Booth Wagon Factory
Springfield Journal Register, date of paper which originally published the following is unknown.
"(Photograph courtesy of Mrs. Mary E. Grunendike)
THE WAGON FACTORY OF A. BOOTH, SON & CO., IN THE 60'S --
Today we take you 'way back into Springfield history - to the early 1860's, when the wagon factory
of A. Booth, Son & Company was one of the prominent local industries. Go with us, please, to 8th and Washington,
and visualize the three-story building on the northeast corner as it looked above, eighty years ago and more, when, with
a two-story building on the east, it comprised the plant of the Booth Company. . .. To go
back a little farther, Albert Booth, head of the firm, had come to Illinois in 1840, built a log cabin and shop, north of
the river, about a half mile west of the tipton School on the old Peoria road, where he repaired the stage coaches of that day. In
1848, he moved to Springfield and erected a frame building on this corner, which he supplanted with this brick structure in 1854. By
the early 60's his son, Amasa S. Booth, well remembered here, had been taken into the firm, along
with Alexander McCosker, the "Company" end of the business. . . . In this plant 300 to 500 vehicles were turned out
annually, including, in addition to all kinds of wagons, many carriages and buggies, "made from the best of eastern timber
and fully warranted," as the ads stated. From 30 to 40 workers were employed. Along the Washington Street front, there was a wide plank
sidewalk on which the Company's products were often displayed -- as shown in the picture. . . . Albert Booth died in 1873 and from then
on to about 1884 the business was continued under the name of Booth & McCosker. It was then taken over by a new firm - Brand & Groenke, whose members
had all been employees of the factory for many years. . . . This corner building still is in use, now occupied
by the Ideal Drug Store. Incidentally, the Booth firm had a branch plant for many years, located on the southwest corner of
8th and Adams, which we hope to show you later. Booth wagons, carriages and buggies were sold in Springfield and throughout
Central Illinois and enjoyed a reputation for quality in their field.
Submitted by: Jeanie Lowe.