From South Milwaukee, to the World: Celebrating the 125th Anniversary of Bucyrus Shipments

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From the South Milwaukee Industrial Museum …

The South Milwaukee Industrial Museum has installed a pop-up display in the lobby of City Hall that celebrates the 125th anniversary of the first equipment shipments from the Bucyrus Steam Shovel and Dredge Company out of South Milwaukee. Started in Bucyrus, Ohio in 1880, Bucyrus moved to the Village of South Milwaukee in April of 1893 after outgrowing the original factory site. By August, shipments were heading around the world from the new South Milwaukee factory.  After a merger in 1927, it became known worldwide as Bucyrus-Erie Company and was subsequently renamed Bucyrus International Inc. in 1997.

Bucyrus was at the heart of South Milwaukee’s development during this period. The company purchased land, developed the required infrastructure, and then sold lots to employees at cost. They were literally helping to build the town around their growing factory, and South Milwaukee became a city in 1897. Since opening here, Bucyrus employed tens of thousands, and many residents have had three, four, and even five generations of family members who worked there.

Included in the historical display is an original steam shovel drawing, an 1890’s cigar punch promo item, a 120 year old steam shovel handbook, an original brass nameplate from a 1900’s dredge, and an 1890’s glass bottle from the Geo. Ziegler Soda Company of South Milwaukee found in the walls of one of the original factory buildings during recent remodeling. There’s also a medal and memorabilia from the infamous 1893 Colombian Exposition/World’s Fair held in Chicago. Bucyrus won the award for the unique industry leading design innovations of its dredging equipment.

The South Milwaukee Industrial Museum LLC (SMIM) was formed In March of 2017 as a not-for-profit educational institution dedicated to protecting, preservation, and display of the historical assets of the former Bucyrus Heritage Museum. With all volunteer help, plus financial support from private sources and the Bucyrus Foundation, 95% of the original display items were saved, and are currently in temporary storage until a new home is established.

Continuing public financial support is very important to keeping these artifacts in South Milwaukee for generations to come.

To contribute, please visit SMIM LLC at the SM Farmers Market on August 9th and 23rd, though their GoFundMe site at https://www.gofundme.com/moving-the-sm-industrial-museum, or mail a direct donation to South Milwaukee Industrial Museum LLC, PO Box 84, South Milwaukee, WI 53172-0084. 

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