‘Old Piano Factory’ invites shoppers, tourists to browse

The Factory Outlet Mall is affectionately known as the the “Old Piano Factory” for good reason.

The building, located at 410 South 1st St. in St. Charles, actually served as the Cable Piano Factory from 1901 until 1938. The rugged structure once employed hundreds of workers and was constantly buzzing with activity.

During World War II, after the Cable company ceased operations, the factory building was used to manufacture special military electronics. However, when the war ended and the need for the military devices stopped, the factory was abandoned.

The building stood on the banks of the Fox River like a ghost of its former self until 1980 when it was purchased by two local businessmen. With a lot of hard work, and the support of the St. Charles citizens, the once industrious factory was set to get a giant facelift.

However, before the shopping mall was created over 130,000 square feet of the original factory structure was demolished.

The mall builders discovered that the old factory was sturdily built from cedar support beams and Chicago brickwork, indicating that it was meant to last.

The rebuilders agreed that most of the old structure was indeed durable so much of the original superstructure was retaned during the restoration.

The Factory Outlet Mall was completed in 1986 and enjoyed immediate success.

It houses over two dozen carefully chosen stores which include such brand names as Gitano, Carter’s, Van Huesen and Just Pants, just to name a few.