Our County History
by County Historian Marion W. Coplen

A count was taken in November of 1925 revealing 52 empty houses in Warsaw! We usually think of the 1920's as a period of great prosperity, but Warsaw suffered several serious business setbacks in 1923 and 1924 which alarmed the businessmen of the city.

The crisis had been brought about by the closing down of two local factories, the Warsaw Basket Factory and the Hugro Co., both of which were located on North Detroit street. Some 370 persons had been thrown out of jobs, many of them leaving Warsaw to seek employment elsewhere. The businessmen of the city soon felt the pinch of reduced purchasing power of its citizens.

In January of 1925, the Chamber of Commerce inaugurated a big drive to raise 25 to 35 thousand dollars for an industrial fund to be used to induce factories to locate in Warsaw. In 1925 there were several successful manufacturing concerns in Warsaw--such as the Little Crow Milling, Braude-Pierce Furniture, Dalton Foundry, DePuy Splint, Boyer Manufacturing and others--yet the empty buildings served as a challenge to the businessmen. One of the strong talking points used was the fact that the city was located on three railroads, the Winona Railroad being in operation at that time in addition to the two lines still serving the city.

The campaign seemed to pay off. In March of 1925 the Warsaw Basket Factory was purchased by two Wabash men and production was resumed. Early in 1926 the Chicago Paper Box Company took over the old Hugro plant and began the manufacture of candy boxes. In the same year two new factories located in East Warsaw--the Pango Milk Chocolate Company and the Gatke Corporation. Business in Warsaw began to boom, and the city was back on its feet again.

Warsaw Times-Union Sat. Sept. 26, 1953