Western Tablet Company plant has been an integral architectural part of St Joseph since the early 1900's. Not only was this where the original BIG CHIEF TABLET was made, but also the number of jobs at the factory. The Western Tablet Company held the original copyright of the popular writing notebook but was sold later to the Mead Corporation. In 2004 Mead closed the St Joseph plant.
The Big Chief Tablet was a popular writing notebook for several generations of young children. It featured widely spaced lines, easier to write in for those learning to write. It's prominence however, was the cover's representation of a native American in full headdress "Big Chief". Schools provided lists of required items to parents spelling out the necessary supplies, citing the Big Chief tablets by name. The exact date of the tablet debut is unknown but it served untold millions of school kids in the 20th century.
It is said that John-Boy Walton used a Big Chief tablet to hone his writing skills.
In 2007 The Foutch Brothers purchased the 500,000 sq ft. building, creating a prime example of luxury residential living, with a daylight atrium that opens through the heart of the building.
Their inclusive design plans call for first floor: restaurant, coffee shop and other retail spaces open to the public. The Second floor: residents will enjoy a pool, gym including a running track, indoor basketball court. To protect the privacy of the tenants and the exclusivity of the other amenities offered to the residents, the building is completely secured, with leasing underway. The rooftop deck will be landscaped and entertaining space with hot tubs, drive-in style movies, plus plenty of space for soaking up the sun.
The 200+ residential spaces range from studio style to three bedroom and will also have 70+ executive apartments, keeping the architectural integrity of the building.
The Foutch Brothers have been the recipients of many awards for their historic rehabilitation projects, including others completed in St. Joseph.
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