22 March 2010

Factories of my Fathers

It just kinda occurred to me the other day, that I often pass the factories in which my father and both my grandfathers worked. I'm one of those people that think it is a bad thing that we have become less and less of a country that manufactures it's goods. And it is kinda interesting to see what is happening in these buildings today:

First, my maternal grandfather, was a butcher at Kahn's for all of his adult life. Here is a picture of him with some coworkers:

Here is the building on Spring Grove Avenue:

Kahns, American Beauty Meats

Kahns was bought by Sara Lee and in the 90s the slaughterhouse was moved to somewhere in Kentucky. The Kahn's site is currently for sale by Hamilton County, who had acquired the site with the intention of building a jail.

Spring Grove elevation

Second, my fraternal grandfather worked most of his adult life as a pressman at Rosenthal Printing in OTR. The building now houses the Art Academy of Cincinnati:

Art Academy outside

Art Academy inside

Thirdly, my father worked at Fisher Body in Fairfield as a die-maker. I had occasion to go by this site recently, which is what triggered this whole post:

Water tower

Power plant

More Fisher Body photos here.


Anonymous said...

I don't sound like the peacenik I am, but losing our manufacturing base is very bad for our national security. Those warships don't build themselves. It takes raw materials and lots of specialized skills. Which we are losing every time we shrink, say, the machine tooling industry.

On a related note, I read a while ago that just about all of the world's vitamin C is now made in China. It's an important food preservative (listed in various foods' ingredients as "ascorbic acid"). That's another security issue, in that an important part of our food supply is in a potential rival's hands.

But heh, someone's making huge profits on out-sourcing these things, so it's all to the good, right?

Blue Ash Mom

5chw4r7z said...

In our rush to be a service society we're losing to many valuable skills.
How sad is it the Roebling Bridge was completed in 1865 and 145 yrs later we look to China and France to help build infrastructure?

As we move away from mid-east oil and look to hybrids for fuel economy, China is quickly locking up all the lithium reserves in the world and we move from one foreign dependency to another.

VisuaLingual said...

Amazing, Mike.

Anonymous said...

I can't help but see connections among butchering -- which is about carving up a solid in the most elegant and efficient ways -- and die making, which is also about space and solids and shapes and exact measurements -- and architecture -- which is also in part about shaping spaces and solids in elegant and efficient ways to exact measurements. Not sure where to fit the printing part in, but that may be because I don't have much of an idea of what a pressman does/did.

Blue Ash Mom

AnodynePress said...

I came across your blog by coincidence, and I'm glad I did, even if I'm not from Cincinatti. Totally with you on the philosophy behind this post. Not manufacturing things is a bad idea on so many levels. It fundamentally alters the value system of an entire country. The very term "consumer", being applied to individuals, citizens, customers, workers, is a bad thing and effects the way we see ourselves. I'm nowhere close to being conservative on any issue, and even I am disturbed by the implications of this collapse within our economy.

Anyway-- great post. Thank you.

GoofyRobo said...

My grandfather worked most of his whole career at that car plant, luckily he retired before it shut down. I remember losing friends in school when it shut down due to their fathers having to move away to new jobs.