The last remnant of the historic Stearns & Foster Company in Lockland, Ohio tumbles down today. Interstate 75 in Lockland, Ohio will be closed around noon for about 30 minutes while the smokestack is demolished.
Founded in Cincinnati in 1846 by George S. Stearns and Seth Foster, Stearns & Foster was the first factory to produce cotton wadding. It soon expanded into batting, mattresses and other cotton products. A factory was constructed along the Miami-Erie Canal in Lockland in the late 1880’s for their growing operations, eventually encompassing 15 acres and one-million square feet. It produced 200 mattresses and spring sets daily, and at its peak, the factory boasted 1,200 employees.
But by the 1990’s, the complex was operating with a skeleton crew of just 75. The Lockland facility was eventually closed by Stearns & Foster’s successor, Sealy, due to its limited manufacturing capacity and the aging buildings. Some of the other buildings remained open to produce fiber-fill and insulation for automobiles until that too was acquired by Leggett and Platt Inc. who moved all operations to Mason, Ohio around 2003.
The former factory site caught fire many times over its lifespan and after years of disuse, is now all but demolished. The smokestack is the last visible reminder of what was once one of the region’s largest manufacturers.