Celebrating 129 Years of History in the Roofing Industry

Today we are taking a look at history, going back 129 years to 1886*. What was happening in both the U.S. and roofing industry in Chicago? Knickerbocker is here to tell all:

  • The Statue of Liberty, “a gift of friendship from the people of France to the people of the United States,” was dedicated here in the U.S.

  • Grover Cleveland was President of the United States

  • Chicago became the center of a national labor movement, pushing for an eight-hour workday

  • What many might not know is that Bernard Kelly bought Knickerbocker Roofing &

  • Paving Co. Inc. and founded what has now grown into one of the largest roofing contractors in the Midwest

Some of the earlier Knickerbocker projects included: the Public Library, now known as the Cultural Center and the paving of Michigan Avenue! In the early to mid-1900’s, Mark A. Cronin, Sr., Kelly’s son-in-law, helped expand Knickerbocker into a largely successful sector: railroads. Railroad structures, worn down by the steam and fumes of burning coal, needed continuous deck and roof replacements. Knickerbocker was there to “pick up steam!” and worked for many major rail lines cross-country.

Fast-forward through five generations, 129 years later, and Knickerbocker Roofing & Paving celebrates its history as a successful family-run business. Four great-grandsons, and one great-great grandson, of the Bernard Kelly lineage are among the latest generation leading the Knickerbocker team of employees. At Knickerbocker, we are a team of trained professionals, remaining as courteous, customer-oriented and friendly as we were 129 years ago.

Today, we specialize in providing commercial and industrial roofing services to our customers located throughout the Chicago area and Midwest region. Among the range of services we offer are low slope roofing services, steep slope roofing services, sheet metal fabrication, green roofing services, roof maintenance services, plus emergency roof and leak repair services. Additionally, we’re recognized throughout the communities and industries we serve as experienced and reliable roofing specialists. We believe it’s those essential qualities – experience and reliability – that have helped us build a 129-year tradition of trust with our customers!

Topping things off, it’s not just our customers who know they can rely on us: roofing system manufacturers know us for those same qualities of trust, experience and reliability. In fact, we are proud to say that Knickerbocker is certified by all of the major roofing system manufacturers, as a trusted source to furnish and install their roofing systems as well.

Here at Knickerbocker, we plan on continuing to provide commercial and industrial roofing services for many more years to come. After all is said and done, if you’re looking for reliable roofing specialists in the Chicago area we will be here, and ready to serve you, just as we were for our first customers in 1886. In the meantime, you can visit our website to learn more about our company and its 129-year history, or just give us a call at 708-339-7260 if you have further questions for us.

*Sources: HistoryOrb.com, History.com and Encyclopedia of Chicago

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