By Don Radebaugh — Bo LeMastus is a lot like the industrial giants of yesteryear. Be careful about telling him he can’t accomplish something, because, like the Henry Fords of the world, he’ll prove you wrong every time.
LeMastus, who also races on the NASCAR and ARCA circuits — when he’s not tending to his day job as CEO/Chairman of the Board at Crosley Brands — recently toured the iconic Crosley Radio Corporation headquarters in the Camp Washington neighborhood of Cincinnati, Ohio. LeMastus, inspired by what he saw, put a plan in motion to acquire the building with a vision to restore it to its original grandeur.
The iconic Crosley building was designed in the 1920s by renowned architecture firm Samuel Hannaford & Sons, and initially served as headquarters for the Crosley Radio Corporation and its radio station, WLW. Entrepreneur and inventor Powell Crosley’s offices occupied the top floors. The building, which has been abandon for years, is up for sale.
“I could not be more excited about the opportunity to acquire the Crosley building,” said LeMastus, Crosley CEO and Chairman of the Board. “Our goal is to restore the building, save what we can and improve the rest. One of our slogans at Crosley Brands is ‘Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.’ This building fits right in with that mindset.”
LeMastus is also well-tuned to the historical significance that accompanies the building.
“Part of our overall plan would be to restore Powell Crosley’s office to its original condition. In the 1930s, the government granted Powell the rights to use 500,000 watts for the WLW radio station. It was called the Nation’s Station. The signal could literally be heard around the world.”
The Federal Communications Commission eventually withdrew the license, returning day power to 50,000 watts. However, it was allowed to continue the high powered operation at night, largely because the signal could reach overseas, bringing news from home to U.S. troops during WWII.
“That’s such an important piece of our country’s history and I want to help preserve it.”
LeMastus’s plans don’t stop there.
“The first floor would eventually be a museum, a tribute to the Crosley family. Everything he ever made, from radios, to cars, to planes, refrigerators, everything. I really want to honor the man, the family. The second floor would be one huge showroom for all of Crosley’s current products, and that would include Camping World Trucks and some of my ARCA cars. The pole winning ARCA car from Charlotte and Pocono would look really nice up there. The third floor would be open and available for banquets, parties, weddings, etc.
“We’re beyond excited about moving forward in the restoration of the Crosley building.”
The design of the Crosley building is based upon the art deco style, trendy in the late 1920s. This particular detailing is still visible on what’s left of the street level facade, as well as on the tower.
Back in the day, Crosley products were often less expensive than other brands and came with Crosley’s “money back guarantee”, paving the way for today’s sales policies. By 1924, Crosley Radio Corporation was the largest manufacturer in the world.
Today the Crosley name lives on with superbly detailed replicas that truly transcend time. Reintroductions of original vintage radios and turntables feature the newest technologies graced by unforgettable Crosley stylings. The Crosley Collection includes AM/FM radios, styled record players and turntables, record changers, multi-functional audio cassette/compact disc players, jukeboxes, music boxes, telephones and more. Rich lines, retro designs and authentic crafting have made Crosley today’s premier vintage electronics manufacturer. True to the Crosley tradition, these replicas are as fabulous as they are functional, providing a delightful dose of nostalgia.
With plans to compete more on the ARCA Racing Series tour in 2018, LeMastus will be driving the No. 17 DGR-CROSLEY Toyota Tundra Truck at Iowa Speedway Saturday night, June 16.
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