The Sentinel-Record

East Main Street history


East Main Street was the industrial hub of Siloam Springs for most of the 20th century. Simmons Further Processing Plant was originally an ice factory. Before refrigerat­ed box cars, trains would stop at the Jefferson Street Depot to unhook cars hauling perishable items and push them across to East Main Street and down to Hico Street, where ice factory workers would load blocks of ice into the cars to keep the goods cold for transport.

The ice factory also acted as a freezer house for local residents who could pay a fee to have their processed meats frozen at the factory. Dixon Iron and Metal was establishe­d near the location in the 1930s to recycle and process scrap metal. The company also worked for Kansas City Southern Railroad as a clean-up crew for train wrecks because they were one of the few companies with equipment large and strong enough to handle the work.

Dixon Iron and Metal, known today as Siloam Springs Metal Recycling, also helped with the constructi­on of many industries still operating today, including La-Z-Boy, Webb Wheel and Gates Rubber Co. East Main Street was a bustling city street with both industrial and commercial services including auto dealership­s and repair centers, restaurant­s, a hardware store and barbershop. As the needs of the community changed, the street saw a decline in business activity over the years. Then in the early 2000s when Hispanic entreprene­urs began opening storefront­s, the area saw a resurgence of economic activity to serve the growing diverse population.

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