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This Changing World

The Columns of Will Ball

Logansport Press, January 16, 1949

 Makers of Implement Handles and Wagon and Carriage Parts

The writer recalls three of major importance to the town.  First, the one that operated for the longest time was the one on Fifth Street, on High, popularly known as the “Plowhandle Factory”.  This plant, according to Helms History of Cass County, was first started on Market Street at the river by J.H. Tucker, who soon outgrew that location and moved to the High Street site.  S.E. Howe bought an interest a year later and the firm operated as Tucker and Howe until 1884 when Tucker sold his interest to Mr. Howe who  operated the business with success for many years.

 As indicated by the popular name, the principal product of the firm was handles for plows, cultivators, etc.  They occupied buildings on both sides of High, connected by an overhead runway crossing the street.  The old stone building on the southeast corner of the street intersection still stands.  The brick structure on the north side of the street has been replaced by new buildings.

 The L.P. Manufacturing Company had quite an extensive establishment on Toledo Street, now Woodlawn Avenue, where they made wagon and carriage parts.  This place was known as the “Spoke Factory”.  They did a large business for a number of years until they burned down in an all night fire in the early 90’s.  The plant was never rebuilt. 

 The third establishment was that of Hillock and Pitman, also on Woodlawn.  E.E. Pitman was the resident manager of this concern.  It also did an extensive business, shipping its product, principally “D” handles, such as are used on shovels, all over this country and Europe, until it was also destroyed by fire.

 Several years ago, Fernald’s Sawmill on the west side, did a thriving business in local timber, all hardwood, of course.  That sawmill burned down a number of years ago and was rebuilt and operated until within a year of two of Mr. Fernald’s death.  It was sold to the John H. Shafer Hardwood Company who had moved to South Bend and opened the yard on Rte. 24, west of town, in 1919.

Transcribed by Christine Spencer, April, 2009

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