Northwestern Manufacturing Co. Fire

Date in History: January 1906

In January of 1906, a spectacular nighttime fire completely destroyed the Northwestern Manufacturing Company in Fort Atkinson, which had been making furniture, wagons and buggies since 1866. Overnight, Fort’s largest industry was wiped out. Almost all the Northwestern buildings just off of West Sherman Avenue, where Johnson Bank and the Fort Shopping Center are now, were destroyed. High winds that tossed burning fragments all over the north side of town kept the neighbors busy all night long.

Northwestern rallied and rebuilt a new modern facility with over 65 acres of total floor space – only to go out of business a few years later in 1923, the victim of a more insidious enemy – the automobile.

This historic document aired on the radio as an Historic Minute on 02/03/2003.

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