Wisconsin Historical Society

National or State Registers Record

1520 Clark St

National or State Register of Historic Places
1520 Clark St | National or State Registers Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
Historic Name:Walker Manufacturing Company - Ajax Plant
Reference Number:16000519
Location (Address):1520 Clark St
Walker Manufacturing Co. –Ajax Plant
1520 Clark Street
Racine, Wisconsin 53403-2217

Architect: N/A
Date of Construction: 1894-1969

Located on the east side of Racine, the Walker Manufacturing Co. – Ajax Plant is within a historic industrial corridor that developed along the former Chicago and Northwestern Railway tracks in the late nineteenth century. Walker Manufacturing is a local firm that grew in the twentieth century to become a nationwide industry leader in the design and manufacture of mufflers, jacks and other automotive parts. The plant is roughly U-shape in plan and is composed of a collection of brick manufacturing buildings that have been expanded to form an almost completely contiguous complex.

The Ajax Plant is also the location where the first Walker Silencer, an innovative automobile muffler design, was invented and first produced. Already a leader in jack production, the success of the patented louver technology used in this early muffler cemented Walker’s reputation as a leader in muffler production. Walker was headquartered in Racine from its beginnings in the early 1900s through 1995. This headquarters building and associated plants were demolished in 2000, leaving the Ajax Plant as the only remaining building associated with the Walker Manufacturing Co.

The Ajax Plant played a vital role in the company’s development and success as one of the company’s earliest production facilities. The plant remains as the last remaining production facility in Racine associated with the Walker Manufacturing Co. and is also among the last vestiges of Racine’s early role in Wisconsin’s automobile manufacturing industry.

Period of Significance:1929-1965
Area of Significance:Industry
Area of Significance:Invention
Applicable Criteria:Event
Historic Use:Industry/Processing/Extraction: Manufacturing Facility
Architectural Style:Late 19th And Early 20th Century American Movements
Resource Type:Building
Historic Status:Listed in the State Register
Historic Status:Listed in the National Register
National Register Listing Date:08/09/2016
State Register Listing Date:02/19/2016
Number of Contributing Buildings:4
Number of Contributing Sites:0
Number of Contributing Structures:0
Number of Contributing Objects:0
Number of Non-Contributing Sites:0
Number of Non-Contributing Structures:0
Number of Non-Contributing Objects:0
National Register and State Register of Historic Places, Division of Historic Preservation, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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