HISTORY OF MANITOWOC COUNTY - Ralph Plumb, 1904I. Descriptive 1 II. The Indians 8 III. Early Settlement 16 IV. Growth and Foreign Immigration 32 V. Means of Communication 42 VI. Marine 55 VII. Railroads 85 VIII. Military 112 IX. Politics 133 X. Village and City Government 167 XI. Churches 183 XII. Societies and Organizations 227 XIII. Education 243 XIV. The Press 255 XV. The Professions 278 XVI. Banks and Banking 281 XVII Business and Industry 288 Errata and additions 316 Appendixes 293(A), 294(B), 300(C), 313(D) Index
CHAPTER XXVII. BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY.The growth of a community in commercial and manufacturing interests is always difficult to describe since it is well nigh impossible to balance properly the weight which different factors have had in the shaping of industrial forces. To the agricultural growth reference has been made and, of course, this was a most important element in making the county a center of export. Of the development of transportation facilities by both land and water sufficient has also been said. There remains, however, to be given a brief outline of the progress of the manu- facturing business industries of the county. One of the earliest industries to be started was that of the brewing of beer, in which Wisconsin as a whole, even before the Civil War, had taken a leading place. In 1848 there were established the Rahr brewery at Manitowoc and the Mueller brewery at Two Rivers. The former burned to the ground some years later but was rebuilt and has since been enlarged year by year until it ranks among the largest in the state. In the next succeeding years the Pautz brewery, the predecessor of the present Schreihart Brewing Company was also established on a firm footing. Other breweries were started by Kunz & Bleser, C. Fricke and F. Willinger in
P 289 Manitowoc, J. Lindstedt at Mishicot, G. Kunz at Branch, Gutheil Bros. at Kiel, A. Chloupek in Kossuth, M. Schmidt in Rapids and C. Scheibe at Centerville. Of these only the Kunz & Bleser brewery and the Gutheil brewery at Kiel are still in existence. In 1900 a new industry along this line was started in the erection of a malting plant and elevator by the Manitowoc Malting Company, of which ex-Mayor William Rahr is the president. Of the beginnings of the Two Rivers factory system mention has been made. It has achieved a world wide reputation as regards the sale of its woodenware and type. The Two Rivers Manufacturing Company was organized by H. H. Smith in 1860, although the manufacture of tubs and pails had been commenced by him previously, when in 1851 he and W. H. Honey had built a factory. Later Messrs. Smith and H. C. Hamilton worked up the industry to a most successful point and they were later joined by the Mann brothers, Joseph, Henry and Leopold, who in later years acquired the sole interest in the plant. Additions were frequently made and the factory now employs a small army of men. The business of wood type manufacture was started by J. E. and Henry Hamilton in 1881 and has since grown to extensive proportions. Although the lumber industry has largely disappeared from the eastern section of Wisconsin planing mills are still numerous in the county and in 1886 a beginning was made along these lines that meant much for the future. In that year the mill of Hubbard and Noble, devoted to the manufacture of staves, hubs and similar articles, was started in Manitowoc and in two years the concern was bought out by the Manitowoc Manufacturing Company, of which F. Haley became the manager, local capital being interested to a large extent, the object being the manufacture of school seats and furniture. This concern soon established an enormous business, considering its small means and employed several hundred skilled laborers under Managers Haley and Smith but the destructive fire before mentioned led to its insolvency and dissolution. Another extensive plant was
P 290 erected a year later by private subscription, which after existing for a number of years as an independent corporation, was finally absorbed into the American School Furniture Company. Other plants of a similar nature in the county are the Eggers Veneer Company of Two Rivers, the Kiel Woodenware Company, the Manitowoc Building & Supply Co., the Western Toy Co., and the Noble Mfg. Co., of Reedsville. Woolen mills were established in the sixties by P. Pierce at the Rapids and by J. Vilas & Company at Manitowoc but the water power was not sufficient or steady enough to make the venture a success. In 1881 a similar institution was opened by Denway & Pautz at Manitowoc but it was destroyed by fire after a short operation. The Two Rivers Knitting Company organized in 1901 is a more recent attempt at the manufacture of articles in clothing. Tanning has always been an important industry in the county as well. The Wisconsin Leather Company, organized by C. Whitcomb and R. W. Allen, Milwaukee capitalists, was the pioneer along this line and erected a plant near Two Rivers in 1851, maintaining it for many years and at Two Creeks G. Pfister & Co., also of Milwaukee, early established itself. In Manitowoc the Sherman Leather Co., started in business in 1854, the Schultz tannery seven and the Vits tannery ten years later, while the Dobbert plant was built in 1865. Other concerns have since been opened but a majority of them have discontinued. A new industry was started at Manitowoc in 1902, that of the manufacture of mattresses, the Manitowoc Mattress Co. being the name of the corporation. Glue is also an important product of the city, the Manitowoc Glue Co. being the founder of the industry. The Stolz Mfg. Co. and H. Drost Paper Box Co. help to make the city known by their products, tinsel and paper goods. Cigar manufacture, too, is an important industry. The iron industry in its various forms has also engaged a considerable part of local capital. Among the earliest foundries to be established was that of E. J. Smalley, late known as the Smalley Manufacturing Company, started in 1857. It was burned out in 1875 but reorganized eight years
P 291 later and commenced the manufacture of feed cutters and agricultural implements on a large scale. The Dumke foundry was opened in 1861 while the Richards Iron Works owes its origin to a small shop started by Jonah Richards soon after, and it in turn was closely followed by the establishment of a shop by Prochazka & Chloupek. The Manitowoc Boiler Works was started by William Hess and F. Vader in the latter eighties and has since been conducted and enlarged by the former, the labor employed being entirely of the skilled variety. The manufacture of axes was also commenced by Martin & Willott in 1872, since which time it has grown steadily, now being controlled by Joseph and William Willott. Along the line of metallic products must also be mentioned those made of aluminum. Two factories, the Two Rivers Aluminum Co. and the Manitowoc Aluminum Novelty Co. are devoted to this industry. In the early nineties the manufacture of pearl buttons was an important industry in Manitowoc, there being at that time several factories but changes in the tariff made it no longer profitable to engage in it. The manufacture of bricks was introduced into the county by F. Ostenfeldt, then of Calumet County, in 1875 and since that time some half dozen companies have started in the business, notable among them the plants owned by the Manitowoc Clay Co. Manitowoc County has also taken an important place in the manufacture of food products. For many years its flour mills were famous. Among the first to commence an extensive business was the Oriental Mills, established by John Schuette and A. Wahle at Manitowoc in 1869. The Wisconsin Central Mills were built by A. Wahle and L. Haupt soon after and came into the possession of Jacob Fliegler, being discontinued after the panic in 1892. In the same year the Manitowoc Mills owned by Truman and Cooper and established in 1874 were discontinued. Other institutions of this kind were the Wehausen Mills at Two Rivers, built in 1878, the Klingholz Mills at Rapids and several smaller ones in various parts of the county. In 1875 residents of Manitowoc formed the Citizens' Wheat Buying Association and
P 292 subscribed $12,000 for the building of an elevator at the foot of South Seventh street. The structure was later leased and then sold to private parties. In 1870 A. M. Richter commenced the manufacture of vinegar, which has since been a most important product of local export. But chief among food products originating in Manitowoc are canned vegetables and particularly peas. The establishment of this industry was due to Albert Landreth, an energetic seedsman, who in 1883 built a warehouse in Manitowoc. After many years spent in dealing in seed peas he conceived the idea of canning the sweet varieties of that vegetable for the market and built a factory for that purpose which commenced operation in 1890. His brands became famous and the industry soon grew to enormous proportions. Several companies have been formed to prosecute the business, among them the Manitowoc Pea Packing Co. in 1898, the East Wisconsin Canning co. in Manitowoc two years later, the E. J. Vaudreuil Canning Co. of Two Rivers and the St. Nazianz and Centerville Canning Cos. Some of these have placed in the market other varieties of canned vegetables and the soil of the county has proved very adaptable to their growth. In 1900 the Manitowoc Pickling company started operations and a year later the H. Johannes Co. of Two Rivers was organized for similar purposes. A large seed business has also been built up by the Madsen Seed Co., and the Manitowoc Seed Co. In its mercantile life Manitowoc County has been well represented by men of integrity and business acumen and its retail and wholesale establishments are a credit to them. Two of the former, O. Torrison Co. and Schuette Bros., have had a phenomenal growth of over fifty years. As a jobbing point it is represented by Plumb & Nelson Co., wholesale grocers, the Rand & Roemer Hardware Co. and the T. Schmidtmann Sons Co.