Site of the Mason Shoe Factory

Site of the Mason Shoe Factory (HMPZO)

Location: Chippewa Falls, WI 54729 Chippewa County
Country: United States of America

N 44° 56.327', W 91° 23.51'

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Chippewa Falls was born with the logging era and with it came support industries such as shoe factories. One of the most important tools for the loggers was strong boots. In 1869, Colliche Vinette was the first shoemaker to come to town. The area soon began to draw many boot makers and by 1893 at least 25 were located in Chippewa Falls.

By 1902 as the vast stands of white timber were becoming depleted, several local businessmen including J.B. Kehl became concerned about the business climate of the area. They formed a group called "The Progressive League" to encourage businesses to move to Chippewa Falls. They quickly arranged for the purchase of half the stock of the Harshman Shoe Company of Ohio and immediately broke ground on this site for the construction of a modern 3-story shoe factory. August Mason was one of the investors.

This site originally held the 1870's Hiram S. Allen grist mill. The mill was torn down and its foundation rock used to build the foundation of the new shoe factory. A dam with a long spillway was built just below the Columbia Street Bridge to provide mechanical power to run a line shaft. The line shaft was a system of pulleys and belts used to power the individual boot and shoe sewing machines. The new Harshman Shoe Company opened in December of 1902. From 1904 to 1912 the C. Gotzian Shoe Company of St. Paul leased the building.

In 1904, the Mason Shoe Manufacturing Company was started when Bert Mason with the financial help of his father August Mason and August Kuhrasach, purchased another local shoe business called the Independent Handmade Shoe Company. Ten years later Mason Shoe purchased the Harshman factory building and moved to this site.

Mason Shoe has grown and prospered over the years. In 1968 the company moved into a new shoe factory complex in the northeast industrial park of Chippewa Falls and currently operates out of several buildings within the city. The old shoe factory was torn down in 1978. A portion of the first floor wall remains in place to help retain the bank along Duncan Creek. The Mason Picnic Area was dedicated here by the company and the Earlyrisers Kiwanis Club in 1995. The regional bike trail was added in 2003.

Chippewa County
Historical Society
Marker Sign #16
Marker Number16
Placed ByThe Chippewa County Historical Society
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Tuesday, September 9th, 2014 at 4:41pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)15T E 626883 N 4977407
Decimal Degrees44.93878333, -91.39183333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 44° 56.327', W 91° 23.51'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds44° 56' 19.62" N, 91° 23' 30.60" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)715
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 301 Rushman Dr, Chippewa Falls WI 54729, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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