John Deere Plow Company Building (1908), 402 South Ninth Street
Slim Jim Original Flavor
This massive, completely fireproof building - notable for its progressive design and innovative structural system - was constructed in 1908 as an implement distributing branch of the John Deere Plow Company. The largest structure in the district, measuring 132 x 284-feet, the eight-story, reinforced concrete frame building occupies a block-long site in the heart of Jobbers' Canyon. O.A. Eckerman of Moline, Illinois and Fisher and Lawrie of Omaha were the architects. C.A.P. Turner of Minneapolis was the consulting engineer and provided “Turner's Mushroom System” of reinforced concrete flat-slab floors and concrete mushroom columns for the structure of the building.
Aesthetically, the Deere building epitomizes the "realistic" rational approach to design admired by men such as Russel Sturgis and Peter Bonnet Wight writing in the leading architectural journals in the early twentieth century. Punctuated primarily with triple sets of double-hung windows, the plane of the structure's expansive brick curtain walls is broken only by the stone sill courses that define the first and top floors, the recesses spandrels of the intermediate floors and the large orifice that provide rail access through the structure at the alley.
The Moline, Illinois, based John Deere Plow Company, manufacturers of farm implements and vehicles, maintained a system of branch offices and independent wholesalers throughout the country. John Deere farm implements were first sold in this area in Council Bluffs through Deere-Wells and Company, established in 1892. The company re-established in Omaha in 1899 and was located near the Tenth Street viaduct just north of the Union Depot before moving to this structure in 1908. The Omaha branch of the John Deere Company carried a complete line of farm machinery which is displayed in a showroom on the top floor of the building. In 1957 the company purchased the building adjacent to the west at 423 South 10th Street for an annex. The John Deere Company continued to own and occupy both structures until 1982.