First appeared in The Kansas Chief on January 4, 2018 and written by Paul Stewart, Chief reporter.
An expansion project is underway at Midland Steel Co., located at 202 Boeh Lane at the eastern edge of Wathena, just to the south of Highway 36.
The 50-by-90 foot shop addition will house the handrail and lightweight architectural items, which have been in the main production space.
The current site work and framing is being done for the parent company by Midland Steel Erection, of Riverside, Mo.
A history of the company, available at www.midlandsteelco.com, states:
The founders of Midland Steel Co. were looking for a life change in the early 1960s.
They were working at St. Joseph Structural Steel, in St. Joseph, Mo., and decided they would strike out on their own and create a structural steel company.
In January of 1965 they purchased an existing fabrication steel shop and created Midland Steel Co.
In 1980, Midland Steel moved its headquarters to a new, custom-constructed building in Wathena.
One of Midland Steel’s first large jobs was to erect the buildings on the new campus of Missouri Western State College (now university) in St. Joseph. Through the years, Midland Steel has continued to help the campus develop new buildings, and make renovations, including recent improvements to the football stadium.
If there is one theme that has remained a constant at Midland Steel, it’s consistency of growth.
When new railroad access came (to the Wathena area), Midland Steel was able to buy steel directly from the steel mill. And, as the company grew, they began landing contracts for strip malls, schools, and other structures within the local community.
Midland Steel’s craftsmanship also expanded from the local community and into the Kansas City region, working on projects for the Kansas Speedway, Kansas City Chiefs, Nelson-Atkins Art Gallery, Hollywood Casino, Harley Davidson, Kansas City Zoo, Kansas University Lied Center, the Sprint campus, Staley High School, Olathe Northwest High School, and many more.
Like other construction companies, Midland Steel has weathered recessions and down times, but has continued to offer excellent fabrication and erection services, both locally and regionally.
One setback came with the flood of 1993, which saw the Missouri River spill over the levees and eventually envelop the company’s headquarters. The founders of the company had to take a boat in to assess the damage, wading through waist-high water. But even that couldn’t hold the company back.
Midland Steel continued to grow. Bolstered by the strong work ethic of its 65 employees, many who come from an agricultural background, Midland Steel has earned a reputation for getting the job done on time, and with an eye on excellence.
Today, the company continues to thrive, and now includes Midland Steel Erection, close to downtown Kansas City, which keeps them in close proximity to all the renovation projects Midland Steel has become involved with in Kansas City’s downtown district.