McCray Manufacturing Fire Reveals History

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People in northeast Indiana have already heard of the fire at the old McCray factory in Kendallville, which took half a day to control and came closer than most people realize to taking out part of the city's historic downtown. The fire burned so hot that it was actually visible on local weather radars, and eighteen fire departments were called in to fight it. (For you big city folk, that would be about five alarms.) Over the course of the night, they extinguished two other roof fires and patrolled downwind as sparks and flying brands dropped over the whole city.


Ah, but you're not in northeast Indiana (and probably don't care, but what the heck). I guess what I'm saying is, it was a big fire. Here's Noble County Sheriff Department video from the day after:


And here's a report on the fire from the Fort Wayne TV station, WPTA21 (That's the same station that interviewed me twice after book releases):


And here's the Kendallville News-Sun article on it:


 The building was huge--much bigger than you could tell from driving down Main street--and mostly out of use for some years. That's too bad, too, because it was once a large part of the Kendallville economy, and manufactured refrigerators that went out across the world. Donations from the McCray family led to, among many other things, the local Lakeside Hospital being named after them, until it eventually became Parkview Noble Hospital. So, the company was obviously successful and influential for many years. All because of ... meat. 


I got to thinking about it after the fire, and remembered the building was represented in our book Images of America: Albion and Noble County. Just for fun, instead of finding the photo I actually took a picture of the book page itself:




As you can see from the caption, the McCrays were simply selling their meat and poultry products, and got so successful at it that they were having trouble keeping their products fresh. So ... why not just invent a refrigerator of their own? They did that, getting a patent in 1882, and in 1890 founded the McCray Refrigeration Co. The result was over 300,000 square feet of manufacturing space.


McCray was for decades the biggest manufacturer of commercial refrigerators, anywhere, and its jobs supported a third of Kendallville's population. Founder Elmer McCray's daughter married an heir to the Coca-Cola fortune, and when Elmer McCray died in 1938 his body had a police escort, with thousands attending his funeral.


All gone, now. Although ... not quite. To this day, you can still buy a Howard-McCray commercial refrigerator.


Pardero Added Jun 7, 2018 - 3:29pm
Mark Hunter,
Peculiarly, my 'like' and comment didn't show up, so here is another attempt.
I don't recall exactly what I wrote, but I suspect that it was topical, timely, and brilliant.
Such a shame that these old buildings can't be updated and re-purposed, instead of decaying into ruin. I am pleased that the E.&E. Weber building, named after some distant ancestors, is still standing in Baker City, Oregon.
MEFOBILLS Added Jun 7, 2018 - 4:06pm
Such a shame that these old buildings can't be updated and re-purposed, instead of decaying into ruin
Pardero, there is a type of economics that does exactly that... it preserves buildings.
Georgist economics has taxes on land site value.  Site value is site of location, not what is on the site.
For example, if you own a piece of land that is undeveloped, but say near times square in New York, then its site value will be much higher than an equivalent piece of land in rural Noble County.
If you build equivalent buildings on Noble land, and also on Times Square land, then the site value of each property is still related to the the what is "around" the location i.e. its site value.  It is people that want to be in that area, thus bidding up prices, that make for site value.
Georgist site value taxation principles cause people to improve buildings because taxes don't go up.  Taxes only go up if everybody around you is also improving.  People are free to improve buildings, and live in them without being penalized.  Warehouse buildings are soon turned into apartments or destinations.  City centers become similar in tax structure to rural property, but later if everybody is congregating, then the site value will increase.
America's poorly thought out tax schemes allow all improvement to property to be taxed.  Income taxes as well are regressive - so that is a double negative.  
Whenever you see fires like this, or you see absentee landlords, then you know that there is improper economics at hand.  Very high land/building  prices (so the absentee landlord can buy low and sell high), low taxes on the land, and absentee landlords is the sign of economic cancer.
These sort of improper taxation schemes, to untax the land, is so that bankers can create new bank money against real-estate.
70% of all new debt instruments are against land, to then create bank credit.  This then pushes housing prices.  
The price of a building is determined by the bidding process - those who are most willing to go into debt. 
Fiscal Policy (taxation) and monetary policy (money creation) are flip sides of the same thing. 
MEFOBILLS Added Jun 7, 2018 - 4:16pm
70% is against new housing and land combined.  When people take out a mortgage, they include the land and the house together.
Georgist taxes are aimed only at the land component i.e. the site value.  
If the taxes are high on land site value because it is a desirable site location, then the ability to bid up this property in price is constrained.
Likewise, if a rural property has a bidding process, then it won't be bid up too high because it has lower site value.
Another factor would be to use banking trusts like they did in Canada.  Anybody taking out a loan would have to borrow from a saver.  This is the borrowing of existing money.   A trust creditor is loaning out his savings and thus would be less likely to allow his money to go toward a usurious scheme.
Banksters have off-loaded risk with all kinds of schemes..  Privatize the gains and socialize the losses.  
Pardero Added Jun 7, 2018 - 4:29pm
That is absolutely fascinating!
I am saddened and angered that we don't use the Georgist taxation method.
It seems to have profound beneficial ramifications for conservation and environmentalism, not to mention tradition.
I cannot understand why more people, a hell of a lot smarter than me, do not question why we must accept the cancer in our present system.
I am sincerely thankful for such an informative and valuable post. 
MEFOBILLS Added Jun 7, 2018 - 4:48pm
Georgist economics came from Henry George, a self trained economist.   So, his mind wasn't shackled with educated incompetence.
George watched the railroad land-barons.  The barons would buy up all the land around the railroad depots.  
Site value of the depots would go up because it drew in "people."  
The people were cooks, maids, trades-men, and all sort of humanity, whose labor improved the site value.
The "barons" would have their site value increase through NO ACTION on their part.  In other words, they sat on the asses, while the action of "others" improved the site value.
Getting rich in your sleep is not part of Georgist doctrine.  Henry George saw how the barons became an Oligarchy of monopolists, who almost derailed and overturned the great American experiment.
Site value taxation understands that it is the tradesmen, truckers, workers and general labor who increase site value.
Pardero Added Jun 7, 2018 - 5:19pm
Although I have little education, I am struck by your considerable education, that reinforces my idea of fairness and true opportunity in an economic system.
Someday, I wouldn't be surprised if either of us was attacked as a 'socialist,' by some fanatical neo-feudal crony 'capitalist.'
I rely on your erudition on subjects that I have little knowledge or comprehension, and have been accused of having a 'handler,' which troubles me not. I knew you from Zerohedge, where I rarely post, anymore, as the character, Vic and Blood.
MEFOBILLS Added Jun 7, 2018 - 5:45pm
I don't know who Vic and Blood is?  I go by Mefobills on ZH.  Same name.
Mefobills were a source of money that Hitler used to rebuild Germany.  Mefobills appeal to me because they are credit at first, then they convert to general demand (money) after goods are created.
Also, when the credit is converted to money, they are non-usurious.  Money sources outward from Reichsbank to discount (pay off) the Mefobill, so the holder of a Mefobill gets money and even extra money in the form of interest.  Interest flows outward toward the population, and not inward toward banksters.    
Mefobills could be used to rebuild the U.S., return industry to the U.S. and pay off private debts.  Channeling of purchasing power is an important variable in economics, not fully comprehended by economists.
It was already done in history, but this history has been obscured purposefully.  
MEFOBILLS Added Jun 7, 2018 - 5:46pm
Oh I get it.... you are Vic and Blood.  See I'm actually a little slow on the uptake.
MEFOBILLS Added Jun 7, 2018 - 5:58pm
Henry George also created the Monopoly game.   It was his way of popularizing his concepts.  
Note that in Monopoly, the banker is not allowed to play.   In real life, the banker is a private corporation, and is allowed to play, and even favor certain sectors of the economy or his cronies.  
You don't get to just own the rail-roads, you get to be like Rockefeller and convince banks to give you credit to control what oil flows on the tracks and can make it to market.  Rockefeller also made sure that competitors could not get their oil to market, or take out loans from his "tied" Morgan banks.  Morgan in turn was revealed to be a Rothschild agent.
The secret Cabal that Woodrow Wilson was so afraid of, are these people.  
In history this secret cabal are sometimes called the "300."  
MEFOBILLS Added Jun 7, 2018 - 6:04pm
Someday, I wouldn't be surprised if either of us was attacked as a 'socialist,' by some fanatical neo-feudal crony 'capitalist.
Libertarian economics like that espoused by A Jones is crony capitalism.  Libertarian economics makes a God of markets.  Rockefeller was happy to lend his support to Mises, and offered him succor and shelter.  
The best way is to just call out these predators as ass-holes, or morally repugnant people.  Sometimes they are just plain ignorant dupes and are unwilling to admit they were duped.  
Pardero Added Jun 7, 2018 - 6:22pm
Ahhh. Monopoly! Eureka! I thought I knew that name from somewhere.
The bank serves industry, business, and the people, impartially and without usury or cronyism.
Wilson was a failure. Teddy took on the robber barons and got his ass kicked. He was a Germanaphobe war monger, anyway, and it is appropriate that it cost him a son, later.
Pardero Added Jun 7, 2018 - 6:34pm
Mark Hunter,
Thank you for your tolerance and hospitality. Good work here! 
We we try to crash someone else's place, next time, in order to spread ourselves around to everyone except the neocons, of course. ; )
Thank you for the correspondence. I will be rolling, shortly. Take care, and don't be a stranger.
MEFOBILLS Added Jun 7, 2018 - 6:36pm
Actually Teddy was recalled from retirement by the Bull Moose party.
Bull Moose was funded into existence by financial interests.
The idea was for Teddy to split the ticket away from Taft.
A quick history lesson:  Taft was a popular Republican who was against crony capitalist like Aldrich, and the Aldrich Ammendment.  This amendment was the fore-runner of Federal Reserve Act.
So, the election of 1912 was a psy-op on the general population, that included paying off of magazine editors, punking Teddy out of retirement, to then get their man Woodrow into office.
Woodrow was compromised by our Zionist friends.  Zionism in turn is funded by Rothschild banking interests.  
Sorry, but Illuminism is very real, and they are very good at duping populations by controlling narratives.  This in-group has thousands of years of group evolutionary methods honed to perfection.  
Psy-ops on money and what it is... this goes to the core of their group evolutionary construct.  They must make usury to fund their nefarious activities.   It is the core pillar.  
Woodrow was compromised because he was screwing a fellow professors wife.  
opher goodwin Added Jun 7, 2018 - 6:58pm
Mark - what's your take as a firefighter on Grenfell?
Mark Hunter Added Jun 8, 2018 - 12:06am
I'm with you, Pardero -- my most recent comment also vanished into thin air, and had to be replaced by something completely unbrilliant.
There were plans to repurpose the building, but they were running into the problem of it being so huge. No one company could use the whole thing, and it was difficulty to divide up in any way.
Mark Hunter Added Jun 8, 2018 - 12:29am
I'd imagine the site value of this particular land was pretty low, Mefobills. The city of Kendallville on the whole is coming back nicely, but the area immediately around that property was not. At this point it had been unoccupied for so long that it was basically sucking value away from all the surrounding properties, so its for the best now that it'll be bulldozed, and maybe something done with the land--but at one time, decades ago, it would have been the most valuable property in town. It's too bad that value wasn't continued.
I'm not up on Georgist economics (well, I'm more up on it now), but its an interesting idea.
Mark Hunter Added Jun 8, 2018 - 12:39am
opher, the Grenfell tower is a perfect example of the power of the building construction industry over fire protection interests. Modern construction could be done in such a way to reduce civilian and firefighter deaths to almost zero, and greatly decrease property damage; but those techniques would increase construction costs, so that industry's lobbies vigorously oppose them. Keep in mine that with the addition of mandatory fire sprinklers in all buildings, billions of dollars of damage could be prevented--damage that has to be repaired with money going to ... the construction industry.
In other words, they're complacent (along with the governments they lobby) in the deaths of tens of thousands. I'm not an armchair fire chief, so I won't say anything about specifics of the Grenfell fire, but the construction material failures are pretty obvious. A properly maintained sprinkler system and better building materials would by themselves have prevented the tragedy.
MEFOBILLS Added Jun 8, 2018 - 12:42am
The sucking of value from surrounding areas would LOWER the site value of said surrounds.  That then means surrounding lands would be taxed lower, and said surrounds would have buildings, plant, and infrastructure improved tax free.  
It needs to be repeated, that Georgist taxation does not tax building improvements, only the site value.
It wouldn't take too long before the eyesore sucking value would have been recognized for investment.  The surrounding people who had improved their areas, and created "energy and economy" would be eyeing the eyesore property and assessing what they could do with it. 
All of the foot traffic and energy and investment into improvements would make the area desirable.  The current tax system penalizes those who make improvements on plant, equipment, and infrastructure.
Even tearing something down to rebuild does not change the site value of that particular property.  
Mark Hunter Added Jun 8, 2018 - 1:15am
Yes, the site value on surrounding property would lower in that case, which is what I thought I said. In any case it's not too hard to understand the basic idea of Georgist taxation, which is more than you can say for many other taxation ideas. That by itself makes it worth looking at.
MEFOBILLS Added Jun 8, 2018 - 1:29am
Yes, in the current scheme the surrounding areas are lowered in taxes.
I know I'm belaboring a point you already understand, but it might help some of the other readers.
In a Georgist scheme, the surrounding landowners are allowed to improve their sites tax free.  They are not penalized when they invest in their factories or homes.  They continue to pay only site value taxes.
Eventually this acts something like an oil slick.  It spreads to the "eyesore" and covers it.  The eyesore is taxed at site value, and improvements are allowed tax free.  
Pardero Added Jun 8, 2018 - 2:50am
I like it. Less revenue for gov, but areas get improved by the free market.
MEFOBILLS Added Jun 8, 2018 - 3:32am
What is untaxed becomes pledged to the banker in the form debt creation (the bidding process).  The interest on this then points at the banker.
Example:  People bid on the Noble property with the scheme to turn it into apartments.  The winner of the bidding takes on the most debt.  He passes his debt costs onto his new renters.  Renters then pay the landlord, and said landlord then passes it to the banker.  Winner - the banker who get interest payments.  The Landlord who gets to take accelerated depreciation on the building.  Losers:  The government who loses out on revenue, and laboring renters who pay high prices.
Example from Latvia:
Russian Ripoff
 In Latvia there’s a set of flat taxes on employment that add up to 59% of the wage budget and there’s only a 1% tax on the value of property. So here you have money going into real estate which is untaxed – people will borrow against it – and instead of the government getting this rental value which is created by nature and by the community building roads and infrastructure the banks get it and the government has turn to somewhere else to tax – namely on to employment.
opher goodwin Added Jun 8, 2018 - 6:06am
Mark - thanks for that. That's my take too. Cost cutting is prevalent. I'm glad someone with your experience agrees.
Mark Hunter Added Jun 9, 2018 - 12:43am
opher, if the construction industry would get on board, I wouldn't have had to go through so many experiences.

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