30 July 2010

Haeger Pottery, Macomb, IL

Haeger Office Entrance
A few weeks ago, D and I were wandering around Macomb, IL and we decided to stop by one of the places that used to make Macomb more artsy than your typical drunken college town. The Haeger Pottery Plant has unfortunately been shut down since 2004. Although there have been a few plans to renovate the property (the most recent one was a proposed condo development) all of them have fallen through and today it sits empty.
Approaching Haeger via the Train Tracks
Established in Macomb in 1882 as Buckeye Pottery, the building was bought by Haeger in 1939. The first pieces of Haeger pottery came out of the Macomb plant on December 15, 1940.  Until it was shutdown, the Macomb plant was the only other producer of Haeger pottery other than the main East Dundee, IL plant that is still operational today.


an employee only door
Interestingly, this plant was not the only Haeger plant in Macomb.  Haeger expanded in 1961 by aquiring another ceramics plant at 1300 W. Piper in Macomb.  In 1969, this plant became a Royal Haeger Lamp Company factory. This plant was on the east side of town and is close to being completely torn down. A close friend of mine worked there for a week a year or two before it closed. One of the locals told D that he worked there by himself without any other workers during the year before it closed. Hopefully sometime we'll be able to get pictures of what's left, although I hear its not much. Macomb actually has a longtime history of being a large producer of ceramics. In the late 1800s, a lot of pottery companies resided in Macomb, including Buckeye Pottery, Eagle Pottery, Macomb Pottery which became Western Stoneworks, Stoffer and Sons Pottery, and Macomb Stoneworks. 
Haeger Loading Docks
However, Macomb is not mentioned in the Haeger history on the official Haeger website. The Haeger offices (as seen through the front door) are really cool looking. We really like the danish modern display case/bookshelf to the left. I assume the red vase is a Haeger vase.
Haeger offices
I also like the little fenced garden by the office.
The Haeger Garden
These are really old looking carts that we think were used the push the pottery in its various stages around the factory.
Old Pottery Pushing Carts
Through a Hole
The back of the factory...
Haeger Plant Roof
I wish I knew what the large green metal thing is.
The Back of the Building
The building starts to bend at the end of the south side.
the south side
Gotta love the huge chimney.
Rooftop Chimney
And all the smokestacks.
a lot of smoke stacks
Can't you just imagine the condos, instead of all the boarded windows?
boarded up windows
No Admittance, Authorized Personnel Only!
seriously.  employees only.
Interestingly it would seem that the city does still have plans for this building (it is in the center of town after all). Right after we finished walking around and photographing the perimeter of the factory, a cop showed up and did a walk around. According to local residents the factory is in a constant state of heavy manners. It is a great old place and it would be nice if someone did something with it. But it probably won't happen.

Source Material:
Macomb Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

Hallwas, John    Macomb, A Pictoral History

Official Haeger Website

WIU Courier Article

The most helpful article I found on the internet.

6 comments:

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  2. In your post at http://abandonedhomesandgardens.blogspot.com/2010/07/haeger-pottery-macomb-il.html you stated: "According to local residents the factory is in a constant state of heavy manners." What does that mean, "heavy manners"? I've never heard that phrase before. Can you explain please? Thank you.

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    1. I think "heavy manners" means "heavy metals" and it is loaded with this. My father worked at this pottery for over 30 years and the doctor finally diagnosed him after many years of pain, with enough lead poison to kill 3 men. Ed Kaelke, the head man in the Macomb Haeger fired him.
      It would take millions to clean this bldg. up and the smoke stacks polluted the air in Macomb so no accolades for the Estes family from me.

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  3. My Sundays after dinner at grandma's in blandinsville often included coming to the Macomb store to watch them throw vases and pitchers as well as other things. I would sit watching till they closed or I was forced to leave. I have many pieces but thru the years my gold tags have come off they were flower shop items that I understand were not stamped do you have any other signs for Me to look for.

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  4. I just came across this post! My dad worked there for many years when I was growing up! I'll have to show him this!I'll ask him what the green thing is lol.

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