Remember the Alamo

    Richard Hallett invented the "Alamo Engine," and with $25,000 the Alamo Manufacturing Company was born in 1901. Under the guidance of A.D. Stock, grandson of the original owner of Stock's Mill, a factory was built at the corner of South and St. Joe streets on the east side of the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railroad. A railroad spur was extended into the Alamo grounds for the receipt and shipment of the heavier commodities. 

    The company made high-grade gas and gasoline engines, using its own products in the manufacturing process. Its large modern foundry sold engines not only all over the United States, but also in many foreign countries. By 1915 up to 260 men were employed, and annual sales were almost half a million dollars. A magazine ad for Alamo engines explained that "Its success is based upon a strict adherence to Quality—every engine has to be right in every respect before it leaves the factory."

    It wasn't the quality of the engines but World War I that heralded the beginning of the end for the Alamo Manufacturing Company. The war interrupted a growing foreign trade, and the hoped-for war contracts never materialized. Following the war, the development of cheap electric power nudged the gasoline-powered engines aside. The owners gamely tried to manufacture other products, but the effort failed.     Through the years the building on South Street housed General Machine, Tecumseh Products, Hillsdale Steel Products, Essex Wire Corp. and American Copper and Brass. But it will always carry a memory of its first use. Passers-by today can see the raised letters identifying the building as "ALAMO."

JoAnne P. Miller