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2005, 8 1/5 x 11", 196 pages, 300+ b/w photos, bibliography, index.
Wagon-Making in the United States
American Art & Craft ~ History & Culture--North American
The Gruber Wagon Works- The Place Where Time Stood Still
by Carol J. Hunsberger (Click for author info)
Published by: The Society for the Preservatin of the Gruber Wagon Works.
Distributed by: The McDonald & Woodward Publishing Company.
ISBN 0-9770724-0-1; 978-0-9770724-0-8
The Society for the Preservation of the Gruber Wagon Works, a non-profit foundation established in 1983 to promote this National Historic Landmark, has published The Gruber Wagon Works: The Place Where Time Stood Still. The work presents a broad range of historical and biographical material that illuminates this late-nineteenth century to mid-twentieth century wagon-making factory.
The Gruber family business itself began in the 1860s with founder Franklin H. Gruber repairing and building farm wagons at his farm. The structure which exists today (the only one of its kind in the country) was built by Gruber from 1882-1884 and it housed the family business through two additional generations until 1971 when it was closed due to the pending development of a flood control project.
Recognized by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as a unique piece of Americana and an intact relic of early industrial technology, the building was characterized as “a place where time stood still.” The rural manufactory was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. For the next decade, Corps personnel, local organizations and residents, legislators and family members, and a team of five companies specializing in historic relocations joined forces to move this massive structure to a county park five miles from its original site and to restore the building to its 1915 condition. Since 1982, the building has been open to the public as a museum, complete with its original tools, machines, and nearly 19,000 artifacts.
For the first time, the vast amount of documentation pertaining to this historic factory has been worked into a volume that tells the tale of the Gruber Wagon Works from its start (including a brief biography of the Gruber family) through its peak years of production (with many photographs of their signature hay flats and box wagons) to its declining years as a wagon repair facility, concluding with its historic move and restoration. Hunsberger has divided the book into three segments: the history of the wagon works, the people involved, and the preservation of the structure. Content includes personal interviews and reminiscences as well as thorough documentation of the historic move, the largest ever undertaken by the Army Corps of Engineers.
The Gruber Wagon Works:
-Presents the history of this family-owned business from its early years until closing;
-Discusses the factory's late years of building truck bodies;
-Includes biographical sketches through personal interviews and reminiscences, along with photographs of members of the Gruber family;
-Describes the monumental task of moving the building by the US Army Corps of Engineers;
-Contains family and archival photographs and graphics;
-Contains a bibliography and index.
The audience for this book is broad and includes:
-Historians of industry and technology;
-Collectors of tools and farm implements;
-Those interested in the evolution of the automobile;
-Those interested in horse-drawn vehicles;
-Those interested in significant relocation/restoration projects;
-Decendants of the Gruber family;
-Visitors to the Gruber Wagon Works and Living History farms in the United States;
-Interpreters of Living History farms.