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Edward Peter Eberhard


Posted By: Reid R. Johnson (email)
Date: 6/14/2014 at 19:14:06

Clayton County Register, Centennial Edition, July 1936.

Eberhard's Many Business Ventures Profit Community.

Guttenberg Man Keeps An Eye To The Future, An Ear To The Ground.

"In 20 years from now kids will be running around in flying machines rather than automobiles", says Ed. P. Eberhard, Guttenberg contractor and business man since the turn of the century. It is his belief that the next quarter century will see a greater and more rapid improvement than the last.

Recalling the good old days in the not to distant past, when a horse and buggy was a luxury enjoyed by only a few of the younger fellows courting their sweethearts, Mr. Eberhard observed that a good many of the boys of today have their own automobiles and "half the cars they build now aren't fast enough for these young fellows."

In regard to the dam and the prospects of river traffic, Mr. Eberhard seems confident that Guttenberg has a good chance to make a comeback as a shipping point. "River traffic is sure coming," he said. "It has everywhere else in older countries." Population in this territory right now is too small to support large river traffic, but a growth in population will see the same growth in this form of transportation. The day will come when coal, machinery and other heavy articles will be barged in here for half the railroad freight rate that we pay now, he believes.

Mr. Eberhard's parents came here from Littleport in the early days of Guttenberg, where he was born in 1871. He has been working since he was 15 years old, and since 1901 has proved his worth in the lumbering and butter-tub businesses, and as a contractor. Some years he has employed as high as 100 to 125 teams in the building work alone, thus contributing considerably to the employment and welfare of the people of his community. When questioned concerning his achievements, he says he doesn't feel he has done anything out of the ordinary. "Anyone else would have done the same thing."

In 1900 Mr. Eberhard decided he wanted a business of his own, so he started a hardwood saw mill. His men would cut the timber in the winter and let it lie on the shore north of here until the ice went out in the spring, and then float the logs down to the mill. They would saw several million feet of lumber a year, and the whole prairie around the mill would be full of it. Most of his lumber was sold to furniture factories and box factories, and some of it was used for crating.

About 12 years ago Mr. Eberhard observed a market for butter tubs and set up a plant to manufacture ash tubs, running it in connection with his lumber business. They made several thousand of them the first year. He soon after dropped the lumber business, and later, because of a change in demand from ash to spruce tubs, he let that business go also.

More than 25 years ago Mr. Eberhard started building wing dams and hauling stone for the government on the river. He was contracted for and built well over 50 wing dams in his period of service and hauled rock for many more that the government built itself. He has delivered rock for the government as far south as Savanna. He has been able to keep his men employed the year around on dam construction by working from barges in the summer time and then working through the ice in the winter in spots to shallow for barges. He has always made it a point to have another job to go to before the current job is finished, thus keeping his men constantly employed.

In the last few years the government has practically ceased building wing dams, and Mr. Eberhard has switched to the building of culverts and bridges.

In spite of his many years in service, Mr. Eberhard says he still feels like tackling as big a task as ever. He is now assisted by his son who has grown into the business since he was a boy.


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