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100 Years Ago


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Woodworking

Wood, not metal or plastics, was the basic resource for everyday objects. Two woodworking shops dated from the 1840s. Mr. Murray's shop, featuring a 'power lathe' operated by a plodding horse, was located on North Miami Avenue. Caleb Nutt was a craftsman noted for his high quality work. His business was located on West Poplar Street.

Another of the early shops in the village (this one commencing in 1856) was George Vogel's cooperage business. Vogel made wooden barrels. His business employed between 50 and 75 men by 1879. The wooden barrel staves, or pieces, were bound together by iron hoops. Mr. Vogel was using 350 tons of iron a year for that purpose by 1880.

A useful product made locally to serve the needs of early citizens was wooden tool handles. The C.R. Benjamin & Son Sidney 'D' Handle Factory was built by Charles R. Benjamin to produce handles for shovels, forks and scoops in about 1880. It grew steadily. Charles W. Benjamin took over the reins of the business at the death of his father. The factory was built at 608 Broadway Ave., where the Recycling Haus is now located. The Benjamin residence is the home directly south of the structure occupied by Freytag and Associates on North Miami Avenue.

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Mary L. Poultry Plant

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Tucker Woodworking Company

The Sidney School Furniture factory was destroyed by fire in 1891 and immediately rebuilt of brick. Mr. Loughlin sold his business in 1901 and then established the Mary L. Poultry Company (shown above). It was destined to become the world's largest poultry facility and was located at the southern end of Brooklyn Avenue (site now used by the Copeland Corporation). The new residence he constructed, next to his poultry plant, is owned by Eric and Gay Smith.

J. B. Tucker formed the Tucker Woodworking Company in 1903 and took over the school furniture building. His company manufactured bended wooden products such as bicycle wheels and steering wheels. It was the second largest business of its kind in the country. Mr. Tucker also purchased the Bonnyconnellan Castle after the Loughlins lost it in a foreclosure proceeding.  Following the abrupt death of Mr. Tucker, the Mull Woodworking Company occupied the site. It is the present day home of Sidney Manufacturing Company on North Main Avenue.

These woodworking businesses created a demand for a reliable supply of quality lumber. The Sidney Planing Mill was established by J. E. Wilkinson in 1880. A Civil War veteran, he was the only known Shelby County survivor of Andersonville, the infamous Confederate prison camp. The business was later taken over by the Worch Lumber Co. and then Klipstine Lumber. It was located on the site formerly occupied by P K Lumber at 231 South Walnut Avenue. Built near an area known as ‘Starrett’s Run’, Sidney founder, Charles Starrett’s original homestead was also located nearby.

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Sidney Manufacturing Company

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Klipstine Lumber Company


Industry segment written
in January, 1998 by Rich Wallace

 

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