A. W. Stevens Factory

| January/February 1999

This article, sent by Mark Corson, 9374 Roosevelt St., Crown Point, IN 46307, is reprinted with permission from the Marinette County (Wisconsin) Historical Society publication, Vol. 10 No. 2, July 1985.

In 1898, the last logging drive on the Menominee River was still 19 years away, but employment in the mills and the woods already was dropping, so Marinette business and professional men pooled their resources and energies to provide new jobs for the community.

They raised $300,000 of local investment money despite depression conditions and purchased the A. W. Stevens Company, which had been established in 1842 at Auburn, New York, for the manufacture of engines, threshers, and farming implements of all kinds.

The Stevens firm needed modern facilities to replace its 56-year-old factory built long before the Civil War, and the aging Stevens heirs welcomed the Marinette offer. Most of the $300,000 was spent for a mammoth new plant of brick on a 15-acre site along Pierce Avenue between the present Daggett Street and Cleveland Avenue. Gleaming steam-powered machinery soon was turning out the Stevens line of familiar farm products while research was begun on new items to widen the line.

A catalog in the possession of Carl Erickson of Menominee even found its way to the Erickson family farm in Sweden, where little Carl never dreamed he would someday be employed to tear down the sprawling structure four decades later.

Several key Stevens employees made the move to Marinette, but the founding family stayed in New York State, content to wait for dividends on $355,200 in stock they received for their equity. Most of this was for patents, customer lists and good will.