Building History

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A group of four men standing in front of McCorison's Furniture Store on Main Street in Oshkosh. The owner, Orrin McCorrison (some times spelled Orin McCorison is standing at right

Orrin Mcorison was born July 2, 1843 at Brownsville, Maine. The family migrated west to Oshkosh, Wisconsin. After a year they moved to Waupaca County. Orrin resided at New London, Waupaca County when he enlisted there on September 24, 1861 in the 1st Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry and was discharged at Nashville, Tennessee on November 25, 1862 due to a disability. In later statement's he said "he had been confined in a military hospital for four months." He began a furniture-making shop in New London in 1864. Orrin was married to Louise M. Myers in 1868. They had three children: Lulu M.; Alta; and Guy. By 1876 he had sold his business and moved his family to Oshkosh where he opened up a furniture and cabinet making shop.  That shop is the building now addressed 210 N. Main Street and the current site of the Venture Project.[1] 

 

 

[1] Curtesy of the Oshkosh Public Library & Oshkosh Public Museum. McCorison's Furniture Store. Catalog Number P2012.15.53

Carl Gottfried Scholz was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on May 5, 1867, the son of German immigrants, Johann Gottlieb and Johana Karoline Schroeder Scholz. The family moved to a farm in the Town of Maple Creek, Outagamie County prior to 1880. Gottfried left home by 1884 and worked as a cabinet maker in Appleton. In 1886 he came to Oshkosh and worked as a laborer at the Morgan Lumber Company. He married Emma Guenther on October 31, 1889, and the couple had three children: Arthur; Cora; and Alta. Emma was born in Oshkosh on March 12, 1869, the daughter of German immigrants, Johann and Anna Guenther. Her family moved to a farm in the Town of Caledonia, Waupaca County prior to 1880. By 1893, Gottfried was working as a cabinet maker for Orrin McCorrison in Oshkosh.

Original façade of the Venture Project building prior to Oshkosh fires and building renovations in the late 1800s.

By 1898 he went into a partnership with Charles L. Fell as upholsters, cabinet makers, and picture framers. By 1908 he was the sole owner of the company. By 1930 he had added undertaking to his business.

 

Throughout the decades, the site has garnered drug stores, mercantile, furniture stores, and most recently Schmidt Title.  Now, 210 N. Main has restored some of the timeless beauty of this historic property to offer a sanctuary for entrepreneurs.[1]

 

[1] IBID.

 

[1] Curtesy of the Oshkosh Public Library. McCorison's Furniture Store. Catalog Number P2012.15.53

Our Story

Oshkosh, WI is the home to many successful start-ups.  Some notable businesses homegrown in Oshkosh include Oshkosh B'gosh kids clothing, Oshkosh Corporation (Oshkosh Motor Truck), Buckstaff furniture, and many others.  Each one of these companies has a rich history of start-up success dating back over a century.   The Venture Project was conceptualized when business leaders in the Oshkosh area noticed that the next generation of talented entrepreneurs were leaving the area.  The root cause seemed to be a lack of resources and community for entrepreneurs. 

 

Aaron (A.J.) Armstrong founded the Venture Project in 2020 to recruit and retain potential business owners in the Oshkosh and Fox Valley area.  It started with networking groups of people offering advice and encouragement to new business owners.  Later, it bloomed into a brick-and-mortar coworking space and business incubator located in the historic downtown.  The vision is to remind entrepreneurs that big things don't always have to be done in big cities.  Rather, the most important thing is to "bloom where you're planted."  The Venture Project offers a space to do just that. 

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Photo of founder A.J. Armstrong and his wife Marissa Armstrong.  A.J. is also the owner of Armstrong Ventures a real estate, equity, and consulting company.  Marissa Armstrong is the owner of Marissa's Fit Boutique a fitness studio in Oshkosh, WI. 

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Original advertisement from The Daily Northwestern for O. McCorison Furniture.