[Kansas City, MO]: [Verne O. Williams, Photographer], .
Flexible leather album, 8 x 11 inches (oblong), stamped in gilt on cover "National Biscuit Co's Plant / Kansas City MO. / George A. Fuller Construction Co. Builders / A.G. Zimmerman Architect." Contains 38 linen-backed gelatin silver prints, 7.25" x 9.25", many dated, and many ink-stamped on the back "Verne O. Williams, Commercial Photographer." Spine partially perished, a few photos with minor defects, overall very good. The National Biscuit Company (now Nabisco) was formed in 1898, through a merger of the American Biscuit and Manufacturing Company, the New York Biscuit Company, and the United States Baking Company. Over the next few decades, the brand grew significantly, and bakeries were constructed across the United States--most designed by A.G. Zimmerman, who became the company's staff architect in 1901. A notice in the September 26, 1910, issue of Industrial World announced that the company would "take bids at once for the construction of a seven-story 108 x 200 feet brick, steel, and hollow tile main building (fireproof) and a two-story, 50 x 108 feet stable." The contract wes awarded to the George A. Fuller Company, a prominent Chicago construction firm credited with creating the modern concept of a general contractor. Construction began at once (in mid-October), and this album documents the entire process--from empty lot to completed factory. It shows the ground being graded and excavated with equipment still pulled by horses, men digging holes and inserting casts for concrete footings, the gradual erection of the steel framework with cranes, and the addition of walls of wood and brick. The last photo, dated May 6, 1911, shows what appears to be the finished building, still with construction debris lying about. By September, the National Biscuit Company's newest, and largest, factory was open for business. The building later became a warehouse for the Stuart Hall stationery company. In 2004, it was renovated and converted to 127 residential loft spaces; but the original, massive brick ovens remain.