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Although Elias Atkins was primarily seen as a saw man, he also branched out into mining, joining with other investors in 1877 to establish the Hecla Consolidated Mining Company of Indianapolis.
The company developed silver, copper and lead mines in Montana, where Atkins and his family moved in 1879 so he could run the mines and restore his health in the rugged mountain air.
Elias continued his lay work in the Baptist Church, which he had joined when he first arrived in Indianapolis in 1856.
A friend of education, Atkins had helped fund Baptist Female Seminary, which was located on the northeast corner of Michigan and Pennsylvania Street.
Some years after Atkins’ death, historian Jacob Piatt Dunn wrote that Atkins’ success was founded upon his “unlimited courage, ability, and determination.” I was not familiar with either E. Atkins or his saw factory when I started researching this article. Atkins story, I found that the real horror lay in the fact that downtown Indianapolis was once home to the largest saw factory in the world In 1903, E. Atkins & Company expanded its footprint in downtown Indianapolis when it acquired the Manufacturers’ Building and Power Company on South Illinois Street.
I had seen some saw-shaped promotional items for Atkins’ company sell recently on ebay, and thought it would be fun to write about saws this week, given the starring role that saws have played in many recent Halloween horror flicks. Parry Cart Works had previously occupied the site, but was relocating to West Indianapolis.
After the building burned in 1857, he moved his sawmaking operation to the old city foundry, which was destroyed by fire in 1859.
He was a shrewd but honest businessman who was not afraid to take risks.
Farmers and loggers cut hardwood for firewood, timber for Railroad Ties, softwood pulpwood for the paper mills, and timber for building on their farms.
I am not an expert at all, but I have cleaned it up and used it to cut some Box Elder.
Shortly after Atkins returned to Indianapolis, he and his family moved to a massive mansion on the northwest corner of 13th and Meridian.
Sarah Atkins threw herself back into with local club activities, holding office at one time or another in every club in which she was a member, including a stint as president of the Indianapolis Women’s Club.