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Longaberger Baskets-Three Generations of Basket Making

Aug 27, 2008
Anyone who is interested in baskets has probably heard of the Longaberger Company, a leader in the manufacture of handcrafted baskets. Started by J. W. Longaberger and carried on by his granddaughters Tami and Rachel, the company makes maple wood baskets that are a must-have item for any basket collection.

J. W. Longaberger started his career as an apprentice basket maker in 1919 at the Dresden Basket Company that was located in Dresden, Ohio. During the Depression of the 1930s, the factory closed, but J. W. continued his craft from home. He and his wife Bonnie Jean eventually saved enough money to buy the old building, and Longaberger baskets came into existence.

The company itself was started by Dave Longaberger, J. W.'s son, who ran it until his death. It was Dave's idea to make the corporate headquarters something that people would remember. When driving down State Route 16 in Newark, Ohio, people are amazed to see a huge building that is shaped like a Longaberger Medium Market Basket. Dave had planned to have all the company buildings built in this style, but died before any of the others were started. His daughters, Tami and Rachel, decided against the unconventional architecture.

Longaberger baskets have long been sold by representatives at home, much like Avon and Tupperware. While sales were high in the 1980s and 1990s, they have recently declined. Plans are underway to begin selling these baskets online.

As well as basket making, the Longaberger Company has become a popular tourist spot. When traveling in the area, you can visit the Longaberger Homestead and Basket making Campus, which is located in Frazeysburg, Ohio. You can take a tour of the company itself as well as shopping at the Longaberger Factory Store. There is also a workshop that will allow you to make your own basket. Throughout the summer months, there are two celebrations that the company sponsors. One is the American Summer Celebration that is held in early June. The 4th of July celebrations are impressive as well.

The company also owns the Longaberger Golf Club, which is one of the top golf courses in the country. Due to its location in the hills of southeastern Ohio, this course can prove to be challenging to the most avid golf enthusiast.

You can also tour the headquarters of Longaberger, "The Great Basket" itself. The building is seven stories high and the offices are designed around an atrium that is 30,000 square feet. The Basket handles have replica copper and wooden rivets and are heated to prevent ice from forming on them during the Ohio winters. The Basket even has two Longaberger tags on the side of it, each measuring 25'long and 7' tall. Weighing 725 lbs. a piece, these tags are 3' thick and can stand up to the ravages of time.

If you are a basket enthusiast and have a couple days to spare, you should plan a trip to the Longaberger Factory. It is an experience that you will not soon forget.
About the Author
We have baby gift baskets that are cute and practical. Perfect for the newborn and new moms. For more information, visit this article on baby gift baskets .
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