History of Brazil, Clay County, Indiana
From: A History of Clay County, Indiana
By: William Travis (of Middlebury)
The Lewis Publishing Company
New York - Chicago 1909
BRAZIL - TOWN AND CITY.
The question of the incorporation of the town of Brazil was submitted to the qualified citizens of the proposed
site on the first day of October, 1866. The advertisement of the election had been published in the Brazil Independent
and Home Weekly, and ten copies of the notice had also been posted. Joseph T. Liston was at that time president
of board of commissioners, under whose direction the election and the proceedings of incorporation took place.
The record reads that one hundred and twenty two of these voted for incorporation, and nine against. Allowing for some slight error in this record, it is evident that the large majority of citizens were in favor of incorporating the town.
The town was soon afterward divided into three election districts, the township line and Meridian street being the north and south dividing lines. The first town election was held at the office of Isaac M. Compton, December 18, 1866. Three trustees, a school trustee, clerk, treasurer, assessor and marshal were the officials voted for. John G. Ackelmire, Jacob Thomas and Thomas Desart were the first board of town trustees, and the other officials chosen at this election were the following: Evelyn Montgomery, school trustee; Eli Hendrix, treasurer; D. W. Bridges, clerk; Samuel Hollingsworth, assessor and marshal.
The changing of the name National Road to Main street was officially prescribed in an ordinance (No. 9), passed February 21, 1867. The same ordinance gave the name Factory street to as much of the county road between Dick Johnson and Van Buren townships as lay in the corporate limits. (Factory street has since become Forest avenue.) The street between the railroad and the National Road had been known up to this time as Middle street, but the ordinance directed that its name should thereafter be Jackson street.
The next ordinance (No. 10), which named and defined the width of streets in the town corporation, mentioned the following streets: Main, Jackson, Knight, Desart, Atlantic, Sherman, Grant, Depot, Meridian, Lincoln, Franklin, Walnut, Center, Washington, Factory, Cass, Lambert, Front, Church, Methodist, McDonald, Morton.
The first noteworthy street improvement in Brazil was the grading of Main street from Franklin to Sherman, as called for in the ordinance of June 14, 1870. The street was to be cut down and graded according to a uniform grade, and a layer of cinders or pounded stone was to be spread over it.
Fire limits were established by the ordinance of August, 1870, when the construction of wooden buildings on Main street, from Center to Depot street, and for a distance of fifty feet on either side, was henceforth made unlawful.
Among the early ordinances of the town trustees of Brazil was one concerning the observance of the Sabbath day. Practically every town has or has had so called "blue laws" on its statute books, expressive of the moral sentiment of the majority regarding secular conduct on Sunday, though prosecutions for their violation have been rare. The paragraph of the ordinance passed by the town board in 1866, relating to this subject, is as follows:
"If any person of the age of fourteen years or upwards shall be found on the first day of the week, commonly called Sunday, engaged at common labor, or their usual avocations (works of charity or necessity only excepted) within the limits of the corporation, such person shall be fined not less than one dollar nor more than ten dollars."
The report of the town treasurer for the year from May 16, 1867, to June 1, 1868, covers the first full year of Brazil's corporate existence. Its items are as follows:
Town orders to the amount of $826.55 were paid, and the total expenses for that year were $829.80, leaving a balance in the town treasury of $366.38.
The last report of the treasurer for the town of Brazil, before the inception of the city government (March, 1873), reads as follows, its total amount and the different items of receipts and expenditures being an index of Brazil's growth during the five or six years of town government:
By 1873 the town of Brazil had a population of three thousand. Those who remember the town of that date can recall few improvements that had been undertaken or completed by the corporation which could be considered noteworthy in the history of municipal progress. The most important town institution, and the only one which had cost more money than the regular revenues had been unequal to meet, was the town school. The nucleus of the school system had been established during the existence of the town corporation. Some attention had been given to the improvement of Main street, a layer of cinders having been spread over the natural road bed. This was in the nature of an improvement, but on the whole the streets of the town were extremely muddy in the wet seasons and dusty in dry weather. Some side walk ordinances had been passed by the town trustees, and along the principal streets were board walks and a few flag stone walks. Most of the crossings were still constructed of boards. Except for the voluntary efforts of the citizens, there was no fire protection. Not even fire cisterns had been provided. The question of public sanitation had not yet risen. Garbage disposal was by primitive methods, and the rain waters were drained from the streets by surface ditches, or often collected in pools and remained until evaporated by sun and wind.
With a population of three thousand people, and with the beginnings of some important industries and other promises of growth and civic expansion, the agitation for a city charter during the winter of 1872-73 was opportune and net with little opposition. It was argued that the code of laws governing cities was vastly superior to that provided for incorporated towns, and that under the town system it would be impossible for Brazil to develop municipally and receive the benefits to which it was entitled by reason of its commercial advantages. The city charter, it was urged, was necessary to the establishment of adequate water and sewerage facilities and fire protection, and it was also claimed that the new form of government would not raise taxes, on which ground the principal objections to the charter were raised.
The town board, in response to the campaign for city government, after deciding that the population within the corporate limits was sufficient as required by law, fixed the day of election for the voters to choose or reject the proposition on March 3, 1873. So little antagonism had developed toward the movement, that the total vote cast on that day was small, and was in favor of city incorporation more than six to one. The detailed vote was as follows:
The first division of Brazil into wards after the adoption of city government made the boundaries of the three wards as follows: The first contained all the incorporated territory east of Lambert street; the second was all the territory between Lambert and Meridian streets; and the third was the territory between Meridian and the west side of the corporation.
The demand for fire protection led to the establishment of a waterworks system. When the city council held their meeting on November 5, 1874, regular business was suspended in order to give the citizens an opportunity to express their opinions relative to the establishment of adequate fire protection. The discussion led to the appointment of a committee to visit other cities and inquire about the merits of the different methods of fighting fires and the kinds of apparatus in use. A part of the council and some citizens were in favor of purchasing a chemical engine, but the motion when presented to the council was voted down. This was followed by the appointment of a Committee to obtain the consensus of opinion among. citizens and business men as to the kind of apparatus, whether a pumping engine or chemical extinguisher, which was needed. The result of the canvass revealed that the great majority of the citizens were in favor of the establishment of a system of water works. This report was made in December, 1874. At the final meeting of the year a petition from 280 citizens, requesting that the council take appropriate measures toward the establishment of water works, was followed by the adoption of a resolution for the construction of the plant.
The water works ordinance (ordinance No. 79), which went into effect January 29, 1875, gave to the common council "power to enter upon and condemn lands and materials within and without the city limits for the purpose of building and constructing a reservoir and engine house, laying and fitting pipes and digging wells and pools, and for all other purposes connected with the construction and establishment of water works to supply the city of Brazil with wholesome water."
By the ordinance (No. 89) of May 20, 1875, provisions were made for a bond issue, the proceeds to become the "water works fund." This issue was to be fifty bonds of $5oo denomination, interest payable semiannually at nine per cent, the first ten bonds maturing 16 years from date, and the same number to mature annually thereafter until all were cancelled. The ordinance also constituted the members of the council, ex-officio, a water works board, to contract for and purchase all the real estate, machinery and materials and labor needed in the construction and maintenance of the water works.
The site for the reservoir was purchased on the land adjacent to the creek just west of the cemetery. By the construction of a dam a large volume of water was hemmed in by the rising ground on all sides, and yet the flood area was not so large that the reservoir was exposed to the contamination of numerous sources, and by safeguarding the supply through the creation of what might be termed a "sanitary district" around the pond the most favorable possible conditions were created to afford usable water for domestic purposes.
The city made separate contracts for the construction of the reservoir and the pumping station, the purchase of the machinery, and all the works necessary to the establishment of the plant, so that in every sense it was a municipal undertaking.
Before the end of the summer the plant was built, the mains laid through the principal streets of the city, and in August the citizens were for the first time treated with the spectacle of water forced from the end of a hose with sufficient power to prove an effective weapon in fighting fire. The Enterprise, in the issue of August 26th, says: "On Monday our streets were crowded to witness the first test of our water works. . . . Water was thrown from fire plugs at the same time through inch and a quarter nozzles, at Main and Depot and at Main and Meridian streets, a mile from the works, over one hundred and fifty feet." The newly organized hose company also paraded through the street, and gave a pleasing impression of their effectiveness in fighting fires.
On September 4th occurred the water works celebration. It was also the occasion of an old settlers' picnic, and people gathered from country arid town to enjoy the events of the day. The band played, the Greencastle fire department arrived to be guests of honor, and after a demonstration at various points in town of the water pressure and a drill of the hose company, the procession went first to inspect the pumping station, and thence to the fair grounds, where the pioneer celebration concluded the ceremonies of one of Brazil's red letter days.
For about thirty years the water works service of Brazil was an object of opprobrium to the majority of the citizens. The trouble lay in the water supply, and the experience of this city has been repeated in large degree by most municipalities that have tried the reservoir system on a comparatively small scale. Cities that have been able to draw their water from high mountain ponds, or that have revenues sufficient to condemn large bodies of land and thus safeguard every contributing source, have usually succeeded in securing wholesome water. But under the most favorable conditions the water that came from the pond west of Brazil did not measure up to the ordinary standards for water for domestic uses. When taken from the hydrants it was generally discolored, would precipitate a sediment when allowed to settle, and its appearance was such that even when pronounced free from dangerous organic matter the average housewife preferred well water for her cooking. A collection of the various experiences and opinions relating to the city water would make an interesting exhibit.
Finally, about twenty years after the first establishment of the system, the city council undertook to reconstruct the plant and procure another supply of water. It was resolved to penetrate to the gravel beds which lie at various depths below the surface, and through a battery of tubular wells, eight in number, to suck up the waters that flow over these gravel beds. To carry out this object a twenty five thousand dollar bond issue (six per cent, 20 year bonds, dated May 21, 1895) was ordered, and at the same time the city contracted with the Howe Pump and Engine Company to reconstruct the water works, sinking the tubular wells, installing new compound condensing engines, new boilers, new water mains, the entire contract to be performed by October 1, 1895. The cost was $29,153.68, but at the final settlement with the contracting company in the spring of 1896, the city paid several thousand dollars more for additions and extras. The reconstructed water works were highly satisfactory for a time. The water was clear and pure, and the new machinery gave a higher pressure for fire purposes. The failure of the new system was due to the fact that the tubular wells became clogged at the lower ends and were soon rendered useless. As a result, resort was had to the old reservoir, and it is only within the last two or three years that a means has been found to overcome the old difficulty with the wells. Since that time Brazil has had a supply of good water, and its water works can now be classed among the best in the state. A striking test of its adequacy was furnished in the dry summer of 1908, when many cities of Indiana suffered water famine. In Brazil the supply showed no signs, of failing, and no restrictions were placed upon the liberal use of the water for all ordinary purposes.
Some items from the report of the superintendent of water works, Mr. G. A. Fletcher, for the year ending December 31, 1908, will be of present and future interest. For the first year since the establishment of the water works, the system had not incurred a deficit. The total receipts of the department for the year were a little in excess of ten thousand dollars, while the total operating expenses were $6,708, which, with the cost of extensions and improvements, brought the total disbursements for the year to $9,503, making a balance for the department of a little over $500. The report also shows that the total amount of water pumped during the year was 188,535,600 gallons, or a little over half a million gallons a day. The cost to the city of pumping this water is estimated at three and one half cents per thousand gallons. The total length of water mains is placed at ro.8 miles, and there are 98 fire plugs.
The school city of Brazil is at the present time one of the largest institutions, considered merely from a business point of view, in the city and county, its revenues and expenditures being as large as some of the principal industrial concerns. The annual payroll for the teachers in the year 1907-08 was $28,239.84, and the capital represented in the six school buildings and their equipment estimated at $146,000.
While this represents the financial side, it is of greater importance to notice that the total enrollment in the schools of the city (including the parochial school) at the present time is 2,048 (260 of whom are in the parochial school). The schools of the city thus give their advantages to nearly a fourth of the total population. No other institution comes into such close relations to so large a proportion of the people, and the growth of the schools reflects not only the increase in population, but the progress of the people in broader ideals of intellectual and civic efficiency.
The oldest school in the city, the one which was attended by the fathers and mothers of many of the children of this time, is the Meridian street school. The north half of this building, with its bell tower, was built about 1868, soon after the town was incorporated. The first bonded debt ever incurred by the town board was for the purpose of erecting this building. In May, 1868, the board authorized the issue of ten thousand dollars in bonds, drawing ten per cent interest (which was a not extravagant rate for that time).
The first schoolhouse built after the incorporation of the city was the Lambert street school, erected in 1875, a two story brick building, with a bell tower, which at the time was considered a first class building, and which is still used as one of the grade schools. A bond issue of $13,000 provided the money for this building. A few years later the Jackson street school was built (afterwards remodeled). Since then the south addition has been placed on the Meridian school, the Pinckley street school has been built, and in 1906 the Alabama street four room grade school and the handsome high school on North Washington street were completed. The high school building is one of the best examples of public and business buildings in the city, costing, with equipment, $47,000.
Within the last few years the Brazil high school has attained a place of credit among similar institutions throughout the state. It is among the accredited and commissioned high schools of the state, has a faculty of thirteen instructors and an enrollment of 308 scholars. The cost of instruction and of apparatus and equipment for the year closing in 1908 was $9,230. The entire teaching force in the Brazil city schools numbers 53, besides the superintendent, Mr. C. C. Coleman, who has been at the head of the school system for the past two years.
Closely allied to the schools in its influence upon the intellectual and esthetic life of the community is the Public Library, which was built in 1903 as a result of the co-operation of the tax payers of the city with the wide spread philanthropy of Andrew Carnegie. The latter provided the money for the erection of the building after those interested in the library had raised the necessary funds by private subscription and the city council had voted the tax prescribed by the Library law, enacted a few years previously.
The donation of $25,000 was secured from Mr. Carnegie in 1902, on condition that the city should provide a suitable site and raise by annual levy two thousand dollars a year for the support of the library. The city authorities accepted this gift, and in order to secure the proper site vacated a portion of Methodist street, at the intersection of Walnut, and also bought ground on the north side of the former street, paying twenty five hundred dollars for the site. The annual levy for library purposes is six cents on the hundred dollars, this being the limit of such taxation, as fixed by law.
A word should also be said of the old City Library Association, which for many years supplied the only library advantages available except to those who possessed generous private collections of books. The City Library Association, which was in the nature of a joint stock company, a sort of co-operative book society, was organized in February, 1879, beginning with forty stockholders. The original sum expended for books was $107, with which 81 volumes were purchased. At a very early day in the history of Brazil had existed a McClure Library and Mechanics Institute, a practical benevolence that has been almost forgotten. Mr. McClure was a wealthy resident of the old Harmony community, in southern Indiana; who had left a considerable sum of money to be used in founding these institutes. The bequest was conditioned upon each local society's establishing a library for the benefit of the members, the money given by Mr. McClure being expended for lectures. It was thus in the nature of a lecture course and study club. Such an institution was maintained at Brazil for some years, and after it had ceased to exist the collection of books had remained, and was eventually turned over to the Library Association. By these means the Association's library grew and numbered over a thousand volumes at one time.
The early condition of the streets, as to pavement and drainage, has been referred to. The younger generation of citizens can remember the discomforts of that time. It is one of the most pleasant features of this municipal history that Brazil can now be spoken of as a city of well improved streets. The last report of the engineering department estimates that nine and a half miles of the streets are surfaced with brick pavement. There are no better streets than these to be found in any city. About a third of the streets of the city are brick paved, while a large proportion of the remainder are covered with a gravel or cinder surface. Also, the city has approximately forty miles of sidewalks; 32.2 miles of cement walks; 6.3 of stone walks, and 1.4 of brick. In earlier years the stone flagging was the favorite material for sidewalks, but in the past ten years the cement walk has become the usual type. A feature not often seen is the impression, at street corners, of the names of the intersecting streets in the pavement, these being almost the only means for displaying street names. At the present time about three fourths of the city has the benefits of the sanitary sewerage system. There are 11.7 miles of vitrified pipe sewers and 1.1 miles of cement sewers (these figures covering both storm and sanitary sewers).
The improvements mentioned in the above paragraph are in the class of "special improvements." Though constructed under the supervision of the city, their cost is assessed mainly against the adjacent property owners, being paid for by special assessments.
A paragraph in the Enterprise in May, 1886, stated that there was "not a rod of gravel road in the county nor a rod of decent street in the city. We here go on from year to year hauling cinders on our streets and hauling them off at the rate of two off to one on." A similar indictment of the state of public improvements was contained in the nature of a prophecy, in the same paper, in October, 1893: "Five years hence," declared the writer, "Brazil will have no fish ponds in its streets after the rain, the sidewalks will be clean and smooth, the alleys wide and odorless and free from boxes and all sorts of rubbish. Garbage will be hauled from the city limits instead of piled in back yards, sewers will drain the streets of their mucky accumulations, and the water supply will be adequate. The little one story buildings on Main street will be supplanted with modern business blocks, street cars will be running, etc."
At the time it was written the prophecy was in way of fulfillment. A street car line was at that time in process of construction on Main street. On June 20, 1893, the council had authorized the paving with brick of Main street, though it was not until the following year that the pavement was laid. This was the first paved street, but others followed, and this class of improvement has been going on every year since. In 1895 and 1896 plans were authorized by the council for the paving of Meridian street and also part of Church street. In 1895 specifications were drawn for the construction of a brick sewer along Walnut street, from Main to Birch creek. This was essentially a storm sewer, but it may be considered the beginning of the sewer system of the city.
The lighting of the streets has always been provided by private enterprise. The Brazil Electric Light Company, of which J. E. Sherfey was president and George A. Byrd secretary, built a plant and began supplying electricity for lighting purposes to private homes and business houses in 1885. The city at that time was embarrassed for revenue, and did not accept the proposition of the company to supply street lights until the following year. At the present time the city pays over six thousand dollars a year for the lighting of its streets and public buildings.
The words of the prophecy above quoted might indicate that Main street was at the time lined on both sides with one story blocks that were entirely inconsistent with the business enterprise of the city. In the past fifteen years the improvement of the business architecture of the city has transformed this street so that, as a whole, it could hardly be recognized, and yet there are some well known and substantial landmarks still standing that were the pride of the business district of twenty or thirty years ago. Perhaps foremost among these would be the First National Bank building on the southwest corner of Meridian and Main, a three story brick building that has stood while the city was growing from its three thousand to ten thousand population. Near by, the two story Kruzan block was erected in 1877. At Walnut on the south side of Main are the Croasdale three story block, built in 1887, and the George A. Knight block, erected the following year. The old Masonic building, at the corner of Sherfey, is also one of the older blocks.
The north side of Main street has been practically rebuilt within the past ten years. The first conspicuous business structure here is the Davis Hotel block, completed early in 1902, and about three years later the Ayer-McCarel block, and the handsome Citizens Bank building, which may be said to have completed the reconstruction which was prophesied by the Enterprise. The Sourwine Opera House block should also be mentioned among the modern business structures.
In its public buildings, Brazil has both the old and the new. The court house is the one which was built after the removal of the county seat to Brazil. The city hall is one of the old residences remodeled for civic uses. The public library was erected in 1903, and the Masonic Temple, built in 1907, is one of the best buildings of its kind in the state.
It is estimated that the nine large clay working plants about Brazil give employment to over eleven hundred men. A population of about five thousand thus gains its chief daily support from this industry. Nearly one half the people of the city of Brazil are brought into this close relationship with the business of manufacturing clay products. If we add to the clay workers those who are employed in the coal mines immediately adjacent to the city, we can account for the regular occupations which give the necessities and comforts of life to fully half of the inhabitants. Outside of these two industries there is no single line of business which compares in importance. There are several manufacturing concerns, one of the leading ones being the Brazil Fence Company, but the mechanical trades, the professions, and the mercantile establishments embrace practically all the money earning vocations except the two first mentioned.
The nine clay industries are located in a circle about the city of Brazil, none of them more than two miles away. The principal products of these factories, which are marketed in nearly all. the states of the Union, though largely within a radius of two hundred miles, consist of building brick of the finer grades, of paving brick, of conduits, of sewer pipe, and of miscellaneous clay products, including jars, crocks, stone pumps, etc.
The most remarkable feature of the business from the historical standpoint is that it has developed within less than twenty years. The manufacture of brick and some other clay products has been carried on here for the past fifty years, but up to twenty years ago, perhaps, with the exception of the Weaver tile and pump works, the business was only local, and in comparison with the coal business was insignificant. The report of the department of statistics for 1886 mentioned two clay working establishments in Clay county, the amount invested in the plants being $1,000, the value of the annual output as $12,000, and the number of employes, 20. Since 1890 the clay industry has become vastly larger than the coal mining, and Brazil's importance in the manufacturing world is now measured in the output of its clay works. A careful estimate places the amount of invested capital at from $1,200,000 to $1,500,000, while in wages the monthly payroll approximates $45,000, or about half a million dollars a year. The marketed output can only be roughly estimated, but it can be stated in reason that every day in the year a train of about thirty five cars, loaded with brick, sewer pipe, tile, etc., leaves Brazil for the markets of the middle west, and some of the cars go to the Atlantic coast, and recently a shipment of brick went to Oregon.
Besides the clay manufacturing plants there are also several clay mining companies of this vicinity, which are engaged in mining the shales and clay and shipping the raw materials to distant points for manufacture. The nine large clay factories of the Brazil district are as follows: The Hydraulic-Press Brick Company, the McRoy Clay Works, the Sheridan Brick Works, a branch of the American Sewer Pipe Company, the Brazil Clay Company, the Indiana Paving Brick Company, the Chicago Sewer Pipe Company, the Continental Clay and Mining Company and the Weaver Clay and Coal Company.
The Hydraulic-Press Brick Company, which is considered the largest of the clay plants at Brazil, was formerly the Ayer-McCarel Clay Company, which was founded in 1902 and began operations in February, 1903. The original owners were J. V. Ayer, W. L. McCarel and Daniel Reagan. The business was sold to the present company in March, 1906. The principal officials of the present company are F. G. Middlehaupt, president and general manager, Ralph Simpkins, vice president and secretary, George F. Baker, treasurer, all of St. Louis, and H. A. Walters, who is fourth vice president and manager of the Brazil branch.
This plant, which is located on the Meridian street road about a mile north of Main street, is equipped with the most modern machinery in brick manufacture. It has twelve round and four rectangular kilns. The shale and clay is taken from a pit adjacent to the works. The average number of employes is about 175, and the monthly payroll about seven thousand dollars. The output is 60,000 brick per day, or 1500 cars a year. The original company manufactured hollow block, conduits, chimney blocks and kindred ware, but the present company makes a specialty of "impervious vitrified face brick," though also making in limited quantities chimney blocks and similar ware.
The McRoy Clay Works in 1900 purchased the site and plant of the old Brazil Brick and Pipe Company, north of the city and just west of the C. & E. I. Railroad. The new company reconstructed the old plant and made extensions that placed it among the largest manufacturers of clay products in the state. Its special products are electric conduits, which have been used in practically all the large cities of the United States, being shipped as far as Oregon. Hollow building blocks are also manufactured.
The Brazil Brick and Pipe Company was organized in June, 1890, by W. L. McCarel, D. W. Mathias, John H. Taylor. J. V. Ayer and H. B. McMillan later become associated with the business, and its management was largely in the hands of these men until Mr. John T. McRoy purchased the plant in 1900. In 1902 the business came into the hands of the present company, whose officers are A. W. Beidler, president, E. R. Beidler, vice president, and L. M. Christie, secretary treasurer. The two latter reside at Brazil. The monthly payroll of this industry is about $6,500, distributed among 15o employes. The output is about 100 carloads (or 2500 tons) a month, and there are 29 kilns.
One mile northwest of the city is the Brazil plant of the American Sewer Pipe Company, which has numerous factories in other states. This plant was originally established by the Monarch Sewer Pipe Company. The clay for manufacture is taken principally from beneath a vein of block coal, which is mined by this company, and used in burning the clay and shales that enter into the manufacture of the sewer pipe and similar wares made at this plant.
The Monarch plant was built in 1894, and at first had four kilns and about 25 employes. Under the present management about thirty kilns are in constant operation, and it is probably the largest plant for making sewer pipe in the state. The main offices of the corporation are at Pittsburg, and only a local manager resides at Brazil.
The Chicago Sewer Pipe Company, on the E. & I. Railroad, one mile southwest of the city, was one of the first large clay industries to locate in the Brazil district. It began making sewer pipe in 1893, and for many years its product has been shipped almost entirely to Chicago. The burning of a kiln of sewer pipe is of daily occurrence, there being over a dozen kilns in the plant. It is said that the members of the Chicago Sewer Pipe Company investigated the clays of Iowa, Illinois and Indiana before locating their plant at this place, and chose Brazil because of the superior quality of the clay and for its excellent fuel and transportation facilities.
The output of this plant is about 1200 cars annually. About 75 men are on the payroll, which amounts to about $3500 a month. Fifteen kilns are in operation. The original promoters of this company were George Page of Jackson, Michigan, and William Joyce of Chicago.
The Standard Pottery Company, whose plant is conducted in connection with the Chicago Sewer Pipe Company, was for some years considered the largest stoneware factory in the state. Jugs, jars, crocks, churns, fruit jars, water coolers, etc., were the chief output of this plant. This factory has not been in operation for several years.
The oldest paving brick plant in the state is the Indiana Paving Brick Co. of Brazil The first vitrified brick and block were made by the company in 1891, and three years later it furnished the material for the first street paving in Brazil. The product since that time has reached proportions that are not readily comprehended in mere figures, and from the beginning this has been more than a local industry. Many cities and towns of the state have their streets paved with the bricks made at this plant, and the product has gone by train loads to Louisville, Cincinnati and other cities beyond the state borders.
The plant is in the western part of the city just north of the Vandalia Railroad. The raw material was formerly obtained altogether from the shale deposits near the intersection of the C. & E. I. Railroad and Otter creek, north of Brazil, but in recent years beds have been opened nearer to the works. The output averages 50,000 brick a day, or about 150 carloads a month, 24 kilns being operated. The average number of employes is 100, and the monthly payroll is nearly $5,000.
This business was established as the Brazil Fire Brick and Sewer Pipe Company, the principal promoters being J. M., J. E. and David McDowell of Columbus, Ohio, and W. E. Rhodes and John G. Prendigrast of Indianapolis. For the past ten years the plant has been owned by W. W. Winslow of Indianapolis. P. NI. Hildebrand is manager and Walter Acheson is local superintendent.
The Weaver Clay and Coal Company was established by D. W. Weaver, in 1872. For many years it was popularly known as the pump and tile factory, being the only industry of that kind and hence needing no more distinctive title. Drain tile was one of its products from the beginning, but in the manufacture of stone pumps this plant held a unique position among Brazil industries. The entire pump, except handle, bolts and suckers, was made of vitrified fire clay, and it is said that some of these pumps have been in use about Brazil for over thirty years. In more recent years the company gave its attention to the manufacture of hollow building blocks. The location of the plant is about a mile east of Brazil, and just north of the National Road.
The Continental Clay and Mining Company was established in 1903-04, beginning manufacture in the latter year. Its large plant is located two miles southeast of Brazil, the three story building being constructed of hollow block, and the equipment being of the latest types of clay working machinery. Its product is hollow building blocks and kindred wares, using under clays for its raw material.
This company was organized by G. Stevenart, William Graves, and Charles Shannon, of Brazil, with Chicago associates. With about forty employes and a monthly payroll of about three thousand dollars, it has been one of the large factors in the clay working industry of this city.
The Brazil Clay Company was established in 1905. Their plant, which was built new and has not yet been completed to the capacity which its owners have planned, is located about a mile west of the water works. Its product is "impervious face brick," for building purposes, and the present capacity of the sixteen kilns is 5o,000 brick, or five carloads a day. Seventy five men are employed, and the monthly payroll is about four thousand dollars. The clay is mined through a shaft from a depth of 110 feet. Some of the output of this plant has been shipped as far as New Hampshire, Denver and Canada.
The company at its organization consisted of William M. Zeller, president, Joseph Martin, vice president, W. J. Snyder, secretary treasurer, and A. R. Zimmerman, manager. J. H. McClelland has since become vice president, and Thomas S. Rouse, manager.
The Sheridan Brick Works, north of Brazil, near the C. & E. I. Railroad, were established in 1898. This is the principal plant at Brazil for the making of ordinary building brick, the raw materials being shale and the surface clays. The industry from the beginning has been more than a local factory, and a large part of the brick made is shipped to the Indianapolis market. The annual output of this plant is between 1500 and 2000 carloads, and the monthly wages paid to nearly a hundred employes averages about $4,000.
At an earlier day the business and industry of Brazil was much more diversified, though in the aggregate much less important, than at present. In 1886 the business interests of the city were thus summarized; Brazil has a population of five thousand, has one rolling mill, one smelting furnace, two flour mills, a foundry, boiler and iron bridge works, two planing mills, four lumber yards, two carriage shops, wagon works, a pottery, two brick yards, pump and tile factory, two private banks, electric light plant, three school houses, and Methodist, Presbyterian, Christian, Catholic, United Brethren, German Lutheran, German Methodist This Colored Methodist churches.
This summary, published in one of the newspapers, did not take account of the coal industry, which was then the leading one in the county. A conspicuous place in the industry of the city was then occupied by the Central Iron and Steel Company, whose plant was located in the western part of the city, near the C. & E. I. Railroad. This company was organized in 1882, by a syndicate of Indianapolis and Chicago capital with local interests represented by the following persons: Major Collins, who was president of the company, W. C. Hall, the secretary, and C. S. Andrews, J. G. Bryson, J. E. Sherfey and Edward Wilton.
The nucleus of the industry was the blast furnace of the old Indianapolis Furnace and Mining Company, which was established in 1867-68, but was in operation only a few months. After the organization of the new company, in addition to the manufacture of pig iron from the native ores, a rolling mill was established and different iron and steel products were manufactured. At one time the industry employed about two hundred men, and the monthly payroll was the largest single item in the current resources of the city. The block coal of this vicinity provided a very important element for the manufacture of iron and steel. But in the last twenty years, since the iron mines of the Lake Superior region were made available to the furnaces of the United States, it has become unprofitable to use the native ores, and practically all the furnaces that depended on that class of ores have long since gone out of blast.
From its beginning as a center of population, Brazil has had a strong religious life. It is not a city of churches in the meaning that the church activities are the predominating distinction of the place. But most of the denominations are represented here, and around some of the older churches have grown up the strongest associations and social influences of the city.
The largest church in the city is the First Methodist, which originated among the settlers living there in the thirties. Several church buildings preceded the present splendid edifice, which is the most commodious and finest example of church architecture in Brazil. When Brazil became a city the Methodists were still worshiping in a frame building. In January, 1878, they dedicated Hendrix Chapel, which was a fine brick church for that time, costing $12,000. The present church was built in 1900. It is claimed that the Sunday school of this church is the largest and most flourishing in the state of Indiana. At the Easter celebration in 1907 the total enrollment of the school was placed at 2509, so that, approximately, one person out of four in the total population of the city was connected with the school. The membership of the church is about one thousand, and in the aggregate of contributions to church and charity work and in the active work of the organization and the strong influence on the individual members, this church ranks among the foremost of this denomination in the state. Rev. J. N. Greene has been the pastoral leader of the church during these years of its greatest prosperity. Mr. W. E. Carpenter is superintendent of the Sunday school.
The Presbyterian church is likewise one of the older religious bodies of the city. When the church was organized here in 1858, or soon afterward, there existed a group of the Old School Presbyterians. These two bodies united about 1865. The first church house of the regular organization was erected on what was known as lot 6, Brackney's addition to the town of Brazil, and it was in this frame church that the citizens, in October, 1866, cast their votes for the incorporation of the town. The brick church which is still used by this congregation was erected about 1875, at a cost of $7,000, and is probably the oldest church edifice in regular use in the city.
The First Christian church was organized about the same time as the Presbyterian, in 1858, but did not grow for a number of years and was finally reorganized in 1877. Their first church was erected on Washington street in 1880-81, being dedicated in the latter year, and cost about $3,000. In 1900 a new brick church was built at a cost of $25,000. Fire destroyed this building on February 5, 1905, leaving only the walls standing. It was rebuilt the same year on a larger plan, and is one of the most modern church homes in Brazil.
The Catholic church of the Annunciation had its origin about 1868. After being organized the following year, it bought the old building formerly occupied by the branch of the Presbyterian church which has already been mentioned, and moving the building to Lambert street used it for a house of worship about ten years. The present church, which occupies a site at the corner of Lambert and Church streets, was begun in 1879. The date on the building is 1880, but the services of dedication did not occur until September, 1883. The organization at that time was not a wealthy nor numerous one, and it was as a result of much sacrifice and united endeavor that the debt for the erection of the building was lifted. The parochial school under the management of the Sisters has been one of the educational institutions of the city for a number of years, and about three years ago the new parochial school was built, a two story brick school that bears comparison with any of the school buildings of the city.
The postmasters of Brazil from the time of the founding of the office to the present, including its history as a village, town and city, of which the dates and terms of service can not here be given, but of which the order of succession is approximately regular, may be enumerated as follows:
Owen Thorpe, Joseph Hall, Eli Hendrix, David C. Stunkard, Robert Conley, Edward H. Hussey, Jonathan Croasdale, Edward S. Hussey, Thomas M. Robertson, John D. Sourwine, Henry D. Bard, John S. Stough, Harry D. Falls, John C. Gregg, Jr.
Bond Issues Authorized by the Town and City.
School house, $10,000, 10%, issued May, 1868.
Water works, $25,000, 9%, due 1891-95, issued July 1, 1875.
School house, $13,000, 8%, due 1881-85, issued July 1, 1875.
Water works, $3,500, 9%, due 20 years, issued Jan. 1, 1876.
School house, $1,500, 8%, due 1886, issued Jan. 1, 1876.
School house, $10,000, 8%, due 1886, issued Sept. 4, 1876.
Funding, $8,000, 8%, due 1897, issued Nov. 1, 1877.
Funding, $1,000, 8%, due 1892, issued Jan. 28, 1882.
Funding school, $10,000, 6%, due 15 years, issued November, 1882-1884.
Funding school, $10,000, 6%, due 15 years, issued Nov. 1, 1886.
Funding water works, $3,000, 4%, due 1896, issued July 8, 1891.
Funding water works, $4,000, 6%, due 1896, issued July 6, 1892.
Funding water works, $4,000, 6%, due 1899, issued July 1, 1893.
Funding water works, $4,000, 6%, due 1904, issued July 1, 1894.
Water works improv., $25,000, 6%, due 20 years, issued May 21, 1895.
Meridian school, $15,000, 6%, due 20 years, issued May 21, 1895.
Funding water works, $4,000, 6%, due 1905, issued July 3, 1895.
Funding water works, $3,000, 6%, due 1906, issued Jan. 1, 1896.
Water works, $6,000, 6%, due 1906, issued Sept. 1, 1896.
Funding school, $8,000, 6%, due 20 years, issued Nov. 1, 1897.
School, $4,500, 6%, due 1918, issued Feb. 1, 1898.
Funding school, $4,000, 6%, due 12 years, issued June 1, 1898.
Funding school, $3,000, 4%, due 1915, issued July 1, 1899.
Funding school, $10,000, 4%, due 1922, issued 1902.
The school city of Brazil has issued bonds to the amount of $36,000, the first issue of $20,000 in July, 1906, and the second of $16,000, in June, 1907. They are four percents, short term bonds, and $8,000 of the second issue has been paid (June, 1909).
The outstanding bonded debt of the city of Brazil is $69,5oo, being divided Water works, $25,000, and school bonds, $44,500