North Kansas City, MO

The historic Wheeling Corrugated Company Building in North Kansas City

CJ Coombs
Wheeling Corrugating Company Building, North Kansas City, Missouri.Photo byBartokie, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

The historic Wheeling Corrugating Company Building housed a factory that was located at 820 East 14th Avenue in North Kansas City, Missouri (Clay County). This building was added to the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) on October 21, 1994. The building now houses Polynt Composites USA, Inc.

This five-story building was constructed in 1920 (103 years ago) and is also referred to as Cook Composites and Polymers (CCP). It's rectangular and made of reinforced concrete. While there's no particular architectural style associated with this building, the corners at the roofline are attractive. The architectural firm was Tarbett & Gorball.

In 1950, a one-story concrete block building was added to the north side of the building. The interior chiefly consists of open floors and exposed reinforced concrete columns. At one point, the original interior was converted into a laboratory space and an office. A passenger elevator was added. At the time the building was nominated for the NRHP, renovation plans were proposed.

The Wheeling Corrugating Company Building was the largest steel company and manufacturing facility in North Kansas City. This was one of 14 branch offices formed by Alexander Glass in Wheeling, West Virginia in 1890.

The North Kansas City plant helped to establish the Wheeling Corrugating Company as one of the largest manufacturing businesses of its kind in the country. Besides distributing its products in western Missouri and Kansas, it also sent its products to Colorado, Idaho, southwest Iowa, Nebraska, Nevada, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wyoming.

The manufacturing plant and branch office of the company was in this building for 36 years. Aside from being built as a warehouse, it was a sheet metal fabricating factory for Wheeling Corrugating Company, which has its main office in Wheeling, West Virginia.

Wheeling Corrugating Company

This company was formed by Alexander Glass in 1890 as an outgrowth of the Whitaker Iron Company. Nelson E. Whitaker was the president of that company and was also Glasses' father-in-law. Whitaker and another man named E.C. Ewing leased a small factory in Wheeling, West Virginia.

Glass developed a lightweight metal building material that was corrugated for durability and coated with zinc as protection from rust. Ewing watched over the factory's operation and raw materials. He was also elected its president. Glass was its secretary.

The corrugated metal produced by Wheeling was attractive and a good replacement for old wood roofs of many buildings in the Midwest and South. As a result of the popularity of rust and fire-resistant metal roofs, this led to the production of other items that had a variety of uses.

By 1895, the company had diversified, and in 1903, a second Wheeling Corrugating plant opened in Martins Ferry, Ohio. Also in that year, the Whitaker Iron Company and Laughlin Nail Works merged into the Whitaker-Glessner Company. After this, Wheeling Corrugating opened branch plants in Richmond, Virginia, St. Louis, Missouri, and the North Kansas City Industrial District.

Plans to develop this large tract of land were prepared by the North Kansas City Development Company in 1912.

Hugh J. Curran, president of the North Kansas City Development Company, asserted that 'Every facility for the economic handling of manufacturing and distributing houses has been developed scientifically in North Kansas City.' (Source.)

The new industrial and commercial firms located in the area also needed the materials the metal facilities manufactured or distributed.

Wheeling Corrugating had a line of household products that included items like wash tubs, water pails, and sheet steel products for factory and building construction. These were hand-dipped in pure molten zinc.

Wheeling Corrugating Company's plant and warehouse in North Kansas City was an example of what was taking place in other parts of the country. In the late 1800s, what was referred to as jobbers in the Midwest were receiving their manufactured needs from the East who would distribute them to wholesalers. As more factories and businesses were expanding to other branch operations, it became more convenient for the wholesales to deal with the factory directly.

The North Kansas City branch of Wheeling Corrugating also manufactured riveted culvert pipes used for road drainage. The parent company in West Virginia would ship products to this branch which were stored on the first four floors and the factory was at the top level of the building.

Wheeling Corrugating Company, along with several other steel manufacturing plants, was very successful. In the state of Missouri, the steelworks and rolling mills industry was a leading manufacturing industry in 1921 and 1923.

In 1956, the five-story building was sold to Cook Paint and Varnish Company. In 1994, the Wheeling Corrugating Company was the oldest corrugating company in the country.

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Multi-genre writer and author/publisher with a BA in Eng Journalism/Creative Writing. I worked in law firms for 30+ years and retired early to pursue writing. I was born into the Air Force, so you could say I'm from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Missouri. I love family, research, history, true crime, reading, art, and travel.

Kansas City, MO

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