Sunday, May 24, 2009

Rich Hill Missouri and its Prosperity

Todays blog is about Rich Hill Missouri and its once prosperous growing industry and surrounding communities. The blog was written by Miss Mary Griffin in the December 6,1979 Wagon Wheels edition of the Rich Hill Mining Review. This is part 1

EDITOR'S NOTE: We have a three-fold purpose in running the following story by Miss Mary Griffin.
First this story will give our readers a peek at our Centennial Book "The Town That Coal Built". Most of this book, due to be out in June, deals with Rich Hill's past but we thought it fitting that it should also give an account of Rich Hill today for future readers.
Second by running it now it gives us a chance to catch any omissions. If your business isn't mentioned phone, come by or yell real loud to let us know. Once the book is printed it's too late to make changes so let us know now.Third we think it fitting to take a look at our town at the close of a year, a decade and our first hundred years.

Even if Rich Hill didn't turn out to be the industrial giant the pioneers had predicted, perhaps it is time to give some thought to what we do have today. In this article we want to look at Rich Hill as it is one hundred years after its establish­ment.
Having been a teacher for forty-six years, I find myself thinking of the school as being absolutely essential to the establishment of a community. When we view our school system over the years, we will have to say that certainly the school has contributed much to the community. Our students have been able to live up to the slogan, "Education for Service" as they have taken their place in society as successful parents and career men and women. The town can be proud of the school of the past as well as the present.
The churches of the town have also played a major role in the building of the town.
Next we shall take a look at Rich Hill industry and business.The McKinley Furniture Manufacturing Company is a family industry owned by Chester and Fannie McKinley with Larry and Janelle McKinley as managers. Linda Jennings is the secretary for this company that makes twenty-nine items in unfinished knotty pine. Chests, drawers, desks, night stands and corner cabinets are among the items manufac­tured in various sizes. These items are sold in thirteen states, from Florida to Colorado and Nebraska to Texas. Everything is delivered in McKinley trucks. These products can also be purchased directly from the factory or Phil's Furniture or Color Craft in Nevada.
Ray Tillery, the foreman, supervises the work in the shop. He told me about some of the saws they have. Among those discussed were a pannel saw, that cuts ten sheets of 1/4 inch plywood at one time. A straight line rip saw that is chain driven, an automatic shop saw that has a button on the floor that is foot pressed and does its own feeding and sawing and an automatic sander where the man starts the board and the machine does the rest.
Every man has a specific job to do. One man puts runners on, another runs the saw, and one man glues the parts together.
The factory employs from six to fourteen people with an annual payroll of $66,800.

The Woodstock Manufacturing Corporation makes finished kitchen cabinets and counter tops. These products are used for housing projects, nursing homes, and apartment complexes. These products are sold mostly in Missouri, Kansas and Iowa and are delivered in the company trucks.
Larry Miller has been the foreman for nine years. The company employs fifteen people both men and women and provides year around employment with no layoffs.
Oscar Toppass has a small factory known as Surface Care. Lacquer sticks are made, and the hot knife is assembled here. The hot knife is used to melt in the lacquer to cover scarred furniture. The lacquer sticks are sold only to repair stores and not to households.
Oscar also makes a Pratt and Lambert Furniture polish that is sold to households mostly in the East and South.
These two companies have salesmen all over the country who say they could sell much more than Oscar has time to make.
There is a plan for expansion by moving into larger quarters where there will be more room to work.
The Midcontinent Optical Case and Supply Company is owned and operated by Joe Thomas and Ed Bennett. Thomas has charge of sales and Bennett is in charge of production.
The company manufacturers thirty-five styles of eye glass cases, coin purses, and cigarette cases. Various materials and colors are used. First, the material is cut into strips. Then a die cutter stamps out the pattern for the style. A clip is then sealed to the material by high frequency radio beams. The case is then sewed and the name of the purchasing company is stamped on the case.
The glass cases are sold in forty-four states and Canada to eye doctors. There are just twenty-five manufacturers of these products and most of them are located in the East.
Sixteen people are employed with ten of them as production workers, one bookkeeper, one foreman, the two owners and two salesmen. All employees are Rich Hill people and each has a chance to acquire all the skills through a system of rotation from one operation to another.
The company has an annual payroll of over $240,000.

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