THE MACHINE SHOP, COOPERAGE & FOUNDRY

Our tour of Princeton’s 19th century west-side industries continues with visits to three sites often associated with the seven-mile channel that brought the Mecan River to Princeton to help power mills and factories: a machine shop built in 1863 by Leonard Long on Lot 3 of Block 9 in the Flint & Treat Addition, platted in 1857, a foundry founded by Jacob Yunker (Junker) on Lot 1 in 1868, and a butter tub factory erected on Lot 3 in 1896 by a company of local businessmen.

Machine shop/planing mill

As the Civil War dragged on, the Berlin Courant in April 1863 reported that Mr. Long was building a cabinet and chair factory three stories high near the mill ditch in Princeton. The building is described in later newspapers as a machine shop and planing mill.

Leonard Long and his brother, George, were millwrights and carpenters who immigrated here from Canada. Their projects in Princeton included carpenter/joiner work on the stone schoolhouse on Main Street in 1867, St. John’s Lutheran frame church in 1867, and the August Thiel double block (508-512 West Water Street) in 1870. They remodeled the former schoolhouse on Wisconsin Street into a residence in 1868.

Princeton Republic, June 6, 1867 – “The German church is being put up right by the Long Bros. If they are short men, they’re long enough to make short work of long jobs.”

They worked on mills in Princeton, Markesan and Manchester. George Long had a small cabinet and carpenter shop, later used as an office by pioneer businessman Silas Eggleston, just east of the bridge in the early 1870s and held the contract in 1872 to open the bridge and keep the float and draw in good repair. He worked at the Princeton mill as late as October 1877. He died in April 1878 of diabetes at age 32, leaving a wife, Ellen, and two young children.

Leonard lived in Richford, Waushara County, for several years before moving to California in 1888.

Long’s building described in the 1863 Berlin Courant sat on Lot 3.

According to a “memorandum of understanding” dated Dec. 28, 1863, between Leonard Long and Waldo and Alvin Flint, who owned the mill race and mill, the Flints allowed Long to draw and use water from the race “in running his machine shop situated on the south half of Lot No. 3 in Block No. 9.”

Long agreed “to sink the tube he has now in use through which he is now drawing water from said race to his shop, eighteen inches below its present level at the upper end where it connects with said race.” He also had to put in a waste pipe and gate but gave the mill owners the right to operate the gate.

Long sold his building in 1867 to then mill owner David Green.

Princeton Republic, June 6, 1867 – “Sometime since, we learn, Mr. L. Long sold his planing mill to D.M. Green, Esq. but will continue at work in the shop for some time at least.”

Long announced new plans a few months later.

Princeton Republic, Feb. 27, 1868 – “Mr. L. Long informs us that her will put up a machine and repair shop in the spring, the motive power to be a steam engine. We presume a foundry and plow factory will also be run in connection.”

I don’t believe Long followed through on his plan. A foundry was built but not by Long, and I can track only one planing mill/factory over the next several years.

Princeton Republic, May 14, 1868 – “T.M. Hard of Fox Lake we learn will soon commence the manufacture of pumps at the turning and planing mill on the west side, which is being fitted up for that purpose.”

Princeton Republic, July 27, 1868 – “The new pump factory will soon be in operation. The proprietor, Mr. T. M. Hard, recently of Fox Lake, is having entirely new and improved machinery manufactured, so that he will be able to make his pumps in the shortest possible time and in the best manner.”

Princeton Republic, April 17, 1869 – “Newt Harmon leased shop west side used as a planing mill and turning shop and has commenced the manufacture of milk safes.”

I had to Google “milk safes.” I learned they resembled bookcases with shelves for pans of milk. The doors had screens or pierced tin panels; some had screens on each side to keep the milk as cool as possible. They were often painted in bright colors.

The Republic surveyed the local industries in 1870.

Princeton Republic, March 26, 1870 – “… The planing mill is run by N. Harmon, who will be found ready to do the smooth thing for his customers in dressing lumber. Also makes that very desirable article known as ‘Milk Safe’ which he is prepared to sell to those wanting, at low prices. In the same factory will be found J.J. Parker’s Furniture Manufactory, where those in want of tables, chairs, bedsteads, bureaus, stands, etc. can be supplied at the lowest cash prices. All work warranted.”

Princeton Republic, March 8, 1873 – “H. H. Harmon is manufacturing a variety of furniture at the machine shop on west side, such as bureaus, stands, etc. all of which he is selling at very low prices.”

Harmon moved his operation to Water Street in 1874, and I have found no later references to the machine shop other than a shop started by August Swanke in 1877 and moved to South Second Street in 1883.

Cooperage, tub factory

The cooper shop, like the machine shop and furniture factory, is mentioned in the Republic’s list of industries in 1870.

Princeton Republic, March 26, 1870 – “The coopering of the town is represented and carried on by Mr. G. DeVore on the west side, who is prepared to do anything in his line, to order, promptly and in the best manner.”

Princeton Republic, May 13, 1876 – “Cooperage – Persons in want of flour barrels, butter firkins, lard tubs, etc. can find a good article at James McGrath’s shop, near the foundry, in Princeton. All work warranted.”

The cooperage was toppled by strong winds and replaced with a bigger and better outfit in 1896.

Princeton Republic, Feb. 27, 1896 – “Princeton will soon boast another manufacturing establishment – a tub factory. E.D. Morse, J.E. Leimer and Emil Klawitter have organized a company to be known as the Princeton Tub Co. and already have their factory well under way. It is being built on the west side on the site of the old shop which was blown down many years ago. The machinery has been ordered and it is expected will be running by March 20. Water from the mill ditch will furnish the motive power. The company will begin with the manufacture of butter tubs and will do general cooperage work. It may also take up other branches of the work later on. The capacity of the factory will be about 100 tubs a day. Chas. W. Haskins and Emil Klawitter will comprise the operative force at the start and employment may be given to others as business increases.”

Workers used dynamite to blast the ground, which was frozen to a depth of about six feet, so they could place an underground flume leading from the mill ditch to the factory but leaks in the flume and bulkhead delayed the factory’s start. The new firm faced a more serious challenge less than two months later.

Herman E. Megow took this photograph of the washout at the butter tub factory in 1896.

Princeton Republic, April 16, 1896 – “Shortly after beginning work last Saturday morning the workmen in the tub factory on the west side heard a rush of water under the building and running out found that the bank between the factory and the mill ditch was being undermined and washed out. Some of the man ran at once up the canal to the water gate, just above the Montello Road, and turned the water off through the gate. But though this was done quickly it was not in time to save the bank, and a huge gully about 50 feet wide and 12 or 15 feet deep was made by the rushing water, which seemed bent on destruction. The trunk leading from the ditch to the factory was twisted and wrecked and the bulkhead partly undermined. The supports under one corner of the factory were torn out and had the building settled a little more it would have been carried down on the marsh. The damage was estimated at about $700, but it may be possible to make the necessary repairs for a little less. It was at once decided that the cost of filling in and rebuilding should be shared by Teske & Zierke and Morse Leimer & Co. and work was begun Monday morning on the filling in of the huge cavity. Men were employed with teams and scrapers taking dirt from the bed of the ditch and will begin today hauling gravel from the west side pit. The trunk will be repaired at once and work I the factory resumed as soon as possible.”

Princeton Republic, April 30, 1896 – “Teske & Zierke have planted willows along the east side of the mill ditch to strengthen the bank near the point of the recent washout.”

The tub company’s next challenge was finding affordable material for its hoops. Wood had to be imported until the company determined it could use black ash, which was plentiful in Marquette County, to make their own hoops.

Princeton Republic, June 1, 1899 – “Possibly the largest freight car that ever came to Princeton is down in the freight yards now. The dimensions of the car are, length, 50 feet, height, 11 feet; it was loaded with white ash staves for the tub factory, and was billed from Black Rock, Arkansas. The freight on the car was over $160.”

According to the quas qui booklet published during the city’s 125th anniversary in 1973, children were allowed to gather the factory’s wood shavings for kindling for their homes’ stoves and fireplaces.

Gustav A. Krueger purchased the business in 1903 after Leimer, cashier at Princeton State Bank since it formed in 1893, was sent to prison for illegal banking. Investors in The Princeton Butter Tub Mfg. Co. included Krueger, William Schiefelbein and Emil Weckwerth.

It is unclear how long the factory continued, but John Warnke traded a part of his farm for the tub company’s buildings and machinery in 1915.

Princeton Republic, April 22, 1915 – “A deal was made between J.F. Warnke and the Princeton Tub Co. whereby the former took over the latter’s buildings and machinery. The Tub Co. taking in exchange part of Mr. Warnke’s farm, known as the Schiltz farm.”

Princeton Republic, Jan. 2, 1919 – “The new garage which has been under construction by the J.F. Warnke & Sons has been completed by contractor Wm. A Gorr and crew. The building is located on the west side and adjoins the tub factory. Carl Warnke Jr. in charge.”

The Rotor Electric Co. advertised its shop in July 1919 as being on Mill Road on the west side.

I do not know when the former factory was razed. It is still shown on the 1927 Sanborn fire insurance map of Princeton. (The quas qui booklet published in 1973 incorrectly stated the building was razed in 1918.)

The foundry

Princeton’s first foundry straddled the west half of Lots 1 and 2 in Block 9 and operated, off and on, from 1868-1883.

Waldo Flint sold Lots 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 in Block 9 to David Green for $400 in December 1867 (Deeds, Volume 30, Page 541). Green sold Lot No. 1 and much of Lot 2 to Jacob Yunker (Junker) for $200 in September 1868 (Deeds, Volume 30, Page 146).

Princeton Republic, June 1, 1868 – “Mr. Junker, from Mayville, has shipped the moveable effects of his foundry to this village and is now busy putting up a building on the corner of west Main and Mill streets, and in a few weeks will have his furnace in full blast.”

Princeton Republic, June 18, 1868 – “The new foundry went up on Monday like a palace of enchantment. By the assistance of as many men as could work upon the building, it was raised, sided, and almost shingled in one day.”

Princeton Republic, Sept. 14, 1868 – “The new foundry has commenced operations, making its first regular blast last Saturday.”

A few weeks after purchasing the property Yunker sold it to his sons Joseph and Jacob, who did business as Junker Bros., for $650 (Deeds, Volume 30, Page 161, Oct. 6, 1868).

The foundry was divided into a one-story moulding room and two-story finishing department. There was no flooring other than the ground, which was kept very smooth and level.

On either side of the moulding room were two banks of sand, once light in color but later burnt black as coal. A furnace in the rear of the room had a rotary fan that supplied air to be forced through pipes into the side of the furnace. Hard coal shipped from Sheboygan was used in the melting process.

The finishing department featured two large grind stones used for polishing and a blacksmith’s forge. A 20-horsepower steam engine located between the two rooms ran the machinery.

Princeton Republic, Aug. 16, 1873 – “The Yunker Brothers are building addition to their foundry, in which they contemplate putting in turning lathe.”

Princeton Republic, July 22, 1876 – “The West Side Foundry: This important branch of business was established here in 1868 and has been operated by the Junker Bro’s. since that time. It is located just across the bridge on the north side of the road.”

Princeton Republic, Oct. 16, 1890 – “Gard and D.M. Green recently built a new waste-gate, leading from the mill race to the river just north of Junker’s foundry. These gentlemen are fixing up that mill property in good shape.”

1892

Swanke purchased the Junker foundry equipment in 1896, moved it to his planing mill on Second Street and hired Joseph Yunker to run the department turning out castings for Swanke’s farm machinery.

The younger Yunkers sold the foundry property back to Jacob Sr. in August 1899. Their father covered two outstanding mortgages (Deeds, Volume 48, Page 510) and sold all of Lot 1 and south three-fourths of Lot 2 to Silas and Nancy Eggleston for $1,000 in January 1893 (Deeds, Volume 50, Page 328).

Eggleston fixed up the old foundry for a store and residence.

Princeton Republic, June 4, 1896 – “S.M. Eggleston has reshingled the old foundry building and will use it as a wool warehouse.”

Princeton Republic, April 8, 1897 – “Eggleston & Paull open a meat market in the old foundry building on the west side. Will run delivery wagon to any part of village.”

This photo, date unknown, shows the buildings erected as a foundry, left, and overall and shirt factory on the west side.

Princeton Republic, Aug.3, 1899 – “S.M. Eggleston and family have moved into the old foundry building.”

Princeton Republic, Aug. 24, 1899 – “S.M. Eggleston is doing some extensive remodeling of the old foundry building, which will make a comfortable residence when finished.”

Princeton Republic, Sept. 20, 1900 – “Trustee WW Whittemore of the OJ Weiss Millinery Company sold the stock of millinery Wednesday to S.M. Eggleston. The stock will be moved to Mr. Eggleston’s store on the west side, where Mrs. Jesse Eggleston will offer it for sale at a discount, beginning October 3.”

1898

After Mill Street, which ran from the intersection of Harris Street and the Black Creek road, now River Road, southeasterly to just west of the Main Street bridge, was abandoned and the river road connected to Main Street, sometime between 1914 and 1927, the Egglestons built a house west of the old foundry building.

1904
1914

Silas Eggleston passed in 1919; his wife, Nancy, in 1928. They are buried in the Princeton City Cemetery. The former foundry-turned-residence/store was still standing in 1927.

1927 – I believe the north section of the former tub factory on Lot 3 was the Warnke garage opened in 1919.

The overall factory

It was not built until the 20th century, but we cannot leave Block 9 without mentioning the Princeton overall factory erected east of the foundry on Lots 1 and 2 in 1902.

As noted earlier, Jacob Junker Sr. sold all of Lot 1 and south three-fourths of Lot 2 to Silas and Nancy Eggleston for $1,000 in January 1893 (Deeds, Volume 50, Page 328).

Princeton Republic, Oct. 17, 1895 – “S.M. Eggleston is using dredge dirt to fill on his marsh east of the foundry.”

Eggleston’s investment paid off when he sold a portion of the property to the Princeton Overall & Shirt Manufacturing Company for $300 in October 1902 (Deeds, Volume 61, Page 43).

Princeton Republic, Oct. 16, 1902 – “The Eggleston site on the west side of the river has been selected as the place to locate the new overall factory. Contracts will be let in the very near future.”

(Shameless plug: You can read more details about the overall and shirt factory in “Bartel’s History of Princeton, Vol. I” available at daiseye, 525 West Water Street and daiseye.com, Short Street Market, 427 West Water Street, and area public libraries.)

After the factory closed, Paul and Jessie T. (Eggleston) Ladwig Sr. purchased the property at 854 West Main Street in May 1932 for $485 (Deeds, Volume 94, Page 573) and remodeled the building into a house.

Nobert and Josephine Wielgosh purchased the property in February 1961 (Deeds, Volume 160, Page 361). They operated a tavern in the Western House building at 1002 West Main Street for many years.

The former overall factory was remodeled into a residence, right. The foundry stood just west, left, of the factory.

If you have any corrections, please let me know.

Thank you for caring and reading about local history.

Next: The Princeton Mill

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