Country Facts and Folklore
By Andy Reddick
CARRIAGE AND AUTO MAKER
Lewis Burg came to Farmington from Bavaria in the spring of 1853, and according to his grandson Anton, made a fortune from the manufacturing of carriages.
Standing at the corner of State and 2nd Streets in downtown Farmington, is the old carriage and wagon shop. The main part of the building was constructed in 1878, while the south side of the building is dated 1875.
The building housed the Burg Carriage and Wagon Manufacturing plant, in addition to a blacksmith shop. There were display rooms for wagons and carriages, and a plant room. As the business thrived, 100 buggies, 250 wagons, carts and carriages were produced annually and some of the wagons made by Mr. Burg are still in the area.
The buggy factory was sold when Burgs moved to Dallas City, Illinois in 1891. In 1978 the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Owned by Scott and Dawn Butler, the old factory is open during Van Buren County events or by appointment.
Overlooking the Mississippi River, Lewis Burg built a gigantic castle-like stone home that still reflects its grandeur, architectural uniqueness, and the opulence of its builder. Burg seemed to have an affection for stone buildings, as his buggy factory in Farmington was made of similar materials.
Mr. Burg continued to manufacture fine carriages and vehicles in Dallas City, and from 1910-1913, produced the Burg automobile. A rare 1910 Burg was the feature car on display in the antique car building at the Iowa Old Threshers Reunion in Mt. Pleasant, in 1999. Owned at the time by the Utsinger family of Dallas City, it is bright red and features right-hand driving. Only a few automobiles were manufactured, as this was a sideline operation and a "toy" venture for Mr. Burg.
Contributed to the Van Buren Co. IAGenWeb Project by Andy Reddick