HUNKIN-CONKEY CONSTRUCTION CO., noted contractor for public works throughout the U.S., began in 1900 when Samuel and William Hunkin, who had been in Cleveland's building trades since 1870, formed a partnership as the Hunkin Bros. The firm was incorporated in 1903. A nephew, Guy E. Conkey, was put in charge of the Cleveland operation after Sam Hunkin was killed and Wm. Hunkin left the city to oversee the rebuilding of San Francisco following the earthquake of 1905. In 1907 the firm name was changed to the Hunkin-Conkey Construction Co. The Hunkins bought out the Conkeys in 1948.
In 1970 Hunkin-Conkey was the nation's 11th largest construction firm, averaging $40 million in contracts annually and employing 2,000 people (500 in Greater Cleveland). The company had an excellent reputation for competence, speed, and a creative approach to engineering, specializing in building BRIDGES, breakwaters, docks, roads, factories, and hospitals. Its local projects included DETROIT-SUPERIOR BRIDGE, CLEVELAND MUNICIPAL STADIUM, NASA LEWIS RESEARCH CENTER, and LAKEWOOD HOSPITAL. Among the company's national projects were the Arlington Memorial Bridge, the Pennsylvania Turnpike, and the Minnesota taconite plant of the Reserve Mining Co. The company, which had its offices in the Hunkin Bldg. at 1919 E. 13th St., was a casualty of the 1970s recession, rising labor costs, the maze of red tape involved in contracting for public works, and litigation over several of its major projects. Hunkin-Conkey Construction Co. closed in 1974 after more than 70 years of operation.