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George Bollenbacher

From Bloomingpedia

George Bollenbacher (June 17, 1825 - ?) was the owner of a Bloomington wagon spoke factory in the late 19th century.

Born in Bavaria, Bollenbacher emigrated with his parents and his brother Peter Bollenbacher in 1832. Learning the trade of shoemaking, he opened a shoe shop in Bloomington around 1846.

In 1848, he married the former Margaret Shawver, daughter of early Monroe County settler Christopher Shawver, and they had thirteen children: Lizzie, George W., Mary, Kate, Julia, Martin C., William P., Caroline, Sallie, Samuel N., Jacob I. and Fannie.

Along with his shoe store, Bollenbacher opened a tannery in 1859 and, in 1874, he purchased a third of a wagon spoke factory owned by Howe Ryors and George P. Bollenbacher. A few years later, Ryors sold his share and the firm became known as Bollenbacher & Sons. The firm thrived, employing as many as eighty men, opening branches in Gosport and Guthrie, and turning out 13,000 spokes a day.

One of his descendants was Chicago architect Carlisle Bollenbacher, who designed the First Christian Church among other buildings.