100th Anniversary Commemorative Book

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Transcript of 100th Anniversary Commemorative Book

  • The Standard of Excellence

  • Dedicated to

    ExcellenceAfter 100 years, Arthur H. Neumann and his brothers

    core values of personal commitment, pride and integrity remain the cornerstone of the Neumann Brothers approach to construction. It is these values that

    have been passed on through the years and through generations of family members and clients. It is these

    values that are forever built into this extraordinary company. Because, with Neumann Brothers, its more

    than just building. Its the standard of excellence.

  • Arthur H. Neumann1884-1972

    Walter N. Neumann1886-1955

    Harold C. Neumann1893-1983

    Oscar D. Neumann1891-1939

  • Neumann Brothers, Inc, is an enterprise founded by my grandfather with his brothers. Over the last 100 years, this company has placed its handprint throughout Des Moines and Iowa by erecting some of the areas finest buildings. Of that, I am immensely proud.

    But there is so much more to the Neumann Brothers story than a skyline of physical structures. More than could possibly be included in this book. Because, while you can look at a photograph of a multi-

    story building, an image cant tell the story of the vision and dedication that went into crafting

    that building. And while you can read the words describing each decade, its nearly impossible to convey the hard work and dedication of thousands of workers who have stepped onto a job site each day, deeply committed to the success of our company.

    At the core of this company is a spirit and a bond that was created from

    the generations of workers and leaders 100 years before us.

    My great-great grandparents were among the first settlers in Des Moines.

    Their dreams were so vibrant that they remain the foundation of every project we undertake today. Their spirit to succeed has survived generations of a family that, like any family, has had its highs and lows. But, through it all, through 100 years, a determination to maintain the Neumann organization has prevailed. An organization that is proud to be associated with some of the states finest structures and proud to be looking ahead to a future legacy that is as stable as ever.

    So as we present this historical look at Neumann Brothers first century of business, I hope you can catch a glimpse of the heart and spirit that is unique to our company and the structures that we have been so honored to build. From the golden dome of the restored Iowa State Capitol to the top of the Ruan Center, and some of the most unique and historic buildings in our state, we are all immensely proud of this heritage and excited for the decades ahead.

    An Introduction

    Character, by Ralph Waldo EmersonArthur H. Neumann carried this book in his pocket every day.

    Neumann Brothers The Standard of Excellence4

    Marshall G. Linn III

  • Neumann Brothers The Standard of Excellence6

    The Beginning1912-1919

    In 1912, Arthur H. Neumann of Des Moines, the oldest son of a pioneer family and a young entrepreneur, starts Arthur H. Neumann & Company. Quickly gaining a reputation for integrity and outstanding workmanship with his brothers Walter, Oscar and Harold joining in 1913 Arthur H. Neumann & Company quickly thrived beginning its legacy with work that included Hanawalt School, Ames Mary Greeley Memorial Hospital, William Penn College, the Maytag Company and hundreds of other structures that, a century later, remain a viable part of Iowa. While World War I was forever changing Europe, Arthur H. Neumann & Company was beginning to change the face of Iowas communities. Newton Foundry, 1919-1920 Monticello Hospital, 1916First National Bank, Newton, 1919

    Des Moines Municipal Courthouse, 1918-1920Simpson College Central Building, 1919. Renamed Hillman Hall in 1961 for John L. Hillman, Simpsons longest serving president (1919-1936).

    North High School addition, 1914

  • Horse and mule teams were used in building everything from road and railways to buildings. And while automobiles replaced horses in certain niches, horses continued to be used in construction well into the 20th century. Here we see a Neumann construction crew using a team of horses and a steam shovel.

    Neumann Brothers The Standard of Excellence

    University of Iowa Field House, 1926

    Northwestern Bell, 1929

    Harding Junior High School, 1925

    The Roaring Twenties1920-1929

    Who would have thought that a Des Moines-based construction and engineering firm would be capable of building Iowas first skyscraper? Thats just what Arthur H. Neumann did spending two years developing the Equitable Building, one of the companys most prominent signature pieces in the Des Moines skyline. Arthur H. Neumann & Company was steadfast and industrious in completing projects such as the Des Moines Building, Northwestern Bell, the Insurance Exchange Building, Harding and Callanan junior high schools, as well as two major structures in Iowa City and Ames (the Field House at the University of Iowa and Iowa States Memorial Union) and the Eagle Iron Works. The progress of Arthur H. Neumann & Company kept pace with the eras events such as the birth of WHO radio in Des Moines, the launch of E.T. Merediths Better Homes and Gardens and Charles Lindbergs historic trans-Atlantic flight.

    Iowas first skyscraper, the Equitable Building, 1922 2012


  • A Decade of Determined Growth1930-1939

    Despite the lingering effects of a global depression, Arthur H. Neumann & Company was determined to succeed through this decade. In 1932, the same year FDR was elected President, the company changed its name to Arthur H. Neumann and Brothers, Inc., restating the familys mission to build the finest structures possible. This focus was verified with the completion of buildings that included the Greyhound Bus Depot, Flynn Dairy, Drake Universitys Cowles Library, Bankers Life and the St. Ambrose Church Rectory.

    Bankers Life, 1938 Smouse School, 1930

    Neumann Brothers The Standard of Excellence

    Stages of construction for the Des Moines Building, 1930

    General Motors Warehouse, 1935 Iowa State University Memorial Union addition, 1938


  • A Time of Dynamic Change1940-1949

    The clouds of war abruptly engulfed the United States when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. After the war, the young men of the familys second generation came back to Des Moines and joined the company. Though the war effort greatly impacted the number of available skilled construction workers in Des Moines, Arthur H. Neumann and Brothers pushed forward with many vital projects, including Broadlawns Hospital, Meredith Publishing Company, Fort Leonard Wood and the Des Moines Water Works Maffitt Reservoir. As the war ended and soldiers returned home, Arthur H. Neumann and Brothers built several new facilities, which included a second plant for the Maytag Company, and the first building for the Firestone Tire & Rubber Company Des Moines plant.


    Neumann Family, Fourth of July, 1946

    Neumann Brothers The Standard of Excellence

    Maytag Company, 1945 Marquette Cement Manufacturing Co., 1941Des Moines Art Center, 1948

    Iowa-Des Moines National Bank, 1945

    Meredith Publishing, 1941

  • Dividend of Peace1950-1959

    As the 1950s dawned and WOI-TV in Ames (Iowas first television station) began to broadcast, it was a time of transition for Arthur H. Neumann and Brothers as a second generation of the family assumed management of the company. The leadership and direction of Gordon, Hal, Walter, Oscar and Charles coincided with a burst of signature projects that included Veterans Memorial Auditorium and the Iowa-Des Moines National Bank Motor Bank. Additional projects included Park Fair Shopping Center, Iowa Paint Manufacturing Company, Inc., and the first addition to Bankers Life.

    Veterans Memorial Auditorium, 1954

    Neumann Brothers The Standard of Excellence

    Left: Iowa Paint Manufacturing Company, Inc., 1958

    Below: Iowa-Des Moines National Bank Motor Bank, 1959

    Gordon R. Neumann Harold C. Neumann Jr. Walter N. Neumann Jr. Oscar D. Neumann Charles E. Wittmack14

  • Unprecedented Social Change1960-1969

    As the world experienced profound social and political change in the 1960s, Arthur H. Neumann and Brothers did its part to have a positive impact on Des Moines and Iowa, and celebrated 50 years of business in 1962. As students in Iowa City protested the war in southeast Asia, the company was building Virgil M. Hancher Auditorium on the University of Iowa campus. Other notable landmarks built by Arthur H. Neumann and Brothers included the American Republic Insurance Building, St. Johns Lutheran Church, IMT Insurance, and the Grand and Ingersoll Towers.


    Stages of construction for the American Republic Insurance Building, 1963

    Neumann Brothers The Standard of Excellence

    In 1999, Neumann Brothers set the Sphere Within Sphere sculpture in the American Republic Insurance Building courtyard. Designed by Arnaldo Pomodoro, it is one of only 10 in the world.

    Virgil M. Hancher Auditorium, 1966

    West Grand Tower, 1962

    Kmart Building, 1968


  • Changing the Skyline1970-1979 In 1972, Arthur H. Neumann and Brothers transitioned to Neumann Brothers, Inc. and continued to work hard and diligently in its efforts to define the Des Moines skyline and community. While political ambition was defined by events at the Watergate Hotel, the company demonstrated a different kind of ambition by completing such projects as the Ruan Center, Southgate and Westown Shopping Centers, the 7th Street parking ramp, the Des Moines Botanical Center and the Des Moines Marriott Downtown hotel. The deca