Who was Joe Hunter?
Most older Riversiders know the name Joe Hunter as legendary "machine maker" who helped revolutionize aluminum manufacturing and brought industrial wealth to Riverside. I for one was surprised to learn that our listing on 2980 Locust st was once the residence of this famed engineer who is most notable for the creation of aluminum Venetian blinds and the multi billion dollar company “Hunter Douglas”. So I began a quest to learn more about Joe Hunter, I found an incredible archive of information at our lovely city library and discovered a 1987 RAM exhibit completely dedicated to Joe Hunter called “The Machine Maker” and a booklet put together by then Curator of History Vince Mosses. Vince describes Joe and his brother Eddie as all- American, weeded to the American dream of entrepreneurial success though applied muscle, sweat, trial and error, Joe and Eddie developed machine tool genius by means of old world discipline. In the middle of the Great Depression Joe Hunter had made his dream work. Though the sweat of the brow he, Eddie and the men around them invented, perfected and marketed the first successful flexible steel venetian blind slat and the machinery to make it. They invented and patented the world’s first successful continuous paint coating line for metal strip. In 1946 Hunter founded the Hunter Douglas Corporation here in Riverside and employed 1,000 people with $12,000,000 annual product and a $2,000,000 payroll. Hunter Douglas soon expanded worldwide. Hunter contributed greatly to his community, one of his finest civic achievements is the Hunter Industrial Park and the Hunter neighborhood park which features two scale steam locomotives. I always passed by those locomotives in Hunter park and wondered the story of how they got there! Just more proof of our wonderful local history. The previous residence of Joe Hunter is currently on the market at 2980 Locust st. A 1938 Spanish revival designed by Harry Harsh with a full size guest house, offered at $645,000. Call Fred and Crystal for a private tour. 951-545-8846