The History of St. Charles
St. Charles, IL wasn’t established until the 1900s, when St. Charles was a hub for piano-making, with The Cable Co. establishing a factory on 11 acres of land after the Chicago Great Western Railway arrived in town in 1901. The factory employed up to 500 workers and imported materials such as ivory from India and Africa, wool for hammers from Australia, and rich wood veneers from various locations around the world. The pianos produced by Cable were distributed globally, with dealers in countries including Italy, Spain, Australia, Japan, and British East Africa. However, the factory closed on January 7, 1937, having been sold to W.H. Howell, a furniture company that operated in the building until 1980. In 1986, the building was repurposed as the Piano Factory Outlet Mall, but was closed in 1997 due to foreclosure. The building was eventually demolished in 2000 to make way for a residential development, which now occupies the site.