Monee Historical Society

Help us discover, record and preserve the history of the Village of Monee, Illinois.





By Jane Mall

Page 121

The story of Arthur W. Mall, president of the Mall Tool Company is surely a Horatio Alger type of story. It is a story of a six-year old boy who was selling newspapers on the corner watching with perhaps wistful eyes, his playmates with nothing on their minds but the fun they were having. Surely there were times when Arthur Mall wanted to put down his newspapers and run and play with them. But even at that tender age he realized his responsibility and stayed with the job.

The story of Arthur W. Mall is a story of a youth who worked at odd jobs during his high school days. His friends were playing football and tennis and enjoying themselves, but Arthur Mall, with grim determination to fulfill the responsibility that lay on his shoulders worked after school hours before retiring. After his graduation from high school he didn’t join many of his friends who were going to colleges all over the country. College cost a lot of money, and Arthur Mall didn’t have it, so he went to the serious task of making a living.

The story of Arthur Mall is the truly inspiring story of a man with an idea, a little capital, practically no outside assistance, and a lot of ambition and desire to make his idea a reality. His determination and sincere effort made his dream come true and today he ranks in the upper bracket of the portable power tool industry. Arthur W. Mall is a softspoken, calm man who is truly gracious and kind, however, one feels the presence of a strong-willed man, a man with strength and faith. You look at his trade-mark, “MALL POWER TOOLS” and you think of just the two words: “MALL POWER” and you know that is what has brought him to the position he maintains today.

Arthur Mall was born on August 15, 1895 in Hammond, Indiana. When he was two years old the family moved to the south east side of Chicago where he has lived all of his life. At the age of six years he sold newspapers on the streets of south Chicago until the time he entered high school. Besides his studies in high school he found the time and ambition to work at part time jobs after school. Upon graduation from high school he went to work. Arthur Mall didn’t have the opportunity to go to college, but in the course of his life, he found the time to study and acquire the knowledge he knew he both desired and needed. He attended Steven’s Institute in Hoboken, Armour Institute in Chicago and passed the severe examination for Officer Candidate School in the United States Navy. He has the equivalent of a college degree in Mechanical Engineering.

End of Page One Hundred twenty-one

Page 122

In 1916 Arthur Mall answered this country’s call and entered the United States Navy. He served as an officer of the Navy until 1918 when he was discharged as an Ensign.

Arthur W. Mall started the Mall Tool Company on January 1, 1921, in Milwaukee,

Wisc., with a capital of less than $200.00. One year later the company was moved to the south side of Chicago where it stands today.

The first product of the Mall Tool Company was a pneumatic sanding and polishing wheel which requires a portable power tool to revolve, and thus the Mall Tool Company started to make various kinds of portable power tools, the product which they now make and for which they are known throughout the world. From the first product they went to making gas engines, then to electric and then to gas self-contained engines and then to pneumatic power tools of all types.

The Mall Tool Company now employs over 2,000 people, with forty branch warehouse stores on their own property in cities in the U.S. and Canada. The Mall Power Tool product is sold and used throughout the world. The factory and home offices in the South Chicago area cover an area of ten acres.

The story of Arthur W. Mall is truly an inspiring one. A man has an idea, a dream, and a practically no help, indeed with the odds against him, he realized the fulfillment of the dream. The story of Arthur Mall is the story of a man with the courage and faith to make of his life, with its humble beginnings, a great and noble success. He has and is doing much to honor the name of Mall.

The following story concerning Arthur W. Mall by Betty Jane Merrill was taken from the Chicago Daily Tribune of Dec. 11, 1952:

“There are 2,000 acres of farmland in Monee Township, Will county, which have been turned (unexpectedly) into an experiment that may mean the birth of a new community in Chicago’s south suburban area. The land, located 30 miles south of Chicago’s Loop, surrounds the Mall Tool Company’s newest plant at 25000 S. Western Ave., Crete.

“The Mall company began to purchase the acreage during World War II and completed the project thru 50 real estate transactions. The land was placed in trust for company employees who were called into service.

“Arthur W. Mall, president, had intended the land to be divided among the 50 men and women who he hoped would become homesteaders. However, after the war the employees elected to take their shares of the gift in cash settlements. The trust was dissolved. The company took over the land and turned it into ten experimental farms which now produce grain, cattle, and swine, and serve as the proving ground for Mall power tools.

“The farmers are hired by Mall to cultivate the land and raise the animals, which include pure bred registered Hampshire hogs, registered dairy cattle, and prize winning beef cattle. An average of 1,000 gallons of milk is sold daily to Chicago area dairies. During their daily routines the farmers test the power tools, such as hand saws and small carpentry implements. The entire operation is under direction of H.P. Seltenright, farm manger.

“The acreage includes 800 acres of woods and pasture land, dotted with

End of One Hundred Twenty-Two

Page 123

small lakes. In this area Mall has built an airport and hangar for his three private planes, and an adjoining picnic grove which accommodates 3,000 at a time, The recreation area, which is used by the employees includes a dance platform, modern restrooms, outdoor grills, water fountains, children’s playground, target range, and refrigeration units and serving kitchen in the airplane hangar.

“Thru the woods, Mall has built four miles of gravel roads, More than 40,000 evergreen trees have been planted in a carefully planned landscaping scheme. At least 60,000 more trees, including walnut, butternut, chestnut, blue spruce, and Douglas fir, will be planted within the next few years.

“With his employees in mind, Mall is building big plans for the future. He expects to stock the woods with game and the lakes with fish to provide sporting opportunities for those on his payroll.

“The Plan also includes building a hunting lodge and the development of an arboretum. Eventually the area may be opened to the public.

“Mall, a gentle, jovial man who seems happiest when he is tramping thru the woods or looking over herds of fine cattle, was born in Hammond, Ind., and learned farm life first hand in Rolfe, Ia. He started to manufacture power tools in a small wooden building in Milwaukee in 1921, turning out the implements himself with only a small circle of workers.”

Page One Hundred Twenty-three

(Page 123 continued with Emigrants To New York, New Jersey)

Underground RailRoad-Larry McClellan 5-9-19-page0001

2019 Monee Historical Society Events

Monee Community Building 5162 W. Court St (in Firemen’s Park)

7:30 PM (new start time)

Please join us! We love new faces!

5/09/2019 – Larry McClellan presents ‘The Underground Rail Road in the Monee Area

6/13/2019 Summer hiatus

7/11/2019 Summer hiatus

8/07/2019 Will County Historic Preservation Commission Meeting-Hosting

9/6-8/2019 Fall Faire

9/12/2019 Business Meeting

10/10/2019 Presentation on Andrew Gunderson, Artist and Local Legend

11/14/2019 Business Meeting

11/16/2019 Monee Women’s Club Vendor Fair (Date Tentative)

12/12/2019 Holiday Party / Business Meeting

Monee Historical Society Membership Form: For more information, email




Annual Dues: $25.00 Mail Form & Check to Monee Historical Society, PO Box 171, Monee, IL 60449

Featured post


MHS Logo


Illinois Bicentennial Celebration 2018 Introduction & An Evening with Abraham Lincoln

Abe 1                Dr. Mark ZumhagenAbe 2

The MHS is happy to again welcome Mark Zumhagen, a part of the Monee community since 2005, to the stage to present readings of some of Abraham Lincoln’s most famous speeches and witty remarks.  Mark is a Family Physician in Orland Park, who’s interest in Abraham Lincoln began ten years ago when he gave the Gettysburg Address at his children’s school.  Mark bears an uncanny resemblance to Illinois’ favorite son and has portrayed Lincoln for many audiences. 
Monee Community Building in Firemen’s Park
5162 W Court Street
Monee, IL 60449
7PM Thursday, October 11, 2018

Free program, light refreshments will be served

Want more information? or facebook/moneehistoricalsociety
Christi Holston, President MHS at 708-288-5756.

Photo Contest – Happy Birthday Illinois!

The Monee Historical Society is sponsoring a Illinois Bicentennial Photo Contest.

The Monee, Illinois Historical Society (, and the Village of Monee are sponsoring a photo contest to going to celebrate Illinois’ 200th birthday in 2018.

Celebrate the 200th Anniversary of Illinois! Take Abraham Lincoln out for a date!

Illinois became the 21st state on December 3, 1818. We at the Monee, Illinois Historical Society are celebrating!

To participate, print out and color Abraham Lincoln, then take a selfie of you and Abe celebrating all over our fair state! Post these selfies to social media with the hashtags #FlatAbe, #MoneeIL and #200Illinois.

Abe and Prudential

Photos entries may also be dropped off at the community building at Fireman’s Park on Court Street in Monee.

Prizes will be awarded for the most imaginative photos and ones that capture the spirit of Illinois.  The contest kicks off on Memorial Day and all entries must be received by August 30, 2018.  Prizes will be awarded at the Monee Fall Fair on September 9, 2018.

Submit as many photos as you like and we will post on the MHS and Village Social Media sites, as well as in the Monee Community building as space permits. Everyone is eligible to enter.

 Participants can apply either on line or at the community building. (If using the hashtags on social media, you don’t have to fill out the below – we will contact you through your social media account) Please include:
• Name
• Address
• Phone
• Email
• Age (if under 18)

Click here to download and print your  Abraham Lincoln! Flat Abe

St. Paul’s Cemetery Map and List of Burials

A lot of work has been done to compile all the various sources of information into the new St. Paul’s Cemetery map and burial list.

Take a look and tell us what you think!

St Paul’s Map



CANCELLED Due to Inclement Weather – Monee Historical Society Presents Bicentennial-Abe Lincoln 2-8-18


Illinois Bicentennial Celebration 2018 Introduction &
An Evening with Abraham Lincoln

Dr. Mark Zumhagen
The MHS is happy to again welcome Mark Zumhagen, a part of the Monee community since 2005, to the stage to present readings of some of Abraham Lincoln’s most famous speeches and witty remarks. Mark is a Family Physician in Orland Park, who’s interest in Abraham Lincoln began ten years ago when he gave the Gettysburg Address at his children’s school. Mark bears an uncanny resemblance to Illinois favorite son and has portrayed Lincoln for many audiences.

Christi Holston
President, Monee Historical Society
Illinois is 200 years old this year and Monee plans to celebrate.
We will outline some of the exciting plans for the upcoming Bicentennial celebrations

Monee Community Building in Firemen’s Park
5162 W Court Street
Monee, IL 60449
7PM Thursday, February 8h, 2018
Free program, light refreshments will be served

Want more information? or facebook/moneehistoricalsociety
Christi Holston, President MHS at 708-288-5756.

Monee Historical Society Booth at the Women’s Vendor Fair

MWC vendor fair flyer 2017

The Monee Historical Society will have a table displaying our traveling Museum exhibit. We will have some “Save the Monee Creamery” t-shirts for sale.

We will also be unveiling our Monee Creamery Christmas Notecards for sale. Come and visit us!

What Legacy do you Want to Leave?

I have been to 5 funerals this year. With each person I lose, I reflect on the person, their life and the people they touched. Naturally, the five people I have lost have been different ages, from different economic backgrounds and different family situations. There was beautiful Ronnie Sinon. She was a coworker and a cousin by marriage. She went far too young, and leaves a husband of only a year. There was Doris (Tyler) Zum Mallen; my first cousin, twice removed. She attained the great age of 91, and leaves 5 children, 12 grandchildren, and many great grandchildren behind. My uncle Mike Langenfeld was the hardest for me. Also too young, Mike had a great interest in military history. He was a veteran and a long time boy scout leader. Also gone is Calvin Bisping, who leaves three young adult sons and his sweet wife Laurie (nee Artman) as well as many people in the town of Peotone who greatly mourn his early passing. Possibly the most tragic was the 31 year old wife of a high school friend, Jeff Molsen. Though I never met his Whitney, I hurt greatly for my friend as he deals with his loss.

The one thing they hold in common: they could not take it with them. Not their money, not their toys, not their loved ones. They all leave a void behind them. And the thing is, it will happen to every single one of us. It might be tomorrow, it might be when we are 99 years old, but it will happen. It is unavoidable. At times, this inevitability is enough to bring me to my knees as I think of those I love who might go before me, or those who I leave behind that will mourn my passage.

So, what can be done? Can we change the outcome? No. But what we CAN do is control what we leave behind in terms of our legacy. Our story can be told. We can tell it. In whatever way we want. We can keep a journal of our thoughts, our beliefs, our accomplishments and triumphs. We can record our voices, tell our story in our own words. We can video a message, a prayer, a request. We can ensure that we are not forgotten and that our name and memory is preserved for those we care about in the future, including those that are not even born yet.

A great way to do this is to research and record our family history. Tracing your lineage is a way to connect the past and the future. You serve as the bridge between the two. By recording the information of your life and the lives of those closest to you, you preserve that vital family link and bring your ancestors to your descendants.

The hard part is starting. We all think we will “have time later” or will do it when you have a break in your hectic day to day life. NO!! Do not wait! Start NOW. With smartphones today, you can quickly jot down information as you think of it when you’re waiting for the train or in the doctor’s office. Email it to yourself. Create a “Family Legacy” folder and put the emails there. Better yet, set up a free Drop Box account and save it there. Make sure to give others access or leave your email password where it can be recovered after you’ve passed. When other family members email you something you want preserved about the family, put it in the same folder. Copy family photos from Facebook to the folder. Get a birth announcement in the mail? Snap a photo and email it to that folder. A newspaper clipping that mentions your son’s baseball game or your daughter’s graduation? Take a photo and email it.

Even if you do NOTHING else to research your family, you have this folder that will give a peek into your life and the lives of your family members. Later, if you do decide to go further, or if you have a family member that wants to begin research, you have a great head start. These baby steps can help you get started and make the task seem less daunting.

Death is the end of our physical self, but it doesn’t have to be the end of our life. Live on by preserving what’s important to you and leave behind something to comfort those you love.

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