American Amicable Life Insurance Company (ALICO)

American Amicable Life Insurance Company (ALICO)

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American Amicable Life Insurance Company (ALICO)
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Beautifully engraved unissued certificate from the American Amicable Life Insurance Company . This historic document was printed by the American Banknote Company and has an ornate border around it with backprint of a dog lying beside a baby. This item has the printed signatures of the company’s president and secretary. Company History In the early months of 1909, an insurance company was formed in Waco, Texas that embarked on a mission of which changed the face and skyline of that city forever. An accomplishment to leave such a mark for the entire world to hear about and marvel well into the 21st Century. On February 2, 1909, Amicable Life Insurance Company was chartered and began business on April 2, 1910. During the early days of this young company, the founders, there being only three, were astute enough in their planning to place many of the local business people on the Board of Directors, which included bankers, doctors, merchants, etc.. Soon talk began of a need for office space or a home office building. They wanted to be downtown, in the heart and pulse of a thriving city that had just completed, in 1870, the only suspension bridge west of the Mississippi. Waco, Texas was the proud owner of a bridge that would be the forerunner to the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City, both to be designed by John A. Roebling. In 1909, on the corner of 5th & Austin, stood a three-story bank building. The building was nice, but old and belonged to First National Bank, who just happened to have a couple of officers on the Board of the newly formed Amicable Life Insurance Company. The bank had thoughts of a newer building, one that would set them apart from the "run of the mill" structures in town. Amicable Life Insurance Company wanted a building, needed a building and also needed to develop a campaign of "something" that would catch the eye of the public. They wanted a building that would represent strength, stability, as well as an attraction that would enhance their sales of insurance since they were such a new young company. Soon the bank sold the three-story structure to Amicable and Amicable started demolition with plans to erect a building of eight stories…this would be changed to 17 stories and ultimately a 22-story structure. Construction began in August of 1910 with completion exactly twelve months later in 1911. During the last half of the 1800s several things happened that set the stage for the 'dream of a building in Central Texas'…two of which were the development of the elevator system and the refinement of the steel industry to enhance building construction. Both elements were instrumental in the industrial revolution. Thanks to a combination of new building techniques and new elevator designs, taller buildings began springing up around the country in the 1890s, but mostly on the northeastern seaboard. Corporations wanted to identify themselves with distinctive headquarters and provide office space for others. Companies wanted to stand out with an image that would make them memorable to attract urban as well as rural communities' curiosity. Architecture was a kind of public relations. Hence the climate for building a 22-story structure in the middle of Texas. The ALICO Building was a pioneer in the quest of the latest up-to-date technology in building construction to be taken to the outer edges of Western civilization that would withstand the test of time. Known to be the tallest building West of the Mississippi and South of the Mason-Dixon Line until 1929, the ALICO Building became a symbol of strength that withstood the ravages of weather and time. The nightmare of the '60s wherein everything considered "old" had to be destroyed or modernized did leave its mark and the lower front and side Facade of the building was altered, along with adjoining buildings, in hopes of revitalizing an inner city decline. A decline created in part by a tragic tornado in 1953. The ALICO Building still remains a tower of strength and stability…remains an edifice all alone standing straight as a soldier in the skyline of Waco. A city with charm, a building with character…a city and a building waiting for new discoveries…. Excavation for this great new building would require lengthy testing of the soil in anticipation of going down 45 feet for the foundation. This skyscraper would consist of several thousand pounds of steel, iron, and marble for a total of 40,085,200 pounds when completed. The immense amount of dirt for the 45-foot deep foundation was removed by man, mule, and wagon, required thirty teams, and, on many occasions, created tremendous attention for a large crowd of onlookers. The public was interested and talking. When the announcement was made of the intent to build the "tallest office building in the South" some cities in the state were inclined to make fun of Waco, but soon it was realized that the promises made were being faithfully kept. As the days went by, people came from far and wide to view the progress of this enormous building. The building that was "Set on a rock and built to withstand anything," proved its worth as a tower of strength during a devastating tornado on May 11, 1953. A storm that killed 114, left millions of dollars of damage and ravaged more than half of the downtown area. A new stratum of water was struck in the excavation for piers. Reports indicated it was thirteen feet deep in the basement and required two pumps to remove the water to the street for passage through the sewer system. Removal ran 500 gallons a minute of sparkling cold artesian water. This activity lasted for about fifteen days before being capped. Later, in this same basement, the company drilled a well 1800 feet below the surface for artesian water that provided usable water for the entire building for many years. Sanguinet & Staats of Fort Worth and Roy E. Lane of Waco were the architects who wanted to design and construct an indestructible building, and that they did. The building would be of classic design with..."the lower stories faced w


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