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100 Years Ago


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Industry Faded

Much rural industry and the business it generated faded as the 20th century advanced. Several elevators survived to serve local farmers, but were overshadowed by Sidney’s giant grain terminal. Evolving transportation patterns changed the way industries buy raw goods and sell finished ones; consumers graduated to the automobile and one-stop shopping patterns. Sidney’s industrial center grew, leaving the county’s once bustling small towns like Anna in its wake.

A 1910 industry booklet analyzed Sidney’s success: "The growth in wealth and population of any village dependent entirely upon the products of the soil is limited. Sidney merchants have realized this and the past quarter of a century has seen the progressive merchants and business men of Sidney not only taking care of local trade but forging ahead....varied products of her factories find a ready sale in all markets of the civilized world."

Instead of industries founded "upon the products of the soil," as the 1910 writer noted, the county’s rural areas later adopted the likes of Honda and Airstream, feeding on much larger input and output markets. But, from the county’s earliest manufacturing to the latest, one factor endures: a steady supply of skilled and willing workers.


Industry segment written in January, 1998 by Rich Wallace

 

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