinois cities as Farmington, Havana, and Centralia (Beaver,
"Cipsco ice cubes, cut
conveniently for table use, were introduced to Lincoln patrons in 1928 when
they were placed on sale at the plant and downtown service station, and made
available from all company wagons [six wagon routes in Lincoln]. These Cipsco ice cubes [were] a great aid in serving cool sparkling drinks during
the hot summer months, and [added] distinction to the well-set table"
(Beaver, p. 52).
22.46: Ad from Polk's
Lincoln, Illinois, City Directory, 1934-35
In 1972 Richard "Ivan"
and Elaine Ray bought the building below. At that time it was empty.
The original part of this building had been home to the Lincoln Automobile Company (1907-1909)
and the Love Manufacturing Company (1913-1935). "The Rays remodeled
the building and built Modern Brake and Alignment behind it" (Gehlbach,
Our Times, winter, 2003, back cover).
22.47: Lincoln Foundry on
Limit Street, 1972
(Photo from Our Times, 7.1,
winter, 2002, back cover. Photo provided by Ivan Ray.)
of this photo reads, "Lincoln Foundry, 1972. The brick portion in the
rear was the first floor of the two-story Lincoln Automobile Factory, built
in 1907. Ralph Weaver bought that building in 1942 for the Lincoln
information provided says that Howard Stewart had managed the Lincoln
Foundry. This facility "had cast items like manhole covers, storm
drains, and curb drains. The flow was covered with mold sand--sand
mixed with oil and used in the casting process. Casting requires
wooden patterns; Ralph bought his from a woodworking shop in Pekin and had
about 180 different styles and designs. Two overhead cranes held the big
metal ladles used to pour the molten metal reclaimed from scrap iron that
Ralph had purchased.
found more information about the Lincoln Foundry in the centennial edition
of the Lincoln Evening Courier: The Lincoln Foundry in 1953
produced 150 tons of gray iron castings used to manufacture agricultural
machinery, cast iron smoke pipe, drainage materials, and airport equipment.
"Unlike many highly mechanized industries where repetitive mechanical skills
prevail, gray iron is essentially a craft industry. Four years of
apprenticeship is [sic] normally required to develop journeyman molders,
core makers and pattern makers, and anywhere from six months to several
years to learn other foundry jobs" ("Lincoln Foundry Began Operation Over 50
Years Ago," Lincoln Evening Courier,
centennial edition, section eight, Wednesday, August 26, 1953, p. 4).
Dave Armbrust Adds to the History of the Lincoln Foundry and Rediscovers
an Iron Abe Profile
The Lincoln Bicentennial Celebration is now history, but folks just can't
stop looking for Lincoln, and they keep finding him in his first namesake
city--at least finding traces of his heritage there. Abe's image has been
found in the highest place--the mural on the third floor of the Logan County
Courthouse (just below the great dome), and now Dave Armbrust and city
employees have discovered Abe's image at perhaps the lowest level--street
level, that is. A small (2- by 3-inch) bas-relief profile image of Abe, similar to that on
the Lincoln penny, has been found on cast iron drain grates in street curbs
in Lincoln. Most likely these new-found, rare examples of local Lincoln lore
were manufactured by the Lincoln Foundry Company. The story of this
discovery began with an exchange of emails I had with Dave Armbrust, who has
made several previous contributions to this community history Web site.
(Dave is a member of the Lincoln City Council, and he and I are both members
of the LCHS Noble Class of 1960).
In June 2010, Dave emailed me: "Leigh, while
looking at the addition of the casket photo [22.12 above], I looked over
several other Lincoln factories [on this page] and came across the Lincoln
Foundry. I knew I had a catalog of their products but never mentioned it
because I didn't want another 2 years to go by before it might surface. I
mentioned this to my in-house researcher, Marilyn, and in 2 days she had it
located. My dad was asked to participate in the creation of this
catalog by Robert McAllister, the owner of the print shop next door to our
home. The print shop sent a lot of business dad's direction so it was hard
to refuse. As you are aware, my dad was a sign painter, and his only
drafting experience was 30 years before in high school. Using borrowed
drafting instruments, T-square and triangle loaned to him by industrial
arts teacher Walter Alde, the drawings for the catalog were produced. I have
sent (4) attachments but cannot get the quality of the actual drawings."
I soon replied, "Dave, great new material you have offered and most welcome.
I can work with the images you sent all right as examples of drawings of the
Lincoln Foundry's products. My sense is that I would not need the entire
catalog. I would say, however, that I was especially interested in the
manhole drawing. Now you will think I am crazy, but I am wondering if there
any of these in the streets of Lincoln. Manhole covers typically are stamped
with the name of and location of the manufacturer. What a great thing if an
actual example could be found and photo taken and emailed to me. Any/all of
this info will be a useful addition to the factories page. (Of course, the
question must be asked--but may be unanswerable-- whether there are any
other products of the Lincoln Foundry that might also be located in
Lincoln.) My best to your good in-house researcher ;--). I won't publish
what you have sent till we determine whether a photo of such a manhole is
possible. Of course, if you set the Street Dept. on this quest, they will
think you're nuts, so maybe some discreet informal research by you and your
wife might be in order? Heh. Surely there are still some manhole covers in
the old hometown. Just an idea. Feel free to get back to me at your
leisure." (Note: as Dave explains later below, he did not make
it a special project for the Street Department to waste work time by going
on this search.)
Dave then explained: "Something I need to clear up. . . . While my father
was deeply involved in the making of the drawings in this 53-page catalog I
CANNOT VERIFY he is responsible for each and every drawing. I did not wish
to imply that in my original e-mail. I know he worked for many weeks in the
evening and on weekends to make drawings from blueprints that could be
photographed to make printing plates. I received this catalog from Odette
McAllister, widow of Robert E. McAllister, owner of the print shop because
she felt it would be a keepsake for me because of my dad's involvement in
the printing process."
Dave agreed to continue the quest for Lincoln Foundry manhole covers in a
truly noble, discreet manner: "After you asked if any of those items were
still in use within the city, I spoke to Tracy Jackson (St. Supt.) and Mark
Mathon (City Engineer) and was advised the items in question were scattered
around the city. I also had a conversation with Bob Tackett (Mgr. Waste
Water Plant) and upon conversation with his employees he confirmed Mr.
Jackson's and Mr. Mathon's statements. It was St. Supt. Jackson that located
the 1st couple of examples while going about his daily duties in the
city. (Part of the St. Dept's duties are to keep the catch basins clear to
allow the streets to drain properly so all employees keep a lookout
for blocked catch basins while performing their assigned jobs.) At that
point my wife, Marilyn, and I began to look at catch basins around the city
for any that were marked 'Lincoln Foundry Lincoln, IL.' I mean, what more
romantic thing can a man say to his wife on a Sunday afternoon than,' Honey,
do you want to ride around town and look for and photograph some sewer
grates and manhole covers?' When your name came up she immediately
understood." (I bolded the text for emphasis.)
Dave's father, Ray Armbrust, appears in photo 22.3 above. Robert E. "Bob" McAllister was also involved in public
service in Lincoln. Access a
photo of him and
reference to his role as chairman of the Lincoln City Council's Ordinance
Committee during the extensive legalistic fallout from Great Gambling Raids in Lincoln and Logan County in
22.48: Lincoln Foundry Curb
One aspect of Dave Armbrust's remarkable "field study" research is
that some of the curb drains in the first Lincoln namesake city feature a
small (2- by 3-inch) bas-relief of Abraham Lincoln similar to that on the
famous Lincoln penny, originally created in 1909. These curb drains do not
have "Lincoln Foundry" on them, but it's logical that these "Little Iron
Abe" drain curbs were manufactured by that company.
Illinois, may never have a statue of Lincoln as tall as the Statue of
Liberty--as was proposed several years ago--, but the first Lincoln namesake
city does have the giant fiberglass Abe statue of The World's Largest
Covered Wagon, two bronze sculptures of Mr. Lincoln on the Lincoln College
campus, a bronze plaque bas-relief profile image of Mr. Lincoln on the D.A.R.
Monument on the Logan County Courthouse west lawn--and now the "Little Iron Abe," which may not be found anywhere else. Perhaps the Looking for Lincoln Committee of Main Street Lincoln could
conduct a contest to see who can find the most of these "Little Iron Abes"
and record their locations. (Contest limited to adults eighteen and
older so that kids do not go into the streets and get run over ;--)). (And
who knows: perhaps someday another bronze Lincoln statue as proposed in
22.49: Lincoln Penny-Like
Bas-Relief Abe Profile in Cast Iron Drain Grate
22.50: Little Iron Abe Profile Close-up
Note: the above image was cropped from the larger photo
immediately above it, so the smaller photo lacks some clarity. The version
below has better clarity and detail:
22.51: Little Iron Abe Profile
Close-up No. 2
For the above image, I tweaked the color and lightness/darkness in Photoshop
to gain improved clarity and detail.
PDF of examples of
the Lincoln Foundry catalog of engineering drawings and recent photos
provided by Dave Armbrust and Marilyn, his wife and administrative assistant.
This PDF includes a photo of a Lincoln Foundry manhole cover and a Lincoln
Foundry catch basin cover at street side. Dave's other contributions to this
community history Web site are found elsewhere on this factories page, the
Web page for Lincoln's businesses
(including many vintage picture postcards), and a
special page devoted to his
other material (including vintage photos taken in Lincoln and Logan
Garden Products (contemporary)
Red Devil Lawn and Garden Products information below is from its corporate
www.precisionprodinc.com Precision Products, Inc.
is proud to be one of the leading manufacturers of heavy-duty quality lawn
and garden equipment. We continue to grow and make new strides in
innovating and improving our products. From easy to assemble trailer
carts, to heavy-duty aerators and detachers, to fully assembled lawn
spreaders, there is a Precision product for your every need.
Precision Products, Inc.
is centrally located in Lincoln, Illinois. With a manufacturing facility
of 565,000 square feet and 32 loading docks we are capable of producing
thousands of spreaders, trailer carts, and other accessories each day. We
are looking forward to the future in providing the highest quality
products for each of our customers.
Mattresses were manufactured in the former Excelsior Factory on North
Chicago Street (Gleason, p. 34).
Stamping and Assembly (contemporary)
the Web site of Inland Tool Company:
"Inland Tool Company is a
full service metal stamper and assembler located in Central Illinois in Mt.
Pulaski. Inland Tool Company began as a tool and die shop in 1974. At that
time we were located on 3 acres in 11,000 sq. ft. of space. In the early
1980’s, in a effort to mitigate the boom or bust cycle associated with
tooling, we expanded into the stamping area. We built a new facility,
expanding to 25,000 sq. ft. Most of the parts we produced were fairly small
and made in progressive dies.
In 1988 when Diamond Star
Motors (now Mitsubishi Motor Manufacturing of America – MMMA) built their new
plant in Normal, Illinois, Inland Tool Company became one of their earliest
suppliers. Through MMMA work we greatly expanded our automotive exposure.
In the mid 1990’s we
greatly expanded our value added welding and assembly business. We added
projection, spot, robotic arc welding, plus various assembly operations.
In December 1999 Inland
Tool Company became QS9000 certified.
In April 2000 we
completed our new 40,000 sq ft stamping and assembly building. This new
facility is located on 25 acres on Route 121 and just across the street from
our older facility. This latest expansion doubled our square footage to
approximately 80,000 sq. ft. In 2000, we also added a second shift and
temporary third shift.
As we expanded into our
new facility we added 11 stamping presses (for a total of 29) and 7
additional welders. The stamping presses included several big bed presses
(up to 108” x 60”). The larger presses, with a feed line capable of feeding
material up to 72’ wide and handling coils of up to 20,000 pounds, now
enable us to make larger progressive parts. This expansion also greatly
increased our tandem and hand transfer capacity.
As a full service stamper
and assembler we design, build and maintain our own tooling. Building on our
tool and die roots we build quality and ease of processing upfront into our
tools. This ensures superior quality and ease of maintenance.
Our offering of services
include metal stamping, CNC and high volume machining, spot and projection
welding and robotic arc welding and general assembly. We service the
automotive, appliance, electrical controls, leisure and lawn and garden
industries, among others. Inland Tool Company is a strong, dynamic, growing,
quality and service oriented company that builds on its strengths to solve
our customers’ problems and meet their stamping and assembly needs."
Lincoln: A Pictorial History: "The Excelsior Factory,
located on North Chicago Street between Keokuk and Burlington Streets
manufactured packing material. The facility later became a mattress
factory" (p. 34). A picture shows a T-shaped, two-story wooden
From Paul Beaver's
History of Logan County 1982: "Dating back to 1886 was a business
that grew into Lincoln and Logan County's only paint factory, owned and
operated by Floyd Weymer at 113-115 North Logan Street.
P.B. Weymer, father of the present owner, was the founder of the business
and following closely in his father's footsteps. Floyd Weymer took
over the business and continued and enlarged it from year to year.
From 1886 to 1921, only contract painting and decorating was attempted.
However a new era was begun with the first manufacture of Weymer paints.
When manufacturing was begun on a small scale in 1921, Mr. Weymer had
no idea that orders would justify such a tremendous growth in volume as has
been experienced in the seven years that transpired since that time.
Manufacturing gallonage [sic] increased more than 1,000 percent since the first
approximately one hundred different raw materials used in the manufacture of
paints. This necessitated the carrying of an enormous supply of raw
materials, granting that only a small stock of each was carried at any one
turned out 10 different kinds of paint -- with four to ten colors packed in
quantities from half pints to barrels.
All paint manufactured at the Weymer factory bore the Floyd Weymer label,
Lincoln, Illinois, with Floyd Weymer's own signature.
Nine tenths of the paint manufactured was shipped by truck to parts of
Illinois, Wisconsin, and Iowa to 58 regular customers.
Weymer's Paint Factory had a daily capacity of 300-500 gallons of finished
paints. After Mr. Weymer's
illness the factory was operated by his wife until the early 1960s" (Beaver,
A main source of
information about the Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company's facility in Lincoln,
Illinois, is "Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company of Lincoln Employs 90 Persons"
(Lincoln Evening Courier, section five, Wednesday, August 26, 1953,
The Pittsburgh Plate
Company, formed in 1883 from the New York City Plate Glass Company, was one
of a few surviving manufacturers of glass in North America. Although
glass manufacturing was one of the first industries in the New World, plate
glass manufacturing had not proved very successful.
The Pittsburgh Plate
Glass Company endured into the 20th Century because of its network of local
distribution centers and because of its effective research and development.
It took research from 1939 to 1951 before the Company was prepared to
manufacture its "TwindoWeld" design. The plant in Lincoln was
established just to make this product. The Lincoln site had been purchased
from the Stetson China Company.
The TwindoWeld product
did not attempt to replace the Twindo, but was "specifically designed for
residential glazing, apartment, schools and all other building applications
where large quantities of relatively small size insulating units may be
utilized. TwindoWeld [was] available in sizes up to 50 inches by 62
inches" (Courier, p. 12).
Pittsburg Plate Glass
(Photo from Gleason,
"The edges of this new product are electrically fused to provide a
glass-to-glass window, having all the advantages of the assembled
double-glazed units now on the market plus the permanency of true
glass-to-glass sealed edges. Having no metal in its construction, TwindoWeld also eliminates edge conductivity, making it particularly
desirable for refrigeration and air-conditioning applications" (Courier,
"TwindoWeld [consisted] of two layers of eighth-inch thick glass separated
by a three-sixteenths inch air space. The air between the two panes of
glass is removed in the manufacturing process and replaced with especially
dried air. Internal air pressures are adjusted to enable the
insulating units to withstand atmospheric pressure in all part of the United
States having altitudes under 3000 feet" (Courier, p. 12).
Jerry Gibson Recalls PPG
Note: Jerry Gibson is a native Lincolnite and member of the LCHS Noble Class
of 1960. He emailed me the following information in June 2010.
Marvin Leesman and Ted Gibson [Jerry's father] worked at PPG for over twenty
years. Of course, Ted did not get to retire from there as he passed before
he could enjoy a decent deserved retirement. I believe Marvin might have
retired from there but I am not sure. Officially, I worked there
from late1963 until early fall 1966, but I had a military obligation during
that period. PPG
never blinked when I was drafted nor did they hesitate to give me my job
back when I returned. My seniority increased as though I had been on their
payroll during my service time.
During summers when I was on break from grade school, I would ride my bike
to the railroad track side of the
plant and visit my dad (on the 4 to 12 shift) who would be at a work station
near an open door. Sometimes I would take an extra treat for his break that
mom had made. He worked on the "hot" end of production. Marvin worked the
"cold" end. Many times they were on the same shifts.
Ted was a prankster and his legend may still be ghosting those walls. On one
occasion he took Frosty Hale's (night watchman who rode a bicycle to work
and parked it near the time clock) bike. Ted rode it INSIDE the plant
through the production lines. He held his head high, sat erect on the
seat, looked straight ahead and rode with the attitude of a Sunday afternoon
outing oblivious to the dangerous surroundings.
Working on the "hot" end was brutal during the summer months and the men who
worked in "the pit" experienced temperatures exceeding 135 degrees for
several hours. Being one of the men who worked in the pit, Ted had several
methods of trying to keep comfortable. One method was the extreme of having
his pants unbuckled and at half mast to allow a stationary industrial fan
to blow air (hot though it was) over any part of his body for relief.
Apparently this was a legendary exhibition noted by the front office, so
when folks wanted to tour the production facility during hot summer days and
Ted's shift was on duty....someone from the office staff would make sure,
well before the party passed Ted's work area..... "Gibson! Get dressed, we
My claim to the infamous Gibson name at PPG when I worked there was a stunt
that I practiced to break the monotony of repetitive assembly line work. One
position that I tenured longer than I wanted was cutter/driller. As was
explained in your article, two pieces of glass (lites) were welded together
by heat and electricity to form one unit. The cutter's job was to cut one
lite, the top sheet, longer and wider than the bottom sheet. So every
other one....all during the shift.... was one sheet one way, another sheet
another way. When the sheets were cut, there was scrap from each which was
tossed into a large bin for recycling. In order to break the boredom of the
job, I made up unconventional ways to toss the scrap into the bins. Some of
these methods were not acceptable to management and certainly would not have
been to OSHA had they been in existence during those years.
Anyway, during one shift as I was humming along at my pace to keep ahead of
the production line. I had perfected the "art" of disposing of the scrap to
the point of not looking where it was going because I always hit the mark.
Sometimes the motion was behind my back, over my head, and once in a while
between my legs. During one of these shift displays, I felt uncomfortable
enough to slow down and look up to see several front office suits watching
me. They asked my name and I replied, "Gibson." They said they thought I was
Ted's son and walked off. The shift foreman came to me shortly after their
visit and he requested that I return to the conventional method of throwing
scrap and not to continue with my acrobatically inappropriate displays of
assembly line showmanship.
It was a dangerous and hot place to work. But one had to make it interesting
to get past the boredom and monotony. As I mentioned, there were no OSHA
rules in those days. In some areas, the workers did not use gloves or
protective cuffs most of time. The company provided them, but it was
the responsibility of the worker to use the safety equipment. One entry
level position was line inspector. If a lite had a blemish that could appear
on the inside of the finished unit, the inspector would pick it up with his
bare hands and spin the lite and place it back on the conveyor so he did not
have to remove it from the production process. (I had healthy sets of
calluses on both palms from many of those maneuvers.) If a lite did not pass
inspection, he would pick it up bare handed and remove it from the line and
then adjust the lites so there was always the top/bottom unit available for
the welding process.
Just for laughs this was the start of the process of making one unit
from the hot end to the cooling ovens. The glass or lites were manufactured
plants in the Midwest and shipped to Lincoln. A pallet of this product was
placed near a production line station, cutter/driller. All lites on these
pallets were assigned according to the dimension which that particular
production line could handle. It took two lites to make a thermo- window. As
explained on this Web page, the top lite had to be larger than the bottom
lite. The bottom lite had to have a hole drilled near an edge where a metal
"eyelet" would be inserted later down the line. The cutter driller had to
throw a switch one way to activate the cutting wheels onto the top sheet. He
manually would pull the cutting heads down one side of the glass, release
same and then draw down the length. After each cut, he would snap off the
scrap with a special snub nosed pliers and throw the scrap into a recycle
bin. (Sometimes I used bare hands...management did not like that,
either.) The next lite would be the bottom which was cut to a more narrow
dimension and also would be drilled with the above mentioned hole.
So the production conveyor with special fluorescent lites contained
top-bottom, top-bottom, etc., for an inspector. It was the inspector's job
to insure that no defects appear on any lite.....especially the inside.
Scratches on the outside of the finished product could be buffed
off. Anything on the inside of the unit or any glaring ripple, cat-eye, or
other manufacturing defect the cutter did not see before he did his process,
had to be removed from the line by the inspector. So if a top was bad, then
the bottom had to be removed also and vise-versa. Once the lites made it
past the inspector, they would one-at-a-time move into a squaring assembly
of rubber bumpers. The top sheet in first, squared up and then a plunger
head would come down and lift the top sheet away from the bumpers. Next, the
bottom sheet would move into the bumpers and square up. While the bottom
sheet was moving into position, the top sheet was having a wet chemical
applied to the outer top four edges. This was a very dangerous process and
the inspector had to keep well anyway from the top sheep on the suction head
because in order for the chemical to be applied the suction head had to
"index" or turn to get the chemical on each side. It was a very good idea
for the inspector to keep any body part away from the rigid and sharp edges
of glass as it turned on the head. Once the top was treated, the head
lowered to meet the rising bottom sheet. A timer opened the door from a
preheat furnace and a tram like vehicle arrived to accept the two lites
which were, now, resting top on bottom as released from the top suction
head. The car entered the oven and waited until the glass is the correct
texture to enter the welding furnace. When the unit is set in place in the
furnace, the operator controls the rate of speed causing the chemical to
melt the top edge of the top lite onto the bottom lite. At the precise
moment this is completed the operator activates a short burst of air into
the complete unit and the window thickness is formed. The unit is then
picked up and transferred to a set of hanging tongs on a conveyor which
moves through a series of controlled temperature changes in a cooling
process. At the end of this process the unit is removed from the tongs by
worker who places several of these units in a chamber where they have the
moisture removed and are sealed under pressure at the metal eyelet by a
worker whose job description was, sealer. (I think this is what Marvin did.)
Every action in that assembly line process was so rote that, to this
day, I can still remember the entire process. Imagine doing that for twenty,
twenty-five, thirty years on a swing shift basis?
I believe the swing shift style of operation contributed more to the stress
of assembly line workers than the monotony of the occupation. Workers
sleep habits were very erratic as every seven day period was a different
sleep schedule. In the early 1960's wages, compared to the day time shift
rate, workers made ten cents and hour more for the four p.m. to midnight
shift and twenty five cents more an hour for the midnight to eight a.m.
shift at PPG.
I assume nowadays that some folks might welcome back a portion of this type
of shift work employment to have an income and feel their worth.
Access more of Jerry's reminiscence about growing up in Lincoln at
http://findinglincolnillinois.com/lchsclassof1960/autobios/jgibson.html. Respond to Jerry at
After the Typhoon Signal Company failed in 1915, the facility where it had
been located, "the garment factory," was used by the Linway Company of
Chicago, which made "patented automatic screw drivers, mops, saws, and the
like" (Gehlbach, "A Factory Incubator," p. 8).
"By 1919, the building's tenant was a branch of the International Shoe
Company. Women at the Lincoln factory stitched uppers for the shoes
made at the company's Springfield factory. The Lincoln factory
employed 65 girls and women and had an annual payroll of $50,000 when it
moved to Springfield in 1925" (Gehlbach, p. 8).
Information below is from the Web
site of Mii, Inc.:
"Mii, inc. is a privately-held corporation, headquartered
in Lincoln, Illinois. A full-line manufacturer of wood and metal store
fixtures and shelving systems, the corporation owns and operates nearly
700,000 square feet in four cities: Lincoln, Illinois; Jacksonville,
Illinois; Harrison, Ohio; and Clark County, Nevada. Total average employment
is over 500. We take pride in our modern facilities and are constantly
evaluating state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment that will provide
versatility and efficiency, while continuing to shorten lead times. We
understand the needs and problems of the retailing industry that we serve,
and are committed to a quality product, delivered on time. All of our
manufacturing plants are supported by a full-service installation
department, headed by professional construction managers who coordinate
experienced field supervisors strategically located throughout the United
Remember Lincoln's Factories
Dave Salyers' Grandfather: The Meanest Man in
Hi, Leigh --
Hope all is
well w/you and yours.
Today, I found
myself reading the "factory" section of your web site.
should say "re-reading," because I'm sure I've been here before.
incredibly, I never saw the piece on the Shoup and Jones concrete block
I was told, on
pretty good authority, that my grandfather, Hays Cox, was a principal
investor in that business (although I'm not sure if he ever actually worked
married to Mollie Dunnuck, a sister of Hay's wife, Pearl, and both couples
had moved to Lincoln from Ottawa, Kansas.
bought a farm off Route 10, near a tiny hamlet called Midland City, where my
mother was born.
I'd kill to
know more about the Shoup & Jones business. Do you know anyone who
might have more information? If you do, I'd be very grateful to
know who it might be. (I, too, recall Ralph Shoup's "chalk-talks."
I don't remember exactly what he did, but he was at some LCHS assemblies,
I was told
that John Jones was very creative, but not a particularly good business man,
and that might very well be why my grandfather was involved.
story was that they tried to create concrete block houses. A bad idea,
apparently, because the story goes that that effort was what ultimately
brought down the business. But I have nothing more than family lore
(and you know how dodgy that is) upon which to base this).
The Salyers family
had several connections with Lincoln factories. My grandfather Salyers
drove a team for the casket factory in the early 20th C.
Two of my
father's sisters worked at the China Factory, and my uncle Rob Salyers was a
supervisor at PPG. Even I, my ownself, worked at the china factory.
It was for most of the summer of 1962, after I got out of the army until I
returned to college. (The work was hardly enough to keep the mind
alive, but was an added incentive to get a college degree.)
worked for many years at the ice plant. (In fact, that's how my father
and mother met. He delivered ice to John Jones' home, where my mother
and her sisters often stayed.)
Dad was almost
killed when an elevated motor fell and hit him atop the head.
What saved him
was that he was standing on an icy floor in the ice room, and apparently the
force of the blow "squirted" him out from under the heavy motor. That
was winter of 1948 or 1949, and I remember that he was in a coma for weeks.
Dr. Gaffney told mom that dad was a goner, but he recovered.
after the accident, when they finally let me into the hospital to see him,
his head looked as if someone had taken an ax and buried it in his skull.
It was a very nasty wound, and it's remarkable that he not only lived, but
was mentally a whole person afterward.
interesting story about my dad's father, about whom dad often said, was "the
meanest man who ever lived." He was a heavy drinker and a violent
drunk. Dad's younger brother, Robert, told me that dad would
frequently defend the family from him when grandpa would stagger home drunk.
worked for the casket factory, a neighbor's bulldog took a liking to him,
and the neighbor gave him to grandpa. One day, as my father told it,
grandpa was driving his team past the fire department. Several firemen
and their Dalmatian were sitting outside.
It was the
bulldog's habit to run along side the wagon, or sometimes even under it, as
it moved down the street. The Dalmatian attacked the bulldog, and was
tearing it up pretty badly, which greatly amused the firemen.
stopped when the bulldog did what bulldogs are bred to do -- he took that
old Dalmatian's muzzle between his jaws and then sat back down to see what
would happen next. Up to this point, grandpa had let the dogs fight,
but when the battle swung in the bulldog's favor, one of the firemen,
armed with a barrel stave, decided to pitch in to defend the firehouse dog.
At this, said
my father, grandpa took issue. Dad said grandpa put several of the
firemen in the hospital that day.
I recall that
my dad told me that story without a hint of approbation for my grandpa's
actions. It seemed to be just another way for him to explain to
me that my grandpa was truly "the meanest man in the world." After the
dogfight, I expect that at least a few of the Lincoln firemen would have
agreed with that description.
that reminds me of yet another story about my grandpa. He and my
grandma lived on Sangamon, just behind the china factory. I remember
when I was very young -- maybe 10 -- seeing my grandpa set out to go to
town. He was so feeble that he could barely put one foot in front of
the other, and to a child's eye, it looked doubtful that he'd ever make it
downtown, at least in the same day.
One day, I
read in the paper that my grandpa, then in his late 70's, had knifed a man
in (?) the Corner Tavern. Well, even at that tender age, I was very
In any case,
knowing what I knew of grandpa, I knew he must have been the instigator, and
for many years I held that opinion, until I learned the truth. For the
life of me, I can't recall how I got hold of the follow-up story in the
article quoted the sheriff (or police chief) as saying, and I paraphrase,
that the younger man who had started the fight with this old man got just
what he deserved, and that no charges would be filed.
I guess that's
as much as I'll ever know about that, but I'd love to have all the details.
Well, now that
I've drained my memory tank dry, I'll be getting back to the 21st century.
Email Dave at
Leigh Henson Responds to Dave's
My Grandmother Ruth Henson's home in the 500 block of Fifth Street had been
built some time in the late 19th century. Her house had a concrete sidewalk
that ran from the front porch to the red-brick sidewalk that paralleled
Fifth Street. The concrete sidewalk was inscribed with the names Shoup &
Darold Henson remembers the Jones family that lived in the 500 block of
Fifth Street. When I was a child, I remember two elderly members of this
family, Al and Joner, who daily walked past my grandmother's house on their
way between their home and Postville Park, where they liked to sit. They
sometimes walked unsteadily, and the rumor was they pulled on the grape. As
a kid, I also remember going with Darold to the shed behind the Joneses'
house, where some of them and other men from the neighborhood played cards.
The shed was heated by an old-time, wood-fired stove.
Darold said that one or two members of this Jones family were concrete
workers at Shoup and Jones. Other brothers besides Al and Joner were Ryle,
Hen, and Tub. Darold says he thinks Al and Tub were the concrete workers.
The 1934-35 Polk's Lincoln City Directory identifies Allie and
Katherine A. Jones of 516 Fifth Street. This directory identifies the owners
of Shoup and Jones as Thomas Shoup and John P. Jones. Perhaps John P. Jones
and the Joneses of Fifth Street were related.
The 2005 photo below shows a concrete hitching post in the 500 block of
Fifth Street--a rare remnant of the 19th century on Fifth Street (imagine a
time when horses were hitched so that they stood at the edge of Fifth
Street). I do not know if the Shoup & Jones Concrete Block Company
constructed this hitching post, however. As I recall, the Jones family lived
in the second house from the right in the photo.
22.53: Concrete Hitching
Posts in the 500 Block of Fifth Street
(Leigh Henson 2005 photo)
Aerofiles Web site:
Beaver, Paul J. History of Logan County Illinois
1982. Published by the Logan County Heritage Foundation. Dallas, TX: Taylor Publishing
Dooley, Raymond, ed. The Namesake Town: A
Centennial History of Lincoln, Illinois. Lincoln, IL: Feldman's Print Shop, 1953.
Fish, Henry. Illustrated Lincoln.
Lincoln, IL: The Star Publishing, Co., 1916.
Gehlbach, Nancy Lawrence. "A Factory Incubator."
Our Times 7.3, fall, 2002, p. 8. Sam Redding, Publisher. Prairie Years Press. 121 N. Kickapoo
St. Lincoln, IL 52656. 217-732-9216
___________. "A Pasture or a Flying Field?" Our Times, spring 2000,
___________ . "Cars. . . and
Drivers." Our Times 3.4, winter, 1998.
___________ . "Come Fly with Me!" Our Times
5.1, spring, 2000.
___________ . "Factories of Yesteryear."
7.3, fall, 2002.
___________ . "Factories to Remember."
Our Times. 7.4., winter, 2003.
___________ . "Lincoln Casket Company." Our Times
7.3, fall, 2002, p. 7.
___________ . "The Lincoln Automobile." Our
Times winter, 1998, pp. 3 and 6.
___________. "Stetson China Company." Our
Times 7.3, fall, 2002, pp. 4-5 and 9.
Gleason, Paul E. Lincoln, Illinois: A Pictorial History.
St. Louis, MO: G. Bradley Publishing, 1998. Material from Mr. Gleason's books is copyrighted with all rights
Gleason's material used in this Web site is with permission from the G. Bradley Publishing Company, 461 Des Peres Road, St. Louis, MO 63131. Call 1-800-966-5120 to inquire about purchasing Lincoln, Illinois: A Pictorial History (1998) (200 pages of rare photos and text) or Logan County Pictorial History
(2000) (also 200 pages of rare photos and text). Please visit
___________ ., and Paul J. Beaver, Logan County,
Illinois: A Pictorial History. St. Louis, MO: G. Bradley Publishing, 2000.
"Lehn and Fink, in Lincoln Since 1947, Was Founded 80
Years Ago." Lincoln Evening Courier, centennial edition, section six, August 26, 1953,
"Lincoln Container Corporation Organized Here Eleven
Years Ago." Lincoln Evening
Courier, centennial edition, section eight, August 26, 1953, p.
Lincolndailynews.com information about
Willamette's new warehouse built in Lincoln, Illinois.
"Lincoln Foundry Began Operation Over 50 Years Ago." Lincoln Evening Courier,
centennial edition, section eight, Wednesday, August 26, 1953, p. 4.
Lincoln/Logan County Chamber of Commerce.
Economic development: demographics
Chamber of Commerce
Community Profile & Membership Directory. Lincoln, IL: 1998. Photo courtesy of Village Profile.com,
Inc., 33 N. Geneva Street, Elgin, IL 60120. Please visit the Web site
of this remarkable company at
MII, Inc. Web site:
"Paul Schuster Carries on Hand Cigar-Making Begun by
His Father 75 Years Ago." Lincoln Evening Courier, centennial edition, section five,
Wednesday, August 26, 1953, p. 12.
"Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company of Lincoln Employs 90
Persons." Lincoln Evening Courier, section five, Wednesday, August 26, 1953,
Polk's Lincoln (Logan County, Ill.) City Directory
1934-35. Chicago, IL: R.L. Polk & Co., 1934.
Sheley, Pam. "On a Personal Note." Our Times,
7.3, fall, 2002, p. 2.
"Stetson China Company Was Moved Here from Roodhouse." Lincoln Evening
Courier, centennial edition, section seven, August 26, 1953, p. 11.
Stringer, Lawrence B. History of Logan
County, Illinois, 1911. Evansville, IN: UNIGRAPHIC, INC., 1978.
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