Monarch Tobacco Works

Industrial / Kentucky

Monarch Tobacco Works is an abandoned plug chewing tobacco, cigarette, and cigar factory in Louisville, Kentucky. It was used for Monarch Tobacco Company to produce plug chewing tobacco between 1901 and 1910, to manufacture cigarettes for the American Tobacco Company until the mid-1920s, and to assemble cigars for the American Cigar Company between 1930 and 1971.


History

Monarch Tobacco Works was incorporated in 1901 by Basil, John, and Marcus Doerhoefer, and E.J. Coggeshall, formerly of National Tobacco Works, C.W. DePauw, who had been connected with tobacco manufacturers in Louisville, and J.T. O’Neal, a lawyer. 1 The new firm manufactured plug chewing tobacco under the “Wineberry,” “B.D.,” “Kickapoo,” “Lucky Dream,” and “Premium Fig.” brands.

Monarch Tobacco’s four-story, 90,000 square-foot plant at West 30th and Madison Streets was completed in August. 1 It featured administrative offices, the press room, and the storeroom on the first floor, the wrapping machines on the second floor, the bulking and stemming units on the third floor, and the tobacco dryers on the fourth floor. 4

Monarch Tobacco Works

A sketch of the new Monarch Tobacco Works. Source: Courier-Journal, 27 Aug. 1901, p. 4-7.

Monarch Tobacco sued the American Tobacco Company and the Mengel Box Company in 1908, declaring that American Tobacco, through an alleged controlling interest in Mengel Box, tried to ruin Monarch Tobacco’s business. 3 It was claimed that Mengel Box inflated the price it was selling plug tobacco boxes to Monarch Tobacco. It asked for $1,000,000 in damages.

Monarch Tobacco was sold to American Tobacco in November 1910. 2 5 10 The rechristened American Tobacco Monarch Branch produced Tuxedo smoking tobacco and Lucky Strike cigarettes before becoming a warehouse for leaf tobacco. 10

American Cigar Company

On June 7, 1929, the American Cigar Company, a subsidiary of the American Tobacco Company, selected Louisville for a new cigar manufacturing plant. 9 10 It was estimated that the expansion, which would utilize the former American Tobacco plant at West 30th and Madison, would cost $2.5 million, employ 2,500 workers, and utilize 200 machines for making cigars. The Louisville facility would consolidate many of American Cigar’s smaller factories throughout the country. 10

Building permits were issued for the construction of a four-story Art Deco style building in late November. 7 The expansion work, being performed by the Alfred Struck Company, had started months prior with preliminary permits and was finished in 1930.

Facing slumping sales for traditional cigars, American Cigar closed its Louisville facility in 1971. 6

Other Operations

The former American Cigar factory was later used by Madison Street Properties, Superior Diecutting, and Workman & Associates, an insurance company, between 1995 and 2008. 12 Superior Filtration Products later occupied a portion of the complex until 2009.


Gallery


Sources

  1. “Monarch Tobacco Works.” Courier-Journal, 27 Aug. 1901, p. 4-7.
  2. “Receiver Wanted.” Courier-Journal, 18 Nov. 1910, p. 10.
  3. “For One Million.” Courier-Journal, 23 Jan. 1908, p. 10.
  4. “Insurance Maps of Louisville, Kentucky.” Insurance Maps of Louisville, Kentucky, vol. 3, Sanborn Map Company, 1905, p. 247.
  5. “Bought by the Trust.” Messenger-Inquirer [Owensboro], 20 Nov. 1910, p. 2.
  6. Carter, Robert W. “American Tobacco Company.” NCPedia, Encyclopedia of North Carolina, 2006.
  7. “Permit Issued for New Factory Here.” Courier-Journal, 28 Nov. 1929, p. 34.
  8. McPhail, Sarah and Marcus Pollard. National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior. American Cigar Company. Mar. 2009.
  9. “Heart Throbs of Business.” Courier-Journal, 11 Jun. 1929, p. 18.
  10. “The American Tobacco Company.” Courier-Journal, 29 Jul. 1929, p. 7.
  11. “City Gets $2,500,000 Cigar Factory.” Courier-Journal, 8 Jun. 1929, p. 1.
  12. Wells, Michael C. “Abandoned Superior Box Warehouse.” Michael C. Wells Photography, Jul. 2016.