On May 20, 2012 a portion of the old Wurlitzer factory collapsed in DeKalb IL.
There are a number of historical and news accounts related to the history of this building from which I borrowed excerpts below.
Melville Clark Piano Co 1906
The building itself began as the Melville Clark Piano Company and at the time of it’s collapse apparently housed 5 different tenants.
From the Joiner Room Journal …
The Melville Clark Piano Company started construction on the factory building in 1904. When it was completed in April of 1905 it was a three-story, 300 x 500-foot building.
The DeKalb Daily Chronicle ran a subscription contest to determine who should get the first piano to roll off the
assembly line. After the votes were tallied, Mary Fitzgerald was declared the winner of a mahogany Melville Clark
The Wurlitzer Company obtained exclusive sales rights to the pianos in 1914, and in 1919 bought out
Melville Clark. Wurlitzer pianos were made in DeKalb until the company decided to meet overseas competition by moving production to a newer and lowerwage plant in Mississippi.
Building pianos in DeKalb came to an end in December of 1972. Space in the old factory was later rented to “cottage” industries. ………
My observation is that while some of the original brick and structure still exists, the building has clearly had exterior upgrades and interior remodeling done over the years. This is evident by the metal wall framing shown in the lead photo.
As I always do when studying old buildings I look for photo opportunities in old windows. I just never get tired of the beauty and texture of old brick and broken glass. Especially glass blocks.
Fortunately, as far as I can tell, when the building collapsed no one was around. But, when I saw this sign hanging among the ruins I couldn’t help but wonder how true that might have been since all three floors fell in.
Thanks for Looking