Century Corporation: What’s in a name?
By Kris Leonhardt
Part III in a series
November of 1934 signaled the end of an era for the Marshfield Milling company.
Following eight months of illness, the company’s president, H.C. Koenig, had appeared to improve in health and his family became hopeful. But, Thanksgiving morning would hit hard for the family, as the 68-year-old Marshfield businessman and former city clerk passed away at his home at 411 S. Maple Street.
Upon H.C.’s passing, his son, Walter, was appointed general manager, as well as secretary/treasurer of the company.
Walter was better known as “Prince” to the Marshfield area, a fitting moniker for a member of the Koenig family – a surname synonymous with “king.”
In 1936, Prince was named vice president, with his mother, Frances, continuing in the role of president. Another Koenig son, Robert, was then named secretary/treasurer.
In the summer of 1936, the company constructed a new warehouse and garage just west of its main building, measuring 150 feet by 40 feet and 16 feet high. The remainder of the facility was also touched up with a fresh coat of paint.
At that time, Marshfield Milling was producing animal and poultry feeds and minerals.
In the 1940s, the company also became a wholesaler for building supplies.
In January 1960, the company was honored as Marshfield’s sixth “Firm of the Year” at the fifth annual Marshfield Industry Appreciation Night. The Marshfield Area Chamber of Commerce & Industry continues to honor a company each year to this date.
In 1966, land was purchased on East Fourth Street in the town of Marshfield. On that property, a large warehouse was built to carry a more diverse selection of products.
The next decade brought a wild bird seed manufacturing plant to the property and the company expanding to wild bird seed and outdoor feed supplies. The company also added farming, gardening, and landscaping tools, seed, and fertilizer. The company added pet supplies as well.
The building materials division carried a full line of materials and hardware.
Six salespeople sold products that were delivered weekly to customers through a fleet of nearly a dozen trucks that traveled a 150-mile radius of Marshfield.
Business was going well for the home-grown company, but an incident on Oct. 6, 1977 would present the company’s next challenge.
Next week: A minor setback