They got it right the 2nd time!

Johnson Service Company headquarters suffers collapse during construction

Building Collapse

Article from the March 29, 1903 edition of the Milwaukee Sentinel

March 29, 1903 (PD: 201203)

On March 29, 1903, the Milwaukee Sentinel newspaper reported the collapse of the front top third of the Johnson Service Company (Johnson Controls’ former name) headquarters, which was under construction on the southeast corner of Jefferson and Michigan Streets.

The crash could be heard for several blocks and showered the immediate area with bricks and other debris.  Fortunately no one was injured, even though the surrounding streets were crowded with workers returning home (the crash occurred shortly after 6 p. m.).

Company founder Warren Johnson hired an expert investigator on cement and railroad bridge construction to make a very careful examination of the concrete where the break occurred, as well as all the concrete work in the building.  The investigator concluded that the concrete on the fourth floor was not sufficiently hardened when the fifth floor was added, thus causing the collapse.

The building, the first built of reinforced concrete and brick in Milwaukee, was subsequently completed by August 1903.  Today it still serves as the headquarters of the company’s Building Efficiency business unit.