Date in History: 1920

The large building at the corner of North Main and Sherman Avenue, known by most of us as the Hartel Building, was actually built by the Creamery Package Company in 1920. At that time, Creamery Package – a maker of dairy and food processing equipment – dominated the entire block all the way up to Madison Avenue. On the west side of the railroad track, just across from Creamery Package, was the large plant of the Northwestern Manufacturing Company. An extensive business that produced furniture, wagons and buggies, Northwestern took up the entire area where Johnson Bank and the Sentry Grocery Store are today [2005].

As opposed to today when industries are often located at the edge of town in industrial parks, early industries like these two that began in the 1860s were located right downtown with easy access to the labor force. In fact the name of Mechanic Street, just off of Madison Avenue, comes from the fact that so mechanics who worked for Northwestern lived on this street.

This historic document aired on the radio as an Historic Minute on 03/29/2004.