Rockford Redux

~~ After the Fire: We Keep Going. It’s What We Do ~~

T-shirts currently are sold out

~~ After the Fire: We Keep Going. It’s What We Do ~~


  Our furniture industry at one time was only second to Grand Rapids, Michigan.

   That was saying something! Made in Rockford was known across the globe.

















One of those companies was the Rockford Cabinet Company founded in the water power district at 309 and 311 South Main Street in 1880. In 1890 the company moved to a new building on the West End located on Factory Street (now Preston) and Independence Avenue, the building burned to the ground on September 22, 1895.


Rockford Cabinet Company rented a portion of the East Rockford Mantel Company at 18th Avenue and 12th Street after the fire, and they would absorb the mantel company in 1905. The Rockford Veneer & Panel Company was absorbed in 1906.
















The building was expanded in 1920 and again in 1923 when construction was underway on a four story building extending from the old plant west to Eleventh Street, as was the construction of a new powerhouse and heating system. In 1925 another four story addition was added on to the east side the building. A rebuilding of the older structure was also completed around this time. The expansion plans were prepared by notable Rockford architects Peterson & Johnson. The factory building was considered one of the largest furniture factories in the world at the time. In 1923 the Rockford Bookcase Company became part of Rockford Cabinet family and Oscar Landstrom purchased the Rockford Cabinet Company, later renaming the company to Landstrom Furniture Company. The Landstrom Furniture Company was sold to Consolidated Industries in 1928. The company would vacate the building in 1940, but continued in business until 1958 in another Rockford location.

















The next occupant of the building would be W. Shanhouse & Sons, a company founded in Chicago in 1898, and moved their operations to Rockford in 1905. After several acquisition and multiple factories in Rockford - an opportunity to combine all of the company's operations under one roof came along in July 1941, when the Shanhouse firm moved into the former Rockford Cabinet Company plant.














 Shanhouse, one of Rockford leading industrial firms for 45 years, closed its Rockford manufacturing plant December 31, 1951 and moved its operations to its two plants in Arkansas. Just after World War Two the firm employed 600 people here, the firm had 85 employees here at the time the decision was made to relocate. The home office would remain in Rockford until 1957 when that too was closed and shifted south to Arkansas.































The Carter Corporation was founded in 1940 by Joe H. Carter to build tools, dies and special machines.



























The Carter Company would move into the building in 1958. Carter entered into the toy business by making metal scale models of tractors and farm equipment under the Tru-Scale name.  Carter made models for Nylint  Toy Company until Nylint began producing the toys in house themselves. In 1972 the Carter Company branched out into the consumer electronics market and sold the products under the Carter-Craft label. In 1985 Carter was bought out by Superior Toy Company of Chicago and started making plastic injected toy soldiers, dinosaurs and Mickey Mouse gum ball machines among other products. They continued in production at the Rockford Cabinet Company building until 1989 when the company was divided, the electronics division being relocated to the old National Lock Building on Seventh Street, and the toy division to Harrison Avenue.


The last major tenant of the building was Asher Tool & Machine, the building had been used mostly for storage since, meeting a horrible fate on January 6, 2015, when a major fire destroyed the building, but left the entranceway intact.











































History and Graphics courtesy of



Follow Us On


2015 - 2018

Site design by Doug Cohen