The Porter Furniture Company was born in Racine, Wisconsin. Allen Porter had established a small cabinet shop years earlier along the shores of Lake Michigan. In 1857, Porter¹s son, 25-year-old William Allen (W.A.) Porter convinced his father to move and expand the business. The enterprising young man purchased several warehouses on the north side of Fifth Street near Wisconsin Avenue and bought out the furniture inventory of O.C. Jillson, expanding the elder Porter¹s cabinet shop to include home furnishings. Renamed the W.A. Porter Co., the business thrived until it went up in flames in ³The Great Fire of 1866.² Intent on running the business, Porter moved the store to 238 Main Street and continued to operate the company until his death in 1888. The company continued under the supervision of Porter¹s nephews, Allen Booth and George Porter Northrup.

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