This is a ca. 1930 photo (#0656) of the former Armbruster Brothers (Peter, Johnnie, & Charlie) cigar manufacturing plant at 314 Sycamore Street in Urbana. A two-story brick building was built in 1898 with a third story added in 1910. Prior to 1898 Armbruster Brothers manufacturing facility was at 225 S. Main St. Theirs was the largest cigar factory in Urbana employing 30-40 men and women. It was regarded as the best cigar factory in central Ohio.
Urbana was a leading manufacturer of cigars in central Ohio. The Urbana Telephone Company Directory of 1898 lists six cigar factories in Urbana. In addition to Armbruster Brothers listed were Elmer Little on N. Main St., J. B. Hitt Co. at 25 Monument Sq., Murphey & Koehle at 115 ½ E. Court St., Union Cigar Co. (Schetter, Schief & Blaney) at 6 Monument Sq. and Wean & Michael at 219 Miami St. Also at 219 Miami St. was Wm. Helps cigar box factory. All these manufacturers employed salesman on the road to sell their cigars. Their products were shipped to Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Kentucky and beyond.
Murphey & Koehle were reported to produce several thousand cigars per day. By 1902 the aggregate daily production of cigars by all companies in Urbana contributed to Ohio’s production of some 45 million cigars annually. It is unclear where tobacco was obtained to support this cigar production although several types of tobacco were grown in Southern Ohio along the Ohio River.
The Champaign County Historical Museum is a not-for-profit organization that depends upon donations and dues to preserve, protect, archive and display the artifacts that tell the Champaign County story. The free public museum located at 809 E. Lawn Ave., Urbana, is open to the public Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Info from CCHS