Eighty-year-old foundry offices demolished Monday

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The 80-year-old offices of the Progressive Foundry, a fixture on First Avenue since before they tore up the tracks, were demolished Monday as part of the company’s multi-phase $1.8 million factory expansion plan.

With new and larger offices now in operation at Second and Bateman streets, along with more space for staff, a larger lunch room, a training center and locker rooms/showers for both men and women, the old offices at First and Rawson had outlived their usefulness.

The 103-year-old Perry business produces cast iron products for agriculture and industry and employs about 100 workers.

Richard Tietgen of Chicago founded the Progressive Foundry in 1918, making castings for both of Perry’s washing machine factories in the basement of the At Last Washer Co. on First Avenue between Rawson Street and the Chicago, Milwaukee ad St. Paul Railroad tracks.

The company recently built a 14,000-square-foot connector building along Rawson Street that crosses Second Street and links the existing plant with the former Wiese building number four. In the longer term, the foundry foresees building another 22,000-square-foot structure where one Quonset hut now stand at Third and Bateman streets.

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