- Waukegan Illinois City Council
- United States of America
Let’s start with a bit of history-
The Johnson Brothers of South Bend Indiana started making outboard motors in 1922. After a few years the Johnson Brothers out grew their facilities and in 1926 built a manufacturing plant and water tower in Waukegan Illinois. In 1929 the stock market crashed and the Johnson Motor Company declared bankruptcy in 1932. In 1935 Outboard Marine Corporation purchased the Johnson Outboard Motor Company. Outboard Marine Corporation (OMC) consisted of Evinrude, Elto and Lockwood Outboard Motor companies. Once OMC acquired Johnson OMC made Waukegan Illinois its base of operation. Fast forward to the year 2000 - OMC declared chapter 7. In 2001 Bombardier Recreational Products (a Canadian Company) purchased OMC. In 2007 BRP dropped the Johnson name .BRP used the Waukegan plant until 2013.In 2015 BRP sold the land, plant and water tower to the City of Waukegan. The City of Waukegan demolished all the buildings except for the 93 year old Johnson Outboard Motors Water Tower.
The water tower now sits on a hundred acres of vacant land.
Now to present day-
Every Fall I fish Waukegan harbor for Salmon.
I watched year after year the demise of the OMC plant. This year is the first year the water tower stands alone. I wondered what was to become of the deteriorating Johnson Water Tower. So I called the City Hall of Waukegan. I got in contact with a very helpful person and here is the short version of what’s going on.
In one of the 2017 Waukegan city council meetings the subject of making Johnson Water Tower a historical landmark was brought up.
After some discussion the subject was tabled. So now the water tower sits rusting.
For 93 years the water tower has stood watching Johnson and Evinrude outboard motors being built. The OMC plant housed engineering, manufacturing, marketing, accounting, training and executive offices. The OMC plant provided hundreds of jobs over decades. At one time the OMC plant had three shifts going twenty four hours a day to keep up with demand. In 1952 the Waukegan plant made its one millionth motor.
During World War Two the Waukegan facility produced bomb fuses, aircraft engines, and firefighting equipment.
Johnson and Evinrude outboard motors once dominated over the market of recreational boating. Thousands of people across the United States have had their recreational lives enhanced by taken a ride in a boat powered by a Johnson /Evinrude outboard motor. If the Johnson Outboards water tower is ever taken down there will be no sign that OMC has ever existed there.
After reading the above. I’m sure you would agree that the Johnson Outboards Water Tower should be made a historical landmark. To show future generations that a great American manufacturing company once stood there.
The first step on saving the Johnson Water Tower is to have the City of Waukegan make the water tower a historical landmark.
Please sign the petition.
I Request that City Of Waukegan make the 93 year old Johnson Water Tower into a historical landmark.
Here are some of the reasons –
To honor the OMC employees that worked hard for decades to enhance the recreational lives of people across the nation.
The OMC plant provided employment for decades to the people of Waukegan and surrounding area for decades.
If the Johnson Outboards Water Tower is not saved. There would be no physical structure to show that OMC ever existed in Waukegan Illinois.
The water tower would stand to show future generations that a great American manufacturing company once stood there.
Avid Boater and Fisherman
The Make Johnson Outboards Water Tower a Historical Landmark Waukegan Illinois petition to Waukegan Illinois City Council was written by Al Klebek and is in the category Local Government at GoPetition.