1928-1953: The First 25 Years of Tuttle Construction, Inc.
Tuttle Construction marks its 95th anniversary in 2023. In honor of this company milestone, it seems fitting to take a look back at the history and the people who have created the Tuttle name that we all know and love.
Herb U. Tuttle was born in Chemnitz, Germany in 1892. His father, an American diplomat, was on the U.S Consul from 1888-1893, he was from Bennington, Vermont. His mother was from Chemnitz, Germany. Herb was raised in New York State, graduated from Hoosick Falls HS. He then pursued a Civil Engineering Degree at The Ohio State University and graduated in 1913. He was a member of the OSU marching band. After college he joined the U.S Navy, then later worked for the U.S Steel Co. in Toledo, Ohio.
In 1917 Herb Tuttle moved to Lima, where he started a family with his wife Hazel; they had two children: Thomas and Phyllis. Herb became the resident engineer of the E. North Street Filtration Plant and Lost creek Reservoir. Herb had always dreamed of starting his own construction company. In February of 1928 he established his own construction business called Herb U. Tuttle General Construction Company. One of the earliest records of a Tuttle project was in 1931. It was The Lima Sheet Metal Products Co.; this was a 60 by 115-foot new addition. Another project Tuttle had around the 1930-1940s was The Good Year plant located in St. Mary’s Ohio.
In the time period when families started to purchase their own cars, Tuttle built many of the gas stations that popped up at many intersections in Lima. Another project Tuttle had was in 1937, which was the Lima Locomotives. In 1939, Tuttle constructed the Ohio Steel Foundry Co, which is still standing and being used today. After a few years went by Lima started to gear up for World War II. The Banta Candy Factory in Lima closed due to the fact no one could afford candy anymore. A new company known as Lennox Furnace Co went into the old candy factory to produce aircraft parts needed for the war. Tuttle was contracted to remodel the plant to be able to produce aircraft parts.
These first projects of the company were all done because of the hard work put in by the original Tuttle employees. Herb Tuttle was a great leader for the company. However, he was a humble guy, and you could find him playing cards with the guys in the field on a rainy day. He identified with all the guys who worked in the field. He was known as the prankster and a serious card player, along with his involvement in service organizations in Lima. Herb had a great relationship with the community and the people, he always took care of his people.