What’s going to happen to the old Stahl-Urban building?

Published 4:21 pm Saturday, December 9, 2023

The Brookhaven Board of Aldermen is investigating what can be done to demolish the former Stahl-Urban Company building on Main Street.

The building is falling down in places, and is likely filled with lead paint and asbestos, according to Mike McKenzie of WGK Engineering. The site was listed in 2021 on the National Register of Historic Places, so the city is limited as to what it can do, as well as how.

“We have to request to take it down,” McKenzie said, and must have an engineer’s report and environmental assessment completed.

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“You’ll probably spend $35,000 to $40,000 to begin to prepare to take the building down,” he told the aldermen.

Funds are available through the Department of Archives and History that can be used to shore up portions of the building or for salvage, McKenzie said, but those funds will not be available until Oct. 1, 2024.

After minimal discussion, the board voted unanimously to submit a demolition request to the Department of Archives and History, and begin the process of getting an engineer’s report on the facility.


A brief history

The Stahl-Urban garment manufacturing factory was located in Terre Haute, Indiana, in the early 1930s, but became a victim of unionized workers and its owners had to decide whether to hire nonunion workers or move their production to Brookhaven.  They chose the latter and reopened their factory in 1936. 

Between 1940 and 1945, Stahl-Urban produced 1.5 million uniforms for the military, which constituted nearly all of its production. By 1963 the former work clothes maker had switched to men’s and boy’s outerwear, including pants, shirts and jackets. Production continued until 1983, when Auburn Sportswear took over.