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Portrait of Daniel Webster Rogers Revolutionary Expansion –
Our History from 1887 - 1908

In 1887, the Windstorm Company’s directors decided to extend their business statewide. In order to do this, the railroads, which came to Hastings by way of the Industrial Revolution around the turn of the century, were indispensable. Agents were required to visit the home office, adjusters were required to visit the sites of losses, and policyholders had to travel to Hastings to vote at annual meetings. The company’s prosperity relied on the rail lines.

In addition to the railroads, the Industrial Revolution also brought new manufacturing activity, an electric power plant, and new insurance hazards. "The Great Fire of 1886" destroyed 18 businesses, including three blocks of stores on the main business street. The wind blew embers all over town and ignited small fires. While Rogers was able to move the company’s records and account books ahead of the advancing flames, the citizens of Hastings were compelled to vote for a municipal water works and the city fathers enacted a fire ordinance.

The company’s continued growth led to the construction of a two-story building on State Street in 1890. The Windstorm Company offices and the Barry-Eaton Fire Insurance Company occupied the second floor, and Cook’s grocery store was on the ground floor. From 1890 through 1908, the company grew its membership from 2,000 to 43,000 and insurance in force went from $2 million to over $74 million. The Banner credited Rogers with the success and called the company "one of the most substantial mutual insurance companies in the state."

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