Jacob Van Duren

Page 351 - 352 - Jacob Van Duren is a scion of the sterling Holland Dutch element of citizenship that has been so worthily concerned with the development and progress of Michigan, but he is not a representative of the Michigan pioneer ancestry of this fine old stock. He himself was born in Holland, where he received his rudimentary education, and he was a lad of eleven years when, in 1884, he accompanied his parents, John and Johanna (Fonze) Van Duren on their voyage to the United States. In that year the family home was established in Grand Rapids, and here the subject of this review was reared to manhood. In the year 1888 the late John Van Duren engaged, on a small scale, in the manufacturer of brooms, and to this enterprise he here gave his attention two years. Thereafter he followed other pursuits until 1893, when he resumed the manufacturing of brooms, in a small building on Elizabeth street. At that period all of the work was done by hand and he retained a force of four or five employees, the little establishment turning out an average of about fifty dozen brooms weekly and the trade being almost entirely of local order. John Van Duren continued as the executive head of the business until his death, in 1900, and his son, Jacob, then assumed the management of the enterprise, which in the meanwhile had grown to be one of large scope and important order. Jacob Van Duren purchased the interests of the other heirs, and forthwith set to himself the task of enlarging the business and conducting the same according to modern and progressive methods. He erected a small factory building at 1342 Turner avenue, and with modern facilities the output capacity of the factory was greatly increased. After the expiration of eleven years the business had so increased that large quarters became essential Thus, in 1910, Mr. Van Duren erected a larger and more substantial building, at the corner of Webster and Front streets. There he installed the best modern machinery and accessories, so that each of his several employes was able to turn out a much greater amount of work. In 1919 the factory was removed to larger and more eligible quarters on Erie street, where the second and third floors of a building were utilized. In the meanwhile Mr Van Duren was constantly on the outlook for a permanent and more commodious plat, and in 1922 he purchased his present large and modern building, at the corner of Front and First streets. He expended $18,000 in the remodeling and equipping of this building, which affords an aggregate floor space of 22,000 square feet, and here the production has been increased until the output varies from fifty to seventy-five dozen brooms a day, while the corps of employes now average sixteen persons. The industry has become one of most successful order and the trade extends throughout Michigan, as well as into northern Indiana and into parts of Illinois. In the manufacturing the best broom-corn of central Illinois is utilized, and the product is insistently kept up to the highest grade. Mr. Van Duren has thus become one of the substantial and representative business men of the city that has been his home since his boyhood and to which his loyalty is of the highest order. Mr. Van Duren was born in Zeeland, of the Netherlands, in 1873, and was an infant at the time of the family removal to the city of Amsterdam, where his early education was received in the parochial schools of the Dutch Reformed church, his studies having been so continued until he came with his parents to the United States, as already noted. In Grand Rapids he was able to attend school only at brief intervals, and he was still a boy when he found employment at the factory of the Michigan Barrel Company, where he remained two years and give his attention principally to the making of boxes for grease. He was next employed by the McCord & Bradfield Furniture Company, and in this connection he served an apprenticeship in the wood-carving shop. He continued to follow this trade until 1900, when he assumed charge of the broom factory, upon the death of his father. Mr. Van Duren is a Republican in politics, is affiliated with the Masonic fraternity, including the local commandery of Knights Templar, and he and his wife are communicants of the Reformed Church of America. Mr. Van Duren married Miss Millie Nix, daughter of Frederick Nix, of Hoard City, Michigan, she having been born in Germany and having come with her parents to the United States in the year 1855.

Transcriber: Terry Start
Created: 4 March 2003
URL: http://kent.migenweb.net//white1924/personal/vandurenj.html