Neenah Foundry

Walking around Quincy and other towns I’ve often wondered about the ubiquitous man-hole covers which were (according to the raised-letters on their surfaces) manufactured by the Neenah Foundry in Neenah, Wisconsin. Where did that name come from, and just where is Neenah?

According to to Wikipedia, Neenah was named for the Winnebago word for “water” or “running water”. An appropriate name, as Neenah is on the Fox River and it’s adjacent to two lakes:

The town is in East-Central Wisconsin.

I wanted to see the foundry from the air, so off I go to Google Maps again. The black foundry looks like it was added on to in a disorganized fashion over the past century; either that or it was lifted high into the air and then just dropped:

Neenah Foundry had some competition; occasionally I’ll see a man-hole cover manufactured by South Bend Foundry in South Bend, Indiana. In contrast to Neenah man-hole covers’ stylish trapezoidal grid background, South Bend used a prosaic square grid:

I wonder how these heavy cast-iron discs were transported? Probably on barges whenever possible. I would love to have been a witness to a load of them chugging by, looking like stacks of checkers!

Larry

10 comments on “Neenah Foundry

  1. Joan says:

    http://www.google.com/search?tbm=isch&hl=en&source=hp&biw=1024&bih=587&q=man+hole+covers&btnG=Search+Images&gbv=2&oq=man+hole+covers&aq=f&aqi=g-s1g-msx1&aql=&gs_sm=s&gs_upl=2162l5291l0l9292l15l15l0l0l0l0l222l2340l1.11.3l15
    Hope this link works but if it does not just hit google images and manhole covers.

    Am more intrigued with the decorative aspects of these cast iron beauties than the foundries from wench they are made ..but it is a fun Google trip. Thanks Larry.

  2. Larry says:

    Now those are some cool manhole covers, Joan! They make Neenah’s output seem rather plain, but they probably suit Quincy’s personality.

  3. Joan says:

    I think the Quincy manhole covers are well suited to Quincy, too Larry. A nice dependable grid, just like the streets there. When I Google Quincy, I’m amazed at house sensible and regular the streets seem to be compared to Hannibal’s which seem to fan out all directions stop and then take up again further on. . Of course, I’m only concentrating on the downtown area of Quincy. so that may not be a fair assessment.

  4. Joan says:

    http://abandonedhomesandgardens.blogspot.com/
    more pics of ironworks in IL. This blog is cool!

  5. Larry says:

    The high bluff upon which Quincy was built is remarkably flat and level. I’ve heard that some sort of eminence known as “Mt. Pisgah” was leveled early on.

  6. Joan says:

    Well now, I had to look up Pisgah, as it’s a word that sounds more like a dirty word than an actual location. Here’s the google

    “Pisgah in Hebrew refers to a “high place” like the top of a mountain or to a “cleft”. In translation, pisgah lost its meaning and became a mountain’s proper name instead of being a term describing a “high place” or ridge”. Thus the term refers to a geographic region; a collection of mountain summits.
    In Deuteronomy, God commanded Moses to climb up and view the Promised Land from Mount Nebo: “And Moses went up from the plains of Moab unto the mountain of Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, that is over against Jericho”

  7. Joan says:

    http://abandonedhomesandgardens.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2010-10-02T20%3A31%3A00-06%3A00&max-results=7
    More Quincy pics from a woman who likes faded signs on buildings. Has a good bridge picture also.

  8. Keri says:

    Good to see that it is not just those of us from Neenah that have interest in Neenah Foundry findings. You might enjoy a Facebook page that some of us who are originally from Neenah started just last week. Couldn’t help myself, had to link your blog post for our Fans!
    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Neenah-Foundry-Manhole-Covers/120389454718925

  9. Larry says:

    How cool to hear from someone who is actually from Neenah! I’ll check out that Facebook page, for sure.

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