William Burke Belknap founded this
historic hardware company in 1840, along the banks of the Ohio
River in Louisville, Kentucky. It started humbly in a
small shop that produced iron products, such as horse and mule
shoes, nails, spikes and other forged items.
The first building was a
three-story brick on the corner of Third and Main with three
employees. It developed into a mega store where you could
order everything from building materials and hardware items to
furniture and toys. At one time it even carried jewelry
When Belknap celebrated its 100th
anniversary in 1940, it had grown to a complex of 37 buildings,
covering 37 acres of floor space under one roof. It had
underground passageways and covered bridges. Belknap
Hardware and Manufacturing was among the nation's largest
wholesale enterprises with nationally recognized quality brands.
the centenary of its funding, in 1940, the Belknap Hardware &
Manufacturing Co. of Louisville, KY, commissioned an artist to
render a sketch of the company's facilities along the Ohio
River. That sketch of "The World's Largest Hardware Plant"
hardly does justice to the place.