Kriegsmans and Crown

By Jared Olar
Library assistant

This week we shine our spotlight on a book that was added to the Pekin Public Library’s Local History Room collection last fall. The book, entitled, “The Story of Crown: The First 50 Years,” tells the history of Crown Worldwide Group, an international shipping and moving corporation that began in 1965 as a small moving company in Yokohama, Japan.

That moving company, founded by an American named James E. Thompson, was originally named Transport Services International (TSI), then became Crown Pacific in the early 1970s, and finally Crown Worldwide in the 1990s.

But what does the history of Crown Worldwide Group have to do with the history of Pekin or Tazewell County?

Turn to page 30 of “The Story of Crown” and read the chapter “Moving into Hong Kong,” and the answer will become immediately clear. There on that page is a color photograph with the caption, “The Kriegsman clan in Pekin, Illinois, early 1970s.” It is the Kriegsman connection that makes the story of Crown Worldwide a matter of our own local history – and is why a copy of this book was donated to the library by John M. Kriegsman of Kriegsman Warehouses on Koch Street in Pekin.

This photograph, from page 30 of “The Story of Crown: The First 50 Years,” shows the Kriegsman clan in Pekin in the early 1970s. Around that time, members of the Kriegsman family partnered with Jim Thompson of Transport Services International to start a new company in Hong Kong, a business venture that led to the formation of Crown Worldwide Group in the 1990s.

The chapter begins, “It’s November 1969 and Jim Thompson is sitting on the balcony of a hotel in Singapore having a drink with new friend Phil Kriegsman. It is their last night in Singapore before going home – Jim to Japan, Phil to Pekin, Illinois. They have a big decision to make. At the end of an eight-day trip to Hong Kong and Singapore, they have agreed to open a new company in Asia, specializing in the moving of household goods for expatriates. But in which of the two cities?”

Thompson and Kriegsman had met at a meeting of the Federation Internationale Demenageurs Internationaux (FIDI), an organization of independent moving companies. Kriegsman was then the head of Kriegsman Transfer Company, a moving and storage company with long roots in Pekin that reach back to 1913. Caterpillar then did business with one of Kriegsman’s competitors, but Kriegsman hoped that in teaming with Thompson to start a new company in Asia, they could woo Caterpillar away from one of his competitors. Thompson met the Kriegsman clan in Pekin, and they then opted to start the company in Hong Kong, where Caterpillar had its regional headquarters.

“The Story of Crown,” page 34, tells what happened next:

“The two men returned to their respective homes and started planning for the new venture. Phil had to convince his family and Jim had to come up with the money. They agreed to put in US$25,000 each to start up the company . . . One of the big decisions they had to make early on was who was going to run the new business. Both Phil and Jim had their own companies to look after and neither had time to focus on the day-to-day operations of a new company in another country. As there were no fewer than seven Kriegsman family members involved in the Kriegsman Transfer Company, it seemed reasonable to assume one of them would fit the bill. The position was offered first to Phil’s cousin John [NOTE: This is John M. Kriegsman of Kriegsman Warehouses], but he did not want to leave Pekin.

“However, John’s younger brother Jim was keen. A Vietnam War veteran, Jim Kriegsman was very much his own man and did not always get along with his family. As Jim Kriegsman puts it: ‘Being the most hated [in the family], they wanted me out of there in the worst way. I didn’t get on real well with my cousin Phil.’ In short, Jim was more than happy to leave Illinois. . . ‘I thought it was a great opportunity and I wanted to grasp it,’ he says.”

And the rest is (corporate) history . . .

Shown here in these images from page 33 of “The Story of Crown: The First 50 Years,” are the founders of Crown in the 1970s, who included two members of the Kriegsman family of Pekin.

John and Jim Kriegsman are the sons of the late John C. Kriegsman (1912-2005), who served as chairman of the board for Kriegsman Warehouses, and was very active in the community throughout his life.  Their cousin Phil was the son of John C. Kriegsman’s older brother Arthur T. “Art” Kriegsman (1900-1988), who also had been chairman of the board of Kriegsman Warehouses and also a pillar of Pekin’s community life. Regular readers of this column might also remember that F. F. McNaughton mentioned his friend Art Kriegsman several times in his daily jottings about the Pekin Kiwanis Club trip to Washington, D.C., in June 1932.

#art-kriegsman, #crown-worldwide-group, #james-e-thompson, #jim-kriegsman, #john-c-kriegsman, #john-m-kriegsman, #kriegsman-family, #kriegsman-transfer-company, #kriegsman-warehouses, #phil-kriegsman, #the-story-of-crown

Kiwanis trip to D.C.: ‘Here we are, home again’

By Jared Olar
Library assistant

Pekin Daily Times owner and publisher F. F. McNaughton used his daily “Editor’s Letter” newspaper column to chronicle the weeklong trip to Washington, D.C., that the Pekin Kiwanis Club and a party of Peoria teachers took in June 1932. The sixth and last of his daily log entries, written in Pekin after their return, was printed on the front page of the June 18 issue.

McNaughton’s trip log entries which we’ve reviewed over the past few weeks can help bring to life what life was like in America during the 1930s, when passenger travel by train was common. In the case of McNaughton’s final log, however, a couple passages in which he makes racially-charged if not racist remarks about African-Americans living in Washington, D.C., also help to remind us of the great changes and progress in attitudes regarding race since those days.

This final log entry here follows:



Well, here we are, home again. Two autoloads of friends met the boys and me at Bloomington, the grandparents from Texas having arrived while we were away. They had the best linen out at home and a three-course dinner waiting so the comedown from those dining car meals would not be too great, but at that we missed the finger bowls! However, we didn’t miss a swim in the greatest little pool this side of that one at the Naval Academy at Annapolis.

And did we need that swim, after two days and a night on a train, taking the dust and cinders as they came. I could lean over and shake my head and hear the cinders fall.

If you insist on the truth, I slept better on those improvised beds Thursday night than I did last night at home in my own bed. Why? Because of that gale. Wasn’t that some blow at 12:20 last night?

Pekin Daily Times owner and publisher F. F. McNaughton in 1979. PHOTO FROM LOCAL HISTORY ROOM COLLECTION

Pekin Daily Times owner and publisher F. F. McNaughton in 1979. PHOTO FROM LOCAL HISTORY ROOM COLLECTION

Speaking of blows, we had one plan blow up. Our special was making such a good time westward bound that at Garrett, Ind., we got the consent of the dispatcher to roll right into the Grand Central station at Chicago 15 minutes early. We were to leave Chicago at 3 o’clock from the Union Depot, hooked onto the rear of the Lincoln Limited.

So we decided to parade up State street in Chicago during the 1 ¾ hours we had to wait. We found a piece of carboard (sic), and with a red lipstick and some blue ink we made a red, white, and blue banner. Art Kriegsman had furnished us a clan call the first night out – a loud, long drawn out “Yoo-Hoo,” pronounced, “You-Who.” Wherever a Tazewellite saw another in Washington, even if it was clean across the Capitol grounds, he would shout “Yoo-Hoo,” and the “Yoo-Hoos” that came from the hotel windows at 2 a. m. made the nights merry. So for the Chicago parade, we arranged that if anybody got lost, he was to start shouting “Yoo-Hoo” at the top of his lungs, which was to be the signal for all the rest of the Yoo-Hoos to rush to his rescue.

The minute we reached Chicago, we swung from the coaches to start our parade, when trainmen ran to halt us, telling us that instead of trailing us home on the Lincoln Limited, they were sending us along in a few minutes as a special. So Chicago missed a bigger parade than they had all during the G. O. P. convention – not to mention the “Yoo-Hoos” they missed.

Speaking of Art Kriegsman, there were 184 on the train besides Art and they are all for Art. He made the beds for the ladies, he carried drinks to the aged, he Yoo-Hooed for the weak lunged, and he made fun for everybody.

The most hilarious moment of the trip came at 3 o’clock yesterday morning. Art, sitting two seats away, saw Mrs. Arends rousing from a troubled sleep. Quickly Art put on some ugly spectacles and slipped into his mouth some hideous protruding teeth. Mrs. Arends, half awake, saw Art and thought she was having a nightmare. Shaking herself, she looked again and thought it was somebody whose false teeth were falling out; or maybe a fiend had gotten onto the train. At this moment, Art drew a cup of water and started toward Mrs. Arends with it.

“I don’t want anything. I don’t want ANYTHING! I DON’T WANT ANYTHING!” Mrs. Arends screamed till everybody in the car were sitting up, sharing her terror. Whereupon Art took his teeth out, emitted a loud “Yoo-Hoo” and moved on to the next car. There he found the crowd was trying to locate a dying calf which was bawling piteously. It turned out to be a hidden device that Bill Janssen had found in an oddity shop in Washington. You must hear that calf bawl; and if you’ll drop a penny in the tin cup, Art will Yoo-Hoo for you.

The crowd insisted on signing a Round Robin to be presented to the Kiwanis club, thanking them for the trip and expressing their amazement that so much could be given for $36. Really, everybody seemed to feel that they got their money’s worth.

At the end of this column, is a vote that I took on the homeward train of the things that folks liked best on the trip. Frances Towle followed me up with a vote on what folks were most disappointed in.

You will notice that the White House was an easy winner in the disappointment vote. This was, I think, because the President did not shake hands with us. They have had to tighten down on many things in Washington the last week because of the thousands of bonus marchers in the city. They were everywhere – hundreds upon hundreds of them. We even had to get a special permit thru Mr. Hull’s office to get into the bureau of engraving. So Mr. Hoover is not shaking hands just now. In fact, he and Mrs. Hoover were listening over the radio to his renomination at Chicago while we were wandering thru the famous east room, green, blue and red rooms, etc.

From the number of things that somebody gave first place, you will realize how different are human interests. Evidently the boys and I missed the second most interesting thing on the trip – the Annapolis Naval Academy. I wanted, too, to see the Cathedral where Wilson is buried. Of one thing I am glad – that is that Attorney Prettyman decided to extend the trip the extra day. The crowd wants the Kiwanis club to get up another such trip.

Here’s the vote on what the folk liked best:

Mt. Vernon … 43
Naval Academy … 36
Lincoln Memorial … 19
Capitol building … 12
Congress in action … 10
New museum … 6
Washington’s monument … 5
Bureau of engraving … 1
Old museum … 3
Pan-American building … 2
Congressional library … 2
White House … 2
Robert E. Lee’s home … 3
Arlington cemetery … 4
Flag parade … 1
Art gallery … 2
Allegheny mountains … 1
Eats … 1
Cathedral … 1
Zoo … 1
Monastery … 1
Ford theater … 1
Associations on train … 1

Quite a few could not make up their minds, and some of them (women) wanted to change their minds after they had first voted. They would!

Now here is Miss Towle’s list of disappointments:

White House … 42
Hotel … 15
Not seeing President … 6
Beds on train … 6
Pan-American building … 5
Ford theater … 5
Congressional library … 4
Bureau of engraving … 3
Harper’s Ferry … 3
Ladies’ clothes (museum) … 1
Pittsburgh … 1
Lighting on train … 1
Shopping district … 1
Too many Negroes … 1
Foreign legations … 1
Location of hotel … 1
G. A. R. building … 1
Red Cross building … 1
Not seeing cherry trees … 1
Train sickness … 1
Poor Annapolis guide … 1
Narrow streets … 1
Mountains … 1
Switching at Chicago … 1
Mt. Vernon … 1
Not seeing Old Ironsides … 1
Monument … 1
Free afternoon … 1
Not seeing mint … 1

It might be explained that there is no mint in Washington; and that Ironsides could be seen from the top of the Washington monument. Concerning the Negroes, I really wonder if they are going to take Washington over. It is a shame they ever started Washington so far to one edge of the nation. It ought to be out closer to the common run of folk. But it looks like it is there to stay. They are building constantly – are building now. There is vastly more to see now than there was 10 years ago. There will be more 10 years later; and if the Kiwanis club decides to put on another tour to Washington 10 years from now, I believe every person who was on this trip will advise you to take it in. Certainly I do.

#art-kriegsman, #f-f-mcnaughton, #frances-towle, #herbert-hoover, #kiwanis-trip-to-washington, #mrs-arends, #pekin-kiwanis-club, #racism

Kiwanis trip to D.C.: ‘Eastward Bound’

By Jared Olar
Library assistant

Pekin Daily Times owner and publisher F. F. McNaughton used his daily “Editor’s Letter” newspaper column to chronicle the weeklong trip to Washington, D.C., that the Pekin Kiwanis Club and a party of Peoria teachers took in June 1932. The second of his daily log entries, headlined “EASTWARD BOUND” was published on the front page of the June 14, 1932 Pekin Daily Times, as follows:


Washington, D.C., June 14
Pekin Daily Times,
Pekin, Ill.

Arrived here 2 p. m. Several are groggy from insomnia. Fifty are off their feet from car sickness [on] account [of a] rough mountain climb. All felt better when they set foot on solid ground again.


Pekin Daily Times owner and publisher F. F. McNaughton in 1979. PHOTO FROM LOCAL HISTORY ROOM COLLECTION

Pekin Daily Times owner and publisher F. F. McNaughton in 1979. PHOTO FROM LOCAL HISTORY ROOM COLLECTION

This part of this letter is being sent back from Chicago; written on the Alton while the crowd looks over my shoulder.

We’ve already had our first calamity. Minnie Wilson lost the heel off her shoe. Art Kriegsman was appointed a committee to shoe her, but Art insists that she go barefoot.

You’ve got to hand it to her and Fearn, the Kiwanis president, for courage. They have their three smallest children along – the youngest aged 2. He’s a good trouper.

There, Albert Brennemann of Hopedale just came by and gave me a dandy apple. A bit ago the Jansen sisters (all four are along) treated me to taffy and chocolates.

We certainly have a dandy crowd – about 200 of us including the Peoria car we picked up in Chicago.

Everybody seems to be out for a grand time and even Ed. F. Lampitt Sr., and Al Zinger, who have seen a lot of the world, are wreathed in smiles.

I just asked the boys what to tell you, and they said to tell the gang that there wasn’t going to be any orange peel and apple core throwing on this trip. We’ll have that again next year en route to Chicago to the World’s fare (sic).

The big event that is being looked forward to as this is written is the first call to the dining car when we leave Chicago on the B. and O. tonight. What I’m hoping is that they have food enough.

I’ll try to wire you a lead for this letter from West Virginia tomorrow. Meanwhile I’ve had Bill Janssen help me get the list of names of all on the train (not including the Peoria crowd). Here they are – all agreeable folk:

Albert Brenneman, Margaret Braden, Pauline Braden, Helen Hofferbert, Kathryn Stout, Martha Schurman, Paul Hannig, Mary DeWeese, Beatrice Morrell, Bertha Williams, Helen Smith, Margaret Woelfle, Carl Woelfle, Mrs. Carl Woelfle, Mrs. W. O. Eberhart, Mary Eberhart, Karl K. King, Florence Francke, Frances Towle, Helen Aydelotte, Dorothy York, Mrs. Emma Arends, Mrs. Carry Zuckweller, Charles Alexander, Emma Melxure, Vera Herman, Miss E. Papenhause, Grace Brown, Mrs. R. Nedderman, Mrs. Fred Ferguson, Mrs. V. G. Gore, Mrs. Lena Birkey, Thelma Birkey, Paul Schermer, Mrs. Paul Schermer, Marie Skarnikat, Maurice Moss, Emma Neuhouse, Rhoda Hyatt, Mrs. William Koch, Anna Blenkiron, Milton Denekas, Willis Denekas, Irene Brown, Fred Rolf, Lenora Wilson, Karl Wilson, Henrietta Wilson, Fearn Wilson, Minnie Wilson, William Dean McNaughton, John F. McNaughton, Joe McNaughton, F. F. McNaughton, Marie Deppert, George Brines, Fern H. Smith, Robert Connibar, Mrs. R. A. Cullinan, Duane Cullinan, Dorothy Cullinan, Urban Albertsen, Orville Isenburg, Mrs. E. S. Loy, Mrs. Mae Gardiner, Jane Corbitt, Josephine Thaller, Hester Holland, Elizabeth Hunt, Theresa Jansen, Anna Jansen, Lena Jansen, Adelaide Jansen, Clara Albertsen, Elsie Albertsen, Mrs. Jerry Hurlburt, Emma Luick, Martha Lowry, Mrs. Frederick Reuling, Gertrude Ehrlicher, Freida Nedderman, Anna Gehre, Marie Schreiber, Martha Schreiber, Mary Struker, Edgar Jaeger, Elmer Kunkel, Don Kunkel, Mrs. Leslie Evler, Juanita Cook, Wilma Cook, Dolly Rupp, Dorothy Hieser, Arthur T. Kriegsman, E. F. Lampitt, A. B. Zinger, Marie Kohlbacher, Lila Greeley, Milton Taylor, Mrs. William Krieger, Ray Sloter, Freda Hild, Thelma Woll, Lucille Kaufman, Genevieve Talbott, Martha Tammens, Carl Bottin, Mrs. Carl Bottin, Eva Bottin, Albert Bottin, Hazel I. Eller, Lucy Alice Trowbridge, Sarah DePeu, Robert Schwartz, Richard Schwartz, Jennie Newman, Mrs. Fannie Spaits Marion (sic), Mrs. Jessie M. Spaits, Mr. and Mrs. Robert J. Lee, Mrs. Ellen E. Graham, Mrs. Lewis Doren, Miss Margaret Everly, Ruth Pendergast, Luella Rollins, Lillian Skinner, Charlotte Vogelsang, Mrs. Anna Vogelsang, Bernice Hagerman, Ethel M. Brecher, Alice James, Blanche Moehring, Elizabeth Pugh, Mrs. R. L. Lohmar, Rolland Lohmar, Oline Eller, Mary Dean, Elizabeth Strunk, Winifred Robinson, Mabel Miller, Wilbur Karsten, Bill Janssen, Mary Stalin, Laura Schwartz, Frances Watson, Louise Harte, Joseph Wetzig, Gilbert Rapp, Mildred Brigham, Lucille Weesmiller, Virginia Sanborn, Loraine Aper, Jeannette Deppert, Mary Hofferbert, Pearl Sorenson, Miss Lilly Jansen, Minnie Schurman, Louis Zuckweller, Irene Francke, Mrs. J. E. Barnes, and Gladys Hieser.

The group photograph, a recent donation from Morton's to Pekin's public library, shows the members of the Pekin Kiwanis Club and the Peoria teachers party who toured Washington, D.C., in June 1932. The trip was chronicled day-by-day on the front page of the Pekin Daily Times by the newspaper's owner and publisher F. F. McNaughton.

The group photograph, a recent donation from Morton’s to Pekin’s public library, shows the members of the Pekin Kiwanis Club and the Peoria teachers party who toured Washington, D.C., in June 1932. The trip was chronicled day-by-day on the front page of the Pekin Daily Times by the newspaper’s owner and publisher F. F. McNaughton.

#art-kriegsman, #f-f-mcnaughton, #kiwanis-trip-to-washington, #pekin-kiwanis-club