Dayton Last Block

Slides 114 - 118

1.  When the white pine was no longer abundant, there was hardwood to be harvested.  In 1894, the Dayton Last Block Company from Dayton , Ohio took advantage of this natural resource and built a factory in Gaylord where they shaped wooden forms called lasts.  These were used in the manufacture of leather shoes.

2.  The hardwoods - maple, beech, and birch - were logged and brought to the plant which was located on South Otsego Avenue along the Michigan Central railroad tracks.

3.  These logs were cut into blocks, kiln dried, roughly shaped into lasts, and then shipped by rail to shoe manufactures all over the country.  It could be said that Gaylord was the center of supply for this particular industry.

4.  For 36 years, the factory played an important role in the local economy.  It was a big operation and employed a large number of people.

5.  Frank Shipp - a prominent Gaylord citizen - was the manager or superintendent of the plant.  Old timers often tell about how they burned wagon loads of defective last blocks in their kitchen stoves.  The plant ceased operations in 1930.