Downtown 1958

Downtown 1958

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Charles R. Smith

Charles R. Smith was Elisha Smith's son and greatly improved the Menasha Wooden Ware's fortunes. A Princeton University graduate of 1876, he took a broom handle and barrel factory he had formed by himself in Menasha and merged it with his father's existing Wooden Ware business. This made Menasha Wooden Ware the world's largest manufacturer of turned woodenware. Additionally, he became president of the First National Bank and remained in that position until his death in 1916. He was also superintendent of the Menasha school system.
When he died, Charles Smith was eulogized in the local papers as it said, "All Menasha has taken personal pride in his ascent to a position in the business world where he has come to be known as a man among men."
A bit of trivia- the village of Warner, Wisconsin was renamed as Ladysmith in 1900 in honor of his wife when the Menasha Wooden Ware bought up the power site in the Flambeau River, about a mile east of the village, and all the land between it and the village north of the railroad. When the company's plans to dam the river and build a stave mill became known, the information got into the newspapers and people began to flock into the village. Within a year, the population rose from 100 to 1,000. However, Mrs. Smith never honored her namesake with a visit.

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