One of the more successful entrepreneural families in Morris in 1860’s to early 2000’s was the Gebhard’s. The patriarch was Louis Gebhard. He was a German immigrant. He founded a brewery in 1866. It was located in a wooden building in Morris on west Washington Street near Nettle Creek. He ran the facility for 20 years. He then sold the business to his son William. Louis was also a force in the real estate business. He built a commercial building on Liberty Street. On the ground floor were Peterson’s Grocery, Cronin Hardware, and the Sachse Saloon. On the second floor were apartments. The third floor was the Masonic Hall.
William Gebhard built the brewing company into a successful enterprise. Their products were well known because of the quality of the malt, grits, and hops used in production. In the 1880’s, he built the bottling house and the seven story brew house. In 1904, he built a stock house.
In 1912, the son of William–Fred joined the business and remained until it closed in the 1920’s. Prohibition was the cause of the demise of the brewery
The brew house was converted to a flour mill. One business–Morris Milling Company operated there from 1935–1958. The bottling plant building was used for 50 years by Lindsay Light and Mantel Company. They produced mantels for lamps and lanterns. They closed in the 1990’s.