BELVIDERE, Ill. (WTVO) – Another piece of Belvidere’s manufacturing past has met the wreaking ball, but while the walls may have come down, it’s history will remain.
According to Anna Pivoras, the Executive Director of the Boone County Museum of History, one thing that has been made very clear is that the City of Belvidere did not want to bring the building down.
“It was a huge part of our economy, a huge part of culture here in Belvidere,” said Pivoras.
The National Sewing Machine Company was founded in the 19th century in Belvidere, and as of Wednesday, some of the walls were still standing.
“It is sad to see the building being demolished. However, I walked through a couple years ago. Sadly there becomes a point when buildings become too hazardous,” said Pivoras. “They came here in the 1880s, back when every house had a sewing machine. For a long time, they were the largest employer in Belvidere.”
Pivoras shared some of the history of the company and what they made, as well as artifacts that were left behind.
“Of course, sewing machines of all different shapes and sizes, and for a very short time in the early 1900s they produced cars,” said Pivoras. “The president of the company, his name was Barnibus Eldredge, and we do have his horse drawn carriage that he imported from Paris to drive around the streets of Belvidere.”
The company made many different good, from cars to sewing and washing machines. They even made the Manufacurer’s baseball team uniform.
“We recently found a complete baseball uniform from the 19 teens, I would guess, from probably about 1915. It’s a complete National baseball uniform…little wool,” Pivoras said. “I love being surrounded by our community’s history and artifacts every single day, and we are very lucky to have the collection we have.”
There are currently no development plans for the over 20 acres of land. Belvidere’s mayor said that they did not want to have to knock the building down, but that it was not safe to leave it standing.