Plumbing has often been considered the second oldest profession. You can look in the Old Testament in the Book of Deuteronomy and find a reference on “finding a place without the camp wherewith thou shall turn back and cover that which commeth from thee”. That was fine back then, but civilization grew.
Some of the first testaments to the ancient plumber can be found on the isle of Crete where separate drainage system emptied into great sewers constructed of stone about 1700 B.C. Over the years, the famous aqueducts were built to bring water to the growing empire. Plumbing was so important to the Greeks that they even had gods to send their “offerings” to. The goddess for the common sewer was Cloacina.
Once again, civilization continued to grow.
Europe fell into the dark ages and disease was rampant. It took many years to figure out that the Cholera bacteria were waterborne. The Industrial Revolution helped spread the cholera epidemic worldwide with the growth of population in cities like New York. Sewers were nothing more than elongated cesspools and cross-connection between sewerage and drinking water was prominent.
Plumbers and sanitary engineers save the day!
When mankind discovered that plumbers and sanitary engineers could defeat the microscopic creatures that were destroying civilization, modern plumbing was born. Not long after, Stephens Plumbing was started in Downers Grove. In 1923, Calvin Coolidge was in the White House. Half way across the country Stephens and Rosenbaum started a new plumbing company. The Depression of 1929 hit the company hard. Through hard work and pacing themselves, the company survived. In 1942 the company moved their location to the corner of Main and Maple where the operated for many years.
In 1956, the company was sold to one of the sons of the original founders. Many years of dedicated service and hard work followed. Eventually, in 1968 the company was sold again. This time, to a long time employee, Val Claus. Val continued to grow the company and build on the good reputation that was its foundation. Around 1980, Stephens Plumbing and Heating needed more room to grow. The company moved to 747 Ogden Ave., where they still operate today. In 1985, Val sold the business to another long time employee and son, Matt.
Since then, Stephens Plumbing and Heating, Inc. has grown into the remodeling business and expanded into HVAC. We now service 600 to 800 clients every month. Throughout the years, Stephens has evolved with technology, yet maintained their old fashioned ideals of service that we began with in 1923.
Recently, Stephens was sold again. This time, to another long time employee and brother, Tony. Tony has already been with the company for 30 years. He will continue to grow the business with his passion for service he has demonstrated over the years.
This is obviously the condensed version of the history of plumbing and Stephens Plumbing and Heating, Inc. There is still much history to write. The future will continually provide us with new technology we will pass on to our clients. The past will always remind us of the importance of great service. Remember, “The plumber protects the health of the nation”.
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