1500 N. Oakland Ave.
P.O. Box 2107
Carbondale, IL 62902
Ph: (618) 457-8191
Fax: (618) 549-0131
E.T. Simonds had its beginnings in April, 1946; founded by Eugene T. and Emma K. Simonds. (Gene & Katy).
Gene started college at the University of Illinois during the 1930's. After a couple of years he went to work for what is now the Illinois Department of Transportation. In 1937 he married Emma Kathryn Becker and continued to work for IDOT. After three more years he returned to the University of Illinois and graduated with a degree in civil Engineering. Following graduation he returned to work for IDOT.
Shortly afterwards he was called to active duty to the Army Air Force and served as a navigator aboard a B24 Bomber flying missions over Germany. Gene served with the Army Air Force until January of 1946 at which time he returned to work for IDOT.
During April 1946 Gene and Katy decided to start their own construction business. They started their business with a partner by the name of Jack Campbell, who had also returned from WWII military service and had previously worked for IDOT. They started their business with a pickup truck, a wheel barrow and a few shovels doing sidewalks, curb and gutter, pipe culverts, etc. They operated out of their home with Katy as the bookkeeper and Gene in charge of the operations.
In January 1947 Al Howell joined the company as a partner. Al served in the Army during WWII and also worked at IDOT prior to this.
In 1949 Gene, Al, Jack, and Charlie Harrison purchased Franklin Asphalt Company in Benton. This company did primarily oil and chip work. That same year the company moved into its first office — what is referred to as the “Old Chicken House.” It was located on Willow Street just west of where the newspaper office is now.
In 1950 the company was awarded its first major project — the basement and foundation work for the Coca-Cola bottling plant in DuQuoin.
Mr. Campbell's interest in E.T. Simonds Construction Co.; Howell Engineering Co.; and Franklin Asphalt Co. was purchased in March 1951.
In the fall of 1955 the company moved into the West Main Street office which it occupied until 1980.
Howell Construction Co. was started in 1955 with its primary business being concrete and steel structures, while E.T. Simonds Construction Co. did mostly roadway work.
The first major paving project for E.T. Simonds Construction Co. was awarded in 1958. This project was the building of new runways for the Springfield Airport.
Through the late 50's and early 60's E.T. Simonds Construction co., Howell Construction Co., and Franklin Asphalt Co. continued to grow and acquire more equipment. Bridges were built in Kentucky, concrete paving the bridges started on I-57 in Illinois. The first paving project on I-57 for E.T. Simonds Construction Co. was between IL Rt. 146 and Dongola. Several projects were completed on I-57 between then and when I-57 through District 9 was completed at Cairo in 1975.
The next major step for the company was in May of 1965 when Gilmore Asphalt Co. at Anna was purchased by Gene, Al, and Charlie. Gilmore at that time had one 5,000# asphalt batch plant. This opened the door for other plants to be installed and operated.
In 1966 Gilmore installed a “BAM” plant at Anna, purchased University Asphalt in the Carbondale Industrial Park, purchased Coles Asphalt in Marion and moved that plant to the University Asphalt Plant site in Carbondale.
Al Howell retired in 1967 and Gene Simonds purchased his interest in the various companies.
In 1968 another asphalt plant was purchased and erected at Equality; then in 1969 yet another plant was purchased and erected at Harrisburg.
In 1969 the company got in the crushed stone business with the purchase of Anna Quarries and the purchase of Midwest Stone in 1970.
Through a series of mergers in 1970 and 1971 the four companies: E.T. Simonds Construction Co., Howell Construction Co., Franklin Asphalt Co., and Gilmore Asphalt Co. all were merged into one, with E.T. Simonds Construction Co. being the survivor.
Charles Harrison passed on in 1971. Mr. Simonds later purchased Mr. Harrison's interest from Mrs. Harrison.
The 1970's were good construction years with all the work on I-57 and particularly I-24. During this time E.T. Simonds Construction Co. laid all the hot mix and did all the concrete paving on I-24 from the Ohio River at Metropolis to the I-57 interchange except one three-mile section near Round Knob.
In 1975 Bill Simonds bought a distributor and chip box from E.T. Simonds Construction Co. and started in the oil and chip business as Illini Asphalt. The following year Illini Asphalt bought all of the oil and chip equipment from E.T. Simonds Construction Co. and still operates from the Benton location.
1980 brought about another major change in the history of E.T. Simonds Construction Co. It had been operating from the office and shop on West Main Street, a repair shop on Chestnut Street and a storage yard in the Crab Orchard Refuge area. This year the company built the present office, repair shop, and storage area on 40 acres at the present location, 1500 North Oakland. It has since added another 68 acres of surrounding ground to this area.
In 1986 the company gianed another asset. Kassy Simonds became Vice President and Controller.
Mr. Simonds passed away May 12, 1989, and the leadership of the company passed to Edward T. (Bill) Simonds, who was elected to be president of E.T. Simonds Construction Co. on May 19, 1989.
In December of 2003, Mrs. Katy Simonds retired after 57 years of service. In March of the following year, Becker Simonds, representing the third generation of Simonds, came aboard as an operations manager. Then, in December of 2005, Kassy Simonds retired.
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