After the big fire at FMBA Elevator on July 10, 1957, they decided to sell, rather than to rebuild. (See my previous column for details).
On Oct. 14, 1957, Oberbeck Feed Co. purchased the land and remaining buildings of FMBA. Oberbeck originally built the tall elevator and offices. Other grain bins and buildings, which are there today, were added and are now known as Oberbeck Grain Co.
We will now go back in time to the start of the Grossenbacher Corn & Grist Mill at the east end of Highland, at the southwest corner of Main and Olive.
The history of this old mill starts with Jacob Grossenbacher, who began the business.
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“Jacob Grossenbacher’s son, Daniel, was the next owner, and by 1888 ran an advertisement in the German-language Highland newspaper that his corn flour could be found at Stamm & Siedler, merchants of Highland.”
Daniel Grossenbacher died Oct. 17, 1891, and the Highland News Leader Good Old Days column for 1892 reads: “The Grossenbacher Mill was offered for Public Sale.” (Thanks to Charles McKittrick Jr. of Washington, D.C., for this paragraph.)
I have been unable to find who purchased the Grossenbacher Mill at the sale, but later, Dr. William Michael, a veterinarian, was located at the southwest corner of Main and Olive. The next information that I have is for Oberbeck Feed Mill, which was at this same location.
“Henry Oberbeck and his wife, Minnie Gentry Oberbeck, were originally farmers in Missouri, then moved north of Highland, near New Douglas. Henry Oberbeck rented space for his feed store in Highland, in the same barn as Dr. William Michael, a veterinarian was located, at the southwest corner of Main and Olive. (The old building has been torn down and is now apartments.)
“The Henry Oberbeck family moved to Highland, and the Oberbeck Feed Mill at Main and Olive Street, was started by Henry Oberbeck. Later the two sons, Clarence and Edwin, worked for their father. They also had a feed store in O’Fallon before they purchased the business from their father, Henry, in 1945.
“Edwin Oberbeck operated the O’Fallon Mill and passed away later in 1945. Marian Suess Oberbeck, his widow, and their daughter, Janet, became partners with Clarence, until 1965. Clarence retired in 1970.”
Clarence’s son-in-law, Billy G. Sackett, had been their bookkeeper and took over management of the business before Clarence retired. Bill died from cancer on June 19, 2007, and his son-in-law, Robert Luitjohan, had taken over management of the business.
They discontinued the mill part of the business in 2005, changing the name to Oberbeck Grain Co. They are quite a landmark at 700 Walnut Street.
(Bill Sackett, in my Jan. 3, 2008 column, was “My hat is off to another Grand Guy of Highland,” which today I call “My Tip of the Hat” award.)
(Quotes from the 1912 Centennial History of Madison County, also Page 307 of the sesquicentennial book. Information also came from Charles McKittrick Jr. and Bob Luitjohan.)