Crunden-Martin, Waiting

Update: When I went back in August of 2018, the buildings had not changed. There had been substantial collapse of the interior when I went back in October of 2021.

Crunden-Martin Manufacturing was one of those industries East Coast types like to cite when talking about the so-called “Rust Belt.” Famous for its wood products, the company operated in the shadow of downtown, then the MacArthur Bridge, then the interstates and the Arch. Imagine, working in this massive complex, with the humming of machines. One of the interesting aspects of this complex was its apparent lack of parking.

Surely there was a parking lot added at some point, but imagine for decades street cars depositing workers in waves in the morning, and picking them up again the afternoon. Perhaps even some workers walked over from the Soulard neighborhood. It’s a shame to see these giant buildings, with their broad, open floor plans, sit empty. They await a vision, capital and the wherewithal to come back to life. Hopefully it will come in time. One building was struck by fire, or arson, depending on whom you ask. It is rumored to be next on the demolition list.

I love the street bridges; they still exist in downtown and in several other places, but they point to a level of density that no longer exists in manufacturing. A seven story factory building is rare today.

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Jan says:

    My mom was a Crunden-Martin employee as a young woman along with several of her friends. Yes, they rode the streetcars back and forth from south city. Mom talks about her Crunden-Martin days fondly. I think the location of the complex has also hindered the development of the buildings.

  2. Shelly says:

    I wonder if you are allowed to do a photo shoot inside some of these old building? I am an art student and I am trying to find buildings that I could shoot models from a BFA project

    1. Chris Naffziger says:

      Try contacting them at Lazarus Realty
      4300 CHURCH RD
      CENTERVILLE, IL 62207

  3. Sue Whitesell-Fitzgibbons says:

    I use to work there also when I was younger. I am still in contact with a girl I used to work with there in the Factory Office. I didn’t ride the street cars those were already part of history when I starter there. I worked there in the late 70’s into the mid 1980’s. We also had a blast working there. I wish they would let people go in and look around. I guess there isn’t much call for that. I guess the only ones that would be interested in something like that would be past employees.

  4. Thelma (Donnelly) Russo says:

    I worked in the main office from February 1966 to April 1987. I loved my job and am still in contact with several former employees. I consider myself as part of the Crunden Martin family.

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