The history of The American Seeding Machine Company & The Hoosier Drill Company …and their landmark property on North E Street, Richmond Indiana.
The original building was designed (1878) by local Richmond architect, John A. Hasecoster. Since 1878, the following businesses have utilized the buildings at this property; The Hoosier Drill Company, The American Seed Machine Company, The Richmond Creamery, (15th Street building at the RR tracks) The International Harvester -Richmond Works and The Mosey Mfg Co.
This (c: 1896) view is looking SW from the RR tracks at North 14th Street…before the City of Richmond Indiana agreed to vacate this portion of South 14th Street, making way for the Hoosier Drill Company to expand their operation. Once the street was officially closed, (1906) the new “American Seeding Machine Company” was born*, and ASMC was one of Richmond’s largest employers for many years. The expansion enlarged the footprint of their original building (by 50%) to two blocks, along North E Street. (Running from North 13th to North 15th Street).
*In 1903 The Hoosier Drill Company became a division of the American Seeding Machine Company, with factories located in Richmond and Springfield, Ohio. Read more about the Springfield connection below…
View from the RR tracks looking south at the American Seeding Machine Co. building, Richmond Indiana (June, 2009)
View of the International Harvester, Richmond Works label on subject, looking south from the RR tracks (June, 2009)
The Hoosier Drill/American Seed Machine Company manufactured farm implements at this location from 1878 until 1920.
In 1920 the International Harvester Company took over the building and operated its Richmond Works there until 1957. Like many Wayne County factories, IH manufactured wartime materials for the government, ceasing the manufacture of farm implements during that time.
Officers of the Hoosier Drill Company: J.M. Westcott, President, James A. Carr, Vice President, Burton J. Westcott, Secretary and Omar Hollingsworth, Treasurer.
John M. Westcott ~ 1834 – 1907
The Omar Hollingsworth home on South 15th Street, Richmond Indiana (son in law of J.M. Westcott) circa: 1900
The James A. Carr home on South 15th Street, Richmond Indiana (son in law of J.M. Westcott) circa: 1900
Joseph Ingels lived in Wayne County, Milton, Indiana, was an inventor and a successful businessman in the late 1800s…In 1859 Joseph Ingels, the inventor of the Hoosier Drill, commenced the manufacture of drills at Milton, using horsepower, and making twenty-five drills the first year. In 1867 Isaac Kinsey, Alexander Jones and Aaron Morris formed a stock company, Joseph Ingels acting as their agent. They did a large business manufacturing drills, cultivators, etc., and employing fifty to seventy-five hands. In 1877 they sold out to the present Hoosier Drill Company. who established a manufactory at Richmond. Source: HISTORY OF WAYNE COUNTY, INDIANA, HISTORY OF INDIANA AND THE NORTHWEST TERRITORY, CHICAGO INTER-STATE PUBLISHING CO. 1884
Source: Directory and Soldiers Register, Wayne County, Indiana. W.H. Lanthurn & Co., Publishers, 1865
J.M. Westcott and the Richmond Commercial Club (c: 1912)
Auditorium Tent, Richmond Indiana Chautauqua, Courtesy Of The Richmond Commercial Club (c: 1910)
Interior view of the (standing room only) Auditorium tent
A 1910 era parking lot at Glen Miller Park, Richmond Indiana Many Richmond folks showed up at these events to hear grand orchestras and other fine performances More information here regarding Chautauquas…what was a Chautauqua?
Westcott History ~ 1922 Mayor Burton J. Westcott Springfield, Ohio
Burton J. Westcott (1868-1926) was one of Springfield, Ohio™s most prominent citizens and successful businessmen
He was born in Richmond, Indiana, the son of John W. Westcott, who was the founder and president of the Hoosier Drill Company, a noted manufacturer of farm implements. A lover and breeder of horses, the elder Westcott founded the Westcott Carriage Company in 1896, and his son took an active interest in both businesses. Educated at DePauw University and Swarthmore College, Burton Westcott proved a capable executive and eventually rose to become treasurer of the Hoosier Drill Company. A 1903 corporate merger involving Hoosier Drill, Superior Drill, and several other firms created the American Seeding Machine Company. Its executive offices were located in Springfield on the southwest corner of Liberty Avenue and Plum Street. That year Burton Westcott, newly elected treasurer of the corporation, arrived to make his home in Springfield. It was a position he would hold for the next twenty-one years.
Years in Springfield, Ohio
The elder Westcott continued to prefer horses to motor cars, and, in 1916, Burton Westcott brought the Westcott Motor Car Company to Springfield, presiding over the firm as president until 1924. The Westcott Carriage Company continued in Richmond as a separate corporation, while the Springfield firm began to manufacture luxury touring cars, which enjoyed a brief popularity in this country after World War I. Few automobiles of this time tended to rival the Westcott touring car in its splendor and appointments, as a full-page advertisement in the October 9, 1920, Saturday Evening Post touted. Hand-assembled from parts manufactured elsewhere, the Westcott motor car was produced in large buildings, valued at more than $150,000, on Warder Street.
Westcott was an early member of the Springfield Country Club and a director of the Lagonda National Bank. He served on the Springfield Town Council from 1916 to 1922. He was elected president of the Town Council in 1921, a position equivalent to mayor. A staunch Republican, he had admirers from both political parties, and there was general agreement that he helped to curb fairly widespread corruption in the city’s administrative affairs, thereby placing Springfield on a firm financial foundation.
Westcott’s home, Westcott House designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, has been restored as a museum in Springfield.
Somewhat despondent over the sudden death of his wife in 1923, Westcott saw his own health begin to fail. He sold his interest in the motor car company to a syndicate in 1924, and, after a series of illnesses, died in his home on East High Street on January 10, 1926. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burton_J._Westcott
The Westcott House is a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Prairie Style house in Springfield, Ohio. The house was built in 1908 for Mr. Burton J. Westcott and his wife Orpha, and their family. The Westcott property is the only Prairie Style house designed by Wright in the state of Ohio. The grounds include the main house, and a carriage house connected by an extensive pergola.
In 1903, as part of a merger, Burton J. Westcott came to Springfield, Ohio as Treasurer of The American Seeding Machine Company. He would hold the position for 21 years.
In 1916, Burton brought the Westcott Motor Car Company to Springfield, Ohio from Richmond, Indiana. He was president of the company until 1925. Wright designed a detached garage which included a design for a large turntable, similar to at a railroad yard, because the cars at that time did not have a reverse gear, a car driven into a garage had to be turned around manually. The garage also included 2 horse stables and was connected to the main house by a pergola.
Burton™s wife, Orpha (Leffler), was from nearby Dayton, Ohio. The Westcott’s had two children: Jeanne born in Richmond, Indiana in 1895, and John born in Springfield, Ohio in 1903. Orpha L. Westcott was considered one of Springfield, Ohio’s most prominent and progressive women, and is credited with suggesting the selection of Frank Lloyd Wright as the architect for their new home.
In 1918, the Westcott™s built the only addition to their home, a summer porch on the second floor and a room below in keeping with the original design of the Prairie style architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright. By 1920, Jennie was no longer living in the Westcott House; she married Richard Rodgers from Springfield, Ohio. Their wedding was held at the house. The other residents of the house provided services to the Westcott’s, there was a cook named Nora and a housemaid named Margaret, both middle aged and originally from Ireland.
The 1920™s proved to be unhappy years for the Westcott family. Orpha died suddenly in April 1923 following a minor surgical procedure in Philadelphia. At the same time Burton™s company was failing. He resigned as treasurer of the American Seeding Machine Company in order to invest more time for the failing Westcott Motor Car Company. Attempts to save the ailing car company had exhausted his finances, with no other option Burton sold out. The severe stress in his life took its toll on his health, in 1926 at 57 years of age; he died in his home on East High Street while under the care of his sister from Richmond, Indiana. Funeral services were held at the Westcott residence; he was buried in Richmond, Indiana. Burton J. Westcott was a true leader, Renaissance man, innovator, and a manufacturing pioneer of the 20th century.
Following the death of Burton in 1926, the Westcott House was sold to Roscoe Pierce. He lived in the house until his death in 1941. Eva Linton bought the house in 1944. She subsequently sub-divided the main house into 5 apartments. Linton also had the stables remodeled, adding a kitchen and bathroom, and converted the garage into her place of residence. Over the next 37 years the house fell into a state of disrepair and decline. Eva Linton died in 1980, and her estate was passed to her niece Dorothy Jane Snyder. Dorothy inherited the property in 1981 and maintained it until 1988 when she sold it to her son Ken Snyder and his wife Sherri.
In 1991, Ken died unexpectedly in a car accident. Sherri struggled to manage and maintain the house until she sold the house in 2000. The Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy acquired the decaying Westcott House from Mrs. Snyder through the use of their Lewis-Haines revolving loan program, and as part of the predefined purchase arrangement the house was subsequently sold on May 11, 2001 to the newly formed non-profit
The Westcott House Foundation.
The Westcott House Foundation was organized by devoted group of Springfield preservationists and benefactors, bolstered with a multi-year $3.5 million grant from the local Turner Foundation, they bought the house from the œConservancy and committed to restore the all-but-lost historic residence. The foundation engaged Chambers, Murphy & Burge Restoration Architects of Akron, Ohio to assess the condition of the house and property, develop a Historic Structures Report and to lead the restoration project. The nearly 5 year, $5.8 million, restoration of the Westcott House was completed in 2005, and was governed by goals and objectives set forth by The Westcott House Foundation and the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy. More than four hundred architects, engineers, craftspeople and volunteers contributed to the effort. The Westcott House opened to the public in October 15, 2005.
Today, the restored Westcott House is once again a unique example of Wright™s architectural design, a national architectural treasure, and an innovative center of activity. The Westcott House Foundation sponsors a lecture series, an array of educational programs for student, adults and educators, design exhibits, immersive art/multi-media events, design workshops, and social activities. The foundation strives to promote a greater understanding of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture, particularly about Wright™s concept of organic architecture, design process thinking, and design programming to support education. Guided tours are offered Wednesdays through Sundays.