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George P. Beck, Sr.’s Story

Mr. Beck came to this city in 1856 and at once engaged with the firm of Hosford and Miller, then operating a saw mill with a number of other interests. He continued in this George P. Beck, Sr. was born in Bavaria on Jan. 20, 1833. In 1837, when he was just four years old, his family emigrated to America. They landed at Baltimore on June 7, 1837. His father found work helping to build the James River canal in Virginia. This was the first canal ever built in this country.
George P Beck's PhotoThen George’s family moved to Salina, Ohio, where his father helped to build a large reservoir. Then the family moved to Dayton, Ohio. George considered Dayton his original home because he was a very young boy when his family moved to America. It was in Dayton that he got his start in business and got married. It was also in Dayton that he married to Miss Albertina Shuler in 1853. They became the parents of eight children.

George and Albertina moved to Waterloo in 1856. At first he was employed at the Hosford and Miller Saw Mill. Three years later he was able to start his own saw mill. At the same time he partnered with Mr. D. Kruse in the boot and shoe business. Now he had two businesses.

Soon he met Henry and John Nauman. In December of 1864, they formed a company named Beck, Nauman & Bro. They expanded the saw milling business to produce windows and other wood products for the home and business. Later the business would be called the Nauman Company. It became one of the best known sash and window companies in the country.

The Nauman Company, circa 1900

George was a good businessman and had done well with the saw mill and the shoe business. In 1867 he purchased a woolen mill. He wanted to expand this new company, and he built a four-story woolen mill near Bridge Street in Waterloo. But this business didn’t work out as well as the saw mill and the shoe business. In fact, nearly everything he earned from the operation of the saw mill had to be spent to support the woolen mill. So the woolen mill was closed after four years of operation.

Waterloo Woolen Mill and Bridge

He invested in real estate as well and owned both business and residential property. George P. Beck, Sr., a former pioneer, came to become one of the leading businessmen in Waterloo.

Source: Based upon newspaper article dated January 18, 1909



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