Lambertville – Then and Now

  • Address: 202 and 204 N. Union St.
  • Historic Name: Lambertville Spoke-Manufacturing Company
  • Today: Of Iron and Oak (202 N. Union), The Spoke Works (204 N. Union)

Lambertville Spoke-Manufacturing Company c. 1900
Lambertville Spoke-Manufacturing Company c. 1900
Photo: Lambertville Historical Society
Of Iron and Oak, October 2020
Of Iron and Oak (foreground), Spoke Works (background – right side), October 2020
Photo: Richard Freedman

The Lambertville Spoke-Manufacturing Company, which was located at the north end of town at Elm and Union Streets was founded by John Finney around 1860. The company built mainly spokes and wheels, until the Civil War changed the company’s priorities. During the Civil War, the company built a substantial number of wheels, wooden underparts for carriages and wagons and supplied many of the caissons and cannon wheels for the Union Army.

Logs were hauled to the mill and sawed into workable lengths in a building that stood where Thai Tida Restaurant is now located (236 N. Union St.) The factory buildings were located across Elm Street and are visible on the left side of this image.

In 1896 The Spoke Factory obtained permission from Lambertville’s Common Council to run a railroad spur to their Elm Street yard. The track is visible in the 1919 image which was taken when 202 N. Union was a Ford sales & service center.

Lambertville Spoke-Manufacturing Company c. 1900
L.D. Kerr’s Ford Sales and Service, Lambertville, New Jersey, 1919
Photo: The Henry Ford Museum

The Lambertville Spoke-Manufacturing Company remained in operation until 1912. With the advent of the automobile, carriage wheel building was no longer necessary.

In the 1930s Philadelphia Leather Goods Co. moved to Lambertville, NJ. They changed their name to Luggagekraft and built a new factory in 1937. The new factory was located in part of the original Lambertville Spoke Mill factory building at 204 N. Union. In 1949 Luggagekraft changed its name to York Luggage (named after the building in which they were first located in Lambertville – 71 N. Main St, at York St.). York Luggage operated in Lambertville into the 1980s. (Note that an advertisement in the 1949 Lambertville Centennial Program Booklet used the name “Luggage Craft”). Research is ongoing regarding exactly when the name was changed to York Luggage and why some sources show the name as “Luggagekraft” and others show “Luggage Craft”.

This stately Second Empire style building (located on the right side of the image on the poster) at the SE corner of N. Union and Elm St. (today 202 N. Union St.) was built in 1861. It was the office, showroom and storeroom for the Lambertville Spoke-Manufacturing Co.

During the late 1880s a wooden bridge connected the second floor on the Elm Street side of the brick building to the manufacturing buildings across Elm street. The wooden bridge remained intact until likely destroyed in a 1918 fire that destroyed some of the factory buildings that abutted the property. By 1919 this building served as a Ford sales and services center with adjacent service bays on Elm St. Around 1980 it was home to the Durable Stainless Flatware Company.

Today 202 N. Union St. is home to Of Iron and Oak – “custom made furniture made in the USA”.
The building at 204 N. Union St is aptly named the Spoke Works and houses several enterprises including Dig Yoga, Barney Stone Glass and Kinetics, Pellegrino Signs and Lettering, James Curran Antiques and Restoration, and Robust Wealth Management. Both sites are visible in this photograph.