Shops, Factories, Businesses and Other Industries
The first industries were lumber yards. The first lumberyard was located on North Mill Street, at the site of the present Polish Church, by Jonathan Hetherington and operated until 1865. Hetherintton supplied lumber to the mining operations. In 1845, John Geiger, had a lumber yard in the vicinity of Nicholas, Lawton & Carroll Streets. In 1900 he leased it to Mr. Kyner, the superintendent of the Hooker Colliery. It later passed into the hands of Messrs. Arnout, Parmley, and Reichley. This lumberyard continued in operation until 1925 when it closed and the land sold for residential buildings. In 1887 Albert Mettam started a lumber business that is still in existence today. Mettam Brothers is located on North Third Street and is still operated by Mettam family.
The Miners Supply Store was opened by Daddow and Beadle in 1866. This store operated until 1928. S. H. Daddow and Jesse Beadle invented and perfected a product that were used by the miners for firing dynamite, called a squib. George Hayes also manufactured squibs from 1883 to 1888. In the 1880's - 90% of the caps used in the United States were manufactured in Saint Clair. Squibs were made and packed by hand; all work done by women workers.
The Daddow Squib factory closed on February 9, 1929. Daddow and Beadle also opened the Lattimer Cap Factory, on Nichols & Patterson Sts., where they produced miners caps which held a patented attachment for the miner's light.
There were two shovel factories, one located on North Third Street operated by Mr. Rowen. Sam Daddow operated a box factory from 1870 to 1928. The original factory was on N. 2nd next to Citizens Bank and later moved to Mill & Russell Sts.
In 1875 Peter P. Quirin, a German master mechanic, opened a brass foundry located on South Nicholas street. The machine shop took care of repairs for the machinery of the carious collieries around town. This foundry began producing manhole covers in the 20th century with owner Edmund Quirin. He moved the foundry to a location on Hancock Street. In the early 1970's Edmund build a larger foundry on the hill overlooking St. Clair, a few hundred feet south of his Hancock St. foundry. By the late 1970's Edmund's son Edward was running the company. He moved all operations to the new foundry on the hill and tore down the old foundry on Hancock Street. Entrance to the new foundry has remained the same on Hancock St. When the St. Clair Coal Company ceased operations in 1957 my father began working for Edmund Quirin at the E.A. Quirin Machine Shop as a clerk/purchasing agent in his office. I still remember touring the old & new foundry with my father and watching the red-hot liquid steel being poured. The new foundry was such an improvement not only for production, but for the workers. The old foundry was cramped, dark and dirty. Foundry is now closed.
(John Quirin Sr., 72, Saint Clair; for years senior member Quirin Bros. brass foundry died May 15, 1928)
In 1842 Burd Patterson started an iron furnace in southern St. Clair. Due to competition and lack of good quality iron ore, the furnace closed in 1873.
There were several blacksmith shops that operated until the coming of the automobile in 1910. They were operated by Adam Richter, George Denning, Elmer Neumister, William and Charles Stephenson and August Rener.
Carpet weaving shops were operated by Michael Brown on North Nicholas Street and William Morris on North Mill Street in the early 1900's.
On October 1, 1922 the first pasteurizing plant in St. Clair was organized. Ed Honicker and Walter Stephens opened a dairy on North Front Street in 1922. Clair Honicker operated it until its closing in the 1960's. The first "milkman" was Melvin Heinback who delivered 180 quarts a day when first started. In 1933, the daily output of milk was 2,500 quarts a day. Anyone eating lunch in the school cafeteria will remember the chocolate milk from Honicker's Dairy. The Honickers attended the First Primitive Methodist church.
Long before the refrigerator and freezer ice was cut from frozen dams in the winter and stored until the summer in ice packing houses. In the late 1800's and 1900's Joseph Grossketler and Burden Davis operated ice packing houses in Saint Clair opening in June 1921. Improvements were made in 1927 from a hand crane to electric crane, double hoist & cloudy ice to transparent ice. In 1928 more improvements were made. Installed a shell & tube condenser replacing the coil condenser to change the ammonia from vapor to liquid. In 1934 the daily output was 63 tons using three machines. In 1931 the business was Incorporated in Delaware. As of 1934 it was still in operation.
George Gwinner, on North 2nd St., had the leading bakery in town in the early years. Other bakeries and confectionery stores in the early 1900's were; Theodore Hughes, S 2nd St., Jacob Brown, N. Nichols St, the Silver Bakery, Mahoney Bakery and Raudenbush's bakery.