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Some may remember E-Z-Bake flour, as it was a grocery staple in the 1960’s.  By that time, part of the company that produced the popular baking product was over one hundred years old.

In 1820, Revolutionary War Veteran Isaac Wilson moved from Kentucky to the new state of Indiana and settled in Indianapolis.  In 1821, he built a flour mill on the banks of the White River, where the IUPUI campus now stands, and built his first house on the land which is now the Indiana Statehouse.  He died a few years later in 1823, and was buried in the Old Plague Cemetery, or the Wilson Family Cemetery, located where the Van Nuys Medical Building is now on the IUPUI campus. (also buried  in the cemetery was Robert Barnhill, for whom Barnhill Drive is named)  After Wilson’s death, his son in law, Samuel Patterson, ran the mill, which eventually became the Acme Milling Company.

Some time later, in 1881, George T. Evans partnered with D.A. Richardson to operate another mill.  Richardson died in 1892, and Evans changed the name of the company to the George T. Evans & Son Company.  The George T. Evans & Son Company began producing E-Z-Bake Flour in the 1890’s.  On March 4, 1909, the George T. Evans and Son mills and the Acme Milling Company merged to form the Acme-Evans Company.  Unfortunately, George T. Evans did not get to see the rise of the newly merged business venture, as he died in November 1909 in a streetcar accident in Chicago.  George’s son, Edgar, took the helm of the company, with former president of the Acme Milling Company, Arthur Gillet as vice president.  It seems Gillet died in late 1910, around the time this ad ran in the Indianapolis News.  IPS school #11 was later named the Edgar H. Evans School in Edgar’s honor.

In October 1917, the Acme-Evans mill at West Washington Street and Blackford Street, now part of the grounds of the White River State Park, was destroyed by fire.  The following year, the Acme-Evans Company built a nine-floor mill made of concrete and steel, the largest in Indiana at the time.  The company flourished through the years, but hit hard times and was forced to liquidate in the 1980’s due to a grain embargo.  Wilson’s Corn Products continued to produce E-Z-Bake Flour through the early 1990’s.  In 1994, the mill built in 1918 was destroyed, despite legal action attempting to halt the demolition.  In 2006, John Cory bought Wilson Corn Products and E-Z-Bake and created a new company, called Prairie Mills Products.

12 responses to “Sunday Adverts: Acme-Evans Company”

  1. William Taber says:

    I found this story interesting. My cousin, George Doolittle Taber, lived in Indianapolis beginning about 1912 and lived on Blake Street in the area of the mill. On January 29, 1919 (just after the new concrete mill was erected, George received a Public Safety Commission appointment to Acme-Evans as a “special police” to help with routine security at the mill. He continued there into his 70’s (in the 1940 census, he was 73 and was still employed there). He died in 1947.

  2. ken williams says:

    We would walk pass this mill in the 1940s ,when going to school #5 on Washington St.. Also at this site was the marker for thr first log cabin in Indianapolis. And the cotton mill next to the flower mill. Bemis Bros Bag Co. GOOD MEMORIES

  3. Eric Evans says:

    Hello: I’m the Great Grandson of Edgar Hanks Evans. My Grandmother was Eleanor Evans Stout. This is an excellent article about our family Flour Mill. I had the pleasure of getting to tour the mill prior to it being demolished. Wild place. If I remember correct the old foundry building still stands at the White River State park / River Walk. If I can ever be of any help let me know!!

    Thanks

    Eric Evans

  4. Mark E. Dixon (E = Evans) says:

    Eric, could we compare notes? I’m an Evans descendant, too!

  5. M.Osterday says:

    Hi cousin,
    I’ve written a book on the entire Evans family including your line. Please contact me by e-mail, Thanks, MO

  6. M. Rice says:

    I’m also related to the Evans family, I talked with a cousin Eleanor Evans Stout back in the 80’s she helped me with tracing my branch of the Evans tree. I would like to hear from any other relatives, and the book that M. Osterday has written. Thanks MR

  7. Kurt Altmann says:

    I worked for the flour mill back in the 80s so many memories I had a old picture made of steel of the mill it was in the trash I took it out when I worked there. I would say it’s from the 30s

  8. James Evans says:

    Well, my name is Evans, but I am of no relation. I do remember the plant though and seem to remember the canal going beside it, and separating it from military park. I saw in one of the comments, someone mentioned Bemis Bag Company, I worked at the Bemis Bag Company at 1940 on south Barth, in 1968, I was only 17 and was making 2.78 per hour, good money back then especially for a 17 year old. And a year later, I was only making 66.00 every two weeks when I joined the US Navy, I have a picture of the old Bemis Bag Building – which was destroyed by fire in November 1989. There are townhouse apartments on that site today. If I can find the photograph I will try to send in a copy.

  9. Dennis J Burton says:

    I worked at Evans milling Co. In the early 80’s. The old Mill was an amazing example of history. I was qualified on most any job description there. It’s a memory I’ll charish as long as I live. A continuous shaft in the basement drove flywheels which each in turn drove the equipment on the floor above it. Leather belts ( and later poly ) drove it continuously causing great danger as grainmillers would change and replace belts while in full motion with leather palming mitts. Rope well lift stations were still in use ! Amazing old times equipment made for a very consistent product. DJB

  10. Anonymous says:

    4.5

  11. Anonymous says:

    5

  12. Shirley Biehl says:

    My grandfather was George Bennett and he was a watchman, security person for the Evans Mill. He moved to Indianapolis in 1920 from Springfield, Ohio. I drove to Cable Street which was where I remembered their last home before his death recently. I was thinking the mill was at the end of that street. Does anyone have any photos they might share of the mill before it was destroyed?

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