Milestones

The Business: David G. Yuengling Sr. left Germany in 1823 with a plan to start a brewery in the United States. He settled in Pottsville, Pa., a coal-mining community, and got to work. The company, launched in 1829 as the Eagle Brewery, produced two styles of beer: a dark porter and the lighter Lord Chesterfield Ale, which are still brewed by Yuengling’s descendants today.

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The Business: In 1898, Edward Dickinson Bullard founded the E.D. Bullard Co. in San Francisco to provide gold and silver miners with carbide lamps and other equipment they needed to stake a claim in the West.

When second-generation member Edward W. Bullard returned from World War I, he was inspired by the “doughboy” helmet soldiers wore overseas.

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The Business: James F. Gallagher Sr., a native of Chicago’s South Side who didn’t make it past fifth grade, began selling liquid asphalt after “working here and there in sales,” says his grandson Patrick Gallagher, 48. “One thing led to another, and he bought some old parts for a plant,” taking out a second mortgage on his house to fund the purchase, says Patrick. Gallagher Asphalt Corporation was established on June 5, 1928. The company opened its first plant in Chicago in 1932.

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The Business: Ralph Gorrill, who had a degree in engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, was working on road and bridge projects for the state in the Durham, Calif., area. In 1918, he acquired about 2,400 acres from the Stanford University Trust, which was selling sections of what was then known as the Stanford-Durham ranch. The land, renamed the Gorrill Ranch, had been used for pasture and for growing wheat.

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The Business: Diego (“Dick”) Papalia immigrated to Ottawa, Ontario, from Italy in 1952. He started out doing odd jobs and then left the area to study music in New York City. After he returned to Ottawa, he performed professionally on the accordion and taught accordion lessons. In 1966, as the accordion declined in popularity, he got a job selling pianos for the Heintzman Piano Company.

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The Business: There are a lot of Is to dot and Ts to cross if you’re transporting goods across the border between the United States and Canada. Customs broker Willson International has helped importers and exporters for 100 years.

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The Business: Gustav Nottberg established Nottberg Iron and Machine Works in Kansas City, Mo., in 1893, several years after immigrating to the United States from Cologne, Germany. Nottberg had opened a one-man machine shop in his native country in 1855.

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The Business: Arthur (“Art”) Kroetch, a native South Dakotan with an eighth-grade education, started working for farmers and ranchers and then opened a junkyard and repair shop. To keep busy between repair jobs, he began making a cattle oiler, a device that applies insecticide on the animals’ skin. He later shifted to making and selling gates, chutes and corral panels for use on farms.

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The Business: Jakob Nunnemacher (1819-1876), a master butcher, emigrated from Switzerland to the United States in 1841 and arrived in Milwaukee in 1843. He opened a meat market and prospered by selling specialty cuts of meat to Swiss and German immigrants. In 1854, he used his profits to buy land and began raising his own cattle. Eventually, he got the idea to use the slops from his feeding operation to start a distillery and liquor distribution business.

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The Business: The Verdin family came to the United States from the Alsace region of France around 1830 and settled in Cincinnati. Two of the seven siblings, Francis de Sales Verdin and Michael Verdin, were skilled in iron forging and clock making and began producing and repairing tower clocks. They installed their first tower clock, at Old St. Mary’s Church in Cincinnati, in 1842. The Verdins soon expanded into repairing bell-ringing equipment and then began manufacturing the equipment.

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