1876 Kankakee City Directory - pages 106 to 110
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1876 Kankakee City Directory
pages 106 to 110

Kankakee County, Illinois
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shingles, post, & c. Stone and lime, brick, sand, &c, shipped to other points along the I. C. R. R. amounted to above 100 car loads.On the 1st day of April, 1864, the following (sic) report was furnished to the writer by D. G. Bean, then U. S. Assistant Assessor for the 13th division of this congressional district, showing the business, educational and religious status at this time:Dry goods and grocery stores, 35; furniture stores, 3; drugs stores, 3; breweries, 3; agricultural warerooms, 2; hardware stores, 3; banks, 3; boot and shoe stores, 6; watch, clock and jewelry stores, 3; hotels, 4; tanneries, 2; harness shops, 2; marble works, 3; livery establishments, 3; photograph galleries, 3; millinery stores, 4; 1 flouring mill; 1 book store and newsroom; 8 churches; 2 collegiate institutions; 5 public schools; 5 grain warehouses; 2 dentists; 7 physicians; 12 lawers (sic); 3 bakeries; 3 printing offices; 2 stone quarries; one broom factory, one cooper shop, &c., &c. (sic). These figures speak for themselves, and indicate the extensive progress the city made from 1856, when the first annual review of itsbusiness was written. A word with regard to what is known as the Kankakee Mill Co. may be proper here. This company was organized in 1841, when David Perry and Philip Worchester built the first dam across the Kankakee river two miles below this city, just back of the present village of Bourbonnais, but only a saw mill was erected at the time. James M. Perry subsequently assisted in making the improvement, residing for some time at that point with his family. Thos. R. Vanmeter, in consideration of furnishing the mill site with three acres ofland on the east side of the river, and hauling timber, was to own one-


half the property. Some time after this Thos. R. sold his interest to Daniel T. Vanmeter, who in 1850, sold out to Wm. Durham, and in '53 the grist mill was begun, but was not finished until 1855, during which year Messrs. Perry and Worcester were bought out by Isaac N. Dickson and Algy Dean. The latter gentlemen, in connection with Wm. Durham, carried on business there until the summer of 1859, when the dam was razed and the large frame grist mill removed to its present location in this city, the new dam being built to meet the exigency.This dam is 520 feet long and has a head or fall of 10 feet, which affords one of the best water powers in the State, considerable use of which has already been made by various manufacturing concerns, including the paper mill, erected in '72 by Messrs. Crawford, Bonnfield and Cobb, and which manufactures from 18 to 20 tons of straw board and wrapping paper per week; also the double flouring mill, that grinds from 20 to 25 thousand barrels of flour per year; also the woolen mill of Troupe & McColloh, that has an immense amount of machinery and does an immense business; also the oil works of H. Baily & Co., that turn out from 350 to 400 gallons of oil daily, when fully operated, and from three to four tons of oil cake. The ivory botton (sic) factory, owned by Messrs. Nichols and Joiner, whichwas destroyed by fire last spring was furnished with water power by the Kankakee Mill Co.Mr. Dean sold out his share to Durham & Dickson in '63 and Mr. Durham sold out to James McGrew and Samuel D. Kenaga in '67, and Mr. Kenaga, some time afterwards, disposed of his interest to Mr. McGrew who, in partnership with Mr. Dickson, has carried on the millimg (sic) business for severalyears past.


Mr. Dickson has now retired and Mr McGrew is in the flouring business alone. The Kankakee woolen mill has been in operation since '66. Its weaving capacity is 100,000 yards of cloth annually, besides spinning 25,000 lbs. of yarn and doing a vast amount of custom work. A part of the works was burned last spring which the proprietors with commendable zeal have restored in better form than ever. The oil works were erected in '67 by A.H. Moore and E.C. Holmes. The ivory button factory of Nichols & Joiner was built in 1872-3, and did a large annual business in manufacturing and trade. Mr. Nichols has recently completed a new factory, not so extensive as the first, and has commenced the manufacture of buttons as before the fire which swept his former establishment away in an evil hour. The Northwestern Button factory, which manufactures cloth and leather buttons, was put into operations in 1874 by Bonfield, Kenaga & Co., and doing a flourishing business. The goods manufactured here are of the best, and meet with a ready and extensive sale.The original Kankakee Planing Mills were built and the company incorporated in 1866. J. C. Mateer and R. O. Scoville were the principal members of the incorporated firm. These mill were totally covsumed (sic) by fire on the 10th of July, 1874, but the works to a large extent were promptly rebuilt, and business was resumed early in the following year, after only a few months detention. The aggregate loss to the company by this fire was not far from $24,000, covered by an insurance of only $9,500. The manufacturing interest of Kankakee are certainly many and considerable, but there is room for increase. Within the last three years the city has


the following accessions: Two button factories, one knitting factory, the gas works, Sutton & Co.,'s foundry and machine shop, and the paper mill, which last commenced operations in October, 1873.While these improvements have been made, the railroad facilities of Kankakee have also increased, and are increasing still. The Chicago, Lafayette & Cincinnatti Road has been built within the same time, giving shippers a favorable outlet for their commodities to the Eastern cities and the Atlantic seaboard. The Western Extension (or Kankakee & Gardner R. R. ) will open a western outlet and an iron highway to the rich coal-fields lying about 25 miles west of us. This Road will soon be completed, as the work upon it is being pushed with vigor.Another element contributing to the progress and prosperity of this city is, that it is the central point or commercial capital of a very large scope of country, which is rich in fertility and abounds with the staple products of agriculture. The grain trade here is always extensive. This is emphatically a great grain centre -- the most important one, in fact, between Chicago and Cairo, on the Chicago Branch of the Illinois Central.The ice business too has become extensive and profitable, thousands of tons of ice being stored for home use, while untold quantities are shopped to other points, even to New Orleans. The principal storers, dealers, and shoppers of ice are Fred D. Radeke, S. Zopf, and the Illinois Central R. R. Co. The building of the substantial iron wagon bridge across the river, in 1870, at a total cost of about $18,000, has facilitated the business very greatly, enabling the "ice gathereres" to ply their trade in an extensive way


on the south side. Several large ice-houses have been erected there since the bridge was built, while it has accommodated thousands of farmers who come to town form that direction.There are also two very large breweries located here, doing an enormous business. At the brewery owned by F.D. Radeke, no less than10,000 bushels of barley are consumed yearly, and 4,000 barrels of beer manufactured. That known as Diehl's brewery does about the same business.The lumber business in Kankakee has always been one of the leading interest of the place, as also one of the most valuable to the leading interest of the place, as also one of the most valuable to the community at large.Stone, lime, bricks and sand, are valuable, we know; but lumber, as a building component, is ever essential. a city cannot be built without it. Since May, 1861, E.G. W. Reitz & Bros. have been the principal dealers, and from that year to the present time have sold over fifty million feet of lumber in this city alone. They arealso very extensive manufacturers and dealers in this material in Chicago. The lumber interest here is now represented by Reitz & Bros., A. E. Davis & Co., and John Kruse, and all are doing a large and lucratived (sic) business.The coal interest, also, has grown to large proportions, and many thousands of tons of all kinds of coal are sold annually. The coal trade in this city is now carried on by D.C. Taylor, J.F. Gougar, and C.M. Johnson. The building knownas the High School, a magnificent stone and brick structure, four stories in hight (sic), with the basement, and one of the finest and most imposing school edifices in the State, was erected in 1868, at a cost of about $55,000, including thesite, walk, fences, bell, furniture, playgrounds, cisterns, outbuilding, &c.

Transcribed by Andrea Spenard

Return to the web table of contents for 1876 Kankakee City Directory
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