In 1911, Edward Kraemer, a twenty-one year old carpenter from a small village in Wisconsin, begins his own business with a tool box, four years experience as a carpenter, and six employees.
Edward Kraemer’s first project as a business owner was the construction of a new home for a friend. His business quickly grew to the construction of houses, barns, cheese factories, schools and churches in the Village of Plain, Wisconsin and the surrounding countryside.
In the early 1920′s, as automotive travel began to flourish, Sauk County, Wisconsin began seeking contractors to build county roads. Never one to pass up an opportunity, Edward Kraemer’s entrance into the road and bridge business began. The Maxwell and Fargan bridges were the earliest recorded bridges built by Kraemer in 1924 and the first recorded highway contract began on Highway 60 in August 1927.
By 1926 there were two distinct branches of the company; buildings and roads.
The WPA (Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal Agency) created jobs and invaluable infrastructure during the Great Depression. The WPA played a significant role in the rapid growth of the company. During this period, Edward Kraemer began acquiring quarry leases, heavy equipment and road contracts.
Significant Events 1930-1940:
- Edward Kraemer designs and receives a patent for a self-propelled double jawed crusher
- Completion of the largest building project of Edward Kraemer’s career, the St. Luke Catholic Church in Plain, Wisconsin
- Edward Kraemer’s son Rudy joins the firm after receiving an engineering degree and is followed by brother’s Fred and Victor.
- First bridge designed by Rudy Kraemer was built in 1936.
In the 1940′s, the advent of WWII resulted in numerous new contracts in preparation for the war. From 1940 to 1942 the company engaged in construction of ammunition plants, government trailer camps and airport runways.
- First out of state contracts were in the years of WWII
- 1942 – Construction of a government camp in Coffeyville, Kansas
- 1943 – Construction of Cincinnati Airport located in Erlanger, Kentucky
The company experienced rapid expansion in the 1950′s. These were the years the road building industry matured and the company expanded to construction contracts on a state and national level.
- First multi-million dollar contract – 170 day contract on Highway 51 between Mercer and Hurley County, Wisconsin
- Construction contract on the first Atomic Energy Plant located south of Detroit
- Ownership of 70 quarries including the Burnsville Quarry in Burnsville, Minnesota which is still in operation today
- In the late 1950′s construction of buildings was dropped from the Kraemer portfolio as the road and bridge business multiplied
President Eisenhower’s vision of an interstate system was in full movement by the 1960′s resulting in an explosion of contracts and a number of “first” for Kraemer. Over a 15 year period Kraemer was awarded numerous contracts on the interstate system in Madison, Milwaukee and the Green Bay area.
- 1960 – First out of state Bridge contract in Bettendorf, Iowa
- 1962 – First construction project in Minnesota – the 10th Avenue Bridge
- 1964 – First construction of a draw bridge in St Paul, Minnesota
- 1965 – First construction of a lift bridge in Milwaukee, Minnesota
- 1968 – Regional office opened in Burnsville, Minnesota
The 1970′s brought Kraemer’s vision of expansion into other states to fruition by frequently winning numerous contracts outside of Wisconsin.
- Founder Edward Kraemer’s death on October 23, 1973.
- Expansion into Arizona, Colorado, Kansas and Missouri
David Kraemer, third generation CEO, continues to move the company forward with a belief in aggressive bidding and maintaining a healthy backlog.
- First Joint Venture I-35E/I-94
- Largest dollar volume projects were the Missouri River Bridge ($23.7M) and Burlington, Iowa Cable Stayed Bridge ($35.5 M)
- First Dam construction on the Starved Rock Dam in LaSalle, Illinois
- First construction of MSE walls (and first in Wisconsin) on the Rose Street Viaduct
- Sell of Toledo, Ohio quarry in 1992, crushing business in 1996, and Burnsville landfill operations in 1997
- First true design-build project in Bettendorf, Iowa of a bridge over railroad access to Lady Luck Casino
- Page Avenue construction of twin 17-span bridges across the Missouri River
- Scott Peterson named President and CEO in 2006
- I-270/I-70 Interchange – construction of the highest volume interchange contract awarded to date (2001-2003) for the Missouri DOT
- Marquette Interchange – Demolition and replacement of an entire interchange involving construction of 21 bridges
- Woodrow Wilson Bridge – Kraemer designed and innovative falsework system to construct three bascule bridges spans across the Potomac River
- Troup Howell Bridge – Construction of the Troup Howell Bridge over the Genessee River was New York’s largest construction project to date (2004 – 2007)
- Lock & Dam Navigation Embankment Improvements – First contracts awarded by the St. Paul, Minnesota U.S. Army Corps of Engineers utilizing the design-build procurement method