Hoosier Cabinets
McDougall Cabinet Company
Frankfort, Indiana

The McDougall Cabinet Company started around 1885 in Indianapolis making kitchen cabinets and pie safes. A major fire destroyed the Indianapolis plant in 1909. The Hoke Avenue plant in Frankfort was purchased and began operations in 1910.

Previously, George McDougall made furniture and tables. After George’s death, (Helen Grove’s book, pg. 96), his son, Charles, went to Europe and, from that experience, came up with the design that would become “McDougall - The Cadillac Of Cabinets”. The McDougall cabinets featured the patented auto front door that went down inside the top of the cabinet instead of going up.

As other Hoosier cabinets, the McDougall was designed to make the kitchen work easier for the women by reducing their footsteps. Essential ingredients and items used in everyday cooking was in one localized workspace offered in these cabinets. Some of the features were pull-out porcelain counter tops, spice jar storage space, a large flour bin, sugar bin, and a bread drawer, as well as storage space for pots and pans. Almost all of the porcelain counter tops were produced in Frankfort at the former Ingram-Richardson plant, which was located on West Walnut Avenue.

The Frankfort plant was located at 555 Hoke Ave., which was also the location of USHCO, the U.S. Hame Company. They made wooden station wagon frames for the Plymouth “Woodies”. Also at this location, the building was once home to Mallory’s and General Battery, and last, Exide Battery.

All the veneering was done in the basement while the production and assembly was done upstairs. A section of the building, now gone, was used as the drying area. The saw dust that was accumulated was stored and later burned for heat during the winter.

George McDougall passed away in 1901 and in November 1933, his son, Charles, tragically died. The company had been affected by the Great Depression. A couple years later, the McDougall Cabinet Company closed. In 1945, the Hoosier Cabinet Company went out of business, followed by Wilson, Kitchen Maid, Sellers, and Boone companies. Only Nappanee Cabinet Company survived and are still in business today.

Written by Jerry Leonard with extensive information by Steve Freeman.
Copyright 2010
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