Arenzville's Founder

Chronology of Events

Relics from the Past

Latin Farmers

Early Citizens

Civil War Soliders

Great Fire of 1913

The Arenz Family

Genealogy Resources

Tade & Hester's Book

Nicol Sand


Gustav and Mary Nicol
Gustav and Mary Nicol

Gustav Nicol started a sand company in 1903 near Belleville. At that time, natural-bonded molding sand was in high demand by casting industries. (The sand is used in the process of casting molten metals.)

From the History of Nicol Sand Company, by Cindy Reinhardt:

At their many locations, Nicol Sand Company mined several kinds of molding sand. Their coarsest sand was from Greenville, Illinois. This was used for large castings using a metal with a high melting point. This kind of casting would gnerate a lot of gases, and required a greater degree of permeability than a smaller object made from a metal such as aluminium that has a lower melting point.

According to memories of Ida Nicol, "one day, when Gustav Nicol was cleaning out a boxcar, a hobo told him that there were sand hills between Beardstown and Arenzville, Ill. He took a trip by train to investigate the hobo's story and through the train windows he noticed some beautiful sand hills near Arenzville. So, on the way back, he stopped to investigate those sand hills, and found them to be good molding sand. Later he started a good sand molding business in Arenzville." Although this story sounds almost too charming to be true, it has been verified by several family members who were around when the discovery was made.

Although the demand for natural-bonded molding sand is all but non-existent today, it was an important influence for the Nicol family. This general information on the nature of the sand project should make it easier for the reader to understand the migrations of the Nicol family and Nicol Sand Company as they moved wherever they could find the best deposits of natural-bonded molding sand.

With permission from the authors, we are pleased to share the following publications about the Nicol Sand Company and the Nicol family. We think you will enjoy reading about the many connections to Arenzville history.

History of Nicol Sand Company
by Cindy Reinhardt

Click on the image at the right to download a 43-page PDF file.

cover of History of Nicol Sand

"The Sandmen," story and photos by Cindy Reinhardt

Click on the image at the right to download a 7-page article which was published in the March-April 2014 issue of Illinois Heritage

cover of Illinois Heritage March-April 2014

As I Recall, personal memoirs of Wilbur Nicol.

Click on the image at the right to download the 81-page file.

Wilbur's memoirs are beautifully written -- a masterful account of the many chapters in his life, including details from living in Arenzville in the 30's and 40's:

"Whatever affluence our family had prior to the 1929 crash, immediately disappeared and during the depression, we were rather desperately poor. The only reality which made this more bearable was that all your friends and neighbors were in the same straits."

Wilbur Nicol

Gustav and Mary Nicol family

Gustav and Mary Nicol family, 1914

Back row: Edward, Irvin, Ida, Alma, Albert, Royal
Front row: Elsie, Mary holding Elmer, Gustav Jr., Gustav Sr., Howard, Louise.

Albert and Ida Nicol family



© 2023 Molly Daniel  

This page last modified: 08/25/2023