"The Foundation of a Great City"
800 South 9th St.
Springfield, IL 62703
1-(217)-788-0300
Above: Henry Nelch and his Jack, "Good Boy" in 1900

With a fleet of 16 ready-mix trucks and 30 full-time employees, the company yard at 800 South Ninth Street rumbles with activity during construction season as a steady stream of the signature blue and teal trucks come and go. In 1993 a second $1.5 million plant opened just south of Parkway Pointe on Springfield's west side. The company also runs a commercial doors operation out of the 9th street location.


It's a family heritage Rob and Mary Jo Nelch, the brother-sister team now in charge of the company, can see in the buildings, streets and sidewalks nearly anywhere they go in Springfield.  In 2010 Rob's daughter Lauren joined the team, making her the 6th generation of Nelch to work at the company.


Among the better-known projects that include Nelch handiwork: The Thomas Rees Memorial Carillon in Washington Park, The Renaissance hotel in downtown Springfield, the Illinois Bell tower, St. John's Hospital, the Sangamon County Building and the Franklin Life building.  Several state buildings, including portions of the executive mansion, also Nelch concrete.  Sidewalks poured by company founder, Henry Nelch can still be seen in Leland Grove neighborhoods.  Most of the brick streets created by Nelch and Son have since been paved over.


Henry Nelch, the son of German immigrant parents, was born near Beardstown in 1852.  He worked as a grocery store clerk and also was one of the city's first letter carriers.  But eventually he took up the brick mason trade that the family had brought over from Germany.


The firm of Nelch, Patterson & Striffler was founded in 1883.  It accepted contracts for paving city streets with brick and installing sewer lines and eventually went into construction and building materials work.


In 1896, Nelch went exclusively into the building materials business, founding Henry Nelch and Son.  The "son" was Benjamin Franklin Nelch, great-grandfather of Rob and Mary Jo.  The original plant was near 10th and Jackson streets.  It moved to the present location in 1906.  Throughout, there has been a Nelch at the head of the firm.


Nelch and Son is thought to be the oldest continuously family-owned operation in Illinois and among the oldest in the country.