Wednesday, June 12, 2013

More Stahl Urban Glimpses

"We got your buttons right here!"

All photos from John Holly Williams Collection, LLF Library
More photos from 1950 inside Stahl Urban, which most folks simply called The Garment Factory.

For those who may not have seen the exchange on my Facebook page, I repeat below a story from Jerry Case, whose father Houston was a businessman, civic leader and former mayor of Brookhaven.  Houston Case passed away recently at age 100.

The garment factory building was originally built with WPA funds back in the 1930s.  Mr. Case's story below could explain a lot about how it came to be -- in a fashion that Huey P. Long, the Louisiana governor who famously did end runs around legislators to get what he wanted, would envy.

Here's the lore that Houston shared with Jerry:
"Back in the (1930's) Brookhaven heard about this company named Stahl-Urban in Terre Haute, Indiana, that wanted to relocate in the south to get away from the unions. 
"We were in competition with other localities around the south. So the city fathers found a way to build them a building using federal funds intended for schools. 
"The reason the front of the building looks like a school is because plans for a school had to be submitted to Department of Education or some such entity. 
"In a stretch, they did use the building to educate and train people to use those sewing machines and make clothes. 
"Guess you gotta do what you gotta do. Stahl-Urban provided a nice second income for families for years."
Please see yesterday's post for links and further reading on the history of the Stahl Urban, which dates back to the 1800s and was an innovator in piece goods manufacturing throughout its long history.

As always, if you recognize anyone in the photographs, please leave word here or on Facebook.

Stay tuned for more to come on this ground-breaking business and its people ...

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