's Totem Pole Tales- The American Wood Rim Company 1905
Totem Pole Tales- The American Wood Rim Company 1905
Submitted by Nute Chapman
From Onaway Outlook June 21, 2013

CAPTION:  PART OF THE American Wood Rim Company.  Note Hose Tower No. 2 on the right side of picture, on Elsden
Street near the end of Oak Street.  The steeple of the Friends Church is to the left.  The steeple of the 
Methodist Church can be seen behind the Colonial Hotel.  Chandlers Hotel on Maxon Field is the next long
building.  The back of Chandlers Rest is next to the chimney.
By 1905 the American Wood Rim Co. was building over 65 percent of all the bicycle wheels in the world. They also were furnishing most of the hardwood to the other companies that were making wheels. The automobile business was growing and the need for steering wheels was growing at a fast rate.
The American Wood Rim Company was growing with the demand for the steering wheels. More men were needed to work in the woods and records show that lumbermen arrived by train daily.
Along with the demand to get more hardwood, the railroad grew with the need to get to new timber. This caused the town to grow at the same rate. To show some of the growth we go to the annual report of the Detroit & Mackinac Railroad in 1910 where we find a listing of new spurs.
Listed is a side track at Peterman's Yard in Onaway for Lobdell, Churchill and Company. The Williams Spur at Millersburg was extended for Williams and Sons. The McKay's Spur, one half mile south of Tower, was for the Fletcher Paper Company. The spur off the Black Lake Branch was for Key and Worboys. Listed were an addition to Lobdell, Churchill and Company's track; an extension to the Kimball Branch for Churchill Lumber Company; a loading track at Millersburg for F. Derry and Company; a spur to the cinder pit at Onaway; Richard's Spur south of the Big Cut for John Richardson; a track off the Cleveland Branch for William Greenfield; a track at Tower for the Forest Lumber Company; a spur track three miles north of Waveland; a spur of the Black River Branch; a spur track at Tower; a spur two miles north of Millersburg for Lindell; a spur on the back side of Dog Lake; a spur off the Tubbs Branch;' a spur at the back end of Old Case Side Track to the shingle mill, and a spur at Hutchinson's Veneer Track in Onaway. This is to name only a few of the many spurs.
If one really wants to get confused, read the reports showing the spurs no longer needed that are taken up every year.
Along the same line one can read the annual labor reports for the work force that shows the American Wood Rim Company with 754 men and one woman, Lobdell and Emery with 130 men, Mahoney D. & D. Lumber Company with 22 men, and four women, the Onaway Telephone Company with two men and four women, the Onaway Light and Power with four men and one woman, The Onaway Outlook with three men and one woman, Onaway Water Works with five men, Vermilya Palace Meat Market with thee men, Schneider's Bakery with two men and one woman, O'Steele Hardware with six men and one woman, Wiltshire and Anderson Blacksmithing with two men and Verbeck's Meats with three men.
We know from weekly advertisements in the Onaway Outlook that there were many more business owners in Onaway than what are listed in the labor reports. Perhaps some of the business owners had not figured out that the government was already in charge of things.
Next week we plan to fast forward to about 1920 and cover the trial between The American Wood Rim Company and the Inland Manufacturing Company that infringed on Charles Kenrick's patent for the All Wood Steering Wheel.
-From The Onaway Outlook, June 21, 2013, p. 3. Retyped by J. Anderson.

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