March 27, 2010

Celebrating 175 years: Fish Bros. Wagon Company

By Gerald Karwowski

Racine Wisconsin was a manufacturing hub for wagons and carriages from around 1860s to early 1900s. There were three major Racine manufacturers that were giants in the wagon building business, Racine Wagon & Carriage Co., Mitchell & Lewis Co. and Fish Bros. Wagon Company. When automobiles took over Mitchell& Lewis Co. Converted to manufacturing cars and the other two companies went out of business.

Today we'll take a look at The Fish Bros. Wagon Company. Rather than a detailed history of the company we will share a few views of it. The Merchants Moving and Storage Company building still stands on State Street To remind us of our once proud wagon making heritage.

Photos courtesy of

The Fish Bros. Main Office building is now being used as the Main Office of 
Merchants Moving and Storage at 1215 State Street.

Company logo

One of the many fine wagons manufactured by Fish Bros.

Original Fish Bros. Building which was located directly across the street 
from Merchants Moving and Storage today.

Fish Bros. manufacturing plant which was located on the south west corner of State 
and Marquette streets in 1888.

Today, Merchants Moving and Storage Company occupies the former Fish Bros. building. Merchants was founded in 1922 by E.W. Eastman. Current President Jim Eastman is the third generation of his family to run the company. Jennifer Eastman, E.W. Eastman's great-granddaughter, is the company's controller.


  1. Doesn't the writer know the difference between then and than?

  2. Does Anonymous know how to be courteous?

  3. Actually, that was the editor's fault. It's fixed.

  4. I love these stories and photographs!

  5. Very nice. I always wondered about that building.

  6. I found this Fish story believable. On a scale of one to ten, I rate it a ten. It was a reel keeper. It is not every day, something like this story comes down the pike. A younger writer, someone still green around the gills, could never have pulled this off. You had me hook, line and sinker. I know many feel I troll these threads, but I cast myself off as a true fan of this type of journalism.

  7. I love the history lessons, thanks jerry!

  8. Pics of old Racine and the history are great. Thank you.

  9. When automobiles took over Mitchell& Lewis Co. Converted to manufacturing cars and the other two companies went out of business.

    You mean government wasn't there to bail them out. Why not?

  10. Looks like Racine had some major industries a hundred years ago.

    What the hell happened to them??

  11. Well sir, what happened, if you haven't noticed is people stopped using wagons.