Archie Ernest Strode. One of the important industries of Champaign is the tent and awning business which for a number of years has been carried on by the Strode family. The owner and proprietor of the business at present is Archie Ernest Strode, who gave up his active trade as a boiler maker to take charge of this business at the time of his fathers death.
Mr. Strode was born in Bristol, England, May 11, 1879, but was brought to this country when a child of about four years. His parents, George and Elizabeth (Frank) Strode, were both natives of England. His father died March 4, 1915, and his mother in 1901. The family came to Champaign in 1883, and George Strode established the present tent and awning business in 1905. There were five children in the family: Frank, of Champaign; Celia, widow of Thomas Dodsworth of Champaign; William, who died in 1892; Bessie, wife of W. E. Lott, of Flint, Michigan; and A. E. Strode.
In 1895, at the age of sixteen, and after completing his education in the local schools, Archie E. Strode began learning the boilermaker’s trade. He still has his card of active membership in the Boilermaker’s Union. He spent about four and a half years in the shops of the Illinois Central, one year with the Santa Fe, and two years with the Big Four Railway Company. He was not only a successful and able workman, but also gained a thorough knowledge of the business end of the work. He finally entered the service of the Kennicott Company, construction engineers, and traveled over thirty-eight different states for that firm, representing them even in old Mexico. After giving up traveling, Mr. Strode returned to the service of the Big Four Railway Company, and was in their shops from 1907 until November, 1911. He then went into business with his father and at the time of the latter’s death took active charge of the tent and awning business, which he developed to one of the considerable industries of the city.
On January 29, 1908, Mr. Strode married Laura Gundlock, a native of Champaign. They have one son, Orvil George, born March 5, 1910. Mr. Strode is independent in his political actions. He is a member of the Foresters, the Federation of Labor, the Labor Day Association, belongs to the Chamber of Commerce and his church home is the Episcopalian.