The Wheeler Corporation Story
Before the start of World War II, Thomas J. Wheeler worked for the government, travelling throughout Indiana, inspecting stone quarries that were providing agricultural lime for the farm community, and developing an interest in limestone mining. Returned from service as a P-47 fighter pilot, Thomas and brother-in-law John D. Haehl started their first stone quarry in 1946 on Shelby County Road 950 South between 175 E. and 225 E. on the north side of the road. To make their first storage bins, they cut trees down and took them to Brady Meltzer’s sawmill located at S.R. 244 and 600 E., where they helped Brady cut them into lumber.
Though Thomas and John started out with nothing more than a power shovel, a hammer mill crusher, a dump truck, an elevator, scales and an army surplus air compressor at 950 South, their situation and prospects changed quickly. A big rain in 1949 filled their pit with water and because they were not close enough to the river to pump the water out, they decided to move. The new site was located just west of S.R. 9 near 1100 S., near Norristown. This site was sold and is still being mined today. It is known as the Cave Stone plant. They financed this expansion with the help of more investors. Original stockholders were Thomas J. Wheeler, John D. Haehl, Walt VanGorden, Dr. Davis, Frank Cortelyou, Ed Douglas, Claude Mohr, Woodrow Mohr, Dr. Bill Stafford, Walter Scott and Bob Howard.
Running this operation were Thomas J. Wheeler, John D. Haehl and Walt VanGorden, and their next step was to expand into the sand and gravel mining and the ready-mixed concrete business. In 1952, they opened Shelby Gravel on McKay road in Shelbyville, just west of S.R. 9. Two years later, they bought the W.P. Wolfal Company in Rushville, Indiana, a concrete plant located on a gravel pit just west of town on River Road. They relocated just down the road in 1957, opening Rushville Ready Mix Concrete Company. Two years later, they opened the Evans Concrete Products Company, and began manufacturing concrete blocks in Shelbyville across the river from Kennedy Park.
The following timeline outlines how this company grew and changed hands over the next three decades, always building on experience, excellent quality and reliable customer service:
- 1969 - Evans Concrete Products Company relocated to its present site at 841 Elston Drive in Shelbyville; Mike Wheeler, a recent Purdue University graduate, became manager of this operation, now known simply as the Concrete Products Company.
- 1970s - Thomas J. Wheeler and John D. Haehl bought out the other investors. What then became known as the Rushville Ready Mix Concrete Company split into two companies: Haehl headed the concrete/aggregate operation in Shelbyville; Wheeler took charge of the block manufacturing operation in Shelbyville and the concrete operation in Rushville.
- 1972 - Ed Wheeler graduated from Purdue University and started the Franklin Concrete Division of the company, located on Hurricane Street in Franklin, Indiana.
- 1975 – Franklin Concrete Division became the Wheeler Corporation.
- 1976 - Thomas J. Wheeler elected to the Indiana State Senate (1976 to 1980).
- 1983 - Thomas V. Wheeler opened the Wheeler Aggregate division, a sand and gravel mining operation located about one mile west of S. R. 9 on Boggstown Road.
- 1981 - Dave Wheeler graduated from Purdue University and worked at the concrete block operation, taking over for Thomas J. Wheeler, who retired.
- Late 1980s - Dave opened a new ready-mixed concrete plant at the gravel pit on Boggstown Road in Shelbyville.
- 1992 - Shelby Gravel purchased all of the Wheeler operation except the concrete block factory on Elston Drive; this site was expanded two years later to accommodate another block production machine.
- 2002 – The old Adonna Brick Supply at 4025 Rockville Road in Indianapolis was purchased.
The Wheeler Corporation Today
Wheeler operates a manufacturing plant with one machines at 841Elston Drive in Shelbyville, Indiana and a showroom and sales yard at 4025 Rockville Road in Indianapolis. With 21 employees, Wheeler Corporation serves central and southern Indiana, selling clay bricks and concrete blocks of all kinds and colors to both commercial and residential customers.
If you are interested in opening an account with Wheeler Corporation, you may download, print, complete and submit this credit application. Please contact us if you have questions.