View of the Past: Old Stove Foundry on East State Street in 1941

(Contributed by Brian Keller, O’Fallon Historical Society)

This week’s view is a rather spooky one of the old stove foundry that once stood off of Betty Lane, just south across the railroad tracks from the O’Fallon Township building on East State Street.  The photo was probably taken in 1941 at about the time the property was purchased by Independent Engineering Co.  The foundry was established in 1896 by William G. Willard and turned out cooking stoves and, in later years, heaters.  Originally known as the Willard Steel Range Co., it later operated as Eureka Steel Range Co. and then Eureka Products Corp.  The Depression hit the company hard and it ended up liquidating in 1941.  The photo was taken in front of the wooden bridge leading to the foundry, looking south.  The building on the right was the Willard home.  The smokestack actually belonged to the foundry, even though it looks like it’s coming out of the house.