Monday, October 19, 2015

More Oshkosh Buildings, Part Seven

The turn of the twentieth century also brought to Oshkosh the expansion of manufacturing facilities.
 In 1898 Diamond Match was considering building a large factory on High Street and in 1902 The Oshkosh Logging Tool Company announced intentions to building a large new plant just south of the river adjacent to Main Street.  The tool company was started by Elmer Leach who had been employed as secretary for the A. Sanford Logging Tool Company of Oshkosh, which had been around since 1853.  Early in 1887 Mr. Leach built a small factory on Pearl Street and commenced business as The Oshkosh Logging Tool Company and by 1906 Sanford Logging Tool merged with  Leach's firm to form Oshkosh Tool Manufacturing.
 The company's quality tools made them popular and accounted for the firm's rapid growth.  A capacious, modern factory was caller for and Mr. Leach enlisted the services of architect William Water to draw the plans. The company's intention to build was first reported in September of 1902 along with the location of the parcel of land. Early in 1903 came reports of  the several buildings which would comprise the new factory.  These early reports indicated that the largest building was to three stories high next to the river but not front on Main Street.  By July of that year work was started with a four story edifice just south of the Main Street bridge.  The logging industry reached it's zenith at about this time, the last spring log run down the Wolf River took place in 1911.  The Leach Company saw that changes were coming and in 1932 began to manufacture garbage trucks.  By the early 1960's the company had out grown the aging building on the river and so built a new plant north of the city, the old factory was demolished in 1966.  The company was purchased by another firm has long since moved all production to Canada.    

Saturday, October 3, 2015

More Oshkosh Buildings, Part Seven

At the turn of the twentieth century there were many dry goods stores in Oshkosh.  One such retailer was Seymour Heymann, proprietor S. Heymann and Company.  In 1903 Mr Heymann announced a plan that would greatly enlarge his store by entering into a long term lease for several properties on Main Street and building an addition.  That same year his competitor, the Plummer Company disclosed that it's store would undergo a massive make over and a forth floor would be added. The two stores were next to each other and the new Plummer building was truly grand.  Not long after completion, early in 1904 the place caught fire and was a total loss.  A large four story replacement, grander than the first soon took it's place.  Improvement were made to the Heymann store but must have seemed paltry in comparison to the large attractive building next door.  Five years later there came another announcement, the Oshkosh Daily Northwestern of April 11, 1908 under the head line “New Store of an Oshkosh Dry Goods House.” displayed a drawing of a large new building for the S. Heymann and Co.

Two buildings on Main Street were to be remodeled in to the largest department store north of Milwaukee.  The plans for the job were prepared by architect William Waters and work was to commence on the first of May.  The remodeled store was to occupy the space between the Plummer Company and the Commercial Bank, extending from Main Street to Division Street. Three floor and the basement were to be devoted to merchandise and the forth floor would be storage of reserve stock.  
Mr. Heymann was born in Germany and came to the United States at age twenty, settling first in Michigan then Indiana before coming to Wisconsin.  For a number of years Heymann peddled his merchandise throughout the Fox river valley, finally in the 1880's he was able to open a store in Oshkosh.  He was a savvy  businessman, who's motto was "Profits are made by turnover, not left overs."  Heymann's business flourished and in 1923 he retired, selling the store to Henderson and Hoyt who had purchased the Plummer Company some years earlier.  Henderson - Hoyt moved to the larger store and sold the Plummer building to W. T. Grant.  In 1945 Henderson - Hoyt was sold to the Boston Store of Milwaukee.  Sometime in the late 1950's Boston Store sold the Oshkosh store to Johnson Hills and after W. T. Grant went out of business the company purchased the building, combining the two and remodeling the facade and making one large department store.  The building has long since ceased to be used for retail.