Saturday, March 16, 2013

400 King Street - Shragge Warehouse

Schragge Iron and Metals

Place: Shragge Warehouse
Address: 400 King Street (Map)
Constructed: 1913
Cost: $35,000
Architect: James Chisholm and Son
Contractor: A J Bonnett and Bros.

The Shragges, November 1933, Winnipeg Tribune

Benjamin** Shragge was born in Austria on December 18, 1861 and came to Winnipeg in June 1884. He was followed by his wife Sylvia the following year. Soon after arriving, he got into the scrap business.

The first business listing for Shragge can be found in the 1890 Henderson Directory at 198 King Street at Alexander Avenue. By 1894 the business was located at “Dufferin and King”, a site the company would remain at for nearly a century. By 1900 there were three "Shragge Buildings" on the site, one of them the family home where Benjamin and Sylvia raised most of their seven children.

1894 Henderson Directory

In its early days, Shragge dealt in all types of scrap, from glass and lead, to horse hair and rags. The company had a network of agents across Western Canada to source and buy material for shipment back to the Winnipeg warehouse.

In 1908 the company decided to specialize in scrap metals, incorporating as Shragge Metals with Mr. A. Brownstone as president.

Shragge Warehouse ca. 1913 (source: TimeLinks)

Business thrived and in 1913 Shragge hired architects Chisholm and Sons, (whose work included the Marlborough Hotel, Lasalle Hotel and Sterling Building), to design a $35,000, three-storey, brick warehouse measuring 69' x 72' on the Shragge property.

The timing could not have be better. The following year, war broke out and the demand for scrap metals soared. A December 1915 Free Press article, which referred to Shragge as the "junk king of Western Canada", quoted him as saying that his company was shipping five carloads of scrap steel per day to Duluth and could send many times that if he had the product.

Shragge Family ca. 1913 (source: Heritage Winnipeg)

Life was good for the Shragges. They soon moved to a home at 40 Arlington Street in Wolseley. They kept a fairly low profile, though were involved in Shaarey Zedek synagogue and a number of charities. In the late 19-teens Benjamin and Syliva began spending their winters in Los Angeles.

In 1930 Albert Weingarden, who was married to one of the Shragge daughters, became president of the company. He remained in that position until his death in 1951. Benjamin Shragge died in 1941 at Los Angeles and is buried in Winnipeg. Sylvia died at Winnipeg in 1946.

Shragge Iron and Metals

The company continued to operate under the Shragge name until 1980. That year, Marv Orloff, whose family operated Orloff Enterprises, a scrap metal yard on Higgins Avenue, bought Shragge Metals. Orloff continues to operate from the site. 

** Note: I have come across the first names Bernard and Benjamin but they appear to be the same person. It seems that Bernard was his official first name, used when referring to court cases, his daughters wedding notices and his obituary. Benjamin was used day-to-day. That, or they were two men born on the same day, living at the same address who had the same number of children with the same given names !

More Shragge ads:

Top: Henderson Directory, 1901
Middle: Manitoba Free Press, 1890
Bottom: Logberg, July 1948

1 comment:

  1. not often one of these old buildings managed to be used for the exact same thing all these years allways wonderd about it txs for the history

    ReplyDelete