Chapman Laundry

Employees of the flatwork department at Edwards & Chapman Laundry, 1920s (Sangamon Valley Collection)

Employees of the flatwork department at Edwards & Chapman Laundry, 1920s (Sangamon Valley Collection)

The Edwards & Chapman Laundry was founded in 1905 by H.C. “Kelly” Edwards (1872-1938) and Alvin Chapman (1873-1958) and grew rapidly, moving into its own specially constructed building in the 100 block  of West Cook Street in 1908. The 26,500-square-foot facility made Edwards & Chapman Illinois’ largest laundry on a single floor outside Chicago.

chapman ad “Among other special features are a dining room, dressing rooms and shower bath in the basement free to all employees,” the Illinois State Journal reported in 1911. Nearly 200 people worked for Edwards & Chapman.

Water for the laundry was specially treated in two 15,000-gallon tanks and “filtered through sea sand, and made as clear as crystal, and as soft as rain water,” the Journal said.

Edwards sold his interest in the laundry to Chapman in 1927. The plant was leased in 1952 to F.W. Means Towel & Uniform. In 1981, the old laundry building was converted to the Vinegar Hill Mall.

Sources: Illinois State Journal, Jan. 15, 1911; Sangamon Valley Collection.bridge

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2 Responses to Chapman Laundry

  1. Chris N Chapman says:

    Aloha, My Father, Col. John Alvin Chapman, was Alvin Chapman’s son. I am John Chapman youngest son, of 5 children. I was wondering if there is ( are ) any memorabilia for sale in the mall or adjacent areas referring to the Chapman laundry?

    • editor says:

      Mr. Chapman: You would pretty much have to search antique and used-goods shops individually. I can’t say I’ve ever seen any Chapman items around town, but I wouldn’t rule it out. Thanks for reading.

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