The company was started in 1920 by Paul S. Wilke as Paul Wilke Tinner, in his basement at 2020 Queen city Avenue. The first job was repairing the pilot house roof on the original Island Queen.

US Shoe Corporation became a customer during the early 1920's, and he took his tools by way of street car to do the jobs. Also, stills were built during prohibition.

The son in Paul Wilke & Son was born in 1918 and was named Melvin P. Wilke. In 1934, at the age of 16, he joined his father in the business.

In the early 1930's, the shop was moved to Denham Street in North Fairmount, until a fire destroyed the building in 1939. After the fire the Company was then moved to Wickham Alley, which is in South Fairmount and is located one block north of Queen City Avenue. A new building was built in 1947 at 1995 Grand Avenue. An interesting note is that the I-beams for the roof supports were stolen during construction. They were recovered and had to be pulled out of the Ohio River. The beams were put in the river so they would rust and could be sold as scrap.

The Company did roof work from the early 1940's until early 1960's. The business was incorporated on January 1, 1959.

In 1966 a metal addition of 2,400 SF was added to existing 4,000 SF building.

Paul S. Wilke, the original founder, retired in 1968 and died on September 27, 1971.

Suddenly, on April 12, 1970, Melvin P. Wilke died of a fatal heart attack.

At that time his widow, Kathryn P. Wilke, then turned the business over to her sons: Paul M. Wilke, Edwin L. Wilke, Robert J. Wilke, Charles S. Wilke, and John W. Wilke.

In the Spring of 1980, a 3,000 SF addition was added to the rear of the building, half of which was to open the machine shop division.

Tragically, on October 15, 1980, Robert J. Wilke was killed in an industrial explosion at Hill & Griffith Co. on State Avenue in Lower Price Hill.

In July of 1995, the business was moved to a 20,000 SF building at 1965 Grand Avenue.

 

History