J. J. Krehbiel & Co. Carriage Factory

128 E 6th Street

Newton, KS 67114

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J. J. Krehbiel came to Newton in September 1879, purchasing the Angood Blacksmith Shop at 128 E 6th. In 1883, he expanded the property for the purposes of constructing wagons and carriages. He sold the business in 1902 to his oldest son, Edgar. J. J. Krehbiel was born in Hamilton, Ohio, on May 3, 1838. He married Anna Leisy in Denmark, Iowa, on December 17, 1867. It was in Denmark when he began to work his trade of wagon making. Together, he and Anna would have seven children. The Krehbiels moved to Newton in September 1879. With partner George Epps, he purchased the Angood Blacksmith Shop located at 128 E 6th Street. He bought out Epps in 1883 and acted as sole owner. His range of offerings included carriages, buggies, farm and spring wagons, bicycles and a variety of wagon accessories and repair services. In 1885, Krehbiel built a two-story home on the corner lot. This home was demolished in the 1940s. The wrought iron fence that surrounds the park today was the original fencing that surrounded the home during the time the Krehbiels lived there. In addition to his carriage business, Krehbiel was also part of the founding of Bethel College, serving on the first board of directors and as president of the board, holding that position for 20 years. In 1903, Krehbiel sold the business to his eldest son, Edgar. In 1911, Edgar expanded the business reconstructing the building at 128 E 6th. According to the National Register of Historic Places nomination, "The new building was more than double the size of the 1883 building at 130 E 6th and contained large front windows that provided a showroom for his carriages and additional space to work on automobiles, which were rapidly replacing horse drawn vehicles. There is an engraved stone labeled 'J. J. Krehbiel 1911' on the second story facade in honor of Edgar's father. Edgar continued to make farm wagons, buggies, and carriages but expanded his business to service and repair automobiles until 1921." In 1921, Edgar sold the business to Arthur Symms and he moved with his family to Colorado for "family health reasons." J. J. Krehbiel died on March 11, 1921, at the age of 82. The buildings in which he operated his carriage business were purchased by his great-grandson, Fred Krehbiel, and donated to the Newton Fine Arts Association. Today the buildings are home to the Carriage Factory Art Gallery, which is a fitting reuse of the structure given that one of J. J. Krehbiel's sons, Albert Henry, became a well-known American artist who spent much of his career teaching at the Chicago Art Institute. Pieces of Albert's art are part of the gallery's permanent collection. The gallery is open to the public from noon to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and at other times for special events.

 

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