As It Builds New Facility, Trucking Company Unearths Pieces Of Maywood’s Past

Friday, June 28, 2019 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

Featured image: James Apa on the site of his trucking company’s future home in Maywood. | Michael Romain

“You want a laugh?” said James Apa on Friday afternoon. Apa was standing on the massive parcel of land at 1001 S. St. Charles Rd. in Maywood that he bought from the village earlier this year for $250,000.

Apa’s building a 6,500- to 7,500-square foot facility and a paved yard for his new trucking business, Third Coast Teaming Company, on the site.

“We found an old horseshoe from when they used to have horse and carriages,” Apa said, producing the historic item that a construction crew dug up.

“This is probably over 120 years old,” he said of the horseshoe. “I’m going to put it above the door for good luck.”

The building that will house the company’s offices and service garage is being constructed with pre-cast concrete walls that will be up by Monday, Apa said.

“In two weeks, they’ll put the steel in and we should have it under a roof in about a month-and-a-half,” he said. “I’m hoping to have everything done by Thanksgiving.”

The old horseshoe wasn’t the only relic of the village’s past that construction workers have excavated while building Apa’s trucking company.

While digging, they also discovered old pillars that were once part of the literal foundation of American Can Co., once Maywood’s largest employer.

James Apa with a horseshoe discovered on the site of his future trucking company. Behind him is the foundation of the old American Can Co. | Michael Romain

According to a 2005 Chicago Tribune article, the “American Can Co. plant in Maywood covered 18 acres, employed thousands of people in its heyday and went down in history–the history of the obscure–as the birthplace in 1935 of the beer can.”

The plant closed in 1975, causing a ripple effect in a town that once boasted a “Sears, a Montgomery Ward and two movie theaters,” in addition to a “Jewel and A&P food stores.” By one estimate, the plant’s closing cost Maywood around 8,000 jobs.

In the 1990s, the village acquired the St. Charles Road property in a delinquent-tax sale and demolished the historic building in 1997, the Tribune reported.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the village lured Aetna Plywood Inc., a lumber products distributor, and Cintas Corp., which produces uniforms and other specialized products for companies, to the massive empty space left in the wake of the plant’s demolition.

Apa’s trucking company will occupy the last unused parcel of land on the former American Can Co. site. On Saturday, Apa said, a wrecking crew will knock the old American Can pillars down in order to make way for his trucking operation, which he said will employ between 40 and 45 people.

Apa said that he hopes to hire roughly 50 people once his business gets up and running. | Michael Romain

“I’m putting drivers to work already, because I’m hauling my own stuff in and out of here, for the most part,” he said. “Once I get open, I’ll buy more trucks and hire more guys. I want to hire mechanics, office staff and drivers. In the first 18 months, we’ll have around 30 to 35 truck drivers, six to eight mechanics and four to five office people.”

And he prefers to hire local, he said. Just like American Can. VFP

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