Blackhawk Community Credit Union on Saturday plans to lay in place one of the oldest relics from General Motors’ history in Janesville.
The credit union announced this week it will hold a public ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday at 100 W. Milwaukee St., where officials will place the original circa-1919 structural cornerstone of the city’s former GM plant.
That address is the location of the former Chase Bank, a historic downtown bank building the credit union bought earlier this year.
The credit union wants to restore the building to its original condition and create a Legacy Center there, a museum-like space to honor local union autoworkers and their ties to the old assembly plant.
Blackhawk Community Credit Union has closed on purchase of the former Chase Bank property at 100 W. Milwaukee St. in downtown Janesville. The credit union plans this fall to begin work to restore the bank to its original 1913 look, and it plans to use the inside as the site of its Legacy Center, a museum-like space that will showcase artifacts from Janesville's former General Motors assembly plant.
The GM plant was built in 1919. Most production was idled in late 2008, and GM put the plant on standby until it was closed permanently in 2016.
Commercial Development Company, a St. Louis redevelopment group, bought the GM property in 2017 and has been removing the plant piece by piece over the last year.
Blackhawk Community Credit Union was founded to serve GM plant employees. In recent months, the credit union has been working with the former plant’s owners to reclaim items and relics that might be reused at the Legacy Center, the credit union has said.
Sherri Stumpf, the credit union’s CEO, said Saturday’s ceremony will serve as a groundbreaking for the Legacy Center. Those who attend will get to see the GM plant’s cornerstone, a large brick block that was part of the foundation of the original plant.
Stumpf said that cornerstone will serve as the cornerstone in a new wall contractors plan to build when they enclose the old bank’s drive-thru overhang to create new office space for the Legacy Center.
The event will include addresses by Deputy City Manager Ryan McCue and two former GM workers who now have leadership roles at Blackhawk Community Credit Union, Stumpf said.
After the ceremony, visitors will be offered trolley rides to tour the downtown.